Thursday, October 11, 2012

Exploring Liberation themes.

"This moving away from comfort and security, 
this stepping out into what is unknown, uncharted 
and shaky- that's called liberation." 
~Pema Chodron
When I ran across this Pema Chodron quote, I felt like I had stumbled on one of the primary roots of my Tiny House interest, passion, and obsession, if not the mantra of the entire movement. The desire to kick free through deliberate action. What does it feel like to push away from one's moorings?
In my life, for the most part, I haven't indulged much adventurous spirit. I've lived in a contained, restrained manner. And I'm at that point in life when there is a Now or Never reality coming into focus. I've heard we're not supposed to talk about our age or become attached to it, because with that age comes a prepackaged expectation of how life is supposed to feel and look and how one is supposed to comport themselves. At a certain age. You know what I mean. One psychologist, Dr. Mario Martinez, goes so far as to say, "Never tell your age." The idea being that age is meaningless anyway and Centenarians never think of themselves as old, so why buy into the idea of middle age? It's self limiting. Once we buy the concept of Middle Age, it's only down hill from there. Okay. I get that. At the same time, I think my age might be an interesting aspect of this story. Maybe even a compelling one. But in an effort not to totally lose my aspiring Centenarian creds, I'll whisper: I'm turning 55 in a little bit, here. 
So that is happening. 
That is happening and I'm okay with that. Really. What I'm not okay with is not giving myself more of what I have wanted to experience in life. 
I have a whole lot of unfilled dreams, aspirations, and dreamed of but not acted on adventures that have been kicking around my heart and mind for years. Maybe for a lifetime. That's not to say that none of my dreams have been realized. They have. Of course. A great many. But some of my most fun ideas have never been given feet. It's never seemed like there was enough money. Or enough time. There has always been something else that "needed" to be done first or someone else who needed to be taken care of. I'm fine with that. Those are the choices I made. Or unmade. I'd make most of them again. So, I'm fine with that. I'm less fine if I create a way to live out the rest of my days without a greater sense of excitement, adventure, play, and "who would have expected life to be this great?" energy. 
I'm less fine with winding down instead of gearing up.  
Or continuing to feel there's a reason, perhaps by reason of being undeserving, that life and LIFE stand just outside my grasp.
And here's the thing. I feel I have an unconventional mind and heart and yet I've framed them in a rather conventional life and expression. What's up with that? Well, clearly I'm not quite as unconventional as I want to think. Okay, so, there's that. And then there's the way in which I, and many of us, simply don't allow the expression of our deepest heart's desires. We let go of our dreams. We let go of them so completely we forget they were ever ours.
So, am I the unlikely lady who has spent a life time dreaming of living in a 120 square foot space? No. I mean most of us think that kind of space comes with bars, concrete floors, an open toilet, and an unsavory roommate. I have occasionally had thoughts that might have 
placed me in that cage, but being there was not my dream. I hadn't actually been dreaming of teeny tiny itsy bitsy. But I have dreamed of small. Small. Contained. Sustainable. Land. Garden. Freedom. Financial freedom. Lack of burden. 
Tiny Houses, in all their cuteness, in all their potential for being self-contained, in their invitation to Simplicity, not as a practice of self-denial, but as an art form and a way of interacting with the material world, present themselves as a stepping stone, if not a solution to the issue of living small, free, and unburdened. They also carry a huge potential for intimacy. Intimate relationship with yourself. You are bumping into yourself everywhere you turn in a Tiny House. And with anyone who chooses to share that space with you. There is nowhere to hide out inside the house and a huge amount of visibility outside the house. Tiny Houses are hard to miss when they are out in the open. They invite interaction, comment, curiosity, criticism, and emulation. 
I think building and living in a Tiny House will finally make it impossible to hide out with my unconventional self. Even from myself. It will certainly make it harder for me to hide out from you. Tiny Houses have the potential to build community. Not just with other Tiny Housers, but with everyone who interacts with you through and about your Tiny House. Through observing or helping with the build. Through dialogue about the Tiny House choice. Through vicariously sharing a dream of freedom. Tiny Houses build community the same way puppies and babies open doors of conversation among strangers. If it takes a Tiny House for me to learn how to really build community, then it will be well worth the adventure. 

If Pema Chodron is right, moving from the land of comfort and security into the unknown, unexplored, and shaky is the act of liberation. Liberation. It turns out that's a game I'm down to play. Who knew?



  1. Love it! (But if you think your upcoming milestone gives you pause, wait for another 5 years... gulp!)

  2. And here's another unconventional spirit just turned 62 and living dangerously! Have a small (not tiny) homebuilt 4 room house and yet still obsessed with building a tiny house. Bookmarked your blog so I'm joining your journey.

