Photo credit: Hannah Caterino
How we view the world, and how we view ourselves, are critical to how we move and who we are. These perspectives—both out-ward and self-reflective—are our windows. Lately, I let the windows in my new home—the physical, literal windows—steer my vision.
Weeks after moving in, my neighbor (one of my oldest friends!) told me the new-to-me windows, my new portals to the world, were once at the edge of Lake Champlain. I have 4 windows, all round, facing the cardinal directions on the third floor. Upon first sight, they struck me as nautical. (I was correct!)
I live in the upper half of a house that was built in 1901. The second and third story are “mine”. It turns out this house is “fabricated”—one of the first in the country—a house pieced together… a house on top of a house… like Legos! My floors were the lighthouse keeper’s house at the edge of the lake, in the pre-electricity era. The keeper’s job was to literally keep the fires burning. The keeper nurtured the light within, and made sure it shone *out*.
Recently I learned about unconscious identification: one’s alignment and reenactment of a trauma that originated in a parent or grandparent—and we think it’s us, that we’re just “mysteriously crazy”– we take the full weight of a tragedy that was epigenetically passed down to us. It’s our fault: we’re just “nuts”, we might think. Mark Wolynn, author of It Didn’t Start with You, provides some sanity: Insight to generational trauma and the science and stories that prove it. (More coming in a future post.)
Thanks to my new home, I’m thinking about conscious identification: intentionally choosing character traits to be at the core of my personality or identity. I’m the new lighthouse keeper, according to me. It’s my job to keep the fires lit—for myself, and for others, so they make their way safely to harbor or successfully avoid the rocks…
I’m still investigating the history of my walls and windows, but knowing the original tenant’s vocation, or dharma, of fire-keeper and light-shiner…. I’m more in love with a house that literally felt like home the day I got here. I’m reminded every day to keep my own fires burning, and in doing so, it is then my responsibility to light the way for others.
How do your windows shape your views? How can you best feed your own fire, and shine the light out?