Leaving the Hidden House

I’m taking a break from cleaning out the pantry and organizing the last of my things in order to move again. The owners of this house, the one with the ceramic sign of welcome on the front porch, return on Monday after six months away. I have been their housesitter. I have literally been sitting in this house since January. Sitting on this back step sometimes for so long at a time that my butt falls asleep, becoming so familiar with the way the swing-set looks against the dark woods behind it, the opening of sky above the trees to the left, the neighbor’s Subaru coming and going in the shared driveway, the squirrels’ favorite bird-feeder.

When I arrived here, one of the snowiest winters on record was just gaining strength. Now, raspberries are growing on the side of the house and the grass in the backyard is sporting a pattern from where Aviva tried mowing it last weekend, before the lawnmower ran out of gas. I’m sorry to say the sandbox is flooded beyond repair and their Subaru–a near-match with the neighbor’s–has a dead battery. Hopefully, that will be the worst of what they come home to. I will miss this space, where I have written, cried, slept, bathed my girls, eaten, prayed, worked, and grown.

I am going home, too, in a sense; Greg and I have agreed to both live out of our house for the foreseeable future, as we continue to find our footing and make longer-term plans. I just came from getting my chart read, and it did not surprise me to hear that the idea of “home” is huge for me. I long for it, I need the structure and security of it–and yet it is a struggle to find. It took something seismic, the spiritual equivalent of sticking your finger in a light socket, for me to leave home. If you could search for the word “home” on this blog over the past four and a half years, you’d probably find it hundreds of times. So much of what I’m going through has to do with building internal structures now, having surrendered to a huge overhaul of life-as-I-knew-it. I had the thought today that I’ve undergone a massive internal renovation. And another thought–that I completely inverted my reality.

Before, the external structures of my life were in place, something I find deeply comforting and necessary. But internally, there was unsettledness, movement, a sense of not being “all there.” Now, I am beginning to experience a new architecture within myself. It is strong. It is solidly built, like an old house. The doors have crystal knobs. There is more space than before, and I feel at once safer and more exposed to the elements, to pain, to joy, to being “all here” and accepting things as they are. And yet my outside structures keep shifting. My clothes and possessions are in a hodgepodge of bags and boxes and basements and under the eaves of another house that isn’t my home. I feel such a longing to make a home again, and yet it isn’t time yet.

Someone emailed me today, reminding me that “nirvana” means cessation. From suffering. From attachment. I am still mightily attached to many people and things, ideas and notions, ideals, fear, hopes. But I am learning how to stop pushing. I feel a wordless fullness to this moment, and it occurred to me this afternoon that I am pregnant with my future. All I can do is take care of myself and let it grow by itself, the way babies do in a well-nourished womb. The pushing, too, happens when it’s meant to, and then you have absolutely no choice but to go with it.

The truth is, I do not know how things will unfold from here. I do not know where I will live in six months, or a year or three. And I realize just how much mental and emotional energy I spend wondering about it, kind of like buying too many iced lattes. This week, I was reminded once again that things do not always happen in accordance with how we want them to. Plans shift, opportunities we decided would be perfect vanish, sometimes as a result of our own choices and sometimes in ways that have only to do with other people’s values, needs, or motives. All day, I have been thinking about the phrase, “a blessing in disguise,” and the phrase that keeps coming next is, “and not even such a good disguise.”

So much of my deepest sense of self lives, according to astrology, in the 12th house, also known as the “hidden house.” My writing, my notions of beauty and being, dwell here. It is an intimate space. To bring it into balance with my need for structure and solid ground–this is my life’s practice. It has to be a blessing, each day a chance to learn and give thanks, without disguise. Without hiding or projecting. Just being here, wherever here happens to be, and letting the future take care of itself, as it always does and surely will.

3 thoughts on “Leaving the Hidden House

  1. Pamela says:

    I love the image of you sitting in your hidden house, pregnant with your future. So beautiful and inspiring. We move every two years because of my husband’s job, so I kind of know the groundlessness you are experiencing. Believe me, I don’t handle it so gracefully. Most of the time I freak out.

    Thank you for this post. I am in the process of building my inner architecture.



  2. Karen Pery says:

    Jena, there is something deeply grounded (and grounding) in these words of yours. I hear a new sense of ownership of this home, a wisdom with it that you are trusting in a new way. Blessings on your journey.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s