    1. Welcome aboard, Hazel! I'm glad to have the company of a like-minded cohort. Congratulations on your current homebuilt home. You're way ahead of me. Are you going to build a Tiny House, as well?

  3. I discovered and read your blog last night and then could hardly sleep! I constantly try to push the tiny house building urge back down in my heart where it lives but it bursts out at times like this. Another (midlife) woman who wants to build her own tiny house and even has a sweet little door??!! The dream is on the table again!

    I have so much gratitude for what I have: a small cottage in a field, nature out every window, peace and quiet. But I realize that I may very well outlive my hubby and want to have an even simpler abode just for me. I want to get down to the bare essentials in my physical life so I can concentrate on the nitty gritty of existence.

    I would LOVE to talk to you about plans/designs and even the practicalities. I redesign my Chickadee house every day! I know tools and how to build stuff. I NEED to discuss this! lol

    As I see it, obsession is a positive thing when it's applied to a shining star of a goal!

    'Peace is every step.' ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

    1. Hehe, Hazel! Sorry about the sleep disruption. It does seem to work that way doesn't it? Skills! Tools! A Dream! A place to build! Sounds like you have everything you need to move forward on Chickadee House.

      I haven't settled on a plan, yet. I'm constantly falling for some new feature and trying to work it in in my mind. Sooner or later I'll have to download one of those design programs and play around with it.

  4. Hope you read the Tiny House Blog (of course you do! ;-)). Take 2 minutes to watch the video today on The Shack. Sweet, poetic, simple...and the little boy is so cute and independent!

  5. Glad to hear from you, Victoria. Yes, many of the necessaries are checked off my master's just the money part that's missing! I did have a modest inheritance from my mom but 5 years after her passing, I finally decided to 'invest' it in a 17 ft Casita travel trailer. I named her WREN. That's our tiny home for the winter. I'm enjoying nesting in her right now, and will hit the road to parts south in November.

    As far as tiny house plans go, I keep changing my mind too! I do keep returning to Protohaus for its simplicity and light. Which is your favourite?

    Keep the dream alive!

  6. Somehow missed this. I'm familiar with Protohaus. Very nice. I haven't settled on any one plan. Instead, I love pieces of there are others I like as well. I like the window seat in the Fencl, but want a much deeper porch, so am thinking about ways to manage both. I like the French Doors from the Rowdy Kitten build. I like the dormers in another plan. I'd like to make it a bit bigger, but at the same time, some of the plans seem boxy as they stretch out and up. Not sure yet. I guess it starts with the trailer and I am not in possession of one yet. Sigh! At this rate, it sounds like a patchwork quilt.

  7. That's OK. I'll keep watching your blog, hoping for at least musings, dreams, and plans. Hope you don't mind if I dream here too.

    I love a good big veranda too but I decided that it takes too much living space away from the tiny house. I could build a portable 'deck' that could be set in front of the house or even wrap around the side. I like Dee's simple idea of putting outdoor chairs on the grass, moving them around with the shade. ;-)

    To me, up here in my climate, a tiny 'mudroom' would be more valuable: a place for shoes, boots, coats, hats to be shed and stored before entering into the living area.

    Dormers are a definite must for a loft to give headroom, light, a view, and ventilation. I question a sleeping loft for the long haul though. In 15 or 20 years I probably won't be steady or strong enough to climb a ladder (unreal as that seems to me now!). I'm trying to figure out a design with a main floor bedroom and loft storage or guestroom. "How to Live in 320 Square Feet" (too big, I know) puts it in the rear; a rear French door to a deck would be cool too.

    I've started to make a list of essentials to my simple, happy life: windows with views, a comfy bed, an eating table in front of a window, bookcases, a comfy reading chair, a tiny, funky propane or wood stove, an adequate kitchen for cooking my veggie diet (not raw!)...and so on. It helps to clarify what goes into the tiny house plan.

    By the way, it doesn't start with a starts with a dream! ;-) Hope to hear more of yours. Namaste.

  8. Always hopeful that you will post on your blog again. May you continue on the path to your dream.

    1. Side tracked with business, life, and an unexpected chance for a trip to Paris. Not on top of the blog, but not Gone, Gone, Gone, either. I'll be back. I was halfway through a Halloween post, but the moment has passed, lol! ~Victoria

    2. Hazel, I'm back in the saddle. Went off to Paris and had a grand time. Came back and did four weeks of the Shingles (I don't recommend it). The new post just went up tonight. Happy New Year!