Total Body Makeover: Home, Garden, and Soul

We’re still working away over here, piece by piece, at a total makeover here on the home front. The yard is coming along nicely. We also moved our shed/playhouse and opened up some light into an area where I hope to garden, or at least create a secret garden for the kids and a few chickens to wander around in. (Or maybe, as Zuzana suggested, grow blueberries).  I have a slight obsession with tiny houses, and once we moved the shed and pictured where it might fit better in our yard, I realized it was a structure ripe for a tiny house makeover–a one-room home ala homesteaders long ago, and a place where we can have an art and writing studio to escape to, with a desk, a tea pot, a view of the garden, and no distractions.

I have been considering again the importance of clarifying what you want, what you really want in your life. I do believe that thoughts have mass, and when fed they take form, but that we also need to be thoughtful and forgiving when things don’t turn out as we had ultimately planned. It can smack of control and guilt if we blame ourselves too harshly for not being intentional or careful enough. In the end, we’re just living the very best that we can, right?

I have been re-reading some posts from an old personal blog, and what I had to say seven years ago when I had an 11-month-old baby and had just quit my corporate job in order to write and be a full-time parent:

“My main goals for this blog are to be myself–to not get all caught up in whether I sound interesting or funny or cool. To not over-edit my sentences to the point where I whittle away each word and forget to write a whole paragraph. And to write here often enough that there emerges a story of some kind, some kind of path that seems to be sort of just written word by word, but eventually gets where I want to go. That would be gratifying.

“Lately I’ve been trying to remind myself to take things a day at a time. Day by day, I say to myself when I feel overwhelmed. Or else I’ll start humming a St. Francis song, something like, “do your work and do it well, step by step go slowly.” It’s such an enormous concept. To just focus on the moment at hand, to zone in on the present experience. It feels too easy to get up every morning, make my tea, follow the same routine, and march forward to evening time where a good book sits next to my pillow and I read a page or two before my eyes can’t stay open any longer.

“Dream, imagine, happen. A lot fits in there. It’s what I believe–maybe more than I care to admit: That every thought you have starts to gain energy. When you think the same thought over and over, it begins to form its own force field, it starts to have actual mass, it begins to head down its own trajectory. Suddenly there you are. But even if you’re an optimist, it’s very unlikely you’ll pat yourself on the back for having the wherewithal to think a good thought and bring about a happy ending. You’ll chalk it up to luck or chance or fate, or you might decide the stars had aligned. But my point is that I believe it is all interconnected, that it’s impossible to have a thought and for that thought to not have any impact.”

And I found this one, also written in the fall of 2008:

“I have been thinking a lot about my dreams. Sometimes, the life that I want to lead is so tangible I feel like I can smell it. I think I’ve been visiting it in my mind since I was a kid, and I’ve definitely revisited it at least a thousand times since I started working in offices. Every time I made myself focus on an assignment, I would think of this house on an island. It’s this totally romantic and amazing place. It’s a well-built home in the middle of the forest, near the ocean (you can see the water from the upper attic windows). We designed it ourselves. There are two wings: the sleeping wing and the working wing. The sleeping wing has sloping ceilings with skylights so you can look at the stars at night (and there are so many of them because where we are it is dark, and quiet, and remote). There are huge trees outside, and a tree house tucked away out back where Cora has a whole family of handmade dolls and books and blankets, and her own bed where she takes quiet naps on the weekends. Inside our house there is a huge, open kitchen filled with sturdy appliances and good pots and pans. There is an entire cupboard filled with apples and squash and potatoes and other hardy fruits and vegetables. Everything is recycled or recyclable, no plastic or waste. The kitchen opens into a cozy eating area where there is a huge, oiled wood table with benches and big wooden chairs. Handmade pottery is stacked in an an old, country-style wood cabinet nearby, and there’s a big red bowl in the center of the table, overflowing with fresh fruit. On one side of the eating area is a big, old-fashioned wood stove filled with a roaring fire. On the other side is the glass-enclosed garden that sits at the center of our house, and sun and rain pour in and even small birds nest in one of the maples in the spring. Outside it is mossy and verdant and it smells tingly and salty and green, totally overpoweringly filled with life and stillness and birds calling.”

As I re-read this old post, I realized yes. Yes, it is still in there, this dream. And much of it is coming true around me, bit by bit, day by day. And isn’t it interesting how we arrive at our dreams, and like Karen wrote, we realize that we have rooted ourselves deeply into them in such a tangible way that our dreams have crept up around us like the verdant tangle of well-fed plants?

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