“Wisdom is the recovery of innocence at the far end of experience.” Bono
As a little girl, I loved reading books with my mom. I loved hunkering down with my mom and listening to her read to me. I remember she would wear her very 1970’s fuzzy orange robe with the big white zipper that had a circle on the pull. She used to let me do whatever I wanted to with her hands; I was fascinated that her thumb nails were so durable and strong, just like her. Back then, her fingers smelled like recently smoked cigarettes which offered comfort in the most unusual way. I remember sitting on her lap while she talked on the phone and let me climb all over her without telling me to go away. She didn’t even have to pay attention to me, she could just let me climb up her leg and play with her hands and I was happy. I was probably like one of those pilot fish that attach to sharks. My mother was always the sun in my universe.
I recall having many favorite books, including the Sweet Pickles series, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books, Trixie Belden, Ramona and the Duck Feet book too. I loved them all. The Sweet Pickles I remember so clearly because I loved looking inside the covers at the animals - they all corresponded with a letter and were so personified. There was one animal for every letter - Elephant, Camel, Stork, Alligator, those stories I remember. For the life of me, I still don’t know what a Xerus is. Is there another X animal that might have fit in to tell a life lesson story? There was a map on the inside back cover, and I loved to look and see where the animals lived and see who had a house and who lived in the apartments, what way did Elephant take to the grocery store where he worked, etc. This became more interesting with every new story read to me which gave us a closer look at each animal’s life, sort of a Sweet Pickles soap opera if you will. Then I needed to look back at the map and at their living arrangement again to figure out what their day to day was like. Yes, I have always been a little exhausting, even for me. (Editor's note: I have an immense amount of Gemini in my chart and learning that has helped me to be a little easier on myself. It’s almost unavoidable!)
Perhaps I just loved animals, and extreme displays of imagination and when things became people as was the case in my most favorite book ever: “The Little House” by Virginia Lee Burton. I am sure she is better known for her Mike Mulligan’s Steam Shovel saga but this one was my absolute favorite.
As an adult I bought myself a fresh copy and have since gifted this book to others. It makes me cry or, at the very least, feel feelings every time I read it. (Remember, emotions are not my first language.) Even the cover reminds me of my childhood, it is blue with a circle of white daisies on the cover. Daisies were mom’s favorite flower and the wallpaper in our first kitchen was blue and white checks just like the blue on the cover.
As a little girl I loved the images, the way the author changed each season with the finest details, the little pond would be frozen in the winter or a swimming hole in summer. The apples on the trees; the leaves red for the fall or pink in the spring. It was just perfection. To this day, I see a face on every house because of this book. On second thought, that could also be because of the Amityville Horror, but I digress.
If you are not familiar, it is the story of a little house who lives on a hill and has a family who lives in her and loves her and in return, she protects them with her house-ness. She is pink and she observes the sun and the moon phases and the stars and the trees changing with each season and she loves the life that is lived within and around her. There are children in her fields, apples in the trees on her hill and life is good.
Inevitably, and through no fault of her own, things start to change. Roads are built, cars and trucks and traffic come through. The kids grow up and move away. With the roads come buildings and before long her previously sunny hill evolves into the city. Eventually she is abandoned. She only sees the sun once a day and she never sees the moon or the stars anymore. She is alone and afraid.
One day, a long lost granddaughter of the family who built the house wanders past and recognizes the house. After some research, she comes to find out It is the same house her grandmother grew up in and she moves the house back out to the country. The house is afraid at first but then they find a hill for her to settle on, just like the one she was built on. She is fixed up, given a new coat of pink paint and all is well again. She finds the sky again, sees the sun and the stars and the moon and watches the seasons. And she is happy and safe once again.
Are you misty? Because it gets me every single time even when I am not reading it but just retelling the story. Who can’t relate to the Little House? I used to think it was just hard for the house when it got left alone and lost its link to the magic all around. But now I see it differently. WE ARE ALL THE LITTLE HOUSE. We all go through phases when we feel lost, when we can’t find the stars or the sun and when our people seem to have left us. And what brought the little house back is the same as what brings us all back.
Wait for it….
LOVE. It is love. Pure and simple.
Sometimes we all need a new coat of paint, or some shutters, or some time in the country to look at the trees and the stars.
I have read this story so many times, and I used to want to yell out, “Hey Little House, don’t worry, the granddaughter is coming for you! You won’t have to stay there much longer.”
But I never have yelled that. The house got rescued. But the real question is, how do we rescue ourselves?
The biggest first step I can recommend is to find who, what or where you love and what balm would heal your soul and then find ways to have or do more of those things.
What lights you up? What is your soul drawn to? What makes you wiggle with excitement? There is a magnetic pull inside you that draws you towards who and what is meant for you. Lean in, listen without hearing, feel your way. This can take time and may not emerge for you over night. One thing I can say, is that by leaning into what lights you up, or even leaning into start searching for it, you will automatically start to feel less alone, more empowered and a little closer to your hill in the sunshine.
The other good news is that our little house couldn’t save herself because she is a house and was stuck in place. YOU ARE NOT STUCK. Therefore, you can start to take steps to save yourself.
I have felt stuck, A LOT in my life. I can absolutely relate to this energy and the frustration that comes along with this. I have felt like this in jobs, in relationships and many other life situations. Most recently, I have been in a sort of fugue state that has followed my mother’s sudden death. It’s not been an intentional stuck feeling; it’s been more like I just can’t move. Lately, things are shifting around me that are making it evident that this is not a place I can stay much longer and it’s time to process that which has been evading me. I feel it coming, this tidal wave of emotions and I think I am finally ready to swim in it. What has helped me along the way, is leaning into the things I love and that speak to my soul. These things have been the balm my soul needs to help me take this upcoming deep dive.
Do you feel like the little house? Have you been there? Are you there now? I would love to you help you feel less stuck. I can help you to rescue yourself, to find your hill in the sunshine and recall the innocence that makes you the amazing individual you are deep in your soul. Reach out for details.