Reflective housing: The house as a reflection of “no self” self.


This is a house reflected in water… and it’s started me thinking…

Good morning Dear Reader, my one and only reader who I love and value so!

I’m currently sitting in the rain.  Well… not literally mind you, I’m in a house, but you know what I mean.   I’m actually sitting on the floor – a concrete floor no less.  In the mist of moving – AGAIN,  my furniture will not arrive for 2 more weeks.

I’m not exactly sure why I’ve moved so much… 10 times in the last 7 years!  28 times over all. But it seems to keep happening, much to my children’s chagrin.

I swear it’s not my fault: Buyers keep appearing.

I once read that Byron Katie had sold her house simply because someone approached her and asked to buy it. ( Apparently she’d also thrown in the family dog – much to her husband’s dismay.)  To Byron Katie, there is no separation between the self and others.  She feels no need to own, protect, or possess anything.  Residing in a place without ego, it seems for her,  “home” is fluid concept.

At this point in my life, I basically feel the same way.  I’ve lived in everything from the most abstract post-modern contemporary to the mindnumpingly boring, 1924 America Four Square.  I’ve lived in 6,000 square feet and immediately squeezed back into a 1,200 square foot apartment, And yes, I’ll admit, there was even brief period when I attempted to live in my van.  Honestly, it  makes almost no difference to me.  There are pros and cons to each of them, including the van.  And in my case, none of it seems to last for long.

So why do I keep moving? Because buyers keep showing up!

In August of 2017, for example, there was a knock at my door.  I opened it to find an older couple nervously  introducing themselves.  Apparently, they had loved my house and had attempted to purchase it before me (8 months earlier), but I had beat them to it.    They knew it was a long shot, but would I consider selling it now? 

Though I had ABSOLUTELY no intention of moving, I decided to hear them out.  Their offer:  No home inspection, no contingency, no realtor’s fees, buyer pays all closing cost AND more money than I paid for the house 8 months earlier.  (A lot more money!)

It was a beautiful house, but after only 8 month, I had no real attachment to it.  They, however, seemed deeply attached to the idea of purchasing it, so for better or worse,  I agreed to sell.

With no place to go, I moved to an apartment for a year – then bought another house. 

And Dear Reader, I kid you not, it happened again! This time, in March of 2019 – yep, in the middle of the COVID pandemic!  Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up!

Trying to be a responsible adult, I went to sign my will.  (You know – pandemic, fear – anxiety – people dying left and right?  Getting my estate in order seemed like a reasonable thing to do.)  Meanwhile, my lawyer, unable to keep our appointment,  asked his partner fill in.  Having never met before, we exchanged uncomfortable small talk, waiting for the notary to arrive.  Suddenly she notices my address and says, “Oh I wish I had a house where I could walk to work.”  And boom!  The next thing I know, I’d sold her mine.

Once again – no home inspection, no realtor’s fees, almost no closing cost, and more than I’d paid for it a 10 months earlier.  (A lot more!)   So here I sit, on the cold concrete floor of a tiny townhouse, where I’m sure the cat and I will be tripping over each other constantly.

I have no idea why I’m here: But also no argument against it.

Truth be told, I’m grateful for each and every one of these moves.  Each time I’ve let go of a house, I’ve also been forced to let go of the sudo-identity that went with it.  In my post modern contemporary home, for example, I was playing the role of artist / nature photographer.  The house, creative and artistic itself, helped shape my own image and identity.  Likewise, my 1843 farm house supported my Icelandic horse breeder phase, and a “walk-to-everything” house supported my eco friendly / green living phase.  I’ve had electric bikes and electric cars as well as gas guzzling trucks and SUVs… each one in keeping with design and image of the house – each one supporting a larger cloak of identity.

But at the end of the day, I’ve come to realized that none of them were me – at least not the real me.  After moving 28 times thru a variety of houses – and even a camper van, I (like Byron Katie and many others), have come to see ego identity as a very fluid concept.

So now, Dear Reader, I must leave you here.  Mostly because at 56 – I simply can’t sit on the floor anymore! 

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