the little lemon blossom house

Hi Beautiful,
Do you have a space that feels like your own, a home-space into which you can just unfurl yourself and feel free and safe? I've been considering what the ingredients of this kind of personal, sacred space might be. Of course one must have the actual space, as I talked about here. But then there is the element of self, the inner work that needs to happen in order for us to be able to bloom and unfurl into the waiting space. I'm thinking this is more important than the space itself.

When I was twenty-something, and on my own, I lived in L.A.. For a lovely while, I lived in a tiny house that was all my own. It was a guest cottage in the backyard of a sweet family in a modest neighborhood that felt safe and quiet. The tiny house had one big room with lots of windows, and a closet sized bathroom and a closet sized kitchen. It was everything I needed. There was a big lemon tree outside the window above the bed, and a big pink bouganvilla draped above the door. In the winter the lemon blossom smell filled the whole little house. I had a futon on the floor with red sheets and vintage pillows embroidered with roses. I had a huge altar with big space to sit and meditate and do ritual, I had bookshelves,  a tiny table, lots of candles, an armoire, and big floorspace to lay out the huge unstretched canvases I painted on. The house always smelled of incense and oil paints which is actually my idea of heaven. Not fresh baked bread, no; lemon blossom, turpentine, and sandalwood. Two things I did not have in that tiny house were a TV, and a computer. (No one had computers in their houses yet.) When I wasn't working or hanging out at a Russian cafe in Hollywood with friends, I was relishing my time alone in that tiny house. I painted, listened to Miles Davis, made journals, read, meditated, painted some more. I unfurled my self fully into that little house, it was my sanctuary.

That was now 20 years ago. In no time at all I had moved out of that little house and was living with a husband and my baby. Then for a while just with my baby. Then with another husband and my amazing toddler. Then in no time at all on four acres with (same) husband and my teenager, with house and studio, garden and woodshed,  dogs and cats etcetera, surrounded by lots of love and apparently with plenty of space in which to unfurl, but still with this incredible nostalgia for lemon blossoms and turpentine, sandalwood and Miles Davis. But what could I possibly need that I did not have?

I mean I have my own 750 square foot studio. The studio alone is twice as big as the little lemon blossom house. And I own it. With equity no less. I have a supportive partner, and work that I love. I do feel free to be me. Don't I?

This is a woman's life. I think it is so natural to be touching this nostalgia, this possible empty space and need, at this stage in my woman's life. It's called an "empty nest," but maybe we need to rethink that. Because there is an emptiness, yes. I miss my child, yes. But I also know she is happy, she is making her own life and doing exactly what she should be doing at her stage of life. I miss her but I do not feel bereft. Or... if I feel bereft it is for the girl in the lemon blossom house, painting her heart out til late at night, blooming and unfurling fully into her self-created sanctuary. That's what I want to do with my empty nest. Feather it to welcome her back. And you?


Em said...

I live in LA and I am actually going to be looking for a house like your lemon-blossom house in a month or two.

I need a small space, to live in alone, with next to no furniture and lots of windows and paints and dyes.

You're literally describing my next step. Heh!

Bronwyn said...

Oh Em, that is so wonderful. I know you will find your little lemon blossom house and I love to think of it! Keep us posted as the search unfolds...

Madame One Tree said...

Bronwyn, this was so completely beautiful. As I read, my mind reawakened and found the key to a little space that I lived in years ago, nothing as lovely sounding as yours, but a space in which I slept, ate, breathed creativity. It was beautiful to me and I wish I had it back. I think that is what my straw bale/cobb house dreams represent.. that cozy, monolithic cocoon-ey, protected space in which I can be creatively myself.

Bronwyn said...

It's that 'room of one's own' thing again, isn't it? We each may harbour a dream of what that space would look, feel, and smell like - and it is essential for us to have that physical space - but there is also the psychic space - maybe the self-permission - that we need in order to begin to create the physical space for ourselves.

Quinn said...

How beautiful this is...lemon blossom and sandalwood. What magical scents!

My spaces have always been so important to me, and looking back now I find that they have always had those defining traits that make me nostalgic for them. The Railway Cottage in London that shook as the overground passed by, the LA apartment complex with a DisneyLand like automatic turn on/off creek, and the ocean front studio that brought in marina breezes. Now I'm back in Arizona, recreating my space next to a desert preserve in the home I grew up in. I'm painting, decorating, and creating a new me in this new (yet old) space. These spaces have created me as I have created them.

Thank you for sharing your lemon blossom love! This is my first time here so hello! :)



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