"This moving away from comfort and security,
this stepping out into what is unknown, uncharted
and shaky- that's called liberation."
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?