We were in no shape to host an open house. The punch list grows daily of the details that have to be finished to literally pass final inspections and allow us to move in on schedule. But I had this idea…. I wanted to bless the house and it needed to be clutter free to do so. I wanted family and new neighbors to get a preview of the house before we moved and overwhelmed the space with boxes. I also wanted to smudge the house (again, needs to be clutter free to do so). Why not have a “no shoes” tour of the house, bless and smudge the house BEFORE we move in? So I nonchalantly mentioned to Marc, our contractor, that I wanted to do this and before I knew what was happening he was whipping that place into shape to allow us to bless the house! He had a cleaning crew come in to remove the never-ending dust that settles on every surface, he put a full court press approach to painting the fireplaces and historic screens and coal racks in the fireplaces. Marcus, who also serves as my design assistant, made the serious sign for the workers and for the event “Sock Only – That’s no joke!” (since the final finish on the floors had just been done). The port-o-potty was temporarily located across the street where another house is under construction. And in spite of the long punch list, Marc made the house a home for an afternoon on a Sunday and for the first time I cried tears of joy, happiness, and gratefulness.
It was a special day. Aunts and cousins all shared their memories of the house. Remembering the claw foot bath tub that only came to our chin when we sat in it, the yard that was full of plants and camellias that you would run through like a maze, and the small “cedar room” (that only had a cedar closet but we called it a cedar room) where 3 boys slept as children. And most special was Miss Doris, 92 years old and as a young lady would visit my great-grandmother in her upstairs kitchen. Surprisingly, other guests had never visited upstairs while Miss Doris had never seen the downstairs (since it has been a duplex since the depression). When we asked her if she wanted to try and go upstairs she hesitated and then boldly said “let’s do it” and up she went!
As part of our blessing, we lit a pink candle, which represents love and kindness, and I read a small prayer thanking the family, the workers, our contractor Marc Engelke, thanking those who came before us and those that were not with us but that had prepared us for this journey. Here is a portion of the prayer with appreciation to MindBodyGreen .
“….. in lighting this candle we summon love, harmony, peace, and prosperity into our home. May we be blessed with good health, happiness, success, and abundance. May this home be a sacred dwelling for our family and friends. May those who visit us feel peace and love. We ask that this home be shielded from harm, illness, or misfortune. Thank you for bringing divine light, love and energy into our hearts, rooms, and endeavors. With tremendous gratitude, we thank you.”
I then lit the smudge stick (sage bundle available at any health food store) from the candle and proceeded to cleanse the house. Smudging is a Native American ancient and sacred ceremony and it is intended to clear negative energy from the space. Science suggests that burning sage and other herbs releases negative ions which is linked to creating more positive moods. Instructions on smudging are readily available online. I used a piece of slate that was recovered from the roof of the house as my fireproof container to hold the lit sage. I walked through the house, waving the smoking sage and asking for each room to be cleansed and blessed.
We celebrated with a champagne toast and a wonderful picture of the family! A few neighbors were able to join us as well for our “no shoes” tour and we informally began our life in this new beautiful home. Since then, I have been in an overwhelming place of gratitude and thankfulness. Overwhelmed with the people who have helped to make this happen and relieved to see all the pieces come together. So, while the house is almost done, my journey in writing about the house, the people and the community is not. Stay tuned for more posts that give a full final reveal, room by room before and afters, and the stories of the amazing people and resources who made it happen.
PS – I took this picture of the house just before the blessing. Can you see the light shining down on the house?