This Tiny Life ~ Part 1, The Kitchen

How a woman with a family of 5 came to live in a 900 square foot home and captured the gift of joy and living in the now.

We start in the kitchen.

There is a story behind every program, every offer, every blog post, newsletter or picture of mine. Or of yours. I live for the story. I breathe the story. Story is my muse. The Making Space Cleanse is one such story. A story of falling in love with the life we have so that we can live the life of our dreams. This little 10 day program is the heart of how I strive to live, to create, to guide.

This is a story of space.

This is a story of a tiny house that I fell in love with when we were a young family with just my Chloe who was two years old. This house was to be the one we fixed up, flipped and sold within 5 years. 8 years later I look around and a whole lot of fixing up is left and selling is something that appears to us in a distant place.

A few years ago after Lucas was born I would have the occasional visitor remark on how small the house was and how they couldn't believe we still lived here. I was filled with shame. Shame for my choices, shame for not having fixed it up enough, shame to have people in my world who said those things to me. I stopped having people over. Combine a small house, shame and a third child who required a huge amount of my attention and I was really exhausted.

Shame makes you mad and resentful for what you have. It took me a long time to move through that word. So many layers helped me move through the shame of my home and into the now. That is how my program was born. From the life I was living. Still live. And believe deeply in.

The now is that this is my house. The house I fell in love with.

I remember taking a walk in our neighborhood when Chloe was almost two, or maybe just two. We had been looking at houses but anything in our price range guaranteed there would be holes in the floor and lead paint peeling all over. We looked at houses where they didn't even remove their 600 pound snake from the bedroom because someone would buy the house.

The day of our walk we turn the corner from our apartment and we see piles of garbage in front of a tiny little bungalow. We knew this house would have a for sale sign within days. We were the first people to look at it, no holes in the floor. Lots of work, but good bones. We couldn't do major renovations, every penny went into buying.

I saw what I could do with that sweet home with a yard for Chloe to play in. I saw freedom from volatile landlords and paint colors of my choosing. I saw my first home. I saw myself growing up, feeling like an adult.

And so we bought the little bungalow. My tiny life became one of the most amazing teachers I would ever find.

As more children have come into our life the house does feel smaller. We bump into each other and fight over the one small bathroom. When someone is making lunch in the kitchen it is hard to have more people wander in and fill up water bottles or pour cereal because there just isn't that physical space to do it.

I can get so crabby without space. My physical world became my guide for how our connected our minds and our stuff are. The more I started to make space, the more I found that space inside of myself. Shame was replaced with joy. I worked really hard for that one. This is the only way I can guide anyone to make space, because I have studied it, practiced it and come up against it every single day.

I started to focus on less stuff and sought out simplifying and ritual. Making Space became my daily mantra. I painted the kitchen white and spent so much time deciding what would be part of that space. The most amazing shelf from Ikea to hold cups. I took the cupboard doors off to give the illusion of space and so I could see my dishes. Only dished I loved allowed to stay.

White space became the truth of the home.

Those beautiful cloud white walls spread to other rooms in the house. It felt fresh, open and as though I could actually alter my perception of space with such simple gestures.

White walls, only art and pictures I love. The kitchen became my art gallery of sorts. It holds my vision board, gorgeous ceramics, lots of jars and vases. I think about every magnet on the fridge and paper that clutters up space. We got rid of things like electric coffee makers and use a chemex because it is small and also beautiful. We have food for one week, no storage.

Yes, it is so small. We are a large family. I am always brought back to one of the first lessons in joy that I learned. Stories about people who would seek out bigger, more, better but never feel more joy. They had more cars, money and huge houses but often could not cure the deep sadness or longing they had inside with all of that stuff.

Making Space is to me living in our now while preparing for the waves of joy and gratitude that come as we start to live as the person we desire to be. We energetically align the more space we make in our hearts, homes and minds.

Stuff can be lovely. I love my jewelry and throw pillows. But space? Space makes me giddy. Clean dishes and the garbage taken out and a plan for dinner tomorrow gives me the freedom I need to enjoy my life now. It opens me up to be creative and sexy and fun! I feel really sexy with a glass of wine at night, a clean kitchen and my favorite jammie pants. No joke.

When I am making space my body glows. When I'm making space I connect truthfully.

Making Space is my mantra. Now you've met my kitchen. It is tiny but it is part of my tiny life that I make space for each day.

That is the first part of the story. The white walls of a kitchen. The daily mantra. Behind the scenes of how I create my work from the life I live. I might show you my throw pillows in part 2.