I think leaving houses is an opportunity to leave behind parts of ourselves that we are ready to leave and to gather up parts of ourselves that we have become. Homes change us as much as we change homes. We know this from personal experience. Of course we live our lives and we grow, and so often we think of this growth independently of the walls that hold us. We are living breathing beings, getting ourselves on and in the places we spend our time, and those places are giving themselves to us too.
Every time I guide folks during transitions from one place to another, I am reminded of the importance of our intentional house goodbyes. I sat down with Paige, a therapist friend of mine, who teaches a conscious community series for our colleagues at cityhome. I wanted to get her take on the pointers I offer clients when they are heading out of spaces like this Maryland unit. My neighbor Celesta is leaving this place after a long love affair with the building and way of life, which we both hold and honor. The simplest offering I have for folks is to spend time in every room leading up to the move-out date. Take time to remember who you've loved in those spaces and how you were held, witnessed and seen. And to return the favor, recognize the gift of shelter offered by your house. Say thanks to the objects that gave you the gift of living. We can wonder what it took to craft and carve the woodwork, to paint the paintings, to design the wallpaper all done by folks we know and those we will never know - wonder what trees took new shapes to shelter us, who photographed the images on the covers of our coffee table books, who made the incense, who fixed the plumbing? What held us when our hearts broke and who are we now that we remember our ability to mend our wounds? Who laughed with us here, who have we become?
How do we honor the home we are now and sincerely say goodbye to the one we've lived in?
After welcoming Paige into this process of moving on that I personally hold dear and offer to my people, she mentioned a time when she offered her home of many years a, "brave goodbye". What a term. I love the idea of saying goodbye bravely. We can all relate to the bravery it takes to lovingly leave a place even when the circumstances may be difficult. Oftentimes we are ready to leave a home as in the case of my client Celesta, but oftentimes we are not. Some folks are transferred for work, lose loved ones or jobs. It is in both the good times and the bad that we can deliberately and consciously walk out the doors of our homes for the last time. And only we know when we are ready for that walk. When we leave our thinking mind and drop into our knowing body, we can move on. Saying goodbye in this way also feels like the right kind of closure to give the next inhabitants. Paige and I also talked about leaving every space and everything better than we found it,
a clean-closed chapter may just be the best way to invite the next folks to open theirs.
So as we hold this tension, of both how much we love and honor our homes and how real it is that we are not our homes, can we choose to walk away with an important embodied truth - that we are different every time we move on, but we are also very much the same. As we recognize ourselves as the homes we take with us, my desire and hope is that we all remember the growth, the rituals, the morning routines, the love, the lessons and that we can let go of everything that is no longer us, making room to move forward with everything we know we are.
"I will miss this place. But mostly, I am eager to pass the baton to someone else longing to call it home. To someone else looking for respite in its warm embrace. May you also find HOME.” - Celesta