Table of Contents

My new home

A new home on Capitol Hill. In February 2021 I moved from that cheap motel that felt like heaven into my new home, a studio apartment in a 1907 building on Capitol Hill with Corinthian columns out front. It took me two days to move in. All my stuff except for the survival gear I'd kept in my car was still in the garage of the Crown Hill house I used to live in. The owner, my former landlord, had long since moved into his new home so I had to arrange to meet him there to be let into the garage. I didn't have a van or truck, just my Impreza sedan. I made two trips over the first night after I signed the lease. I was surprised to find the place all dark when I arrived with my first load. As I was lugging my stuff down the hall in the dark Maryla, a fellow tenant, came out to greet me. She told me the cold windy wet weather had caused a local power outage. But I was determined to bring a second load over from the motel that night. Heaven had begun to pall. When I got back with my second load I could see light inside despite the power outage. Maryla had put tea lights all along both sides of the hallway for me, transforming the hall into a pathway of lights, a landing strip in the dark. Such a lovely gesture. I felt well and truly welcomed home. The second day it started snowing. It doesn't snow much in Seattle and this was a big one, well over a foot in my new neighborhood. As much as I grumble about lowland snow causing dance cancellations, it felt like a blessing.

My studio apartment is a spacious one (well, spacious to me) in the southwest corner of my building. As befits a corner room, it has natural light from two sides in the form of three generous sash windows with pleasantly low sills. I snug my bed up next to one on my south wall. That puts my face in the ideal position to be washed by Leela's sylphs and zephyrs all night long. It has old fashioned high ceilings set off with a strip of picture moulding in my great room. I was charmed to see it. I wished I had one back when I struggled with wall anchors in my house. But it has gone unused; now I like my walls bare. Speaking of which the paint is a marvel: pale taupe walls with understated cream trim. Remarkably tasteful and easy to live with. I think the hardwood floors were part of a major facelift the apartments got in the nineties. They're face nailed, so of course the finishing nails (scarcely more than brads) holding them down work their way up. Ah well, I can't dance barefoot on a wood floor anyway; Ariel feels the same. It's lovely having wood underfoot, to absorb and reradiate the radiant heat.

Enveloped. Since I left the Rocky Mountain West I've been afraid of being alone. I didn't feel that way in Boulder, Salida or on The Retreat. I couldn't have. For good or ill I was enveloped in the The Community. Moments alone were precious escapes. But when I finally ditched all that I felt so alone. I'd been part of a machine, a group organism for so long I felt bereft of human contact. So I managed to stay in a relationship almost the whole time. Breaking up with my sweetheart right before the pandemic helped me get over that but I still had to go momentarily homeless to get ready for living alone.

My spiritual home. My earliest memories are of nature as my spiritual home. I wanted to play and explore outside any chance I got. I loved to go out when a storm was kicking up, pretending I was flying in the saturated, electrically charged wind. Once the rain started sluicing down like it does in the South I wanted to be out in it, making little dams of sand and pine straw then channeling the water from the little ponds I created. I played in the rain for as long as it kept raining. Such a letdown when the dark gray sky began to lighten up and the rain petered out. Unstructured play was how I made progress; I had no interest in group activities or team sports. So as I entered the world of people in Marianna I needed kindred spirits to play with. In first grade I met Dale and Joe, kindred spirits who played silly games with me at recess. Joe and I became best friends. He was happy to spend the whole day with me swamp walking, some of the best unstructured play I ever found as a child. When we moved to Asheville recess got replaced by phys ed and the mountains became my spiritual home. Mountains made a much better spiritual home for me than Florida's piney woods and swamps. I lost my childhood home in nature when I moved to Kenya and took up booze and then pot. In Kenya I traded the real magic of spontaneous presence for the fake magic of drugs. I pretty much lost interest in nature in the mid sixties and didn't get it back until I moved to Boulder in 1979. One of the good things I got out of being in The Community was getting back out into the mountains, especially in Jamestown and Salida. Nature was my spiritual home again all through Boulder and on into Seattle. My annual backpacking trips with Jeff were the high point of my summer and in the winter I loved going to La Push. Trips to La Push even lasted a ways into my marriage. Then as my marriage went south nature became my solace and retreat. When I left my marriage to start a new life I turned away from nature. It was clear to me that I'd gotten what I could get out of spending time in the wilderness. Now it was time to focus on people via partner dancing. Dancing became my new spiritual home, especially with Ruth. Now, at last, my home and my spiritual home are the same place. Hallelujah.

