Getting a Clue

At last…I’ve found someone who speaks my language, and she wrote a book, and I’ve been listening to it.  Yep, in the car, on CD, on my little commutes to work and around town.  Her name is Sarah Susanka, and the book is The Not So Big Life.  Look!  Look!  It’s right here:

Susanka is an architect, and she first wrote the book The Not So Big House.  It was from this that the life book was born.  The basic idea is this:  If you give a person the freedom to construct a house exactly how they choose, carefully considering the things that really matter to them and make them feel truly alive, you can renovate their present house to accommodate these features.  Bet you know where I’m going with the transition to the life business…Same thing, but in summary:  If you can picture how you want your life to be and what really matters—what makes you feel truly alive—you can rebuild (AH HA!!!) your present life to fit that picture.  Of course, it’s not a snap of the fingers, but for me, this is a tool I have sorely needed in the life-rebuilding process.

I hadn’t equated life with a physical house, but I should have made a connection because I did (as you may recall) renovate the bathroom from the studs up this past summer (which, if it weren’t for the searing heat, cruel drought, and the ensuing death that partnered with the dessication, would have been a complete waste of a summer but what the hell, it was AWFUL outside, and now my bathroom is completely loverly).  I have been tying up loose ends on our do-it-yourself working-our-arses-off years of renovation (yes, Terri Lee, it’s a cousin to your BFOS)…Anyway, the point is that for years I have been considering how I want my house to be to represent me and to be a refuge, not a symbol of work.  In addition, I have always known that I am “visually handicapped,” which in my case means I can’t do much of anything without visualizing it.  I have to see words in print to know if I like them, I notice EVERYTHING whether you want me to or not, and I can spot morels and agates like nobody’s business (and money, too, which is both a blessing and a curse, because I have spotted some serious cash in my life and don’t know why others haven’t spotted bills on the ground when they are jumping out at me and then…to whom do you turn in the cash if you do it at all?).  I have to pay close attention when I drive, because I can imagine things so well that it’s almost as real as where I am driving (serious drawback and the handicap side of the deal).  And in college, the cheat sheet was my savior.  By the time I created one, I could picture everything on it during an exam and never had to consult the thing.  I think this all qualifies me as a visual learner as well, and I’d love to hear from anyone who shares my “handicap.”

So my question in rebuilding a life, enthusiastically applying Susanka’s basic ideas thus far (I still have a ways to go in the book), is this: How do I want my life to look?  To me, this is hellishly overwhelming.  I have a pretty clear picture, but unless I break it down into smaller pieces, I’m too paralyzed to move on it.  I’ve begun to ask myself, “How do I want my day to look?” or after a day inhabiting the Beloved Qube, “How do I want my evening to look?”  This is helping me to get the things done that really matter, to leave some time to truly enjoy those pup-walks, and to (increasingly) find time to sit back and have some downtime, often with art (painting that cenote on brown paper, making earrings), a book that’s not from work, or music (heard Imagine Dragons yet?!!   Oooh…new post coming up about this one).  Making the best use of time has always been a fascination for me, and I am my own worst enemy.  I am trying to change my perspective in a small way to earn my merit badge in time usage, and then I can tackle the badge for life usage.

Back to the house.  I was considering what moves my soul and what makes it tranquil—what I seem to be recreating in my home–and it’s always, always nature. This must be why my house (colorwise) looks like a photo from Arizona Highways. I added strips of opalescent tiles around my slate ones in the sage-green bathroom, and I just stuck some second-rate peacock feathers (aka not the flashy ones with the eyeballs) into the wheat in a vase—a perfect sneaky addition of shine among quiet natural colors.  These remind me of reflections on water, and the shine of the winter sky on snow (yeah, freaky me loves snow, just not for six months out of the flipping year).  Whenever I walk the pup in the woods, I am awed as if I were walking into a cathedral.  Today’s bright light through the autumn leaves took my breath away.  And now that I’ve gotten over my fear of flying, one of my favorite places is above the clouds, where the sun is always shining and the perspective is unbelievable.  Can’t wait to jump through those clouds one day and really rattle my cage…

I’m on my way again.  Thanks, Sarah.


~ by rebuildingholly on September 29, 2012.

8 Responses to “Getting a Clue”

  1. Holly, I’m right there with you! Good luck…I’ve been re-defining my life/existence for a few years now (with a MAJOR adjustment or two along the way). (Aside: Have you tried any yoga or meditation?) Life is fluid. Going to go look up that book…sounds interesting. Thanks…

    • You’ll have to let me know how you’ve managed your changes! I feel I’m making progress myself, at least with some attitude adjustments and life preparations, to dive into Plan C in a month or two. This campaign to rebuild a life isn’t entirely personal. I’m convicted that people in general can live soooo much more fulfilling lives than they have been able to in the past. I just have to try out the ideas myself first before I become a guru 🙂 (better than being a hypocrite!) However, you all have to put up with a lot of my honest whining and failing first…

    • Grammadog (I keep thinking of you as G-Dog 🙂 ), I forgot to answer your “aside question.” Yes, I do yoga, and I am a huge fan of it on many levels. Meditation after yoga always makes me feel “connected,” if that makes any sense. Part of my evil plan is to become certified as an instructor. How about you? Meditation or yoga?

      • Yes….lol…I was introduced to meditation when I was training for the Ironman….I agree with you completely. Yoga (for me) is new…but I’m discovering how wonderfully difficult it is…I’m enjoying learning the asanas and discovering lots of places that are a WIP….

      • First of all, gotta ask…what’s a WIP? Also, training for the Ironman? Did you do it? I need a new running goal, something up from 5Ks, but WOW that’s quite the competition! I’m thinking 10K or the Warrior Dash, just for kicks.

      • WIP=Work in Progress, lol … Yes, I did the Ironman back when the earth was still cooling…lol. Don’t see doing the Ironman in my future tho’, but already planning for a half and a full marathon next year….(I never learn)

      • I would say you’ve learned how to LIVE!

      • Check out my “The Ironman” post on July 16th

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