Discovering My Passion from the Embers
How I worked with intention to buy a home and rebuild after a fire and ended up discovering my passion and intuitive skill for feng shui.
After many years of being a gypsy and letting my passion for glass guide me around the world, I felt it was time to put down roots. I went through a visioning process to get clear on what was important to me, and realized I wanted to live in a community that had a strong commitment to visual, healing, and performing arts. With that as my intention, I set about discovering where I might find such a place. Quite by chance, my search brought me to Western Massachusetts and the Northampton area. I moved here in 1991, and with every passing year I continue to meet new people, learn new things and appreciate the living culture of the “Happy Valley.”
In 1993, I had a deep knowing that it was time to put down roots and buy a house. The thought terrified me, as home ownership felt like a burden, and I had no resources with which to buy anything. But the impulse was strong, and I’ve learned to be obedient to it, so I began a visioning process to discover what was important. As I looked and listened I got clear on three things:
- I wanted to be close to my studio so I didn’t have to commute.
- I wanted to be close to nature so I wouldn’t have to drive to go for a walk in the woods.
- I wanted to be able to afford the mortgage so it would never feel like a burden.
Once I was crystal clear on what was most important, it showed up. An amazing property three-tenths of a mile from my studio, next to a pond and a park. A two-family house, with a separate garage with an apartment above it. I felt like I could easily live in any of the three units.
It took some doing to get the financing in place, but I was able to close in August of 1993. I did some minor improvements, moved my most cherished belongings into the garage apartment, and found tenants for the two-family next door. It was actually quite amazing to go from my gypsy life to being a homeowner and landlord in less than two years!
I had to turn within and trust my inner guidance to get clear on what I wanted – and my mantra became, “What do I want, what does that look like, what does that feel like?”
On Thanksgiving Day 1994, there was a fire that destroyed the garage apartment. Fortunately, I was away for the holiday, but came back to the smoldering remains. I lost everything but what I had with me – my dog, my car, and a change of clothes. It was beyond devastating. The loss hit me like a sudden death, and in the midst of grieving, I also had to work with the town to get a permit to rebuild, and with the insurance company for just compensation for what was lost.
I remember feeling overwhelmed and highly sensitive to everything. It was like rubbing salt on a wound, everything was biting and stinging. I discovered the difference between sympathy and empathy and realized the power of presence and what it means to just be with what is, without needing to fix it or change it. That level of presence is a gift, and from that a space emerged for the healing and doing.
The man from whom I had bought the property is a builder and landscaper, so I hired him to rebuild it. In the midst of all the chaos, we would meet each day for coffee and talk about what decisions would be made – for next week, for tomorrow, for today. It was a profoundly transformative process, and it gave me the experience of feeling the space as a blank canvas and giving it form with each choice I made.
I sought advice from experts. I was told it was valuable to have a garage and I should keep the apartment above it. Others said the resale value would be best with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. I had to turn within and trust my inner guidance to get clear on what I wanted – and my mantra became, “What do I want, what does that look like, what does that feel like?”, and every decision from window and stair placement to kitchen layout to electrical outlets to color became a journey of desire and intention.
It was an amazing process, and as an artist, I feel it took my work to a whole new dimension of understanding – creating a space that looks and feels good and expresses my unique flavor. My home and property has become a living work of art which continues to develop and change over time.