You are a Life Force to Be Reckoned With
Embracing Exile and Finding Sacredness in Everyday Moments
As I write this, I’m living in exile.
A bit overly dramatic for sure, given that exile is the cutest, tiniest apartment in a quiet part of downtown where I enjoy walks on sidewalks lined with neighborhood grocery stores, coffee shops and bakeries.
The final phase of our home restoration 2.0 is in full force. This phase meant the contractors needed access to areas of our home beyond their plastic barriers and temporary walls that had separated our living areas from their demolition and remodel dust and noise. With separate HVAC systems for these areas, we were able to keep the dust away from our main area.
Now, the drywall dust and the noisiest machines you’ve ever heard live among us, albeit temporarily. But drywall dust is my nemesis. I learned in home restoration 1.0 that drywall dust was an allergen so severe that, as my doctor warned, I was “2 seconds away from emergency care” if I didn’t get away from it.
So, exile it is.
Each day, I return home bright and early. So early that the sun is barely rising. Much to his annoyance, I’ve had to awaken my fellow exiler, Gabriel, our 4-year-old rescued pit who prefers his wake-up call closer to 8:00 am. John still resides in our home and has taken on the role of caretaker to our senior cat, and until a few weeks ago, our permanent foster dog Marmalade. Marmalade, a 16-year-old, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, had outlived her life expectancy by a few years. Still, her passing in the midst of this renovation storm was sudden, forcing us to sit with grief yet again. (I’ll write more about Cavalier King Charles Spanielut Marmalade in another blog coming soon).
The purpose of my early morning trips home is multifaceted. It gives John and me a chance to capture a moment of normalcy in our busy morning routines. Although there’s nothing normal about wearing a mask in your own home, I’m making it work, and it feels good to reconnect by being in the space that has been our home for over 20 years.
The home stretch of home restoration 2.0 means that all the boxes we stored off-site now must come home, where I spend my mornings sorting and doing another round of deciding what stays and what goes. Once the air ducts are cleaned in the coming weeks, these boxes will be returned to their respective rooms, where their unpacking will be easier thanks to this pre-sorting.
Some might call this pre-sorting a waste of time. I call it my lifeline, allowing me to reconnect with elements of us that have been boxed away for months while our home was cleared of the black mold and mildew caused by the ground water seeping into every crevice of living space.
No, this pre-sorting is essential. It has become a sacred practice to open, pause and assess, touch the items and remember.
The whole process reminds me that anything can become a meaningful ritual when we set intention and see the sacredness in the moment.
As I move through the house in these early mornings, I often pass down our long hallway to the master bedroom. This hallway is temporarily made smaller by the plastic wall that has been hung that divides the restoration project from our living space. This heavy-duty plastic is held in place by pressure mounted poles and a wild amount of builder’s tape.
The plastic does little to lessen the noise from what is happening just on the other side of that wall. The conversations, the ungodly loud machines, the hammering—go from 7 am and 4 pm daily. Still, that plastic allows us to have some semblance of privacy and normalcy as we move freely behind its faux protection.
Over the past few months since this plastic has been in place, I’ve become accustomed to its subtle movements and what those movements mean.
A slight bowing into the hallway signals that someone has opened our basement door. A wave of movement means someone is descending the stairs, and so on. I find it fascinating that even though the stairwell is vast and opens into a wide entry, one person’s movement causes the plastic to respond.
Even more fascinating is the plastic’s response to our movement through the hallway. When we are in a boat as it moves through the water, we can see where we’ve been. The boat creates a wake that is symmetrical. Based on that experience, I would expect the plastic to ripple behind me as I move down the hall.
But it doesn’t. The plastic begins to bow outward in front of me as I walk down the hall. My body moving down the hall forces the air to move aside and make room for my passing. Little happens behind me as the air resumes its space where I had been.
The force of my presence lies in front of me.
I enjoy this experience, and I’ll find myself hurrying down the hall to create the biggest ripple in the plastic. I imagine the contractors must wonder what I am doing on the other side of the plastic to create such a frenzy in the plastic. Or perhaps they don’t care. Either way, I do.
Because the plastic moving in front of me has too become a ritual—a reminder that my life force is strong and vibrant, capable of making waves as we move through our lived experiences.The bowing out of the plastic to make way for me reminds me that I matter, and I deserve to take up space.
Creation makes room for us, delighting in our presence and inviting us to dance as the air dances around us.
Soon, the plastic will be coming down forever.
That is a good thing.
But its lesson remains, reminding me to fill the spaces where I am. Because where I am at any moment in time is where I belong. No one has the right to make me feel otherwise.
And the plastic’s lesson is for you as well.
Your life force isn’t less because someone is a star, or an egomaniac, or an oppressor.
Your life force is as strong, as vibrant, as important and as needed.
You are indeed a force to be reckoned with.
Because you are here, and you matter.
And this is what it means to find spiritual meaning in the everyday moments of our lives.
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