Sunday, January 16, 2011

Home & Care of the Soul

This is a different sort of writing exploration. I am sitting at home tonight feeling immense appreciation for the space I live in, the sacred space in which I care for myself and my daughter. I feel inspired to go stream of consciousness in this moment of gratitude so big it brings me tears.

One of my favorite authors is Thomas Moore, who writes about the importance of soul...

"It is impossible to define precisely what the soul is. Definition is an intellectual enterprise anyway; the soul prefers to imagine. We know intuitively that soul has to do with genuineness and depth, as when we say certain music has soul or a remarkable person is soulful. When you look closely at the image of soulfulness, you see that it is tied to life in all its particulars - good food (music, art, writing, too!), satisfying conversation, genuine friends and experiences that stay in the memory and touch the heart. Soul is revealed in attachment, love, and community, as well as in retreat on behalf of inner communing and intimacy...

Tradition teaches that soul lies midway between understanding and unconcsiousness, and that its instrument is neither the mind or the body, but imagination...

What we need is soul, holding together mind and body, ideas and life, spirituality and the world."

Care of the soul is caring for ourselves through caring for our bodies and senses, our home and family, our pleasure and creativity, our spirituality and community relationship, etc. It's paying attention to those little things that feel sacred, call to us, and bring us joy.

Part of a soulful life is creating a soulful home, a home that suits our quirky soulful tastes, and then caring for that home. Filling our shelves with sentimental momentos or things we find beautiful is creating a soulful space. The act of doing dishes or sweeping the floor can be a sacred and soulful activity.

I love my home. Living in The Barn on the Creek has transformed a half-visioned dream into an incredibly joyful home life. My last home was not a good place for me for the last few years I was there. It was neglected by the landlords, moldy and falling apart. It also felt like negative emotional energy from my marriage seemed to permeate the walls. I got into patterns of neglect and felt near daily negativity about the space. For a Cancer woman, for whom sacred home space is deeply important, my home life was impoverished for far too long and it hurt me in significant ways. Moving into The Barn was my biggest act of radical self-care this past year.

I have always desired some color on my walls. Color brings soul to a home. I love the deep green of the kitchen cupboards (it matches my couch), the various watery blues in the bathroom, and the painting of the mountain lion in the woods on the inside of my front door. I even love the two different shades of mauve carpet I have in my giant bedroom. I love that two of my livingroom walls are half windows that look out into redwood forest - so many shades of green and brown that change with the weather and the seasons.

I love that I can hear the creek and other sources of water flowing every time I step out the door. I love that it's big enough to comfortably host 10-20 people for a variety of reasons...a spiritual gathering or a slumber party. I love the empowerment I feel in being a mountain woman - chopping my own wood, creating the warmth that we need in the woodstove, meeting and dealing with critters - learning how to take care of my home and family in new ways.

I love the things I surround myself with, the soul I bring to my home:

* art from my sister, my children, friends and myself on walls throughout the house;

* a hag marionette doll from Venice gifted by my sister hanging over my kitchen counter (I call her my kitchen witch);

* the magnet poetry on my refrigerator (sex is deep art);

* the bookshelves and books in three rooms -- science fiction an fantasy, dark children's stories, poetry, subculture and bohemian explorations, good literature, women, creativity, spirituality, consciousness and quantum physics;

* the altar on my kitchen table left over from the last spiritual gathering I hostessed;

* my personal altar by my bed, most especially the tiny bottle of years upon years of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence glitter and make-up, a recent sacred gift from a Sister friend;

* the few remaining houseplants that have survived all of my moods and neglect over 15 years, as well as the Barn's extreme temperatures (especially the ones inherited from my mom);

* the images of the sacred feminine on my bedroom walls;

* my little altars to roses everywhere;

* and the wall-to-floor shelves and dresser in the hallway stuffed with art supplies (there's another table and bins with art supplies in my room as well).

I have a soulful home. Most people comment on it's beauty and comfort when they visit the first time. And I am finding that I want to be in it more and more, just for the sake of being here. It actually brings me joy to be here and to live the rituals of caring for myself, my daughter and this place that holds our daily life.

As I sit here drinking my tea and looking out on the gorgeous bounty of beauty in the Redwoods, I feel held by the Earth and my own continuous acts of self care through nurturing a soulful home.


Image Credit: My Daughter's photographs of The Barn and surrounding land. Another joyful boon about this place is that photography is her bliss and she loves wandering the woods to take pictures.

1 comment:

Greg Duva said...

Beautiful stuff, April. Can't wait to be out there to share some forest with you. Also can't thank you & Jupiter enough for your kindness & graciousness this summer.


-brother sunrise