Friday, September 23, 2011

Getting What You Want—6 Simple Things I Did To Get My Dream House

Right now, I am sitting in my cluttered writing studio, which is actually a dining room. Boxes are strewn about, some half filled. I’m restless.

Thing is, I’m getting ready to move.

You bet your boots, I bought a house. Nothing grand. But it's directly across from a 5-acre wood. Well, let me not be too grandiose. It’s more like a giant community park with gardens and a stream. Just outside my new front door lies a lush, verdant place to air out my brain.

It's my dream house: fireplace, cook’s kitchen, and only minutes from the big city. I plan to use the roughed-out attic as a writing garret. With a southern exposure, it’s sunny enough to convert Emily Dickinson into an optimist.

Here’s how I made my dream come true:

1. I made the dream more concrete.
Our imaginations work from the concrete to the abstract, not the other way around. For instance, I blogged it into being, I wrote a letter to myself describing my dream house and mailed it to myself.

2. I made the dream feel close, not far.
This spring, I took to walking in the park to calm my imagination when it convulsed with a fear of abandonment. The house caught my eye. A sturdy little brick house with the peaked roof and a red door. I walked past it every chance I could get. This made the dream seem as if it were part of my routine existence. Close, not far.

3. I let myself believe in small victories.
One day, a for sale sign appeared on the tidy green lawn. I threw my head back and cheered right out loud in the middle of the park. I danced across the footbridge. I made up a little song in my head about the house. When I toured it against the protestations of my realtor (“It’s overpriced by $75K! for God’s sake!”) I truly fell in love. That night, I posted a picture of it on my fridge, poured a glass of champagne and toasted it.

4. I slit the veil of fear.
Whenever I'm afraid to take a big step, I close my eyes and picture a thin gauzy veil that stands between me and what I want. I imagine myself gently parting it and stepping through. My big fear was that the house was beyond my reach. And it was, at first.

5. I stayed everlasting at it.
People tell me I’m bright. If that is true, I should be smarter about letting go of bad things sooner - bad ideas, bad men, bad business deals. The trade-off is that I am tenacious. With patience and persistence I persuaded the family to sell me the house at a fair price. It had belonged to their grandma. It bore an emotional sales price. It’s a flawed cliché to say that persistence pays off. I have a string of failures that prove otherwise. But when it is the thing you both want and need, and it pulls at your heart and makes sense to your head--you stay at it...everlasting at it.

6. I became a time traveler.
I looked back and re-connected with fond memories of every house I ever owned or lived in. I looked ahead and imagined small daily miracles unfolding in my new home: flowering plants and raucous dinner parties where people fight good-naturedly to get a word in. I kept my imagination engaged in ways that formed a joyful bond between me and my dream. And in the process I learned a secret about gives a person courage.

I move next month. After two years of living in a rented flat, lovely as it was, I will again have a home of my own.

What are the first things I will do once the boxes are unpacked?
a. I will build a roaring fire.
b. I will sing songs at the top of my lungs.
c. I will wear a black bra and dance around until 2 a.m. if I so desire...because I can.
The trouble with dreams is that a part of us wants to chicken out. I discovered that dreams need constant reassurance to stoke them. Our rational minds fear that getting our hopes up just isn’t prudent. When I was tempted to retreat to the safety of premeditated disappointment because it kept me in control, I decided instead to gorge myself on fantasy rather than starve myself on fear. It helped and it was more fun.

You have a dream inside of you.

So let me ask you:
When you finally get your heart’s desire, what’s the first thing you will do?


virginia said...

so where's the house?

Matthew Solari said...

What a great post!

Amy Dean said...

Welcome to the world of Shamanism and congrats on making your dream come true!

Patricia Martin said...

Thanks, Matthew.

Patricia Martin said...

Not sure I can handle the pressure of Shamanhood...or if I truly qualify, but WOW! thanks for the warm wishes.