Household. My descent into homelessness was the final step to prepare me for a new home. Before I could have a home of my own I had to confront my long term lack of my own home. The best time and place to consider that was while sleeping in my car in the cold, two nights that made a cheap motel feel like heaven. I'm now in my own home for the first time since 1979. For over 40 years I was a member of someone else's household, never my own. My new home is a lot like the one I left in 1979: an apartment with wood floors and radiant heat. I was co-owner of a home from 1998 to 2009, but that was our home, not my home. There's a big difference. Since I left Tallahassee I've always lived in households. That was the word in Boulder for the group homes faithful disciples lived in. A student who hadn't moved into one was not in a household yet, i.e. not yet a fully fledged disciple. When I arrived in Seattle I never considered living alone. The household habit was far too deeply ingrained for me to think of that as a viable option.
What is home? Living in my new home made me reconsider what home is to me. I now see home not just as a safe place to sleep, important as that is. The right home for me is the place that most fully supports making progress with love. Shelter is a fundamental human need. Being momentarily homeless burned that into me deeply. I don't know if it is possible to grasp that fully without at least a taste of homelessness. It was a profound learning experience. It showed me starkly the difference between thinking or believing something is true and truly knowing it in my gut. Having that insight helped pave the way to my grasping home's place at the top of Maslow's pyramid, not just the bottom: home as a place for making progress, the home of self realization. Looking through that lens makes so many things about my past much clearer. When I left my almost paid for house to start a new life, that little rented room in Crown Hill was ideal. I got so much done there. My focus was all external: dance, fall in love, improve my diet, quit drinking. Fixing my life externally got me to where I needed to start living alone so I could begin working internally, but I was unable to grasp that or even consider living alone because of my household habit. Leela cured me of that with two nights in the cold and I found my way to a home that's just right for making progress with love now.
My spiritual home. My earliest memories are of nature as my spiritual home. I wanted to play and explore outside any chance I got. I loved to go out when a storm was kicking up, pretending I was flying in the saturated, electrically charged wind. Once the rain started sluicing down like it does in the south I wanted to be out in it, making little dams of sand and pine straw then channeling the water from the little ponds I created. I played in the rain for as long as it kept raining. Such a letdown when the dark gray sky began to lighten up and the rain petered out. I loathed team sports. Utterly unstructured play was how I made progress, so I needed kindred spirits to play with. In first grade I met Dale and Joe, kindred spirits who played silly games with me at recess. Joe and I became best friends. He was happy to spend the whole day with me swamp walking. When we moved to Asheville the mountains became my spiritual home. Mountains make a much better spiritual home than Florida's piney woods and swamps, at least for me. I lost my childhood home in nature when I moved to Kenya and took up booze and then pot. In Kenya I traded the real magic of spontaneous meditation for the fake magic of drugs. I lost interest in being out in nature in the mid 1960s and didn't get it back until I moved to Boulder in 1979. One good thing I got out of being in The Community was getting back out into the mountains, especially in Jamestown and Salida. Nature was my spiritual home again all through Boulder and on into Seattle. My annual backpacking trips with Jeff were the high point of my summer and in the winter I loved going to La Push. Trips to La Push even lasted a ways into my marriage. Then as my marriage went south nature became my solace and retreat. When I left my marriage to start a new life I turned away from nature. It was clear to me that I'd gotten what I could get out of being in the wilderness and now it was time to focus more on being with people via partner dancing. Dancing became my new spiritual home, especially with Ruth. I danced with her like I'd never danced with anyone.
Maryla the mensch. I moved into my new home in February 2021 from that cheap motel that felt like heaven. It took me two days to move in. The second day it started snowing. It doesn't snow much in Seattle. This was a big one, over a foot in my new hood. When I started moving in it was raining with a little snow mixed in. I could see it on my windshield as I drove to Capitol Hill: just a little granularity in some of the raindrops. I'd never seen the apartment I was moving into. I'd looked at a different apartment. That one got grabbed by someone else while my application was lost. Thank heaven. I got a much better apartment out of the deal once they found my application. I was surprised to find the place dark. I was expecting more light. As I was lugging my stuff down the hall Maryla told me there was a power outage. I was determined to bring another load from the motel. I wanted out of there. Heaven had begun to pall. When I got back with my second load there was light despite the power outage. Maryla had put candles all along both sides of the hallway for me, transforming it into a pathway of lights, a landing strip in the dark. It was a magic moment. I felt well and truly welcome home.
Enveloped. Since I left Boulder I have been afraid of being alone. I didn't feel it there, or when I lived in Salida and on The Retreat. I couldn't have. For good or ill I was enveloped in the The Community. Moments alone were precious escapes. But when I finally ditched all that I felt so alone. I'd been part of a machine, a group organism for so long I felt bereft of human contact. So I managed to stay in a relationship almost the whole time. Breaking up with my sweetheart right before the coronavirus hit has helped me get over that but I still had to go homeless momentarily to get ready for living alone.
Refinement and anxiety. When I first moved in I spent all my time getting things set up. Not just my belongings but every detail of my new life. It was a period of intense experimentation and refinement, guided by Leela. As a basic framework came together, I started doing a lot of work on this writing, hours every day. But as I settled in I started having more difficulty with writing. Writing started causing anxiety. I got anxious because my life is so focused here. Everything fits together: the writing, my sleep schedule, my diet, my solo dancing, the clothes I wear, apartment cleaning and maintenance. Every detail of my life has become an opportunity to surrender to my love Leela. What that means is that all the time, every day, I'm working to make progress with love just by living here alone. I feel anxiety when I make too much progress too fast. It's been that way ever since I made it through my cannabis induced panic attack. I have come to see anxiety as my canary. Yikes, I better back off. I can't handle any more truth right now. Nothing like panic to get my attention. So I had to cut back on writing for a while. Now writing's coming back but it's different too, subtly refined.
Living alone is a revelation. I had no idea what limitations I had to work under in a household setting, limitations I didn't even know were there. Living alone I can make my whole life into work on progress with love. My spiritual quest has become the organizing and guiding force for everything I do and every time I stop doing. I can do whatever needs to be done at exactly the right time, the right way with no rushing or tweaking things to accommodate other people. My life is my own at last and I happily give it all to Leela. Since 2006 Leela, my own inner guidance that I receive from my body via muscle testing and body sensing, has slowly had a larger and larger say in how I live. From 2006 through 2020 it was all remedial work. Since I moved into my new home in February 2021 I finally got past that. Now my life is 100% devoted to making progress with love. I doublecheck every tiniest detail, fine tuning and tweaking until I get it just right. All the elements of my life fit together and reinforce each other: diet, sleep schedule, solo dancing, dancing with friends, writing, watching movies and TV shows Leela chooses for me, cooking, cleaning, bathing, absolutely everything. It's intensely challenging and it's a dream come true, a dream I didn't even know I had.
Solitude in the city. I live in a densely populated part of Seattle but I keep to myself. During the day I rarely leave my home at all aside from checking the mail. My days are my own, and I spend them doing whatever Leela wants me to do, here in my home sweet home. I've treasured my isolation, but the times they are a-changin'. Increasingly now I go out dancing as dance opens back up. I used to want to dance every night. Now I think four or five nights a week would be about right. I have dear dance friends. I get fabulous high quality human connection dancing with them. For so much of my life I defined myself in terms of my lover. I always had a girlfriend or else was looking for one, longing for one. I'm finally fine with being alone.