house_gift_wrapped_shutterstock_103025681“I feel great!” I said to Gabi, as I sat in her lovely living room in the morning sun drinking a cup of tea. I was stunned that I felt so good.

Yesterday, I felt like last week’s garbage as I arrived at her house in the afternoon. I smelled a bit like it, too. Emptying out my house in three weeks had been a monumental task, but the last three days hit a new level I would call Extreme Packing.  I had not showered in the last 24 hours because I had mistakenly packed away all my towels. I did manage to sleep on an air mattress for about five hours in the same clothes. I was rank, but my house, as I turned it over to the new owners, was not. It was better than I could have imagined it would be when it sold three weeks ago. I had even swept out the shed and washed off the garbage cans. They were a lot cleaner than I was.

Earlier that day I had a moment in which I suddenly felt scared.  I had just dropped a bottle of clear nail polish on the bathroom floor and was cleaning up the shattered bits when I realized that I was “off.” I knew I should stop for a moment, even if the time for the “walk through” was rapidly approaching.  So, I lit the candles on my fireplace/alter, sat in a chair and focused on my fear. It was strange. I expected sadness at leaving my beloved home of 35 years, but not fear.

Then my inner wise voice said, “It’s about expansion. You are leaving this sanctuary. It has been a kind of ashram. You have healed so much of your childhood pain here. So many other people have also transformed through the Creative Explosion workshops and acting classes in this house. Now it is time for you to leave and go out into the world. The place in Nokomis is special, too, but think of that home as a sacred nest from which you will fly.”

That felt true even though I’m not sure I know how to fly. Maybe I won’t, but that’s what’s next—even if I don’t think I’m up to it. I felt better understanding why I had felt “off” and got up and finished my work as consciously as I could.

The morning progressed wildly and miraculously.  Marilyn Dugan* and her friend arrived to pick up the fourth and fifth truckload of my things to give away to people in need. I had one other painting I wanted to keep that had not been packed. I intended to take it to the UPS for them to package and mail, but it was too big to get in my car. Happily, Marilyn drove it over in her truck, so I got that done.

The crunch was on. Marilyn said she probably wouldn’t be able to take everything before the walk through at 12:45, but amazingly, at noon she was done! Meanwhile, I swept out the house, packed the rest of my stuff in my car, which, to my astonishment, all fit, emptied the last bit of trash and even managed to blow the leaves off the deck with the little leaf blower. Just as the lovely young buyers arrived and walked up the stairs, I finished placing red and white roses, a congratulatory card, and a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling cider (in consideration of the pregnant wife) on the counter in time to turn and say, “Hello. Welcome. Don’t come too close. I stink.”

Wonder of wonders, it was all done!

I blessed the house, blew it as kiss, and drove away. Bleary-eyed, I arrived at Gabi’s. She had graciously offered to put me up for a few days to rest before I make the drive down to Florida. She greeted me, fed me some cheese and crackers since I had not eaten in a day, and went off to an appointment. I took a shower, did some laundry, and went to get a foot reflexology treatment. I thought I would fall into bed after all that, but, to my surprise, I felt refreshed enough to go out with Gabi and my friend, Sarah, for Margaritas and laughter.

I slept well, and this morning, I could not get over how good I felt. Not exhausted. Not sad. Really happy.

“I know why you feel so good,” Gabi said smiling as she sipped her tea.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because you didn’t just sell your house, you turned it into a gift and gave it with love.”I

t’s wonderful to have friends who are not only smart and funny, but wise.


*If you have anything to want to give to Marilyn Dugan’s foundation: 762 3574


img_0919I am moving out of my house that I have lived in for 35 years. And I’m doing it without the use of a dumpster or a moving van. I think that’s pretty amazing. Of course, there have been many trips to GoodwilI and thrift stores over the last two years. And some women have driven away (so far) three truckloads of stuff for charity.

It has been hard to let go of this home that I so love, but it has been great fun to give away things in it to people—like a favorite red, down-filled coat that is like wearing a cloud of warmth in the bitter cold days of winter. One of my good friends accepted it, and best of all, thinks of me when she puts it on to walk the dog. Of course, I have no need for it in Florida. In fact, I have no use there for most of my things.

