Unintentionally this post is following close on the heals of my last post. I came across the article to which I refer in that post while writing this one.
I still have an image in my mind of when I left my house in South Wales about sixteen years ago. All personal belongings gone, just an empty shell, echoing loudly with that sound only an empty house has that is now just full of memories. For the new owner they see possibilities, excitement, a future. For me, having also helped design and build the house, I felt gratitude for having living there alongside the sadness of departure…possibly disbelief as well that I was moving on. There was a whole confusion of emotions running through my head and heart, all vying for attention. I just lay on the floor, spread eagled and looking up at the ceiling, not believing that this time had come.
This image was ignited again when I saw Robert van Vliet’s photo taken as he moved out of his old apartment to a new home. I was caught by surprise at the emotions that it brought up for me. It was as though I had seen that image before, and indeed I had - movies, houses for sale - but something in this image triggered memories more readily, and they still sit with me vividly a couple of months after Robert posted his photograph.
Many, many years before that moment of sale I had been talking with a wise friend. Much older than me, he had grown up in Europe through the last World War and traveled a lot in his lifetime, putting his roots down only to move again some years later. He spoke to me about the importance of internalizing what it is that a place gifts to you. Then if, when the time comes to move on, you can take the essence of the place with you and what you have learnt from your time there.
I sit here, many thousands of miles from that house in South Wales and many years from when I lived there, grateful for what that land and property gifted me. It was an unexpected and unplanned blessing in my life. I’d like to think that I have internalized the gifts of that house as my old friend shared with me…and then at times I can feel the pain of loss. For me the trick, if I can call it that, is to be with that discomfort without making it go away. That might be easier sometimes than others, but the intention is there. Can I touch the centre of the discomfort, to be with it, and allow that to open me up to the gifts that are hidden inside?