Over the years, I’ve had many night time dreams that have me going down into the basement of whatever house I’m living in, and finding new rooms there. Or finding another set of stairs going down into another level that I hadn’t known about. In those rooms are all sorts of different things, depending on whatever else was going on in my life at the time of the dream. Sometimes it’s been old family furniture that is worthless and needs to be thrown out; sometimes it’s been boxes and boxes of fascinating books and archives that seem like treasure to me. I’ve also had dreams of finding out that I had an attic that I didn’t know about, or going up into my attic to find an abundant cache of gems. In one dream I found an new room several levels below my house, where I sat with a friend and had a great d & r (a “deep and real” conversation).
Well, there’s lots I could say about the probable meaning of those dreams, and perhaps I will sometime. What I want to talk about now, though, is how to make some dreams come true. Literally.
I live in a bi-level home, where you walk in the front door and there’s six step up to the main level, and seven steps down to the lower level. (One of the side benefits of arthritis is that one tends to know exactly how many stairs it takes to get wherever you want to go. . . . ) I have my study on the lower level, filled with books, papers, paints, and canvases. Filled to overflowing. (My excuse is that it’s a small home. My other excuse is that even though I may be only a few books short of an episode of Hoarders, I do keep only the books I use or anticipate using, and besides. . . if that’s my worse fault [a big “if”], well, get over it.) But I digress.
I’ve been thinking for awhile that I want to do more small groups with women, facilitating Contemplative Writing groups or Dream Exploration groups, or even some Intentional Creativity groups in painting. But where? One of my limitations is that it is very difficult for me to do out in the evenings, and I work best when people come to me, i.e., to my home for visits or groups. I have a Story Circle as well as art journaling afternoons around the kitchen table upstairs, but don’t want to increase the time that the kitchen is basically “off limits” to the other people that live here.
My study downstairs has always seemed too small to have more than three people in it at one time, and I’ve been eyeing the Video Room. But that would again involve kicking out someone who lives here who is using that room as a “man cave.” One of my gifts, though, is creating space where none seemed to exist before. (Dear spouse calls that cramming too much into one cabinet, but he’s not writing this post. . . ) I started looking at my study, walking around with a measuring tape, checking out the sizes of bookshelves, tables, carts, footstools, and chairs. I decided that a storage room might as well be packed to the ceiling, put some boxes and small furniture into the garage (well, asked the strapping teenager here to do the heavy lifting), took a few bags to the Salvation Army, and had a friend help me vacuum, clean and organize the room.
I measured and thought about what kind of table would work well for small groups. My kitchen table is wonderful, but besides already being used in the kitchen, is too big for my study. I thought an oval table that easily seated six, preferably with a pedestal base, in a light color, with chairs that aren’t too big, would be perfect. I didn’t want to spend the money for a new one, and I’m not one for following things like Freecycle, Buy and Sell, or Craigslist. However, my son volunteers for the Salvation Army Thrift Store, and last Saturday when picking him up, my table had just been put out onto the floor for sale, and at a price I would happily pay. All wood, pine, seats six, with three chairs (just the extra number I need), pedestal base, and just the right size. And it’s already broken in! It looks well loved, with a few scratches and stains so that when I inadvertently add a stain or heat spot to the surface I don’t have to get all upset! In a stressful world, I want my furniture to be stress free.
My study is still filled with books, still has my comfy lazyboy chair, but now is spacious enough for a small group as well. Dream come true: I found a new room in my basement!
Some things I learned (again) about making dreams real: some days call for 15 minutes of work, 15 minutes of rest, but that still moves the project forward; other days call for only 15 minutes of work, and that still moves the project forward; things always take longer than you anticipate; when you can’t have everything you want, now, you can often have what you most want, now; you can squish more square and rectangle containers on a shelf than baskets and circular containers; exchanges of time and energy with friends and family are really win/win; and it’s always important to listen to your dreams . . . including your night time ones.