Where the heart is PDF Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Monday, 22 February 2016 18:42
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“If only these walls could talk.” How often have you heard people say that? The thing is – they do. And you’ve probably been hearing what they’re saying all along. Of course we don’t always listen.

Okay, I’m not trying to weird you out. I’m trying to put into words what most people know at a gut level. Homes have personalities and most of us will feel this almost immediately upon entering them.

Anyone who has ever gone house hunting will know that there are houses that say ‘yes’ to you and those that say ‘no’. Teri Uktena says even if all the properties are the same and meet your needs, only one will feel right because only one will be saying ‘yes’.

We live in a 1905 house with a very special personality. I fell in love with it the second the estate agent unlocked the front door. The tour of the house was completed without me. I was still standing at the threshold. Touching the doorframe. “I’ve been waiting for you,” the house said. What took you so long to find me?”

I was home. In a sense that I’ve never previously been home. Of course I’ve had bonds with houses before (pun intended). One of my first memories of an overpowering sense of loss and sadness was when my family moved to a new house when I was about four years old. I kept wanting to go ‘home’.

And then, when my parents finally moved more than thirty years later, I kept wondering whether a house would miss its people, if the imprint on the carpet would miss the table’s leg, the faded spot on the wall the painting that used to hang there, the floor the weight of a favourite old chair in front of the TV . . .

I’ve called many places home since leaving the house I grew up in. And I’ve left all of them, some with sadness, but others long after I’ve been ready to pack up and go.

Teri says that when the time comes to break up with a house, we can feel it. “Things become uncomfortable, too small, no longer supportive, difficult, dank, problem riddled. Just like any other relationship, we can outgrow the other person or they can outgrow us. The relationship can become stagnant and eventually needs to end. Sometimes this is so gradual we don’t notice it. Other times it’s sudden.” 

Choosing a house, “like all potential relationships, there’s no guarantee how things will go. Some last for a lifetime, some are brief affairs, some never really get off the ground and some are bad from the start,” Teri writes.

She says that when we stay long enough in one place it is noticeable that our homes start to look and feel like us. “They can mirror for us what we have refused to see and help us begin to live authentically.” 

Really, girlfriend, if you want to discover your unconscious dreams, values or fears, take a look around your home. It is a template for your life.

In his book, ‘Snoop’, psychologist Sam Gosling explains how we showcase our personalities in unexpected and unplanned ways in our private spaces.

“Essentially, what your home does is distil a very long history of behaviours and choices,” Sam writes.

He explains that if you meet someone new, you only have a very short sample of their behaviour. But, when you visit the person’s home you see the reflection of recurring actions and preferences, whether deliberately or unintentionally.

Then, of course, apart from your habits influencing the things in your home, there’s also the vice versa.

Environmental psychologists say that every object in your home has an influence on you. Carl Jung called this numinosity. Without numinosity things are mere objects to you because there is no psychic energy exchanged; you feel no emotional attachment, no sentimentality.

The odd thing is that when you begin to figure out the hidden messages in your home and when you start changing those things that do not serve you, you don’t only change your home – you change your life. You create an environment that helps you become who you truly are.

We need to decipher these messages consciously because we’ve learned to become deaf to what we knew as children – that walls do talk.

 

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