My wife and I live in a Tudor-style house that was built in 1927. My home office sits on the second floor of the house. It’s a cozy nook lined with cherrywood book cases. In one corner sits a cushy leather wingback chair facing a fireplace, a perfect place to read in the fall and winter. At the other end of the room is a cherrywood roll-top desk, where I do the majority of my writing. In the room’s center, that’s where I meditate. This room is my sanctuary, one of the places on Earth I feel safest and most grounded.
One thing about 1927 is that they didn’t have the electrical appliances that we do today. Like most of the houses built in that era, my house had a good deal of the old, two-pronged electrical sockets. My wife and I always knew that someday we’d get around to replacing them, but eighteen years slipped by without us making it happen. That is until last fall, when I was poking around the attic while wiring the place for Ethernet, and actually saw the old wiring with its crumbling cloth coverings. Okay, I thought, it’s time.
For anyone who has ever looked into doing this, you’ll know it can be hugely expensive. I felt a little better about it, since we’d been told by the home inspector who looked at our house when we bought it that only the upstairs needed the wiring update. Of course, this meant that electricians would be invading my prized upstairs sanctuary, but only for a week. What could go wrong?
I spent the weekend before the electricians arrived moving everything out of the upstairs that might conceivably be in the way. Over everything else, I threw plastic tarps, including meticulously taping them to the floor to protect the carpets. Okay. I was ready.
Having had work done on our house before, I have a little formula that I use to try to harness my expectations of what will be completed when I get home from work. I imagine what might be reasonable for a given day’s work, then divide that in half. But even I wasn’t prepared to see my walls full of holes and only one overhead light rewired. Good lord, I thought, this is going to take weeks!
By the end of day three, the upstairs still wasn’t quite done. But there was worse news. Except for some dedicated circuits that we had had installed over the years, the entire house had been tied into the old knob and tube wiring. Ninety-percent of the downstairs would also have to be replaced.
I crouched there in the plaster dust and bits of ancient insulation in the ruins that had been my sanctuary. In most places the plastic tarps had pulled up from the carpet, littering the exposed corners with grit and attic filth. My sacred place had been violated! Then the dawning realization: This chaos would soon hit the entire downstairs and basement. No place would go untouched.
The next three weeks were akin to camping in my own home. I’d spent the entire year up until now meditating every day, listening to positive visualization, honing my ability to zero in on positive things. Now that was all out the window. Circumstances had infiltrated my sanctuary, my Jedi temple.
I am happy to report that after three weeks the place is fully rewired, the holes patched, the patches painted. Keith of Greener Northwest Carpet cleaned up the floors for me, and I spent the last weekend moving all the furniture back in place. I am back to meditating again, grounded, back to center, but it does point out a significant flaw in my system. I need to have an alternate Sanctuary on hand as backup or, better yet, many sanctuaries where I might learn to center and focus. I like to believe I’ve learned my lesson now.
One thing still looms to knock me off center again. I am still waiting for the bill.
Brian Mercer is the author of the supernatural YA novel, Aftersight (Astraea Press, 2013). He is also co-author with Robert Bruce of Mastering Astral Projection: 90-Day Guide to Out-of-body (Llewellyn, 2004) and The Mastering Astral Projection CD Companion (Llewellyn, 2007). A board member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and senior editor at Author Magazine, he lives in Seattle with his wife, Sara, and their three cats.