I tore it down.
I tore it all down.
I looked at my space, my little corner room, which is both an office and the home to my small shrine, and I realized that there was something wrong. There was something stale. It did not feel like a sacred space, like an active creative space. It was just a repository for stuff.
Worst of all, the outside was beginning to feel like a reflection of the inside.
It needed to change.
Both needed to change.
So, I tore it down.
I took the books off the bookshelves and stacked them into small piles in the center of the room. Next to the books I placed old journals, notepads, and spiral notebooks — 100, 150 of them, maybe — dating back some twenty years. They all went into the middle of the room, all of these archives of my inner work.
Out came the drawers from the garage sale dresser, along with the incense, tapestries, cigar boxes filled with birthday cards. They were moved out of my little corner room, and the destruction began spilling out into the hallway.
From the walls I removed the Brighid’s triskel I made at Pantheacon, the burlap calendar from 1979 (the year of my birth), and all of the other bits of beauty I’d used to decorate my space. It all came down. The walls were stripped bare.
Within an hour, there was a landfill of papers, books, and long-forgotten mementos in the center of the floor. These things I keep, this paper trail of my hopes, my desires, my questions, my doubts — it all lay there in a heap.
I danced around my memories, leaping from clear spot to clear spot, cleaning off old surfaces and repositioning bookcases. I turned the entire room on its head, and turned my head into a much more spacious room.
Once the furniture was repositioned, the journals went back on the shelves. I placed them closest to my desk, on the two highest shelves, so that I could see clearly the evidence of my life whenever I felt devoid of history. I could reach out and grab hold of fourteen, of twenty-four, of yesterday. I could look at the ways in which I’ve used creativity to cope with confusion, to liberate anger, to reinvent my identity. It’s all there, ink on paper…
Fragments of a full life.
It took a while to clear the floor of my life. Hours. Not everything stayed. Some things were discarded altogether. But when it was done, I stood back and looked at my little corner room and felt calm again.
I remembered myself. I remembered what I do, and where I’ve been.
I remembered my name.
I tore it all down, and then put things back together again. It was a fitting way to start out the waning of the moon.
Our religious spaces can become static. Our creative spaces, too, can begin to feel like the piling up of old things, forgotten tools. These spaces — inner and outer — need to be kept alive and filled with movement. Interestingly, I find that by shaking up the physical, by rearranging the furniture and reconnecting with the archives of my life, I am better able to engage with stillness.
This place, after all, is where I practice my religion. It isn’t where I do it perfectly, or where I am an expert. It’s where I practice my practice.
I wonder –
What’s your relationship like with your space? Do you keep record of your spiritual life, and if so, do you ever look back on where you’ve been? Can you trace how you got to this point?
Is it important to you to have a place for contemplation, meditation, or ritual in your home? If so, what have you done to make that space open, useable, alive?
How do you engage with the fragments of your full life?