I’ve got a new favorite saying: “Where there’s a want, there’s a way.” I made it up – well, actually, it came to me when I was meditating one day. And it means that whenever you have a true desire for something, no matter how big or outlandish seeming, you also have all the means available to you to make it a reality.
Lately, this belief has been proving itself around our new house. (That’s her in the photo.) I think just one look will explain to you why I like to call it “Home sweet homely.”
Let’s be honest: She’s not currently, nor was she when we first lay eyes on her, a beauty. When my husband and I first saw this house, she was covered in vinyl siding in a color that our realtor so delicately called “cloudy urine.” She had creepy, overgrown, cobweb-strewn evergreen trees crowding out her stairs. And she had doo doo-brown shutters.
Then we started fixing her up, and things only got worse. We uncovered completely uninsulated exterior walls, a huge steel beam that wasn’t actually load-bearing, an electrical system that was beyond antiquated and approaching downright dangerous. Our list of projects grew from merely adding a half-bath and a wrap-around porch to updating a lot of the things we assumed were good to go.
You might think we’d be panicking right about now. After all, these fixes cost money and take time. But we’ve got a vision of the final result that keeps us motivated. Voila:
Pretty, ain’t it? And it’s not just an aesthetic we’re going for. The principles that are guiding us are what we want for ourselves, our family, and our home. Writing them all out on paper made me see that they’re exactly what I want for others – including you – too. They include:
- A place to gather. Whether it’s a Friday night pizza party for our kids’ school buddies or a cozy spot for far-flung friends to stay, a main goal for our house is to provide a place for us to be comfortable with the people who are most important to us. This same principle is also what guides me as I start leading real-world retreats – so we have a chance to spend time in each other’s company, with like-minded people, creating a tangible community.
- A respite from the world. We want this house to give us a safe space to retreat from the daily whirlwind, a place to be quiet so we can reflect, recharge, and grow stronger so that we’re all empowered to do important things when we’re not inside those four walls. In my business, I want to teach women everywhere how to use mind-body practices to give themselves access to quiet and peace whenever they need it.
- A chance to make decisions that serve you over and over again. Whether it’s choosing a particular layout for the kitchen that will make is possible for the kids to access food, plates, and silverware (and thus teach them valuable skills and make meal prep a little less daunting for me), or designing a living space that includes plenty of storage so that every Lego has a home, we want to give ourselves a chance to make decisions today that will make our home more efficient and peaceful for years to come. This is also why I’m so focused on helping people listen to and trust their gut – because I know that those are the decisions that keep paying off again and again and again.
- A reminder of who you are and what you value. Figuring out how you want a house to work has everything to do with how you want your life to work – do you want your bedroom to be on the same floor as your kids, or not? Do you want your home office accessible to the family, or tucked away out of sight? How important is access to the outside, and is it worth re-jiggering a floor plan to make getting to the yard easier? It’s all too easy to get sucked up in the minor details of daily life and neglect the bigger-picture view; I want regular reminders of what’s important to me, and I want my work to provide them for my people too.
- A chance to right what’s been jerry-rigged. Turns out we’ve got lots of opportunities to root out old, bad decisions and re-work them for the greater strength and integrity of the whole structure. And that’s a big piece of what I want for my coaching clients – the chance to get present to old beliefs or thoughts patterns so you can let them go and create space for more expansive ways of thinking and being to take root.
Keeping these guidelines in mind means when obstacles come up, they don’t derail your focus or your faith in the end result. Even when the walls literally come tumbling down around you, as ours did last week in preparation for adding insulation. Some day, it’s all going to make a great before and after story.