In the last month or so, I have been undergoing a very important transition. I have been making some changes in my life, life in both its physical and emotional manifestations. This exercise is, I believe for the better.
While making these changes prevented me from writing for awhile, I am back and am richer for the experience.
You see, in the last many weeks, I was moving house and the base of my creative endeavors. While I have moved many times before, this was a more deliberate, more nurturing change.
The pandemic has made housing more expensive, particularly in California. In addition, moving costs were frighteningly high. Before the full impact and extent of the pandemic was clear to me, I was living in a space both impractically small and expensive. The kitchen was practically non-existent. How could I prepare meals and save money if my kitchen wasn’t set up to cook regular meals? I needed to re-think my wastefulness.
After I left my parent’s house, I have moved 15 times in my life.
Ten of those 15 moves took place after my divorce from my first marriage. But then, I am not of my parent’s generation when people lived in their family homes for 25 to 30 years at a time. After all, my generation is probably the first one that has pursued and has needed to embrace change, even in the form and manifestations of the family home https://sues.life/2021/03/23/embracing-transformational-change/
Women and the Home
I was forced out of my matrimonial home because my ex-husband stopped paying his share of the mortgage to the bank. After I had unsuccessfully begged the bank to let me stay for my children’s sake and failed, I was paralyzed by fear. You see, my ex-husband probably knew that as a woman, the comfort of home is where a woman’s heart lives. He was probably convinced that as a woman growing up in relative wealth, I was unable to change my ways and adapt.
The institutional systems in Singapore seemed to me at that time to be chauvinistic, supporting the man more. It did not matter that the wife was raising her children.
So, in ensuring that the bank evicted me from the home, perhaps my ex-husband thought he had ruined a key part of my personal power.
The Simpler Life
And for a while, I believed that I had lost my power too. There is nothing like the personal turmoil of facing your deepest fears to make you see your true self. And what I learnt over time, is that even if you are left with very few resources, which was my case at that time, you still have the means to create a home.
So, this is what I did. I, unwillingly, moved from a large two-story house to a tiny rental apartment. The real estate agents billed the latter as a ‘comfortable’ home by Singapore’s land-scarce standards. While family kindly offered to foot the bill for everything I needed to move, I knew that I had to make choices. There was a question of space.
Don’t get me wrong. I did not move in the way a man would. I still needed to maintain a household for my two children but for the most part, I had moved away from the mind-set of lots of stuff, representing home.
Home and the Heart
I moved with some precious family furniture, pieces of sentimental value but for the most part, my choices were practical. Smaller less bulky, pieces of furniture and personal effects. This was the first time in my life that I left so many of my largest, more expensive items behind. I believe my ex-husband then sold many of those things.
Maybe on a deeper level, it was the first phase of my spiritual journey. But it was a watershed moment in my life.
I got a job and re-built what I could. I bought and gradually replaced pieces I had left behind.
In the years that followed, I was faced with many challenges of home and security. But the realization that the true home is a spiritual place within me, has slowly but surely emerged as the all-important lesson.
No Room at the Inn
When I arrived in America, there was a sharp juxtaposition between the comfortable, upper middle class suburban families and poorer, refugee or immigrant classes with meager means. I was glad for my experience in Singapore, with my divorce, because it helped me see both sides of the living experience.
What puzzled me the most in the economy of the United States, was the demonization of the poorer immigrant classes and the perceived threat they presented. They were depicted as ready to rob the existing peoples of their worldly comforts.
After all, in my view, it was really the billionaire classes, who were grabbing all the resources. Billionaires with their numerous family homes, all over the country and their private yachts and jets, that took from the middle class, right under their noses. Billionaires literally laughing all the way to the bank.
Human Dignity and Happiness
But on a deeper level, I have come to learn that quibbling and fighting over worldly goods wherever you live in the world, is the lowest form of human indignity. No matter what your religion or beliefs, amassing goods and possessions is distracting. It is not a godly way to live or behave.
Yes, we all need roofs over our heads and food to sustain us. We benefit from creature comforts to keep us healthy and happy. However, the problem is that anything beyond that is a challenge to spiritual peace. I am still in the very early stages of prioritizing the spirit over worldly goods. But every time I move, I realize the heavy burden that physical goods place on our time and energies.
Ultimately, I realize I seek the growth of my spiritual self and I have to let go of stuff, in whatever form that takes. It is what I need, in order to reach that place where it is really just me and my soul https://sues.life/2020/08/01/captain-of-my-soul/.
I hope to get better at letting go over time and finding inner peace I so greatly desire. Baby steps. Baby steps.