The other day I went to a new friend's house, unexpectedly, first thing in the morning (she was helping me test my wee P's blood glucose levels) and her house was a mess. I mean a real mess, the kind of mess I never let my house get. She was cheerful and relaxed and mentioned just once that she'd just gotten back from being away a week and didn't offer any excuses except to say "we really LIVE here" and that was that. And they do live there. They operate their 2 businesses out of their home, 2 of their 4 children homeschool, and they have a dog and a cat. What I found in that visit was that I really focused on my friend. I wasn't looking around admiring the artwork on the walls or the colour of her countertops, I was focused purely on HER and her amazing, generous, wisewoman, goddess heart.
I was changed that day. I've been thinking about what it really means to LIVE in my house, in my body, in my world, in my life ever since. Do I REALLY LIVE HERE??? Or am I so focused on keeping my world tidy and pretty and clean and organized that I've forgotten how to truly LIVE?! Unfortunately, I think my reality is closer to the latter, but I'm feeling a deep shift within me that is changing that forever...
We have lived in this house for 2 years now and have intended and still do intend to change a lot of things in it -- the flooring, move some walls, put in geothermal heating, extend the deck, etc. So this has been my excuse for not making every inch of my home liveable. My basement, for instance, is not useable because I'm waiting for the geothermal to go in so we can finish the floors so we can sort things out so we can... so we can live here. NO MORE.
I have also gotten stuck on what is the right thing to do from a design/architectural point of view. Not wanting to do the wrong thing, I have done nothing, waiting for an architect from on-high to swoop in and show me all the right decisions to make... NO MORE.
THIS IS MY SPACE. This is my home. This is my body. This is my world. This is my life. This is my chance to live MY BEST LIFE and nobody anywhere knows how to do that better than I do.
This is what my best life looks like:
It is not always pretty or always clean or always organized or even always inviting to others. It is full of laughter and messy crafts and candle wax on the floor. It is pots of steaming hot healthy food shared with my family under the glow of candles and Raffi crooning in the background. It is water marks on the floor from a good splash in the bath, it is crumbs on the floor from encouraging my children to bake their own cakes and measure the flour by themselves because that is what they really want to do. It is bare floors with mismatched furniture and children's art on the walls and rugs tossed here and there because this is what works for us right now. It is a bed unmade and the covers rumpled and ruffed up because of lots of loving and tickling and stories in bed with my children... not to mention lots of loving with my husband. And that bed is USED all through the day, for comforting, for stories, for naps and cuddles...
I DON'T want a pretty bed, I want a bed that invites us into snuggle and love each other. I DON'T want a rack full of fabulous CD's, I want dances in the living room, singing our hearts out in the kitchen, really living and hearing the music on the CD's we have. I DON'T want fabulous coordinating placemats and blossom shaped plates, I want my table piled with food and love and joy with no notice of what is holding up the food or the drink. I DON'T want drawers and closets full of to-die-for clothes and shoes and the like. I want a bag with enough pockets for all our treasures, a pair of pants I can wear anywhere and won't show drool and kisses too much, t-shirts that move with my body and brighten up my face when I reach for them, and a sweater that was knit with love and warms my body from the outside in when I cuddle into it. I want a body that wants to live in swimsuits on the hot summer days, but I don't want 7 swimsuits to have to choose from, I want 2, one to wear, one to dry. I want home-sewn skirts and hand-knit sweaters and hand-me-down shirts on my children. I want them to choose the colours and get excited about getting a new skirt instead of opening up their drawer to find 5 jean skirts to choose from and 8 white shirts and 10 different hued purple t-shirts...
The best thing of all? I realize that I have EVERYTHING I need to live my best life. And if there's something else I discover I need? I can usually use something else that I already have to fill its place! I've just finished sewing up 2 little aprons and 2 little skirts for a swap with a new friend and it's been such a gift to me (despite the people who love me most being rightfully concerned about my priorities and how I'm spending the toooooo little free time I have ;o)) because I have been reminded of how satisfying it is to make something with love and bits of this and that... My children have been sick enough that we haven't been able to leave the house in days, which normally would mean I'd have to put a project like that off until I could get to the store to get the right supplies. Right? Wrong! Don't have enough ladybug fabric to make a skirt? Add something stripey to make it long enough! Don't have proper binding for an apron? Use wide string!
Another part of all of this coming to a head is because it was my goddess Grannie's birthday on Sunday. My very sick little dd and I lay in bed all day cuddling and talking about who my Grannie was (she died before my daughter was born). And in that process I suddenly remembered who I really was before I moved here and got insecure about having things presentable to my husband's family and friends... My Grannie's favourite saying was: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or DO WITHOUT." I plan to teach that motto to my children by me truly deeply LIVING it.
My best life isn't about Costco or sales racks or Ikea or the mall. My best life is about REALLY LIVING HERE in every sense of those words, as simple and full of joy as possible. BEST LIFE, here I come!!!!