Household. My descent into homelessness was the final step to prepare me for a new home. Before I could have a home of my own I had to confront my long term lack of my own home. The best time and place to consider that was while sleeping in my car in the cold, two nights that made a cheap motel feel like heaven. I'm now in my own home for the first time since 1979. For more than forty years I was a member of someone else's household, never my own. My new home is a lot like the one I left in 1979: an apartment with wood floors and radiant heat. I was co-owner of a home from 1998 to 2009, but that was our home, not my home. There's a big difference. Since I left Tallahassee I'd always lived in households. That was the word we used in Boulder for the suburban group homes faithful disciples lived in. A student who hadn't moved into one was not in a household yet, i.e. not yet a fully fledged disciple. When I arrived in Seattle I never considered living alone. My household mindset was far too deeply ingrained for me to think of that as a viable option.

What is home to me? Being momentarily homeless burned into me one simple truth: it's absolutely essential to have a safe place to sleep. It's right up there with food and water. But for me, home has a place at the top of Maslow's pyramid, not just the bottom. The right home for me is a place that fully supports self realization. That affords me as much unstructured time alone as I want. Looking through that lens makes many things about my past much clearer. When I left my marriage and my almost paid for house to start a new life, my little rented room in Crown Hill was ideal. I got so much done there. My focus was all external: dance, fall in love, improve my diet, quit drinking. Fixing my life externally got me to where I needed to live alone so I could begin doing serious internal work. But I was unable to grasp that or even consider living alone because of my household mindset. Leela cured me of that with two nights in the cold and guided me to my new home, a place just right for making progress with love right now.

Poisoned by prosperity. When I moved from Tallahassee to Boulder in 1979 living in a household was just what I needed. I'd been circling the drain in my overfurnished apartment on East Park Avenue. I needed to break out of my rut of being prosperous, collecting junk, and being self absorbed, i.e. an asshole. Prosperity had become an addictive drug. Giving up my cushy job and moving to Boulder to live in a household with other Harmonizing students was just right. Eventually living in a shared home turned into another rut I was stuck in, a rut that kept me from starting the work I needed to do. Having housemates limited my possibilities in ways I couldn't even imagine before I set myself free of those limitations by living alone. My life is my own at last, and I happily dedicate it all to Leela. Olly olly oxen, I am home free at last.

Progress and anxiety. When I first moved into my new home I dove into working on my stories, writing hours every day. I started writing these stories in 2020, during the lockdown, while I was still living in Crown Hill. I was making posts on social media that turned out to be rough initial drafts of a few of these stories. I continued writing intently through my stay in that motel, then really went for it once I moved in here. But after a few weeks writing started making me anxious. With help from muscle testing I was able to figure out that the anxiety was not a bad thing per se, but simply the effect of making progress too fast. Ever since I went through post cannabis hell, anxiety has been the canary in my coal mine, a sign that something needs to change and now. The same amount of writing became too much because ever since I moved into my new home Leela has been actively rearranging all the other details of my life so that everything I do contributes to making progress with love. My life is a recipe for progress, and every tiniest detail is an important ingredient. Everything fits together: big ingredients like my love Ariel, writing these stories, my diet and my dancing, and when and how much I sleep. Smaller ones like the clothes I wear, when and how much I clean my apartment, what I buy and what I throw away, my finances and so on. Leela turns every detail of my life into an opportunity to make progress. Living alone leaves me free to do whatever needs to be done at exactly the right time, in exactly the right way. I don't have to adjust anything to accommodate other people. As I've more and more deeply established in my life and routine here, particularly dietary refinements, the amount of time I spend working on these stories has edged back up. Working on these stories no longer makes me anxious. Instead, Leela tells me to take a break by making the prospect of writing uninteresting. She no longer has to bring out the big guns to get my attention. I've happily gone back to writing for hours every day.

