Sunday, July 27, 2014

Happy Where I Am (+ Patio Makeover Pics)

In the past, I spent many hours longing to be somewhere else...the beach, the mountains, a foreign country. It's such a waste of time and energy, because it didn't move me one step closer to those places. Or to happiness. It just kept me from being fully present.

As my son's only parent, I also worried sometimes that I wasn't giving him the best of life. We didn't have a big house with large yard. We didn't have a pool or a garden. We didn't have a front porch to sit on during summer evenings. On just my income, these things seemed impossible and I'd grow frustrated.

I often refer to my journey with yoga in posts and that is because it changed my life in so many ways. Not only the benefits to my body, but also the philosophies behind yoga practice changed my former and often negative ways of thinking. Through yoga, practicing mindfulness and letting go, I learned to be in the moment, not worry about things that may or may not happen in the future and not to worry about not having - or being - enough. Though regular meditation can be hard for me, moving meditations like yoga and knitting have done wonders for teaching me to quiet the mind and be just in the place that I am.

And to be happy in that place.

I looked around one day and realized my home was plenty big enough for my son and I. It's small and eco-friendly in the sense that it is less space to cool, heat, and use electricity for. And what was I thinking worrying about a yard? We live right next to a wooded trail area that has been wonderful to picnic at, explore, take long walks in.

I noticed that there was plenty of space on the communal property for a garden, so I applied for and received a community garden grant, and presto - the large garden of my dreams became a reality!

 It was just a matter of inquiring around to find an affordable pool membership, and let me tell you, that's one of the best summer investments I've ever made!

And while we didn't have a front porch, we had a patio.

 And I loved our patio. In the photo above, there is the fire bucket from the Summer Solstice Purging Ceremony I held with friends, just one of many lovely times I've enjoyed in that space. I take coffee there on mornings when I don't have to work or rush about, and my son and I many times enjoy a snack on our patio in the evenings, especially during spring and fall, when the temps are so nice and cool. However, after a lot of  years and use, my patio was getting a little tired looking and needed some sprucing up. And this weekend, we made that happen! For the price of a gallon of green paint and a pint of white paint and some good hard work (natural exercise like this is my absolute favorite!), we were able to transform this space in just one weekend.

I wish I'd taken more 'before' pictures, but I think you can get a good idea from this pic I snapped back in spring...

That ginormous rainforest is actually a rosebush that has seen better days. My son's father had planted it for me when I bought my condo almost 11 years ago, and why I'd left them as long as I did, I've no idea. Maybe it was idea of them being a living thing, but they were taking up awful lot of space, and in past few years had only produced few blooms. So though it was lot of hard work and many thorn nicks, I told them buh-bye and opened up SO MUCH SPACE. Then we got busy painting and weeding and tossing out junk that seems to accumulate no matter how hard we try not to let it. And two days later, we have this!


The green and white reminds me of beach houses on the Carolina coast! 

Hello, sun and open space!

A little detail of  the trellis with it's artsy decor, which are leftover pottery shards from my college days!

 I just love this little corner now. Miss the giant rosebush? Me neither!!

Of course, some of the decor must reflect the interests of the other inhabitant of this house! Carolina fans, according to my son, always have to represent! 

 As it is a patio, some spaces must be strictly utilitarian...

...but they can still be beautiful!

I'm so pleased with this space now, I couldn't imagine loving our cozy home more than I did before, but I do! And just to think there was a time when I thought it wasn't enough! Learning to be happy where I was, not only where I am in my life, and my journey, but my physical location as well, is one of the many beautiful lessons I've learned practicing yoga and mindfulness over the past few years. 

And now, I have another reason to look forward to tomorrow morning's coffee - it'll be the first one on the 'new' patio!

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