Today I think I’m through the sadness and am now feeling very happy because of what happened yesterday morning. When the house sold a few weeks ago, I asked the buyer’s realtor if they might like to have anything in my house. She said, “No. They won’t want anything of yours. They have their own things.”

That turned out not to be true. A few days ago, I gave this realtor permission for the buyers to bring their parents to see the house. To my surprise, a group of about 9 to 11 people showed up—including their contractor. They were part of a baby shower gathering for the pretty wife who is soon to give birth. A bit put off that the realtor had not forewarned me about the crowd, I was, nevertheless, happy to get to meet this handsome, young couple.

While the crowd wandered everywhere, the mother-in-law and I chatted out on the deck. She asked if I was taking everything with me.

“Nothing but my pictures, files and clothes,” I said.

“Not the deck furniture?”

“No. Why? Would your kids want them?”

“Oh, I’m sure they would. They’re living in an apartment. They don’t have any outdoor stuff.”

“Well, of course!” I said. “I’m happy to give it to them.” The wood lounge chairs with comfy cushions, umbrellas, table, and chairs are perfect for this deck. I got up, went into the living room, passed their realtor, and went up to Greg, the young husband. “Your mother says you might like the deck furniture.”

“Sure!” he said.

“Why don’t you take my cell phone number, call me, and come back to look at anything else you might like.”

He did.

In the meantime, unfortunately, my washing machine broke and the sink in my bathroom started leaking from the trap below. “Oh, god!” I growled at the house. “Couldn’t you have waited til the closing in 10 days to start breaking down?”  I started scrolling Craig’s List for a washing machine and asking around for a good plumber.

Greg, his wife, and parents to came to the house after breakfast the next day.  To my delight, they wanted a lot more than I expected.  The artificial trees in the far corners of the big living room with twinkling lights will stay, along with three bureaus, and a small stool-sized carpeted cat house that the wife loved for her two cats. “I’ve never seen one this sturdy!”

He said, “Are you taking the white hammock in the living room?” (They had spotted, hanging almost unnoticed against the wall with its delicate lacey fringe.)

“No. I’m not. Want it?”

“Yes!” They said enthusiastically, which delighted me. I have loved my hammock in the living room—so unusual but so relaxing and fun.

I told them about the sink and the washing machine, Greg said, “Don’t worry about it. We were going to get new ones anyway. And my dad and I can fix the sink. Or, I’ll have the contractor look at it.”

I discovered that they are upgrading the house exactly as I would were I to stay and had the money. I liked them more and more as I showed them light switches, how some things worked, and gave them the names of all the people who serviced the house and lawn.

Downstairs, I offered them my 4 ft long cow horns that I bought years ago and had wired to the front of my used Cadillac. It caused a lot of comment as I drove around conventional Connecticut. The couple laughed and said they would pass on the cow horns.

With every minute, I became happier that they were the ones who were going to move into my beloved house.  As they were getting ready to leave, I said, “Let’s go into the living room for a minute.” They followed me. The parents stayed behind in the hall. I held out my hands. They took mine and each other’s. It was impulsive but it is something I do at the end of my acting classes. I closed my eyes and said a kind of prayer to the house, “Okay. I get that you may be sad or upset with me about leaving, breaking the washer and springing a tearful leak in my sink, but I want you to embrace this lovely couple who are going to bring new, energetic life into you. They are going to make you even better with their upgrades. So, I want you to love them as you have loved and sheltered me for so many years. I know they will love you as I have loved you, too.”

I opened my eyes and the wife had tears rolling down her face. I crossed to the desk and handed her Kleenex. The husband reached for a couple for himself. “Oh,” she said, “I love this house so much. We’re going to be so happy here!” I hugged her. Then, I hugged him.

We were all smiling as they left. I felt so happy and finally okay about leaving. I don’t know what impelled me to do that little ritual, but it was just what I needed to be able to transfer this sanctuary from my hands to theirs with joy.

P.S. Greg texted me last night saying, “We’d like the cow horns after all. We’ll put them up somewhere because it’s just such a great story.”