This time of year turns me upside down. Days lose their place, rhythms disrupted by holidays and celebrations. The past two weeks, work patterns shed, time slipped and slid. There are more gaps, more time spent just waiting or sitting. In the dark, damp, quiet there is nowhere else to be.
What has emerged from the muddy puddle of winter’s dark is an unexpected insight.
Since, oh, about twenty something years now, I have wanted “my own home.”
By this I mean a mortgage, a house, somewhere to be rooted. Along with this go particular ways of working, family routines, obligations. It is tidy and Oxo box “normal.”
For a vast majority of this time I have been, mentally, on the way to that place. In various flats in early married life, living with parents, in rented accomodation when we lived in the midlands. In a house tied to my husband’s job, or a council house after that…always on the way. I trained as a teacher so I would have an income to be able to apply for a mortgage. Decisions about work patterns and hours were made to facilitate this goal.
Whenever life changed, health challenges cropped up, my marriage ended, wider family circumstances required new ways of living, I kept a hold of that dream. I was the proverbial dog with a bone.
None of this is bad. I feel it’s ok to want to have a home of our own. But what I see, with shocking clarity, is the focus hasn’t always helped.
This is a focus I learned from my society. That this is some kind of “normal”. The idea of a “family home”, predicated on the ideal of particular shape of family. Investing in this has meant that I have chosen what would bring money over what brings joy. It has meant fruitless hours trying to engineer situations in which this will finally be possible, overwork and breakdown. I have not always been able to see that there are circumstances beyond my control which impact this; economics, politics, other people’s choices…I have persisted, blinkered, turning my “dream” into an idol, a greedy god, to be fed at any cost.
I want to change the focus.
I have a tendency to throw out babies with bathwater. When I realise something doesn’t help I go to the opposite extreme…so I’m not going to throw the dream away. I would like us to have our own place and space one day. That would be good.
But I want to pull back the camera. Take a step or two back.
Because in being so intent I have missed a bigger picture. To set down the work of making this happen will free energy and imagination. It will unblock the channel, allow greater flow, because in confining myself to one way of how things might be I have shut off broader possibilities…
Yet to live without this focus feels unsettling…it means that I have no excuses anymore for not writing my book, or engaging with the work which lights me up…there is nothing else I “ought” to be doing…I can live in a more creative and imaginative way. There are new possibilities.
Can I travel forwards, without this mental security blanket, hopeful, open to the grace of living now?