Ramblings of an Old Flower: Renovations Inside & Out
It all started with a friend of mine putting in hardwood floors at her house. When she told me that not only would she have some left over but also that she would give me a smokin’ deal on it, I went for it. (There seems to be significant changes in my life around my birthday every year. This year did not disappoint.) Once I was committed to a new floor, I thought, “This is an opportunity to take down that hall wall and create some space.” This reasoning plunged me headlong into a project-within-project labyrinth where I was the lead general contractor. Yikes! Quarterbacking this “three month character builder” proved to be a test of my stamina, commitment and vision. The big plus dawned on me about half way through the venture. I realized that a profound parallel and eloquent awareness deepening opportunity was unfolding.
When big events are happening in my outer life, they often mirror shifts in my inner world as well. In the meantime, I am aware that the home is a symbolic representation and metaphor for the Self. When I put this 2 + 2 together, I was pleased at what I realized. My renovation project – with its painstaking planning, extensive de-cluttering, exhaustive researching, debate with dear ones, careful decisions on which experts to use, and meticulous cost projections – reflected a process that was happening within a personal dimension as well as an extraneous one. While I breathed in drywall dust and I (along with most of my possessions) was squeezed into two bedrooms at the apex of the affair, the watershed of my self awareness spilled over.
While I saw the considerable time, effort, and focus that the renos were taking, I also felt that my present consciousness had been shifting into a deeper and more peaceful version of myself for some time. Guises of kindness, gentleness, balance and surrender had pulled me into many new horizons of late. I was enchanted by these qualities in my external world. As I resonated with these quieter dimensions more and more, I felt myself subsuming them into my character as well.
My inner and outer labour of love has heralded a lovely new space with room to breathe and live less encumbered. The floor reflects light in a warm, organic sheen. The surface feels smoother and cleaner. It runs through most of the house, providing continuity and a feeling of expansiveness. As my new platform, the living wood supports me in its shiny, step by step sort of way.
Taking down the wall has brought light into places where light couldn’t reach. The open space makes more sense of the storage closet and broadens the view. More space also provides the opportunity to do more things with my furniture. Nothing is cramped or fighting for space. Each piece of furniture can now be appreciated for its purpose, beauty and craftsmanship.
Only meaningful things dot the landscape. Clutter from the past has been removed. The content of my home has been weighed and judged. It is there “on purpose”. It is either functional or it connects me to a significant person or event that is a part of my present life. Everything that I perceive gives me pleasure in spying it.
As far as the planning & research go, they seem to embody my journey of discernment as I tried on this and that in life, keeping some elements while leaving others behind. De-cluttering has been a life-long process and challenge for me. I had to learn detachment and to become acquainted with what “surrender” means.
My dear ones are a unique and vital part of my becoming all that I can be. I depend on the reflections that they provide in order to pilot my course at times. My friends and family are people who I treasure for their consistent support, gentle guidance, timely confrontations and loving acceptance. Even the ones who said, “You’re nuts; don’t do it; it’s too hard,” helped me to assess my resources and then to forge my vision and resolve in going ahead. (God knows that at one point I was floundering and despairing. I questioned my sanity and everything else. I could have bailed in that instant yet I’m glad that I forged ahead.) It was fitting that my loved ones were part of the team in bringing the whole shebang to fruition. The manner in which each person played a little, yet crucial part at various steps along the way was nothing less than miraculous. The right person seemed to parachute in at the right moment to play their very specific yet important role. In this way, each person provided a link in the chain that always delivered me to the next step.
The experts were analogous to anyone to whom I yield my power to. I have learned to trust and surrender at times when I am in over my head and/or things are beyond my control. Sometimes, I need to discern what my business is and what is not. Individuals who I trust are people who I have checked out. I get a “read” on them intuitively, plus their experience speaks for itself. Once I give them my take on things, I let go of the reins and expect the best. I’m still learning.
As far as cost goes, I usually have my eye on maintaining my balance. Traditionally, I have dived into whatever adventure has beckoned without checking the depth and subsequently being bruised on some level. I suppose that it is age that has contributed to my increased measure of prudence and planning, if not wisdom.
So I’m enjoying my sublime space and appreciating all that I have experienced in getting me “here.” I have much to be thankful for.
Helena Green is a Counsellor, Health Management Instructor, Caregiver and Writer.