One woman’s quest to make sense of a nonsensical world after losing her dream home and all her worldly possessions to a raging and sudden wildfire. Exploring the existence of God, our cultural discomfort with grief, what it means to be human as well as life in a 1967 Airstream trailer, Kristen Moeller shares her humanity, her spirit and her dark edge openly for herself as well as for the countless others who beg to be heard in their wild journey through this wacky world.
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Frackin non-attachment, I chose fluidity.

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The next step is to leave this fine hotel room, head out in the rain, meet the woman who is buying our home, and sign the papers to make it official. I chose well to stay here for my last night after the furniture was packed up and the moving van left the driveway. Built in 1845 as a vacation home and turned into an inn over the years, the most recent owners did a massive remodel, restoring and preserving the character as well as adding luxury. The last time I stayed here was when I was a child and for some reason our house was unavailable. I remember narrow hallways and small cramped rooms. Now, my room is at the very top of the inn. Called “The Lantern”, it has a spiral staircase leading to the cupola tower with a 360 view of the surrounds.

I see my little town with fresh eyes. From this perch, I see both points of land, white caps on the open sea, boats bobbing in quaint little harbor, the iconic lighthouse, and swans gliding on not one pond but two. Then, retreating down from the tower, I rest on an oversized cream leather chaise. Yesterday, I realized my attachment to chaises is genetic. For as long as I can remember, Gramp’s spot was always on the chaise in his living room. My antique chaise burned in the fire as did my favorite spot in the universe, my leopard chaise. I have to say that this leather one beats them all. It’s wide enough, I realize, to fit me and at least one of my massive dogs quite comfortably. So here I sit, wondering about the how the day will go. Will it progress smoothly? Will we shake hands and exchange heart-felt appreciations for our transaction? Will I like “her”, the new owner of my childhood home? I want to like her, I want to feel good about whose hands I place the fate of our little castle. I also want this deal to pass and pass smoothly. We are ready for the next step even if it’s still into the unknown.

On the other end, in Colorado, stress on either side of the transaction is leaving some hiccups that may or may not get ironed out. I really like the seller there, feel that we could be friends one day, understand her predicament, appreciate her willingness to keep working together – and we have to make sure we are not walking into too much of a problem. And now some fear bubbles to the surface. We have been without a home for over 6 months, we are ready to settle. Will we settle?  Will it work out?  Will we be able to come to terms?

As I packed things from here, I was unpacking them there in my mind. Suddenly, the possession-less have possessions again – and now we need a sweet place to put them.

I write this to straighten myself out this morning. I want this last morning here to be fluid. I remind myself of the words of my shaman – “this is a time of fluidity, a new space you are moving in to. A time of releasing rigidity and your demand for it.” All along this journey, I have been dabbling with the notion of non-attachment and balking (at best) as I continued to see my attachments popping up everywhere.

Here’s the thing. Losing everything to a fire does not automatically instill a philosophy of non-attachment. No, it brings sadness, pain, loss and confusion. Also, it brings tiredness, wondering coupled with reams of paperwork, which must get complete. It brings negotiations with far away folks behind desks who depreciate prized possessions by 75% or greater. In our case, it brings a claim against the state we once loved so much for refusing to take any responsibility in burning our homes and killing our neighbors.

But we hear that non-attachment is a choice. Well, yes it is. Probably, a choice, I can make over and over again. But, I have to say that non-attachment seemed to devoid of feeling, rigid and stark. Then, my beloved teacher used the word “Fluidity” and something moved inside. Fluidity is something I can wrap my mind around. Non-attachment clearly does not inspire me. I was trying to make it work, I thought I was “supposed to”, but I am done with that. Fluidity on the other hand, speaks to my soul. Of course, there is overlap and connection. Fluidity means movement and ease and light dancing on water. It means I can let go of my belief that I need to be rooted and grounded and planted somewhere. It means that no decision is wrong as I can merely flow from one to the next. It means tides washing in and bathing everything clean. It means something different at every moment, as I know by watching the waves crash at the point. No pattern is the same, no wave identical, no gleam of sunlight on water reproduced.

That makes me sigh deeply. Fluidity, I can work with. I can return to ease contemplation of a seller in Colorado who needs to make things work for her family. I can return to a buyer here who wants to do the same. I can return to myself, not judge my tendency to grasp and react. What would fluidity do? It would breathe and expand and sparkle. I let it bathe my tired brain. I allow it to soothe my jagged edges. I feel its truth down deep. Yes, this is my time to let go on a level I never have before. Our Colorado house was taken from us. Our family home, we are choosing to let go of. They are very different experiences. With this house, I was able to walk from room to room and say my goodbyes. I chose to sweep it out one last time, even though the cleaners are coming today. I did this to honor the house, and welcome the new owner. I did this to complete the past as it was my assigned task that I despised for so long.

