hm... where to start.
I could start with an experience I had back in September 2008 at a workshop I attended in Colorado. We had had five full days of intense Aikido exercises, meditations, magic of conflict resolutions, lots of laughter, and creating a space to speak of John Denver over and over and over. His presence was palpable. We listened to his music and heard many stories about him. There were many, many things that I took away from that experience, but surprisingly what has come up for me almost weekly, if not daily, is a question that the daughter of the facilitator asked me one night.
Does place make you happy? Or, can you be happy in any place?
What was fascinating to me when I returned home to Steamboat Springs I immediately made plans to move from there. I just didn't know where. I just knew that I was done with the massive quantities of snow and needed to move on. I stuck with that decision even after meeting and loving a man there. I still moved.
I've moved several times since then, and still ponder that question especially now when I have the opportunity to move again. Then yesterday there was a dialogue with a friend about how much good were we willing to accept. It came from a discussion we were having about being able to be happy with everything else in our lives but the where. We have been struggling with the where for years.
I would love to be able to say that the where doesn't matter to me, but when she posed the question to me last night about defining the good I'm willing to accept, I felt the struggle arise in my throat.
It was interesting that the first thing I thought of when it comes to defining the good that I'm willing to accept was place. My first vision was one of home, a house where I could grow flowers, fruits, and vegetables in the yard; drink coffee on a covered porch while rain pinged the roof above me; listen to the birds singing in the trees around me; and watch the waves crash against the shore. I saw myself sitting in a cottage surrounded by green vegetation, vines pregnant with blossoms, bees and butterflies creating their own video in front of me. I saw myself sitting peacefully, drinking in the moment one after the other without feeling the need to move. In the evening the same perch would serve me well to watch the sun drop into the ocean.
I need room to breathe, room to be alone with my own thoughts, visions, and ideas. I am willing to accept the good of this space to be filled with all that makes me smile: comfy furniture to put my feet upon while writing my creative flow on paper or reading someone else's. I am willing to accept the good of friendships being developed in this peaceful, warm space where wine is poured and home-cooked meals are shared.
Music is played. Dancing is enjoyed. Dreams are exposed. Transparency is rewarded. All in this space where nature is nurtured, where creativity abounds, and where love fills the air. You feel it when you enter the front door. The door is purple. You have to walk through a canopy of wisteria to get to the porch where baskets hang from the ceiling dripping sweet potato vines. Antique troughs serve as homes for vining geraniums and white allyssum.
There's a porch swing swaying in the breeze, a quilt folded on the back of it. Friends move the pillows to the side to make room for themselves as they settle in with their wine glasses. They sing with the others leaning against the porch rail as another friend sits on the porch step playing a guitar. The waves pound the shore as the sun drops into the water. Candles are lit, more wine is poured, and the singing and laughing increase.
There's a studio with my name on it where even more magic is made. The flooring is hardwood. The windows are large with sun shining across the table of fabrics, glinting on the scissors. In the corner of the studio is a small love seat where guests/friends sit and chat while I pin, cut, and stitch. There's a small refrigerator filled with beer, cheese, and grapes. Works in progress are pinned to one of the walls to create a cacophony of eclectic ideas coming to life. A lacy collar, a painted cotton background for a wall hanging, stitched words on vintage handkerchiefs, strands of beads, picture cut outs of inspiration -- the ever-changing wall that creates a locomotive desire within me to keep breathing and keep dreaming.
While typing the above paragraph I kept thinking about my studio in Steamboat, and I don't want that one again. It was too "industrial" for me. I couldn't cozy it up no matter how hard I tried. I want a studio with warm tones -- wood, lace curtains, beaded lampshades, shelves with recycled fabrics, laces, beads, and buttons. It would be a place where people wanted to come and sit, imbibe and explore, a place where creative juices always flowed, a place that just thinking about it when I awake each morning would make me want to jump out of bed because I am ecstatic to be able to go there again. It would be a place where I had plenty of room to cut, sew, make a mess, and teach classes. It would be a place of community where people wanted to gather, where people felt welcomed and nurtured, where people came for respite. It would be a place where I could feel rejuvenated and relaxed, where every day would be a vacation.
I have just described what good I am willing to accept. This or something better, is what another friend of mine would always add. This is my place that I see when I think of whatever that thing is that I call home. This is my place wherever it may be.
And, maybe one day I'll be able to say that place doesn't matter for me to be happy, but right here right now, I long for a place that I just described, and I am willing to accept that good into my life.