Friday, June 22, 2012

Home Renovation Teaches the Soul to Grow

I wish I was could tell you that I was a happy camper like the sweet little girl above, but living in a condo suite for two and half weeks wasn't easy. I didn't have any books, art supplies, sewing projects, time to write, or space to relax. It was just me, my working husband, and my darling ten-month old baby who did remarkably well-no surprise there! The odd thing that I learned after being deprived of all my things, knick-knacks, and projects was that I really don't need all the stuff. That isn't a big surprise. Every guru on the planet tells people to simplify their lives to be happier. Countless magazines, newspapers, and blogs are always offering the same advice packaged in new ways. Real Simple created a hugely successful niche on living without the clutter. Live simply. The idea is almost too simple to understand. But, I got finally it. My life changed after two and half weeks of not being at home. 

simplify, simplify, simplify

In the first week that I was living at the condo suite, I bought the UK magazine, Digital Camera World.   Strangely, I was shy to buy it. I earned a Bachelors in Fine Arts with a focus in Photography, Film, and Creative Writing. Why would I need a magazine on the basics of digital photography? Well, I haven't taken photography seriously since my days in university and I could stand to update my digital photography skills. It was also easy to grab my camera equipment and still manage baby. Inside the May 2012 magazine, I was strangely moved by a journalistic shot of a Palestinian man standing in a barber shop. The shop is crammed full of stuff-kind of like my work studio! 

{Mariusz Smiejek's "At the Barber's"}{image source}
I read the caption by the photographer. Smiejek captured the image to illustrate "horror vacui," or the fear of emptiness, which is a characteristic of Islamic art.  I closed the magazine and went off to do things for the day, but the concept of horror vacui never left me. I suffered from horror vacui. I had this strange way of filling every space in my home with things, although mostly books and art supplies. This image struck a huge, A-Ha, moment for me. For the next couple of weeks, I paid attention to discovering who I was without the stuff.


The best lesson that home renovation taught me was to let go and allow life to work its way on me. I gave up the pressure to create, write, or do really anything at all. In my abandon, I rediscovered that I love to write. I really love to read. I love to take pictures. I love to create. I found myself being completely authentic and I don't need all the clutter in order to do it. 


With that, hopefully, I haven't left you feeling confused. I want to share the story of how I am growing to trust myself more, trust my abilities, and trust that life provides all the things that I need, rather than trying to chase after all the wants. Emptiness isn't loneliness. It's learning to trust that the universe will provide, given that you don't go to Vegas and blow everything you've got. That being said, our home reno taught my soul to grow in ways I never expected.

woman with flower



Hopeinhighheels said...

This is such a valuable lesson. I learnt it when our shipping container didn't turn up for months when we moved to NYC and have since lived a more decluttered lifestyle, even in a city where consumerism and materialism are at the forefront. I'm kinda proud of myself!

Hope you had a lovely weekend!

Elinor Duble said...

“Live simply.” – well said.
It would all stem from there. Those are words to live by. From simply
renovating your house to planning your future, it would really do a lot just by
removing the clutter, one way or another.

Randell Jeffries said...

I agree with Elinor. A simple cleaning will really help your
home to achieve the new look that you want. “The best lesson that home
renovation taught me was to let go and allow life to work its way on me.”---
This statement has also something to do with decluttering. Usually, when people
do renovations, they really find it difficult to let go of their valuables,
mainly because of the sentimental value it holds. However, getting rid of these
items will really help you to organize your home.