After sweeping the whole place, I moved from room to room and ran my hand along the walls, thanking the house for holding us so dearly, remembering snippets of life as I did. Each time a sob started, something came to ease its jaggedness. Opening the closet one last time, I discovered a pile of towels I meant to pack. Cursing David momentarily for putting the towels away after the laundry, I then appreciated the distraction from my pain. As I moved through the living room, a trapped bird was frantically fluttering against the glass. Quickly, grabbing a forgotten towel, I was able to catch the bird gently, momentarily meets it’s frightened gaze and release it outside.

The last step was my final closing of the door where I stopped to visualize hands on mine and imagine the sound of the door not just closing, but opening elsewhere. Turning, I stepped away for the last time, sobbing loudly and walked 10 steps and there was the neighbor girl coming to ask if her dogs could use the pen to run around. Stopped again from my deep anguish, I chuckled, until I found my car battery dead for the second time. “Figures”, I thought and went in search of the girls mother.

After we jumped started my car, I stopped for a few extra moments to know and hear this woman. Staying longer than I might have in my previous script for my departure, I saw her pain of being a single mom with an ex who left her with no support. Her eyes flashed with all that she carried, and she put her chin up to face the world. She offered her number in case my car died again this morning. I glanced down as she handed me the paper. Her last name: Angel.

 

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12 Responses

  1. Mickie says:

    Wow…this brought tears to my eyes. What a journey. Sending warm thoughts and gentle hugs.
    With love.

  2. Lauren says:

    Choose, choose, choose, glide, glide, glide. And what raw emotion you bring to the surface for all of us to examine, connect and comprehend. Thank you for writing Kristen. <3 this one. Serendipity is my favorite thing:)

  3. Oh, so useful right now. I notice I’ve been trying to be unattached, but keep noticing where I’m avoiding taking any action…don’t want to deal with letting go.
    I’m beginning to see where you’ve been and I’m moved by your words, your spirit. Thank you for leading the way. “fluidity”, perhaps I’ll consider this and let go of my solid grasp on my life. Thank you, dear one. xx

  4. Jessica says:

    oh my. OH MY. I read the last few paragraphs to Chloe. Had to swallow my tears. love you sooooooo

  5. There are times to me like the water and there are times to be like the rock.

    Here is something that has helped me more times than I can remember:

    Letting Go
    Author Unknown

    To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring;
    It means I can’t do it for someone else.
    To let go is not to cut myself off…
    It’s the realization that I can’t control another…
    To let go is not to enable,
    but to allow learning from natural consequences.
    To let go is to admit powerlessness,
    which means the outcome is not in my hands.
    To let go is not to try and change or blame another,
    I can only change myself.
    To let go is not to care for, but to care about.
    To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.
    To let go is not to judge,
    but to allow another to be a human being.
    To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
    but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.
    To let go is not to be protective,
    It is to permit another to face reality.
    To let go is not to deny, but to accept.
    To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,
    but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
    To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
    but to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.
    To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,
    but to try to become what I dream I can be.
    To let go is not to regret the past,
    but to grow and live for the future.
    To let go is to fear less and love more.

  6. Carol Teesdale says:

    Dear Kristen, I am so, so sorry for your loss. I have a similar story, I hope my share brings you a bit of peace and comfort. After struggling to “let go” of the loss of my home, I quickly gathered my most prized and cherish possessions. All of my photographs, my art collection, my journals, family heirlooms, letters from dear friends and the designer wardrobe I needed for my work. (There was more but I think you get the picture) :-) I loaded my possessions into my brand-new 4-runner… At least I still had that! I will try to make this long story short and cut to the chase…my truck was stolen and every material thing I really cared about was gone. After some panic and tears of sorrow, an unbelievable feeling of peace fell over me. I felt God’s presence in a way I had never experienced before. It was so clear I had lost nothing and gained everything. All I needed was my faith and love… And there was no shortage of either. I know everyone’s grieving process is so unique, I pray that someday your experience will be as positive as mine. I stayed at your house several times when Lanie lived there. The night she called, I struggled to understand her…But through her tears I heard “the little house is gone” and she was too upset to go on. That house was much more than a dream house… I was in shock and shed a lot of tears for you that night. I know there will be so much good on the other side of this pain. Keep your chin up, our thoughts and prayers are with you. Angels are all around you :-)

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