If you’re like me, you probably spent some time this month laid up in the house with the flu. But I wonder if you, like me, struggle with those housebound days becoming an open house for every fear and doubt you’ve ever had.
Rear Knocked at the door
Illness seems to hit me hardest in my emotional body. As I lay on the couch with my household falling down around me (my children eating popcorn for lunch and polishing off chewable vitamin C tablets like they were candy, the dog peeing on the floor) I don’t have the strength to keep my thoughts positive.
My poor old dog is in organ failure. How will I know when it’s her time to go? I hate that she’s dying. What if I’m dying? We’re all dying. Life is so sad. My children are growing up so fast. They hardly need me anymore. There’s nothing but barren branches out my window.
Louise had been wanting to clean out her basement for months. The last couple of years were rough for her; after her divorce, she suffered from depression and couldn’t seem to complete the tasks she started. She’d gained weight and wasn’t feeling like herself.
“If I clean that basement out, I bet I’ll lose 30 pounds,” she emphatically told me. My ears perked up because I do sooo love hearing that clear voice of intuition!
I continue to be amazed at the way life works; how seemingly random threads can begin weaving themselves into a perfect tapestry right before my eyes.
Recently I had an opportunity to take my daughter to Toledo for a voice audition. I spent several high school years just outside Toledo, and hadn’t been back in 30 years. My mother made the trip with my daughter and I, and after the audition we managed to find the house where we used to live.
Of course it looked small. And forlorn. But then this was the last place my family lived before my parents divorced. I remember a fight on the front lawn involving a wedding punch bowl that my dad was taking. Shortly after, my mom, sister, and I moved to a tiny apartment.
I was 16, and did not have a place I felt at home.
The birds are back!
I have a bird feeder in my back yard and I recently made some homemade suet for it using bird seed, peanut butter, bacon grease, and Crisco. I was sure I would attract all the best birds and be the hit of the neighborhood. I waited and waited, but no birds came. Maybe they didn’t like what I had to offer, or maybe it was just too cold. I was disappointed.
Have you ever offered yourself in one way or another, only to have nothing happen? Do you ever feel like you’ve done all the right things, scattered all the right seeds, but you’re still waiting for love, or the right career, or a feeling of fulfillment?
If I were to walk through your home, what story would I create about you based on your things?
I worked with a woman whose home was filled with thrift store “steals.” Everything was cheap and used. Not surprisingly, she was struggling with low self-esteem. She described herself as feeling “second-best” and didn’t understand why men used her, then “threw her away.”
This woman happened to have the lovely and enviable trait of seeing the good in all people and things. She brought a joyful, childlike wonder to her relationships and belongings. But she wasn’t acknowledging this unique quality in herself.
This summer my kids and I rented a cottage near Lake Michigan. The location was a beauty, but the interior was barren and plain. Never mind the mattresses on the floor, the leaky shower, the empty cupboards, or the dirty, crooked window blinds. As we told each other, it was a step up from camping, and we could make the best of it. We had fun playing badminton, walking to the cafe for coffee, and swimming at the beach.
So I wasn’t sure why, the next morning, I felt unusually uneasy and unsettled. As I stood in the tiny living room and looked around, it hit me: there wasn’t a single moment of beauty within those four walls. As a Taurus, I know I like pretty things. I’m drawn to order, symmetry, and good design. But I’d never realized before that beauty is more than a preference. It’s a need. I felt the lack of it on a physical and energetic level.
Paul is a 45-year-old former professional football player who has been divorced for 6 years. He was still living in the house he shared with his wife and children. The day he invited me over, I found him standing next to his china hutch looking frustrated.
“What’s wrong with this picture?” he asked. “I’m a 45-year-old single man with a china cabinet!”
His frustration had been building for months. He wanted to sell his house and create a new life for himself, but wasn’t sure how to start. Fortunately his inner wisdom spoke loudly in that first sentence.
It’s hard to believe we’re nearly a week into 2015! Though I’m not one for resolutions, I did have every intention of writing this on January 1st. But I’ve been busy coming home–both to my apartment and to myself.
As you may know, 2014 presented me with the opportunity and the necessity of renting out my place for income. I certainly enjoyed the hospitality aspect of having guests. My family name is “Inman” so I suppose inn keeping is in my blood! But the nomadic nature of life became more than a little tiring.
Three kids and a dog sharing airbeds and basement floors can go from adventurous to harrowing faster than you’d think.