Sometimes siblings can be a little harsh with each other.
Long before Gabriel moved out, Jacob was talking about taking over his bedroom. It made me wince.
‘Good grief,’ I’d say (only in my head, mind you.) ‘You make it sound like you can’t wait for him to go.’ But Big Brother was so excited about heading out into the world that it didn’t see to bother him at all.
What surprised me, after all that talk, was how long it took for him to actually make the move.
Well, maybe it’s not so surprising. If things were left untouched, we could all pretend that Gabriel was just away for the weekend or, if we were really missing him, imagine that he was behind those closed doors, listening to music and doing his homework.
Once the move was made — a couple months later — Jacob’s old room became the catch-all for Gabriel’s things and whatever else needed to be quickly ‘filed’ out of sight while awaiting a permanent home.
I had an inkling of an idea what I’d like to do with Jacob’s old room and had, unbeknownst to myself, been gathering information for some time.
Last May, I was admiring the color of a friend’s newly painted fireplace wall and she dug the paint chip out of the trash for me. A couple months later, while enjoying the tour of another friend’s brand new home, I expressed my appreciation for the color of one of her rooms. Again, I went home with a paint chip and when I compared the two, they were neighbors on the paint chip wall.
So, before the room was even vacated, I had a lovely lilac color to replace the Roughrider Green gracing the walls.
But in the weeks that followed, whenever I stood in the doorway, trying to visualize the new space, I would collapse under the weight of all the work that cleaning up that room would entail, not the least of which were all the boxes of Gabriel’s things that needed to be sorted. I would close the doors and slink away, thoughts of ‘some day’ in my head.
My husband’s tolerance for messes is much lower than mine — even if that mess is behind closed doors. One November weekend, he went on a cleaning frenzy and whipped that room into shape. After that, when I opened the door and assessed the possibilities, there was some energy behind it.
One day, while running Christmas errands, I added ‘buy paint’ to the list. Since I already knew what color I wanted, that task was easily fulfilled.
Then came the post-Christmas lull — a lovely savannah of no-commitment time — and I picked up the brush.
It took three big sessions to complete the job, but that time passed very pleasantly because, one, I love color; two, I love that I can watch the transformation I am facilitating one stroke at a time; three, I got to spend uninterrupted time with a fascinating woman and her friends.
The Numinous Podcast had been on my things-to-listen-to list for a long time, so my laptop was one of the first things I set up in the room as I prepared to paint. The host of The Numinous Podcast, Carmen Spagnola is . . . well . . . labels can be so limiting.
Let me tell you a story, instead.
And, as you read this story, it might be kind of fun to think about significant events that have happened in your life and follow the trail of beads to where it all began. I find it fascinating to look back and draw the map of there to here. You might be surprised by the story of your own journey(s).
I had hit the wall yet again.
I knew I needed to step out into the world in a new way. I had sort-of ideas about how I could move forward. I was trying to figure out what I had to offer the world and, more importantly, how to let the world know about what I had to offer once I figured it out. I had learned, from staring at a basement full of books every day, that it’s not enough to create something beautiful. (Especially if you create a lot of them!) You have to market them. Period.
So, once again, I was wading through reams of information, trying to discern which marketing path was one I could embrace without killing myself. I felt like I was trapped in one of two recurring songs, both of which had to do with steadily rising water threatening to engulf me: Pete Seeger’s ‘Waist Deep in the Big Muddy’ and Johnny Cash’s song ‘Five Feet High and Rising.‘
I was inches away from drowning when I finally threw up my hands.
“I quit! There are too many experts out there. Too many quick-fix promises. Too many things I have to do RIGHT NOW in order to be a success. I’ve gotta stop listening to everybody else and start listening to myself. I need to let my intuition guide me.”
I had no idea which of the voices in my head was my intuition and which was ego or someone else’s ‘should.’ I was so far gone I didn’t even know what I did know anymore.
“I need help getting in touch with — and trusting — my intuition.”
Not long after that call to the universe, I ended up on facebook. I have a mildly like (it works great for spreading the news about our annual Arts Festival) / make-my-teeth-itch (I won’t go into it here) relationship with facebook. I don’t spend much time there so it was odd that I would be drawn to it, to start with. And then I started scrolling through the newsfeed. Again, something I rarely do. And I kept scrolling, even when my brain was screaming, “Enough already! Get out of here!”
And then I found what I didn’t know I was looking for — a post by a friend [Hi Sheila!] urging everyone she knew to take advantage of a great deal her friend, Carmen Spagnola, was offering.
I had heard of Carmen. Months earlier, I had checked out her website and her Numinous School. I really liked what I saw, but at the time it had felt like one more chunk of money to spend on one more expert. I made note of it for later — maybe next year. And now here she was again, hours after I put out the call, and she was offering a spot in her intuition development school for half price. I had until midnight to take advantage of the offer.
I signed up immediately. Messages like that are pretty clear, don’t you think? (Hmmm . . . maybe my intuition was already working pretty well.)
Her Numinous School is wonderful. In fact, she offers a lot of wonderful things, including The Numinous Podcast — “interesting conversations with ordinary people about the mysteries of life.”I know that tagline by heart now. I listened to a lot of those conversations while I was painting. They were soulful, inspiring, and real.
One of the things they inspired me to do was paint messages on the walls (no, she didn’t advocate this in any of her podcasts — the urge just bubbled up inside me while hanging out with all these wonderful, ordinary, mystery-loving people):
My husband walked in at one point and, after surveying my handiwork, said, in his ever-practical way: ” You know that’s going to show up under the paint.”
I grinned and returned to the joyful task at hand.
The room is done — at least the paint job is. There’s still other things to do in order to transform it into the new space I envision. And it’s true — if you stand in a certain light, and know what you’re looking for, the love graffiti can be seen. I don’t look for it anymore, but it makes me smile every time I stand in that room, imagining the beautiful subliminal messages people are soaking in while they hang out in my new mini-sanctuary.
I think I’ll call it Turtle Room.