Gretchen Klinedinst Furst is a writer, blogger (The G-Note), teacher, actress, and mom.
Let the Meltdown Lead You Home
Sometimes a total train wreck is just what you need. I’m talking a hot-mess, pass the Xanax, get-it-together-girl kind of breakdown that can only end in a better perspective. I’m not kidding. I’ve had a few. They’re hell while you’re in there, in the middle of it, in the mess. But there’s always a light on the other side. In fact, if it weren’t for one notable meltdown I had many moons ago, I’d never have ended up finding home.…
My husband and I were desperately house-hunting. Our little cottage of a first home had sold and its closing quickly approached, but we still hadn’t found our new place. We were under the gun, practically nomads with two kids and no home in sight.
Before this crisis mode of trying to find a house super-fast, there had been an “almost” house. A lovely house, beautiful neighborhood, wonderful schools. We signed the contract. It was a go. Almost. And then it wasn’t. Because at the final decision-making moment, seemingly out of nowhere, my legs turned to Jell-O and my body dropped to the floor. I literally hit bottom; trauma, distress, and one hot mess on our little kitchen floor. Not my best moment. Catastrophic, actually. A moment that made things very difficult for everyone.
It erupted so suddenly, this unexpected frenzied storm. Perhaps a postpartum wave of emotions having its way? Perhaps the wear and tear of this big decision swirling in my brain? At first, I had no idea. I remember this terrifying fog--something I can only describe as “the not knowing”. Although my husband and I didn’t know what was happening to me, my body knew. My soul knew. Every fiber of my being seemed to know. And soon the “knowing” from my body and soul made its way to my brain. And what it was telling me changed everything: That house was not our house. The “almost” house: not our destiny, not our space in the world. And I knew it. In that crushing moment. Almost too late and at an excruciating, primal level.
As you may very well know, meltdowns aren’t exactly convenient. They cause cataclysmic changes that usually lead to chaos and aggravation. We had to break our contract. It was ugly & messy, and I very nearly drove our realtor crazy. He couldn’t understand. If not this house, where? And when? And why??And soon!
My husband (God-bless-him-the-man-is-truly-a-saint) gets me. He works very hard to get me. He accepts my faith in gut instincts, prophetic dreams, and signs from the universe. And God. And absolutely NO such thing as coincidence. He trusted my meltdown, so we set out on our search, under the gun of a very short timeline and a not-so-happy realtor. We didn’t know if we’d find what we wanted in the time we had left, but we knew for certain (this time) we’d know it when we found it.
And find it we did. And you know how we knew? We felt it the minute we walked in the door. Even before that. I’d driven past the house just a few weeks before, saw the sign, discovered the price was too high, and that was that. I moved on. But, when I drove by it again, after this game-changing meltdown, I noticed a new sign: PRICE REDUCED! And I’m pretty sure at that very moment, the sky opened up and shafts of divine light cut through the clouds and shined on the house. I couldn’t believe it. Here, on this tree-lined, beautiful street I’d traveled down all my life, right in our comfortable and convenient neck of the woods, right down the street from schools of my youth, close to the theater, minutes from the parks, seconds from the grocery store, overlooking a gorgeous golf course and with all wood floors to boot! Coincidence? No such thing.
When we first walked through the door, there-- immediately to my right-- was a laundry room bursting with sunshine smashing through a giant window that overlooked the front yard. So much joy and satisfaction and warmth and it was just the laundry room! It welcomed us. The whole house seemed to say, “Hello, I’ve been waiting for you”.
In an instant there was home. In every fiber of my being. And I knew it. We all felt it. We were HOME.
Now, had I ignored my breakdown or dismissed my body and soul on that hot-mess moment on that kitchen floor of mine, in the moments leading up to possibly saying a binding yes to a house that simply wasn’t our house, I’d be living a very different life right now. Not a bad life, but not my life where it was meant to be. There was nothing wrong with that “almost” house. It’s not at all even about the house, the structure, the size, or anything like that. It’s about feeling at home. That sense that this is where my unique compass finds true North.
That feeling is about space--sacred space-- space where your soul, your mind, and your body feel attuned and safe and like they belong. Home can be anywhere, anything, anyone.
Home can be a vocation, a relationship, the woods, a desk, a person, a theater…you know how you feel in such “home” spaces. Because it feels good. Home is a place to plant roots, to grow, to be yourself, a place where you thrive. That’s not so hard to recognize. The key is to listen when our systems tell us what we need to hear, good or bad.
It’s easy to try to ignore the meltdown feelings, but we must listen to them. In the meltdown, there are glaring red flags: fear, panic, worry, discomfort. That’s not home. Those feelings are a sign that we’re far from our true North.
Life changing, path-making messages live in both the sacred spaces as well as in the meltdowns. If we ignore the messages, we always pay the price later. If we listen to them, we’re always on a path headed home.
© 2018 Gretchen Klinedinst Furst