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Paradise Syndrome

All of the major fluff-stories these days tell me that the majority of us have already chucked the resolutions, abandoned the gym and settled back into our ruts.

Have you?

Adam has. I looked over at him last night as we chilled at a friends house, his head laid back onto the couch with a beer in his hand and a look of pure bliss in his eyes and I couldn’t fault him for it. The man knows what he likes.

As for me, I’m still kickin it with the cleanse. Rocking the hummus and bok choy like it’s going out of style (it was never in style) although coffee has snuck its way back in because hello Tassimo and also hello a certain thrill of self-indulgent joy each morning.

Monday is when I transition from the Dr Joshi cleanse into whole foods, which will be my eating method forever and ever amen. This means FRUIT is back! Smoothies. crisp apples. Bliss.

I’m noticing my monthly resolutions percolating in the back of my mind, fermenting, growing and relaxing somehow, in the absence of the frantic need to DO THEM.

NOW.

In this environment I’m slowly preparing myself to take them on. I’m eyeing garden plans for May. I’m scoping out yoga classes for February. I made a counseling appointment because suddenly it didn’t seem so scary, knowing that March is coming up so gently.

I’m being easy with myself. And things are just coming. Slowly. Gently.

A phrase keeps reverberating around my mind, “Create space for growth”. This was one of the overarching themes for the year and I meant it in more of a metaphorical sense, spreading my life wide to allow for new adventures, people, experiences. But the rain and the gloom and the short winter days have found me reaching for it in a more literal sense and I am plagued by the constant vision of my footsteps softly echoing through an empty house. Just the essentials, stark and minimal like a monk. One bed. One sheet. A single plate washed after each use.

It’s impossible of course to have both, a life of less and a life full- full of friends and pleasure and laughter.

In order to have that in your life you need to host that in your home, have a place for those friends to sit, food for them to eat, something to rest their eyes on other than bare walls.

My mother tries to rationalize with me each time I talk about it. “What will people sit on? Where will they sleep?” but her words get lost inside of the reverie, this desire for SPACE.

That sweet expansiveness enveloping me.

Mostly when people feel this way they buy MORE. More square feet, more doorways, more floor. That’s not an option, nor do I want more rooms to fill. I am taking it on from within. Excavating from the inside out. Redefining necessity. Discovering space in the absence of stuff, rather than simply pushing it elsewhere.

I won’t go to the extreme, I can’t, it’s untenable. But the middle ground, a life with, not nothing but just…less.

I selected thirty books from my mammoth bookshelves, pages I’d turned, words I’d found wanting. They were donated. My closet has been purged. My dishes thinned. Our chairs sold. My arms spreading wider and wider as I look at these objects, these things I spent so much time taking care of.

But some are essential. Non negotiable. Not to mention Adam who I have no words to explain this need to.

So. A place for people to sit. Replacing our couch with something that needs less from me, takes up less visual space, something that fits snugly into my life, this life that wants to be white and pristine and spartan, but in reality holds tightly a messy man, a ebullient dirty dog, our particular sort of happy chaos.

Thus our couch:

      

And those I want to replace it with. If one comes to me. If one surfaces with the right proportions and legs and weight (not to mention price tag).

Mid century. The colour of browned butter. Soft.

        

I think some find this frivolous. This need to change and update and that horrible word, decorate.

I think its frivolous too, sometimes.

Bit it’s important, isn’t it? To make your life work? To come into a room and see love, life, a warmth that says the perfect amount.

When we toured this house before moving in it was dark and stagnant. We walked in to a dry, fusty smell. All of the shades were drawn. Everything was dark. Still. It felt deeply, deeply unhappy.

The day we moved in I threw open all of the windows to the frigid January air, tied back the heavy drapes. I lit sage and wafted its sweet smell through the rooms. Trying to move the stagnantion, trying to usher it out, usher it on.

It’s more than decorating. It’s a mind manifested in the arrangement of books. The heft of a chair, worn from use. I want a full, happy, easy home.

With space for growth.

I need that space.

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