When I was ten I lived in a tiny cul-de-sac at the top of a hill in a little red-roofed home, which used to house railway workers. From here, when clear, you could just about glimpse the shimmering sea. From there, the roof was a beacon amidst an ocean of grey slate.
At this age, both my dad and my step-dad had flown the family nest (precipitating many a watery walk with my thought full mum and her bolstering buddies). And I was to spend my last year of primary school as the new girl.
I had the box room – a small square which housed a bed, a wardrobe, a desk and a rug (with odds and sods carefully arranged on my bookshelves). Every three months or so, I would get antsy and restless and feel compelled to rearrange the furniture. This was the box room, remember, so my options were pretty much limited to moving the desk from in front of the wall to in front of the window, then straightening the rug in the space behind. But, it didn’t half feel good once I’d done it; things just looked different and the antsy itch subsided as I gained a new perspective.
To my young mind, it was the change in my environment which led me to feel ease. I didn’t realise then that the outside world had nothing to do with my feelings, despite how it might have seemed. This restless compulsion and drive to shift furniture gripped me for over thirty more years like a kind of extreme spring clean sweeping in each season. And I would always proclaim how much better it was, how much more space there was, what a difference it made. Until the next time the walls felt as if they were closing in; smothering the life-light from me, boxing me in. This changeabout was not sustainable.
I was reminded of this a few weeks ago whilst listening to a talk given by Chana Rosenblatt at the Innate Health Conference. She told the story of being unable to bear sleeping in the same room that her husband had shared with his now deceased first wife. So they made their room in the attic. But whenever a baby was coming, they began the big migration back to the forboding, forbidden room. For practical reasons, it made sense to Chana to endure this change.
When each baby was around three months old, the familiar creepy thought would take hold, galloping away like a bolted horse. She could not bear to stay in the room a moment longer and the exodus to the attic began immediately, sometimes in the middle of the night. I chuckled to myself when I heard this tale of moving madness, reminding me, as it did, of my own compulsive room shifting. And I gave a quiet cheer when Chana revealed that, since catching a glimpse of the power of Mind and the nature of Thought a couple of years ago, there has been no compulsion to return to the attic since the birth of the last baby. The familiar thoughts crept into her mind, but she realised she did not have to take them seriously. She could watch and wait for another fresh thought to bed in instead.
As Chana was talking, I reflected on the fact that my compulsive thoughts also seem to have gone. My house has pretty much stayed the same, layout wise, since my son was born almost twenty months ago. There have been a few changes that have come about for practical reasons, but I just haven’t had the need-to-move itch to scratch. I remember attempting to move the sofa round some months back (a residue feeling of this-is-usually-what-happens-at-this-time-of-year), but my heart just wasn’t in it, so I stopped.
This change came about without me even noticing, yet when I look back, the landscape I live in is different. I still have a ton of lifestyle magazines but I no longer have the impetus to buy new ones. If truth be told, these days, the only interiors I am interested in are those of human beings. I find it comforting to know that the exterior world does not have the power to unsettle me and that a lifetime of habitual thinking can fall away without me even noticing (“insight without content“).
Throughout time, human beings have experienced insights that spontaneously and completely changed their behaviour and their lives, bringing them happiness they previously had thought impossible
Sydney Banks, The Missing Link (page 4)