What takes up space in our homes? In our lives? In our time? How do we know when we have run out of space? Or when a little space makes itself known?
From time to time I run out of space and I only realise when a little has been clawed back, when I catch myself singing out loud. I know then that my soul is a little freer than it was before. But is a warning sign too, because I have missed myself singing. Not that I can sing well at all, but that I am horrified that I allowed so much be be squeezed out that I forgot to find time or space to sing.
One way round this is to make sure there is a kind of shrine to music in my home, like a keyboard or a radio, or playlists. This shrine is joined by a few others. Pointers to what is valued most of all. Shrines to house plants and nature. Shrines to art and crafting. Shrines to play. Shrines to books and reading and the imagination. Shrines to comfort and warmth and fire. Shrines to pets and their fun, companionship and care. Shrines to sleep and rest. Shrines to food and creating and sharing. There have been times too when there have been shrines to nappies and blenders and tupperware. Now replaced with shrines to bikes and muddy boots and odd socks and scraps of important but discarded paper.
There are times when I neglect my shrines. I walk past them, I assume they will always be there. This is why I have chosen forgiving house plants. They recover well. We are built for recovery too. Like one of the orchid plants I stripped bare, leaving just a derelict, abandoned twig. I’d been told though to put it with some friends, with 3 other orchid plants in various stages of bloom. So I obeyed and there it stayed on the windowsill in the kitchen, absolutely barren for months, till one day I flicked on the kettle and through my bleary morning eyes I saw it – a tiny leaf. ‘It lives!’. It had been living all along of course, even when it hadn’t looked like it. But I watered and fed it anyway. I let air in through the window anyway. I placed it in the light anyway. I gave it friends. And that morning it gave back to me, a tiny leaf. A shrine to the living. To keep me steady. To remind me that the earth keeps turning. That we are here to nourish each other, to give and receive life, over and over. To be fed and watered and to feed and water. To breath in and out. To hold each other up to the light. To rejoice when we come into bloom.