What’s the best thing to do in Florida during a 90-degree summer? Oh, and you get to do it in a 40 year old mobile home without an air conditioner. If your answer is “refurbish your home” then, strangely enough, you and I think alike.
It started quite simply as the summer project of refinishing my living room floor. For the four years I have occupied this space I have needed to paint or finish my floor because it’s still the original particleboard that was common to designs of its age. This summer I decided to craft a more permanent and costly covering with vinyl tile. And the rest is, as they say in home furnishing lingo, the “well, while I’m fixing this I might as well go ahead and repair that” never ending project.
Patch holes in the floor and wall? Easy. Pull up the vinyl flooring in the bathroom? Sure. Now let’s take out that silly miniscule “closet” in the kitchen. Okay. Which means the wall comes down. Right. And the electric outlet needs to be moved to another wall. Wow, really? Now we’ve reached the end of my can-do attitude and have entered the land of countless hours of “How To” videos on YouTube. Also, asking handy people hypothetical questions like, “What would you do if you had eight feet of electrical cable dangling from your ceiling? It’s not for me — it’s for a friend of mine.”
Then comes the let’s really go out on a limb project which is pulling out the kitchen cabinets, countertop and sink. Washing dishes in the bathtub really brings out my pioneer spirit. And I love the Zen like feeling of having all this empty space that once was my kitchen.
Now I know that on the surface this appears to be a home improvement project run amok, but deep down it’s a metaphor for this phase of my life. All this work is about de-construction not re-construction. Most of it looks about the same as it did three months ago when I started on this adventure: incomplete, messy, and uncertain. It’s no coincidence that I feel the same way inside.
As a devotee of the creative process, I am keenly aware that something is always dying so that something can be born. Chefs say that you have to break eggs in order to make an omelet; optimists say that you have to appreciate the rain in order to have the rainbow. I believe that you have to let go of the life you have in order to embrace the life that’s waiting for you.
That ball started rapidly rolling downhill in June when I retired from twenty-five years of ministry. Naturally everyone asks me what I am going to do next. I have no earthly idea. I wasn’t pulled by the vision of the next remarkable endeavor; like opening up an ice cream parlor (near the top of my list) or becoming independently wealthy (also an excellent option).
But every morning for several years I would hear the voice of something greater calling me to awaken the parts of myself that had never been given free reign. I can feel the touch of something still intangible but oh so real that moves me in ways I’ve never experienced. And yes I do feel incomplete, messy, and uncertain but something amazing is percolating somewhere in all this mess. And I completely trust the process that is bringing me back to life.
I know that as I move through this energy of releasing and letting go I will feel lighter, freer, and more open to whatever is “next.” I am grateful that I have my home to help guide and embrace me during this process. Feeling lost in the memories of so many people now gone from my life? Smash! There goes the sink! Wondering whether I should follow my heart or be more practical? I’ll take the wall down and now I can see clearly all the way from front to back. Exhausted from so much physical and emotional labor? Put on some Motown, hang out with my fur babies, and lay the tiles down in a sweet, clean line.
I love being present to this new life that is slowly arising. In the meantime I’m hanging out in the mystery of creation and finding peace in it all. And I can hear Teddy Pendergrass crooning, “I think I better let it go. Let it go.” Crash! Bang! That’s better …
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Through her ministry, “Doorway Into The Infinite”, Rev. Maria holds the vision for the transformation of the consciousness of planet earth. She is a spiritual change agent committed to… educating people in the process of healing… empowering the world one creative thought at a time… and experiencing peace in our lifetime. Her articles, essays, and meditations have been published in various magazines. She has self-published numerous books and manuals, and released two recordings of guided meditations. She’s created a variety of classes, workshops, and spiritual performance pieces, where she expresses her profound interest in spirituality and peace. For more information, she can be reached at her website: www.be-the-change.com or at her e-mail: RevMariaS@aol.com
Photos by Rev. Maria Shamaya Clemente