In the past few weeks my home is one big renovation project. And I am not talking metaphorically here, it is a real thing, with all the materiality that comes with it. So far it has been quite an experience and it keeps on giving. Contemplating the process of renovation is a good way to reflect upon other occurrences in life. As I am following the urge for change inside me, it definitely feels like I tricked myself into a big renovation project. You change one little thing which triggers something else and so on and so forth. A cascade of changes. Domino effect. The process is impossible to reverse, once you are in it, there is no way back.
Usually we decide to renovate due to various reasons. We move in a new house and want to adjust it to our own taste, things are getting old and don’t function well, things are broken and need replacement or simply we get tired of the setting and want to bring some fresh energies in our surroundings. The initial trigger is always the desire for a better future and improvement of the current state. We only start renovations when we can afford it, meaning that there are available accumulated resources ready to be invested in an improvement. The longer you wait the more it will cost. The longer we postpone and avoid change the more difficult it becomes to do it. Most of the time we know that sooner or later we’ll have to renovate our homes. But when it comes to our inner house we think of it as something fixed without a maintenance plan. So we wait, suppress unhappiness, drift in distraction till eventually the fundament cracks and we have to deal with total makeover.
To initiate change is different than witness and withstand the destruction. In the process we build resilience and trust that external forces that will rebuild everything. Renovation is a collective process of interdependencies - it trains the wisdom muscle by teaching us to flow, give in, see how things are made and exercise patience.
I stared with a small idea to utilise a small attic, an additional space that wasn’t being used properly. Apart from the space, there was no proper isolation which affected the efficiency of the heating system - it was working hard wasting energy and polluting the air for nothing. The energy we exchange with the world also can be easily wasted on nothing, polluting the atmosphere around. Making a good isolation for our inner houses would be a great improvement. Isolate well to keep warm inside is a first step. Then come the walls, they hide the isolation material which keeps everything warm and protected; walls make it invisible yet perceivable. If we focus too much on the exterior our ability for subtle sensing of what beyond the surface can be affected.
Same applies to people - often we only react to what we see. Our tools for nuanced sensing are rusty. In the kingdom of rationality and measurable perception, there is no place for the invisible. Let’s not forget that on top of the walls comes plaster, then the paint. After that objects fill up the space we are building. Some objects are more immobile than others. Probably it takes decades to change the couch but other objects are more flexible. Some are being used to refresh the space, bring in a new vibe, even bring in a new plant can dress up the room. I used to have many different placemats. Now I look at them as physical manifestations of my unsettlement and urge to bring some change to my home. Every home has its own smell and light, invisible qualities that make the feeling of the house. We organise spaces according to what is important and possible for us at the moment.
Choices that we make to surround ourselves are a mirror to realise our longing and desires. My renovation project definitely brought me a few insights. Being closely involved in the process allowed me to see concealed invisible parts I wasn’t aware of. It feels like I got a super power - the ability to see through the walls, deeper into essence. It takes an effort, time and a skill to see through things, but it is worth exploring. Expand the vision by adding additional ways of sensing would allow to catch the nuances of experiences and connect beyond the space that is presenting. So we can feel the warmth without seeing the source opening ourselves up to different types of knowing.