Making friends with silence. Living alone, I've slowly become good friends with inner silence. My first experience of inner silence was so terribly fraught, a brief golden moment interrupted by a hell unrivaled by anything I'd ever known. For a full year after that I was terrified of inner silence. I mapped that fear onto the geography of my bed. When I lay on my right side I faced the side of my desk, with my phone on a little shelf and a light switch close at hand: safety, the known, familiar noise. When I lay on my left side there was nothing; I faced the unknown, home of madness and silence. I would quickly retreat back to safety. But I was always called back to the dark side; Leela was calling me to enter the unknown. That was 2020, the year of the lockdown and my last year in a household. Then I went through my moment of homelessness. In my new home I've slowly learned to call on inner silence, to rest in it. It's the answer to any distress, physical or psychological. That's where Leela lives; that's where she waits for me; that's her voice. Inner silence lets me feel enveloped and soothed by the delicious expression of love that is my body, which is Leela to me. It's been a long haul to get here. I'm so glad I lived to see the day.

Solitude in the city. I live in a densely populated part of Seattle but I keep to myself. During the day I rarely leave my studio apartment at all aside from walking down the hall to check the mail. My days are my own, and I spend them doing whatever Leela wants me to do, here in my home sweet home. When I first moved in I would go walking every day, a carryover from my last year in Crown Hill, when walking replaced dancing. As dancing came back it slowly pushed walking aside. I found my way to a sustainable schedule of dancing Thursday through Monday, with Tuesday and Wednesday off. In the bad old days I wanted to go dancing every night, to escape the emptiness of my life as a drunk, and then a dry drunk. As dancing came back I never needed or wanted that much. My life is no longer empty, and my needs for intimacy are very well met. Intimate time with Ariel fills my heart to brimming, and that plus dancing four or five nights a week with dance friends old and new give me all the intimacy I can handle. For so much of my life I had defined myself in terms of my lover. I always had a girlfriend or was longing for one. I'm finally fine with being alone. More than that, I need my alone time, I long for it. As it turns out, being happy alone was the prerequisite, the thing I had to do before I could fall in love again.

My monastic lifestyle. I used to call my Crown Hill rented room my little monk's cell. Leela guided me there, and guided how I lived there, via extensive muscle testing. It was a tiny cell compared to the home I left behind. The room I rented in Crown Hill was 90 square feet and it suited me just fine. My 300 square foot Capitol Hill studio is huge by comparison. But my life here might be considered more monastic. According to Wikipedia, monasticism is "a religious way of life in which one renounces worldly pursuits to devote oneself fully to spiritual work." My version of that is letting Leela guide me in everything I do here, down to the minutest detail. I test and retest every detail of my life, both here at home and when I venture out, searching for perfect surrender to my own internal authority, aka Leela. It's not all smooth sailing. I moved in here with seventy years' worth of bad habits and delusions. I've dealt with most of the ones I was aware of. But unconscious delusions remain. Leela will encourage me to go down a blind alley any time I need to discover a hidden delusion, like my keto delusion. My life here feels rich because it suits me perfectly. Everything I do contributes to making progress with love. I cook all my own meals: simple, delicious and ever-evolving. No restaurant food or takeout for me, and I avoid the free food they put out at some dances. The food at home is so much better. I had a few sad moments when I indulged in eating away from home then had to miss one of my wonderful home made meals. I cleaned house fanatically at first, then relaxed until the dirt started to show. Now I'm finding my way to the amount of cleaning that's just right: having everything exactly as clean as I want it, which it pretty damn clean. I meditate frequently during the day by lying down when Leela calls me to it with the sensation of sleepiness. My best meditations include a nap. I watch streaming movies and TV chosen by Leela when she calls me to do that, and work on this writing every day. Every week I work on music, refining my library and preparing next Monday's playlist for Waltz etcetera. If I'm going dancing that night, which I do four or five nights a week now, I schedule everything so I'll be ready to dance on time. My life is a deeply satisfying intricate game. I love living here.

Coming to grips with being an introvert. Living alone in my new home brings a lot of things into focus. I'm still not sure introvert is quite the right word for me, but it gets close enough to be useful. It's not so much that I need to be alone as that I need to be with Leela, and do the relentless work she has for me one hundred percent of the time. Anything that isn't part of that work has no place in my life. Some very important parts of that work I do in company: when I put on Waltz etcetera, when I go out dancing, and when Ariel comes to me and we hold each other like only lovers can. But for most of my work, the vast majority, I need to be home alone. Introverts, I'm told, need time alone to rest and recharge. I need that, but I also need open-ended time alone to do the ever changing, never predictable, often frustrating work of making progress with love. I now have a very good balance of time alone/time with others. But getting here has been a long, bewildering haul.