By Geri, JBD Client
I was in the throes of my divorce battle, emotionally tossed and turned inside out with every new discovery that emerged from the shadows about my ex’s betrayal of our 21 year marriage and his secret life. And, as the divorce process usually spirals from emotional to financial distress, I found myself having to uproot my two daughters, ages 20 and 18, from our large suburban home to cramped New York City apartment living.
I sorted whatever I couldn’t take with me and the objects that reminded me of life with my ex. The floor in my den was piled high with the wedding presents we had received and things we had acquired through the years. There were stacks of dishes, glassware, vases, paintings, decorative pillows, small appliances, electronics and knick knacks. I called my friends over for a free-for-all and thankfully most of the stuff was taken. I gave away sofas, tables, beds, outside furniture and even pool toys. I purged. I was left as empty on the outside as I felt on the inside.
Karen urged me to fill my thoughts with images of what I wanted my next home to be like. “Actually picture it” she urged ”and after you see it, add details”. So I began fantasizing. Karen called it visualizing. First I saw a bay window overlooking a tree-lined city street. Then I pictured my cat Oliver sitting on the sill of that bay window watching birds in the trees. I imagined overstuffed couches by a fireplace where I could spend nights reading long, sappy novels. I even went as far, she said to go into detail, as picturing exposed brick on the walls of my 1800’s brownstone. I wanted a home dripping with history. A home that told a story, an energy I could
I found an apartment that I could afford in a high-rise building. It was a beautiful, pre-war building with lots of history. The apartment didn’t have a bay window or a view, the windows faced an alley and it was dark; it was a decent size, but had a tiny kitchen; it had a bedroom for my girls, but little closet space. I was pressed for time to get out of my house, so I submitted a rental application and was bringing the management company a certified check for the deposit.
The evening before my appointment to deliver the check, I went back online one final time to see available apartments on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. And there it was, the home I saw in my mind. I made an appointment to see it the following day, with the certified check for the other apartment in my bag.
The landlord and I, it turned out, had grown up in the same neighborhood. His sister and I had even gone to the same college a hundred years ago. We knew lots of the same people, and there was a familiarity that seemed unexplainable. He barely glimpsed at the financial records that I had brought with me to show the management agent at the high rise. “If you want it, it’s yours,” he said as he opened the door to my new home.
Upon entering, I saw the bay window, the sill Oliver would sit on, a gorgeous ornate fireplace, a twenty-five foot long exposed brick wall and twelve foot ceilings. “This apartment was last occupied by a Broadway actress” he explained, “She’s a legend. These walls are filled with music. The floors are also original; they date back to the 1890’s.”
There is a tree right outside the bay window that blooms purple flowers in the spring. I call her Flora. Birds sit on her branches and Oliver’s tail flaps back and forth as he watches longingly. There is a tenant upstairs that plays exquisite music on his piano and the sounds reverberate through the building.
I almost gave up on the home I pictured so vividly in my mind when fear nudged trust out of the way. Karen teaches how to take possession of our thoughts, how to take possession of our lives. It is a lesson I will remember forever.
What’s the mantra from that Kevin Costner movie? Oh yes, “If you build it, they will come”. If you picture it, you will live it. Thank you Karen.