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The importance of claiming the space

The importance of claiming the space
April 18, 2008 Mary Jo

Here’s a post I’ve been thinking about writing for a long time now, if only because the act of writing it helps hash it all out in my own head.

I’ve always been a believer in energy as a tangible force, especially as it relates to Feng Shui. That is, every place, be it home, work, friend’s house, emanates a feeling that we can perceive. Some are welcoming, some are not. Some are filled with joy, bubbling aromas of supper on the stove, too many pets. It’s what makes a house “cozy” or “inviting” or “stifling” or “like a museum”. And these feelings or energies are dynamic, ever-changing. Some corners get dusty and stale – both physically and energetically. And some rooms take on an air of heaviness after an argument occurs there. Or likewise, are brightened after a family dancing/singing/banging things session.

I’ve been pretty in tune with these subtle or not so subtle shifts for a long time now. Looking back on former homes and apartments, we remember feelings embodied in each place. One apartment, a flat in a Victorian home, stands out in our minds as one of the “warmest” places we’ve lived. Somehow all of the collective experiences of the home culminated into an overall feeling of well-being and comfort. Not because it was big, (because it wasn’t) not because of the style, (which we loved) not because we had free heat. (and lots of it) Not even because of the slanted, quirky doorways which we loved showing off to new guests. Subsequent apartments never quite measured up to the memory of this particular home.

Keeping this always in mind while house-hunting, we were able to do a sort of psychic reading of homes we toured. Not in a “I see dead people” sort of way but a “how do we feel in this place” way. In this last bout of house hunting, we actually thought we’d found our “house” before this particular house was even on the market. But one home we really liked was being sold by a couple apparently going through a divorce. Not the kind of energetic baggage we’d like to inherit. And another just didn’t feel like “it”. But was pretty darn close, so we thought maybe we were expecting too much. Well, you know how this ends. The Universe pulled some strings, the deal fell through, and we ended up here, in our personal Nirvana. And you know, the moment we walked into the kitchen, we looked at each other and knew immediately that it was beckoning us.

And the rest was history? Not quite. We’re only the third family to own this home. The folks we bought it from lived here for 20 years and poured themselves into the home and land and maintained it with love and integrity.

The problem, if you’d call it that? They don’t live here anymore. We do. And I’ve been really caught off guard by how important it is for me to claim the space as Ours Now. I’m just not quite feeling “at home” yet. There are a few things they left behind for us, very generously, and our room configurations aren’t so different from theirs, so we’ve not really deviated much from the home’s previous incarnation. And we do, after all, want to preserve the warmth and joy and kindness that radiates from the home, drawing us to it in the first place. That’s the challenge. Making it ours while honoring the homes history.

So I’ve been taking it slowly, tackling a room at a time, or a corner here, a nook there, cleaning every square inch of that space and becoming acquainted with it. Arranging our things in it, setting it up in a thoughtful way, and trying to figure out just where everything goes. Slowly, slowly, these spaces are filling with our energy as we start building our own history here. Paint chips are being assembled and ear-marked for various rooms, personal touches like a vintage floral tablecloth or art hung on the walls make a big difference. To me.

And today, I’ve claimed our bedroom. Embraced the purifying Spring winds and set about some deep cleaning. I scrubbed it down to the bare surface, creating a blank slate for us to grow into, and removed all the dust, pug hair, and bug carcasses that were bogging us down. All shiny and fresh. Ours now.

And it’s a little bit embarrassing to admit that it’s the first time, I think, that I mopped the floor. It just hadn’t come up in the To-Do rotation before now, I guess, falling behind things like Making Moisture Cream, Fresh Bread, and Purse for Isadora. At least I have my priorities straight, right? So that should put a rest to the “how does she do all that?” question that may have been lingering out there. She doesn’t. The cleaning and “having it all together” part of this life is rather neglected, but today, I took a teeny-tiny step towards a better balance. Ah. Smells like Spring.

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