The House Where I Live
An Interior Space of My Own Making
For the longest time when I lived in cities, my dream house was one that had an interior courtyard that was hidden from the world. It would be bursting with greenery and blooming flowers. Every room of this house, even the bathroom, would open into this bright, colorful, and private space. When looking at this house from the outside on all sides, you would have no idea that this enclave even existed.
Now that I live in the woods of Middle Tennessee, I am completely surrounded by a gorgeous forest that changes with the seasons and is alive with activity. That dream house feels unnecessary under these circumstances, but it now serves as a template for how I live my life.
As some of my friends will attest, I am a serial introvert, and I enjoy long stretches of time spent by myself. These forays into solitude have given me the time to cultivate an interior space where my creative ideas and dreams are free to take root, absorb nutrients, and reach for the sun. I have my own hidden courtyard in my mind and spirit—a spatial interiority that is as vibrant as it is invisible to the outside. Through the years, I have spent so much time there that I can access it whether I am alone or in a noisy crowd of people.
I first discovered this place years ago when I was spending countless hours at a piano writing songs for an album. My fingers would dance on the keys and my mind would open a doorway. It was not much at first—just an open space with dry soil and a small pond. But every time I went back, I added more.
Before long, I installed a giant stuffed cat with red velvet fur. He is curled up in such a way that lets me nestle inside where he lays. His name is Casio. Leaves of the greenest grass now sprout from the ground. In another corner, a buffet with an endless supply of sushi and all of my favorite Filipino foods waits for my feasting.
The scent of vanilla mixed with sandalwood wafts in the air.
The pond is now a lagoon. Oversized blue peonies float along its glassy surface. Clouds shaped like elephants lumber across the sky, leaving enormous footprints of sunlight where they have passed.
When it rains, a tall contortionist appears and holds a massive umbrella up high with his legs and feet, shielding Casio and I from the downpour. The lagoon swells with water and soaks the earth.
Green tropical plants of all shapes and sizes grow all over the place, and miniature grand pianos scurry everywhere belting out symphonic sounds, harmonies, and sonic textures that only I can hear.
A few years ago, my older sister gave me a coloring book for my birthday. It sat for a long time on my bookshelf until I remembered to try coloring in it one day. Everything about it draws my mind and imagination toward my interior courtyard. The colors I have added are the colors I see in this internal home.
Almost every time I play my piano, you can find me in this place, but I find myself there often otherwise.
On days when I feel broken or my heart is heavy, this is where I go.
But mostly, when life is beautiful and I feel loved, this is where I live.
A Note About the Art.
Pictured above are pages from a coloring book called Dream Catcher: A Soul Bird’s Journey that was created by an artist named Christina Rose. I used watercolor brush pens to color them.
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