For my entire adult life, I have lived communally (yep, like a true hippie) among diverse and wonderfully inspiring groups of creative folks. Over the past four years, I’ve lived with a mandolin player, a photographer/videgrapher, a raw pie maker, a bike shop owner, a massage therapist/gardener and a shaman-in-training. Our house is now famous for it’s house concerts, potlucks, art nights and backyard sauna parties. We have 15 bikes parked under our hand-built bike storage area right next to our front yard food garden. We don’t have chickens anymore, but all our neighbors do, so the air is still filled with the sound of clucking. Basically, we are our own little Portlandia episode around here everyday. You can picture it, right?
As a big fan of community and collaboration (and as a way to share expenses), I’ve consciously chosen to live this way for, oh, about twenty years now. (woah.) Living communally has enhanced my life in so many ways and as you can imagine, I’ve learned some serious lessons about sharing, flexibility and respect. Let’s just say, one of my favorite sayings of all time is…
Teamwork makes the dream work.
However, my life has shifted in some pretty massive ways over the past few years. I no longer work by myself all day long in my studio, craving human interaction at the end of the day. Instead, my life is so full of people, I can barely keep up with all the names in my world. I love the people aspect of my life as a teacher, but I tell ya what, living with four people, teaching large groups of people AND connecting with thousands of people online is simply too many…people.
So, about one year ago, I sat down with my friend, Ben, designer/builder extraordinaire, to discuss the possibility of building a little house in my backyard—a little house just for me. For the first time in my life, I had a bit of money saved and my craving for my own space was quickly turning into a *need* for my own space. It was becoming obvious that in order to do this level of work in the world, my soul actually required a cocoon to reintegrate, regroup and reinvent the next version of what I would eventually teach to others.
When the opportunity to build a cocoon became a reality, I immediately said YES. Together, Ben and I started sketching out my dream house. This dream house would only occupy 450 square feet of my backyard, so our dreaming was contained but as a result of our size parameters, we got quite creative. I knew I wanted a “wall of windows,” many skylights and a loft with no separate rooms. Ben’s solution to my vision was to “go up.”
I’m pretty sure my new house is the tallest building on my block. I have three 12 foot windows on one side (aka: the wall of windows). There are also five skylights, a loft, a sleeping loft in the loft (double loft!) and no rooms besides one small room containing a toilet. The process of co-designing my house was amazing and living inside it’s walls (I moved in two months ago) is actually a little bit surreal. Like I said, I’ve never lived alone, so it all feels rather luxurious on many levels—450 square feet of luxury!
Truth disclaimer: I’ve been feeling a little bit hesitant to share my house with you because, once again, I’m still struggling with my own “deserving” stories. But, alas, this blog experiment is offering me the perfect way to move through that old story to the other side—the side where I totally deserve a super zen, light-filled, personally designed dream cocoon with the best bathtub in the Universe. Hell yeah.
What I’m realizing more and more everyday is how by creating this nurturing space for myself, I am taking care of ME which, in turn, allows me to inspire and encourage thousands of other people to nurture their own creative spirits. Self-care ripple effect in action!
I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into my cocoon…