I spent the better part of Saturday re-arranging the furniture in my living room. I had to. I’ve lived in my apartment for 2 1/2 years, and kept the layout the same as the day I moved in. I shoved the armoire over there and that table and wall hanging over here. They all sat in their designated spots, each in the wrong place, with lack of foresight or understanding of how major items of furniture should be centralized instead of hidden against back walls and corners. There’s a reason why accent tables were given their name. They accentuate areas relegated as after thoughts. That corner near the door – that back wall near the kitchen.
In re-creating my space, it allowed me to re-arrange the energy around me. I’ve always held a connection between visuals and spiritual well being. Maybe it’s the Sagittarius in me. I love aesthetics. Vibrant colors, patterns and textures provide a sense of calmness. Areas allotted for open space allow the air to circulate. I breathe easier. The flow works better. The mind becomes uncluttered and stimulated. The climate within my walls has changed for the better. Ideas for writing and business are cleared for take off. But this is only a recent change. It wasn’t always this way.
For the past two years, there was a particularly challenging neighbor who lived next door. We shared the main living room wall. A few days after I moved in, my welcome from her was a knock on the door to tell me my dog cried all day while I was at work. It wasn’t exactly a nice house warming, but I didn’t expect much. I felt terrible about it and tried my best to bring in dog walkers and friends who would hang out and calm him down until he got used to the new place. But that didn’t last since she ambushed them at my door, complaining that she told the lady (me) about how my dog cries all day.
One of my friends felt backed into a corner by her, and called her a bitch. If you knew my kind hearted friend, you’d realize that she really had to be badly spoken to for that word to come out. I’ve been on the receiving end of this neighbor’s wrath, and it was easy to be placed in a defensive mode. That was the neighbor’s energy. My friend loves my dog, and sadly said she could no longer come by to hang out with him. The vibes next door were too negative.
I spent the next two years trying to keep the peace by spending thousands of dollars on doggy day care. Money I could have spent building my business. Money I could have spent going back home to New York. Money I could have spent buying new clothes and a desk to write on. I let her do this to me. I own that. But her energy was a darkness.
You might ask, well – what did you do to provoke her? Nothing. Really. She kind of scared me. I wanted nothing of her, and feared her knock on my back door. I stayed to myself, went to work, kept my dog out of the house, or took him with me for night time excursions to the supermarket. I lived my life and minded my own business.
If we encountered each other, I’d be grateful if she was nice to me. She gave me her phone number in case I needed help while recuperating from surgery. She tried to be friendly when the dust up of our last argument settled, confrontations started by her. Yet, I was always uncomfortable – always felt awkward which must have made her feel the same.
There was something going on beyond that wall. Maybe her stay at home business was going under? Maybe she was emotionally damaged? Maybe she thought I was the negative force? Just the idea bothers me intensely. I contributed nothing to the emotional state she chose to live by, and I resented being pulled into her drama.
One night, I noticed a flash of light beyond my kitchen door. (We shared a back landing – our kitchen doors faced each other about 10 feet away.) I looked through my door window to find her hovered over a pot, burning sage or paper, practicing what I could only guess was the art of smudging, because the next day, I found a piece of paper under her door with smudged markings on it. It stayed there for weeks.
I’m not sure if this was because of me, or if she was warding off other negative forces happening in her life. It seemed that on any given day, she would also burn sage outside her back door in broad daylight. As a devotee of burning incense myself, I truly respect the practice of burning sage. However, knowing the person behind the smoke, the intent was questionable. The smoke would enter my kitchen smelling like bad weed.
Sadly, the sage couldn’t save her from the man who kept ringing her doorbell and knocking on the back door the she refused to answer. It couldn’t dissipate her dispute with the building management. It couldn’t prevent her from presumably having to leave her apartment for not paying rent. The current new tenant said he accidentally opened mail he thought was addressed to him from our management firm. It was really for her, stating she owed several thousands of dollars in rent. (Funny, she told me the landlord owed her.)
I can’t be mad at her. She was likely an angry soul fighting for her right to live on her own terms, even if it forced others with sensitive natures to live under her darkness. Depending on one’s past and psychological make up, when a person feels powerless, they try to control others to compensate. I was her prey. And I allowed it – just to keep the peace. I didn’t want to hear that angry knock on my door.
Now, that she’s gone, and my new neighbor is a dog loving sweetheart of a guy – the air has cleared. My lessons have been learned. I’ve moved my armoire to the main wall, my pretty furniture to the forefront, my sofa sideways, my big photo over there and my pretty mirror over the faux fireplace mantel. I even set up a dropcam so I can see my dog at home while I’m at work, and can monitor his, what turns out to be, infrequent crying. (He’s a hound. He gets lonely.)
It’s clearing. The webs and the darkness. Open spaces, light and fresh new air.
As for the former neighbor – I hope she finds peace. I really do. There are millions of people in this world who are as angry and as tormented as she. Let’s hope they all find the open space and the fresh air.
Meanwhile – things are shifting nicely.