Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Samsara Of Home Renovations

Where do you find the Dharma when you discover hidden mold on the wall during your kitchen reno and you don't know what to do? How does the Dharma fit into a house bustling with 2 plumbers, 2 tilers, a carpenter and fallers arriving to remove some trees? Well for starters, you do the best you can. You get to see your habitual tendencies in full bloom and then you dance with them as you negotiate the chaos. You feel your way along like a blind person, carefully. You look for openings and light shining through from some other place. You try to find the opportunity in the problem. And as much as you can, you let go of what you "want". And occasionally you remember to breathe. Never helpful to pass out from lack of oxygen.

So that has been the work of the last week. Phone calls and following the thread to make sure that what we were dealing with was not toxic mold and a health hazard. And I got to see a strong panic reaction in myself that relates to anything that feels like a threat to my health. I was learning to be prudent but not alarmist, to weigh and measure the information I collected. I could see the inclination to feed off the panic of someone else who was present. And of course all the time the new kitchen I wanted was barking at my heels. And so by the third day we had figured out what to do, found someone to test the mold, found it wasn't any of the seriously dangerous types and then proceeded to remove it safely. It was an exhausting experience and everyone had several opinions on it. The trick was to weigh it all in a balanced manner, to put strong emotions out of the decision making loop.

I was stressed but with awareness! I did the best I could to work with it. I remembered to practice kindness to those that were part of the process and be thankful that I was in the position to be doing all of this. There was a serious samsaric quality to the whole experience. Life is like that sometimes! And so the house is deliciously quiet tonight as I nurse a sore throat. In the thick of it all lies opportunity, opportunity to get to know ourselves (and thus others) opportunity to take a stab at right speech and right action. Opportunity to not succumb to despair and doubt and panic. Opportunity to dig deep inside and find what Jiyu Kennett called "our iron being". Add a little faith and stir vigorously.

And did I mention that the sweetest 2 tilers broke the washing machine moving it back into place? The tests continue!


  1. Wonderful wisdom! And congratulations on successfully "negotiating" all that chaos, and dancing with the fear gremlins :) As you described your ordeal I found myself gasping, wondering if I could have done so well! Bows to your fortitude and delightful insights! Christine

  2. "You get to see your habitual tendencies in full bloom and then you dance with them as you negotiate the chaos." This sentence shines so brightly for me...this is a "special" lesson that I practice over and over again...I suppose we all do...and you phrased it so well! I'm relieved on your behalf that the mold is not toxic...and all will be, indeed IS ok. Blessings to you as you continuously learn and relearn the lessons of being with what IS, the lessons on a compassionate, equanimous heart.

  3. MeANderi - well it felt pretty crazy and if I was holding on for the ride while it was all going on. As always it is comforting to have your wonderful company along for the ride!

    Laura - Yes that is it isn't it: "to continuously learn and relearn the lessons of being with what IS, the lessons on a compassionate, equanimous heart." Such a big lesson and so easy to get thrown off course.

  4. Hi Carole...
    Posted this on Christine's blog because I thought you were 'there' -- :)

    @ Carole..."Never helpful to pass out from lack of oxygen." -- LOL.

    You equanimity during all the renovations is deeply inspiring. It looks as though the transformation is truly being reflected in such a beautiful and peaceful abode.

  5. "you do the best you can" Exactly!

    It sounds like you did a pretty good job!

    (I think I remember hearing that Vancouver Island actually does have a seriously dangerous type of mold. Not to mention that home renovations may be amoung the leading causes of divorce!)

  6. Leslie - glad you got a chuckle out of this. what is this world with out at least one chuckle every day!

    Chong Go Sunim - Nice to see you here! Sometimes it feels like such insignificant stuff to write about and yet - this is where I find the Dharma each day.

    Yes, I did recently hear that there is the toxic mold on VI. The fellow who did our swab test said he had not found any on SSI yet but I think this is part of the Dharma. the aspect of "you just never know". Was it you who recently shared the old, "say your prayers, but tie your camel to a tree."

  7. Your house remodel and hustle and bustle and set backs all test your inner spirit - the zen of go with the flow.