On this occasion, and paradoxically as I have sold, and am in the process of moving from my home of over half a decade, I feel very vulnerable writing this piece. Brace yourself reader, I’m in the nude, truly exposed and willing to share (as organically as you will permit) this process. We can all relate to the physical and often emotional exhaustion that accompanies a move. You don’t truly understand how heavy or light you travel in life until you’re forced to deal with furniture, appliances, paperwork, childhood mementos, books, photographs and chachkies you’ve accumulated with the passing of time.
How bittersweet it to part with a home at this moment and the anticipation and even fear that arises with the start of a new cycle. Oh, yes the f-bomb, that other dirty word: fear. But it’s a very real feeling that can paralyze us, and keep us in a dreaded cycle of angst and anxiety if we don’t nip it in bud (butt, would be more appropriate for Miami). The quicker we address the elephant in the room the sooner we realize it’s just an elephant. This too has a solution, just like every other thing we felt a tinge of fear toward. On the sunnier side, it’s simply kismet, for if I intentionally planned it perhaps the timing wouldn’t have been as perfect as it has turned out. As artists do, it’s far more organic to write about something you’re experiencing in real time — it seems more poetic and genuine.
“The place you call home is an extension of you…it’s your very own lighthouse when you feel despair.”
For inspiration, I delve with abandonment into literature — it can be very healing. Sitting through sessions about Gabriel García Márquez, Roger Rosenblatt, William S. Burroughs, Billy Collins, Octavio Paz and Faulkner at this year’s Miami Book Fair pacified me — hearing anecdotes of their passions and what moves them, in turn, moved me. Tales of their youthful perils and even insights on what surrounded these individuals as these works of literary art unfolded from their minds filled me with delight. It reminded me of being in Cuba and sitting in the hotel room in Ambos Mundos where Hemingway wrote For Whom The Bell Tolls. It was tiny and dingy but I remember thinking how the meandering pattern of the Spanish tile floor in its blood-orange and sand hues made it all fanciful; that many a romantic undertaking must have surely unraveled in place with tile of that ambrosial caliber.
The place you call home is an extension of you, your taste, your dreams, your desires, your intimacy, your privacy, your hopes, your joys, your triumphs…it’s your very own lighthouse when you feel despair. The more time we live in a space, the more we share experiences there, and the more we breathe life into it, reciprocally, it begins to influence us. There was a home I bought for my mother years ago, that I lived in for a time in between my move from Mexico back to Miami and it was a place that seemed perfect at face value, but there was something ominous about it. I had asked her to continue to look at places and not settle so quickly on this one, but there was no budging my mom, so to make her happy, I went against my intuition and I moved forward with assisting her in buying the home.
It was a place that once inside, you felt lethargic, and melancholic, two adjectives that I don’t usually identify with, but the feelings were there and I couldn’t shake them. My emotional state while in the house seemed to dangle from a twig that grasped for the root of a tree. It was a dark, thick veil I felt cloaked in. I started to imagine that perhaps I was now an individual that had issues with depression and was ready to do whatever needed to be done. Luckily, that wasn’t the case.
The odd thing was, once out of the home, my sunny disposition would return, it was conflicting. I found myself looking for every excuse not to return to the house every night after work. I then started observing how things were unfolding in my life, and came to the conclusion that it couldn’t just be a stroke of bad luck. Something within me urged me to do my research, and so I did.
“The more we live in a space…and the more we breathe life into it, reciprocally, it begins to influence us.”
I discovered from old newspaper clippings that a suicide had occurred there 6 years previous to our buying the home. We had been living in it for about 6 months. The man who lived there was abusive toward his family, so his wife and kids had left him. Before killing himself (and his dog) with a shotgun to the temple, he had dressed up in drag and set up makeshift bombs on the property so a SWAT Team had to be called in to evacuate about 50 blocks within the circumference of the home and deactivate all of the booby traps.
Yes, I know, the story sounds so far-fetched it can’t possibly be true. Well, it is. We sold the home, and I informed the investment company that purchased it what took place there. I bid the house and its energy farewell. The second I left that home, my life returned to normal. After leaving that property I rented a home, until buying the one I just sold, and since then I’ve done extensive research before moving in or buying anything, and perform a sort of ritual once I do.
A home is not just walls and a roof. In it, there’s energy we bring and energy that’s left behind by others. Whether it’s happy times, difficult days, celebrations, the passing of loved ones, births — a home partakes in all of this. The walls have memory. Einstein was quoted as saying: “Time is what prevents everything from happening at once.” If that’s the case, then perhaps all of those energies coincide on a parallel universe. On the scientific side, the quantum mechanical hypothesis states that universes are separated from each other by a single quantum event.
“A home is not just walls and a roof. In it, there’s energy we bring and energy that’s left behind by others.”
After the haunted experience, the bungalow I ended up buying was a very special place. Before moving in, I cleansed it with sacred sage, did a prayer service and every day that I lived in that home before I went to bed I thanked it, every night for 6 years. With a heart full of love and gratitude, just before taking my last breath inside, I whispered the words: “Thank you my dear bungalow.” It returned the kindness. I have wonderful memories of that home. I sold it to a lovely couple — it’s their first home and I know they will be very happy there. Before the closing, I went into every room, hugged a portion of the wall and made peace with the home. And this next detail I’m about to share might sound crazy, and I sure hope it does, because every so often we need a little madness in our life…but I felt the love back. I did. Bungalow love, baby. And with that, everything can fade to pink. The end.