I recently met up with one of my fellow challengers: Rebecca. One Saturday morning, we met at Flying Apron Bakery and Café in Seattle. I instantly liked Rebecca. I liked her a lot. Great energy and easy to talk to. An adventurous pioneer spirit. Beautiful inside and out. We talked about everything. How the gluten free challenge was shifting us. How it was changing our definition of success. About Rebecca's upcoming wedding and wedding dress. I learned Rebecca can design and create hats. That she and her fiancé love ballroom dancing.
Rebecca told me about her interior design business. Through design, she works with people to change the energy in their home so that their lives can change too. Like Iris, she is a "Fairy Angel," only she uses a different toolbox. How neat!
Rebecca's story of how her life had transitioned and then blossomed over the past seven years was inspiring to me. Part of her shift had included changing her environment. When we parted company, I felt inspired and happy. Thank you, Rebecca!
After Rebecca left, I lingered in the café and thought about the conversation. Rebecca had sensed that I was very sensitive to my environment. So true! Rebecca said sometimes people don't make their house a home because they don't want to be trapped there. But, she continued, this isn't true. Sometimes making your house a home brings about a shift that allows you to make your next move. A light bulb went off in my head. It made me think about my past residences in a whole new way.
What is home? Where is home?
Most of my life, I lived in Southern California. I lived in Huntington Beach until I was 27 years old, and then lived in a number of other towns, often near the water. I didn't realize how much the ocean, the sunlight, and the beach environment were part of my soul until I moved out of state. The other magical place for me is the island of Capri, off the Amalfi Coast.
La Verne, California - 7 years
For 7 years, I owned a home in La Verne, a charming old fashioned town. This was the first home I ever owned and I was so proud. A cute 1952 cottage home with hardwood floors and lots of color. A back deck and backyard with lots of space. I spent a lot of time creating my own "Capri Island" garden. Potted plants, roses, jasmine, geraniums, a lemon tree, lavender, and flowering vines. Lots of lovely fragrances. There was a large fountain where hummingbirds would drink and take baths. I had a patio table with chairs for outdoor dining. I had a comfy glider chair. I even had a fire pit.
One of my favorite memories is of my sister and her two young daughters coming to visit. I made a fire at night and set up chairs all around the pit. There were chairs for all of us girls, and also extra chairs for the stuffed animals. It was a real party. As a surprise, we roasted marshmallows over the open fire, a first time experience for the girls. It was a great evening and it's still a great memory for me. I put a lot of love into this home and was very happy there.
South Pasadena, California - 2 years
After I sold my home, I moved to South Pasadena. My work commute dropped from 37 miles down to 12 miles each way. I lived near one of my friends so I had a social life again. It was a decent apartment, but what I really loved was my view. From my living room couch, I had a spectacular view and could watch the sunset, then the full moon as it traveled across my windows. Having that view allowed me to breathe. I enjoyed living there, but didn't feel it was my "forever place." After I was laid off, I would sit on my couch and repeatedly write in my journal: I want a spiritual journey. I want to know my life purpose. What should I be doing next? (Incidentally, I also asked to become more psychic and then lots of things started happening.) When I decided to move to Washington, I sold almost everything. I only kept my beloved artwork and items with special meaning. I was starting over. I wanted to hold open space for my future. I had no idea what was coming.
Issaquah, Washington - 1 year
Another cottage style home located right on Front Street. I had almost no furniture, but my neighbor had extras and she loaned me a kitchen table and china hutch. I bought a brand new mattress (the best one I've ever owned). I hung all my art on the wall. I set up my home. Walking through the front door, I felt like I was in a museum AND I LOVED IT. Every morning I would wake up and talk to my artwork. "Good morning, Yinarupa. Good morning, Robert Fishers." I would walk around the room and appreciate each one. I could feel the energy from those paintings. Next, I bought a new desk and chair. I bought a dresser for the bedroom. And finally I bought a new wooden bookcase. Each piece was special; I only bought things I loved. And that's as far as I got with the decorating because I started getting sick...very, very sick. By the end of the year, my health had deteriorated and so had my financial situation. I needed to move. I gave my month's notice and hired a moving company to pack me up. All my things went back into storage. Incidentally, I didn't have a new place to go yet.
Georgetown, Washington - 10 months
Two days before I left Issaquah, I found a studio apartment in Georgetown.
I wrote and re-wrote this section. I started out with both the hard times and the good memories. Then I deleted the hard sections and left the good. Finally, I deleted everything. I'm not ready to write this section. It will have to be a future post.
For now, just know that this place was never a home. I never brought one single personal item into the studio. I refused to put down roots. THIS ENVIRONMENT DEPRIVED ME OF EVERY SINGLE THING THAT I LOVED. I was completely focused on surviving and trying to move forward in my life. It was during this period that I joined the hypnotherapy program at Bastyr University and met Iris.
When I graduated from the hypnotherapy program, I felt proud and hopeful. However, the Georgetown experience had taken its toll. My spirit felt bloodied and bruised. BUT I MADE IT. I could leave the Georgetown studio now. Within a month, I was gone.
Kent, Washington - 8 months and who knows how long
Some of what I'm writing won't make sense because I haven't written about Georgetown yet. But it's enough that you will get it.
I didn't know anything about Kent, but I knew I was moving into a condo with 2 bedrooms, hardwood floors, a fireplace, a dishwasher, and even a small outdoor sitting area. And you know what else? A bathroom. My very own private bathroom with a BRAND NEW bathtub. Even a washer/dryer. It was heaven, sheer heaven. I got all my things out of storage. I made my bed. I took a bath in the bathtub. And then I laid in my bed. MY BED, MY BED, MY BED. I cried with gratitude. I couldn't believe how good it felt to be laying in my bed. My hands did not hit the floor. I was off the floor. I thought about homeless people and what it must be like for them. I understood how hard that transient lifestyle must be, that it can kill your spirit. Every night and every morning for weeks, I would lie in my bed and feel overwhelming gratitude. I could literally, physically feel waves of relief coming off me, rising up out of my body.
The very next thing I unpacked was my artwork. My beloved artwork and treasures from around the world. I had missed them so much. I leaned the paintings against the wall. I had a home again - and then some real healing began. I still struggled with my health, but it was better than before. I was grateful for EVERYTHING. I knew this Washington experience would stay with me forever. It was permanently melded into my soul.
It took me months, but I unpacked as much as I could by myself. Then I just stopped. I had more issues with health, work, and finances. I wasn't sure if I was staying or going. I just left things as they were. Piles of paper and receipts in the office. Paintings still leaning up against the wall. But it's still a home...a home where I can take a bath, cook in the kitchen, and sleep in a real bed. It's a home where I can do the gluten free challenge. It's the home where Mr. Dynamic came to visit. It's not my dream home, but it seems pretty darned fantastic right now.
I'm still discovering what "home" means to me and thinking about where home should be. I realize now how important it is to have friends, family and community nearby.
To me, home is a haven, a place of peace and safety. I always hope for some type of garden and a water feature. I am surrounded by beauty and the things I love. Lots of fabulous bath products and things that smell good. A bed with fabulous linens. Home is a place where I can take care of myself. It's a place where my spirit can just BE. One day, home will be a place without clutter. I would like my home to be a reflection of me. Right now it's just a reflection of where I am in my life. More than anything, home is a place of love. Lots and lots of love.