If you have been following my blog, you know we built a home this past summer. The process was exciting, fun, fulfilling. It came at just the right time. I was coming out of a two year process of some real life changes. The kind of life changes that come with living past the age of 40. Coming to terms with who I was, no longer trying to do. Coming to terms with a family relationship I couldn’t fix, that would never change. Healing. Healing the empty places I had allowed to grow trying to be for others, for society, for family. Coming to terms with my spiritual self, understanding who God is in new ways, ways only made possible by the hurts, the struggles, the disappointments, the losses of this life. Celebrating. Celebrating surviving young motherhood. Celebrating the young women my daughters are becoming. Celebrating making it past 20 years with my best friend and husband. Celebrating friendships, the authentic ones. The friendships of women who bare their souls, are strong enough to cry, to admit weakness, to ask for help. Celebrating being that friend to a few, the special ones. Celebrating family, embracing family. In the midst of it all I learned to breathe.
It may sound trite, but it’s not an easy thing to do. And yet, breath is the very sustenance of life. We rush through life taking shallow breaths, breathing in quickly, exhaling too quickly. We rush. We find ourselves holding our breaths in an attempt to hold our anger, our sorrow, our excitement. It requires yoga class or meditation therapy or a doctor to remind us to breathe-really breathe.
I have learned to breathe and as we set out to build I wanted to create a home that would breathe. We purged. Being an organizer, that wasn’t terribly difficult, but it still required thought, discipline and action. I kept only what we loved and used. I set out to paint the home in an array of neutrals-shades of white. I set out for there to be open spaces, empty spaces. Week before last I had my first “gathering” of those outside the family. As the guests arrived, more than one commented on the house. There were the usual compliments, but the greatest of them all were these words, “I love it. I walk in and I take a deep breath and feel myself relaxing. There is space. There is calm.” Not just once did I hear these words, but three times. Satisfaction. The years of struggle. The years of battling my “demons” within, were all worth it. In those moments I knew I was living, living the life of abundance, peace, contentment. I was breathing. My home was breathing.
Possibility is not in the stuff. It is not in the structure of the home. It is not in the activity. It is not in doing. Possibility is in the stillness, the knowing, the being. My life is lived in shades of white. My calendar is filled with white space. Not by chance, but by choice, by discipline, by intention. My walls are filled with white space. Not by chance, but by choice. My thoughts are focused on what is most important. My eyes rest on art and pieces of furniture most important. And in the in-between, in the shades of white, I can breathe. I can sit and listen. I can hear the still small voice of God speak clearly regarding who I need to be, who He is. My home rests, it breathes. It holds room for life, for guests to enter, to take a breath and rest.
I challenge you to create a home that breathes. As you enter the holidays and think towards the year ahead, what can you eliminate? What areas cause you stress? What rushes you each day? Find your shades of white, breathe and live.
A few of the rooms I used as inspiration: