artistry-alchemyConfessions of an Inadvertent House-Flipper

“The time had come for me to leave my city-home of ten years running. I didn’t exactly have a plan. No, actually I had lots of them. I would adopt a new vision every few days and in the process, lose momentum and faith in the other mutually exclusive schemes. I was spinning my wheels and exhausting myself in mental expenditure. I didn’t know where I was going, but just knew I had to leave. Blaming my immediate environment for the discomfort and lack of direction in my life seemed like the reasonable thing to do. And since I had no dependents, midlife crisis was a relatively victimless crime.

“My house had been a great source of emotional-financial security, a social mecca, and above all my canvas—but alas, an immoveable one. I’d rearranged nearly every molecule of it with my own bare (okay, gloved) hands, obsessively remodeling it with salvaged materials and bricolage flair. People were routinely blown away by the intricate detail and originality of the designs, insisting that widespread “eco-home” publicity was in order.

Read more in the critically acclaimed memoir, “What I Did On My Midlife Crisis Vacation,” a Hay House Insights Non-Fiction Finalist.

“Excruciating as it was to abandon that wonderland, I almost felt like I had no choice in the matter. As if the urgency of change was some ginormous unstoppable boulder capable of crushing everything in its path—my attachment to it drawn out like taffy to a mere flimsy piece of twine that snapped under the weight of the thing. For a while I held on futilely to the severed cord, looking on in horror at its demise like a child whose prized kite had just been plundered by the elements.

“There is much to learn from letting go. I had to make the process the most enjoyable part, rather than the product. Still, there was a grieving period. But unlike losing a person to death, my loss had been self-determined. Clearly I needed to consciously release my regret. When an outraged friend called to inform me that the home’s new owner flippantly tore out every shred of my handiwork, I couldn’t allow myself to be distraught for long. Besides, something strange and wonderful happened after I hung up the phone.

My CD player was malfunctioning. It wasn’t set to “repeat,” and yet. . .  it was playing the same Matthew Sweet song over again. The lyrics went: “I tried to hang on to the past, but I couldn’t keep my grasp because nothing lasts.” The only sane choice is to let go and make way for the next phase. I was alchemizing my consciousness, just as I’d transformed those ramshackle buildings into artful domiciles.

Change is inevitable. But how we deal with it determines our emotional experience of it. I always find it helpful to remember that this human lifetime is but the blink of an eye to an infinite spirit-being. And infinite spirit-beings are exactly who we are.



Some fun Before-and-After pics:

willis-kitchen-before willis-kitchen-after
bathroom-before bathroom-after
back-of-house-before back-of-house-after
nook-before nook-after
kitchen-before kitchen-after
bath1-before bath1-after
bath2-before bath2-after

Would you like more inspiring pictures and a super inspiring short story? Check out this True Tale of Tile Magic!