Uncovering the Space to Play

September 30, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Posted in Around the House, Barton's Blogs, Ramblings, The Nitty-Gritty | Leave a comment
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It’s amazing to me how growth comes. Recently, Megan and I caught the inspiration to reorganize our house to make space for a creativity studio. This studio, as we envision it, is intended to be as shared space where the two of us can work together, see clients, and serve as a room for creative play as we build our new business. In only a weekend Megan had excavated our dining room, and embarked on designing the space to meet its new destiny.

It soon adorned a padded floor, a comfy arm chair fit for coaching clients, bookshelves filled with games and children’s books fit for a range of ages and desk waiting to support a range of creative projects. In the process, we found ourselves not only re-evaluating the space for this room individually, but we also began to examine how we were utilizing space throughout our house and the further we explored the greater transformation took place.

As we assessed each furniture item for the purpose it served our family, we noticed that our relationship to it shifted as we assessed it in relation to a new vision for our lives, both as a family and as business partners. As Megan, in particular, went through items associated with her family’s history, I noticed that there was a clear shift in her priorities, which, to be honest, amazed and excited me.

I have always been one to hold a deep value of open spaces and utility in my personal possessions, and many times, I have been somewhat extremist in my drive to eliminate the unnecessary. Megan, however, grew up with what I understand to be a different set of values in which the sentimental value of an item was highly prized and therefore justified its place within her space. Because of this, I have learned over time to curb my urge to purge.

You can imagine my amazement then, when it was she who went on a purging spree. At first, I was somewhat hesitant to join her, and in fact at the beginning of the process, I was the one making sure that nothing got purged that she would later regret. Yet, as we went through the process and I gained confidence in her vision and commitment, we both had a great deal of fun getting rid of what was outside of our new vision. What emerged from this process was quite unbelievable. Virtually every room in our house was transformed into an open and spacious environment.

I knew that, at the completion of this transformation, this offered us far more than either of us had imagined when Megan commented, “I can finally feel our house breathing again.”

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Warning: Woman’s Mode Engaged

September 30, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Posted in Around the House, Megan's Blogs, Ramblings, The Nitty-Gritty | Leave a comment
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Discovering Space.

Discovering Space.

About two months ago, I was looking at our dining room, filled with my mother’s dining room table, china cabinet, two bookcases and chairs. The black lamp covers sat on top of chandelier lights, untouched since we had moved into our house. I always thought that the room just looked dark and cramped. Unfortunately, the dining room table was used for sorting mail, the file pile and organizing receipts for taxes. I knew that we needed to change this space, but I just didn’t know how. I etched a small list hidden in the corner on our bulletin board in the kitchen that held a glint of the vision I held.

Several weeks ago, Barton was away for the weekend at a seminar, and I couldn’t help it- I went into overdrive. I moved all of the furniture out of the dining room, stacks of books piled high on the table now in the middle of the living room. By the time Barton came home, I had changed the covers on the chandelier lights and figured out how to raise them, set down carpet padding and two layers of canvas tarp in the empty room. I had exhausted myself, more than once, moving heavy furniture and piles of books all on my own.

After Barton had seen and approved the initial transformation (as there was no way I was moving it all back), I stapled down the carpet padding and canvas- hopefully to avoid the grinding and tangling under Barton’s wheelchair.

I also decided that I was ready to let go of my mother’s dining room table and china cabinet. In the weeks that followed, it became less about the physical furniture and more about the ability to claim myself, who I am and what space I need to create, work, function, thrive. For others, this may be a simple task, but to me, it was a huge leap.

For years as a child I would switch from my mother’s house to my father’s house, with separate clothes, beds, animals, separate lives. It wasn’t until college that I even considered the idea of having my own space, and later after my mother passed away, realizing that it was okay to move the furniture out of its place. This current overhaul is just the next evolution. It required me to let go of having a “normal” house.

My father and stepmother love to host parties at their house, a room full of family or guests around their dining room table. We’d love to do the same, but frankly it never happens that way. Typically, we go to others for a social engagement, and when we do have guests over, I have to explain that coffee tables and chairs just get in the way or the dogs just tore a hole in the futon. So we sit outside on our back porch enjoying the pine trees at dusk.

During this most recent transformation, Barton was amazed as I was able to let go of some additional pieces that I was adamant about holding onto, and we even moved the bedroom around.

The last few days, we’ve walked through the house amazed at the light and spaciousness that we both feel. There’s more work to do, as one day, I’ll be brave enough to splatter paint the canvas floor covering. Until then, we’ll revel in enjoyment in this newly discovered space.

Caution- Intense Husband

September 4, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Posted in Barton's Blogs, Ramblings | Leave a comment
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Caution: Intense husband.

Caution: Intense husband.

Today, Megan and I went out to lunch at one of our favorite places where we often engage in planning, brainstorming, and other work related activities. On the way over, we found ourselves absorbed in a conversation about what I found to be some fascinating intricacies of the dynamics of various relationships.

After a period of reflection, I threw out a question that made her brain hurt.

The response: Having you as a husband is really intense, you know that?

Pause. Thanks, I think.

It is true that on many levels I find a huge amount of joy in probing deeply into my own soul and, when the opportunity arises, helping others do the same. I find that this exercise of self-exploration is a source of immense energy for me.

Yet, Megan’s response offers me a reminder which often escapes my usual perspective of inner probing with a simple recognition that this can be tiring for others, especially when, as if often the case with me, this period of exploration lasts entire days or more with one insight building on the previous until everyone involved is in complete awe of their own understanding.

By no means is this always what happens. Yet, I do find within myself as urge to discover something about myself and others that I had not had the opportunity to observe before. Because of this, I do tend to forget the subtle energies required for such exploration and it is at these moments when I look up at my beautiful wife and the quiet expression of saturation reminds me to take a breath and pause.

Melting Into the Mountain

September 4, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Posted in Megan's Blogs, Ramblings | 1 Comment
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It wasn’t until after we were married that Barton talked about his family history an summer gathering of relatives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Recently, we were able to return to the old cabins, rocking chair conversations and relaxation of leaving behind the noise of city living.

I am reminded of how much I love our visits to Randolph- sleeping hard under a tin roof, waking up in the dew dripping trees outside the window, fixing a cup of coffee and writing in my journal before waking Baron. Later just melting into the mountain view from the cabin just down the street.

During the week we gathered with family we had not seen in a long time, venturing on a short hike just as a storm began. Taking out from a week of deadlines to breathe, finally breathe and feel like myself again. I was reminded how important rest, silence and breaks are important, or we will run until we exhaust ourselves.

I was also introduced to the Randolph Picnic and Charades, and there’s no description that can fit the afternoon of fun with families from the mountains acting out syllables and phrases for the rest of us to guess. Later, singing traditional songs that echo among the rocks.

Before we left, we had one day to ourselves after other family had already departed. We rocked on the porch to watch an approaching storm. Lightening flashed over maples and pines on the mountains, and thunder bounced from side to side, surrounding us as the rain plummeted from the sky.

I huddled closer to Barton as thunder rolled through the valley. Eventually, we made out way back to our own cabin, falling asleep as the storm continued on. In the morning, we prepared to make our way back to our own home and work that lay ahead. Until the next time, when we return to the mountains.

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