my tiny house experiment.
I was originally planning on writing a book about my journey as outlined in this intention I wrote ten years ago before moving into a small guest house bungalow in West Hollywood, California. I was entering my second year of a Masters Program in Spiritual Psychology at The University of Santa Monica and I knew we were to be given the task of designing a heart-centered project that year. This was to be my pitch to publishers and magazines.
I am writing to you about my experience as a Professional Organizer in hopes that you may find what I have to say helpful or at least interesting to you and your readers. This is a profession which has doubled in the past four years. According to US News and World Report, the average American spends one year of his or her life looking for misplaced items. It’s no wonder people are hiring other people to recoup this lost time.
But, what happens as we begin to regain control of our stuff, our environment, and ultimately our life? That is my question posed to the universe while signing a lease to move into a 240 square foot bungalow in West Hollywood, California with the intention of finding out what happens next.
My interest in organizing stems from something quite different from the tangible benefits that result from regaining order in one’s space. I want to know, if the external environment does in fact represent the internal, and if clutter truly is a distraction from the weightier matters of life, what happens once the outer is ordered and the inner is allowed to breathe? I want to know, experientially, what will change in my life having done this to the nth degree in my own surroundings. My life on the outside looks good: a good education, a good family, good health, a growing business and good friends around me. Everything looks very good.
However, I dare to ask myself on a deeply personal and philosophical level, “What’s missing?” The answers are there, dangling like the individual blossoms from the exquisite Eucalyptus I see from my new zen-like retreat. Painfully obvious, yet staring at me so beautifully and literally in the face.
I’m single. I want love and my intuition is that It’s Time. And by love, I don’t mean the oh-he’s-not-bad–and-likes-me-why-not date-and-see-if-he-grows-on-me- kind of relationship pattern I am used to, but the love that has been written and talked about since God’s creation, the kind of all-encapsulating, breathtaking, sharing the all-that-I-am with another human being love.
And what about passion? I want to be able to spring out of bed in the morning and greet my day with a broad smile and full heart, with the knowing that I am living MY LIFE ON PURPOSE with however it is I am choosing. I suppose, a grounding of sorts is what I am seeking. So I am going to implement my own New Age Organizational Therapy on myself.
I am genuinely curious about whether these spiritual desires are attainable through simplistic living. I know they exist. I know as I have seen clients’ testimony to life on the organizational side. But I want to know for myself what happens when I spend a year of my life in a small space, with minimal belongings and only myself to fill the time.
Can I find the Thoreau and Emerson connection with nature and harmony in this modern, tech-savvy, information-overloaded world without globetrotting to the forest? I want to know. I need to know. I think I might like the grass and the trees and the birds. Can I find them in Los Angeles?
So it’s official. I am opening the doors to allowing a love I have never experienced to enter my life and the grounding of purpose that will walk me through it with mental, emotional and spiritual freedom. And I am going to share it. With you, dear readers! I am going to write about my journey with anyone who cares to listen and is wondering the same questions themselves. I hope it will be an honest portal into my own life about being a woman her mid-thirties ready and willing and needing to ask the bigger questions. I am looking at it as a kind of, well, an experiment. And part of me is scared shitless. So cross your fingers, and come with me as I enter phase one of Mission Joy.
I’ve always been someone to ask the bigger questions. I want to know why. Why this, why that, and how is it possible I’m sitting here on a giant spinning ball? Why, why, WHY. By this point in my life I was thirty-four, and although I felt I was ‘following my path’, I knew in my heart something was missing.
The truth is, I was not happy.
I felt as if I were stuck on pause. Waiting for the real stuff to start. Perhaps you can relate. It was a yearning for more along with an unwillingness to settle for just so. I knew I wanted BIG things. I wanted JOY. I wanted purpose. PASSION! I wanted peace. Mostly, I wanted to Show Up Fully for myself and for those around me but I wasn’t clear on what I should do to get there. I tried the best I could to follow my inner-guide yet it wasn’t until I had what felt like a series of catastrophic personal events following my intention experiment that I would really get shaken up and shaken free.
My first breakthrough happened about six months before my experiment. I had stumbled (and I say stumbled because I literally remember thinking this book is going to make a difference in my life) onto Dr. Wayne Dyer’s The Power of Intention while browsing Barnes & Noble one afternoon. And oh my goodness did this book resonate with me! The way he explained intent as this all-encompassing divine source running through everything and everyone spoke to my heart. That we are all unique expressions of its light. That all physical manifestations begin as a thought, and those that stick around and inspire delight are in need of full expression. I couldn’t look at the world the same again. Things were no longer things but the genius and intent of humans. My how crafty we were!
I became fascinated with how intention as he expressed it could specifically relate to one’s personal environment. If we are to activate this guiding source within and give it full expression, what would happen if we applied it to a specific space, namely our home, where we spend most of our time? I wanted to take the power of intention to the second power. As a Professional Organizer, I already knew how life changing it was to declutter and transform one’s environment. So what would happen if we beautified and re-energized our spaces not only because we trusted it was good for us, but because we knew what we wanted to experience as a result of our efforts? It was about being clear on how we wanted to show up and what we wanted to experience in the process.
So I went off with the intention to experience what I felt was missing in my own life while living in my new, very tiny home. The way the owners explained it to me was that living there would be comparable to living on a small yacht. With a yard. And without the mention of a yappy dog. At the time, it sounded very appealing and like the perfect location for my experiment. I was going to fall in love! On my yacht! Who knew how fast I’d want to jump ship.
I don’t really have words to express the way in which my life has transformed since that day I put pen to paper and asked for more. My life would never be the same and I was off, and continue to be off, on the journey of a lifetime. I know from the depths of my being that had I not intended AND committed fully for things to change, they likely wouldn’t have. I was serious about my request and was ready and willing to do the work necessary to uplevel my life if this meant facing the good, the bad, the ugly, and the entire range of emotions that define what it is to be human. And I wouldn’t have it any other way