I will dwell in your house forever…I dwell in possibility… what does it mean to dwell?

  • live in or at a specified place
  • think, speak, or write at length about a particular subject, especially one that is a source of unhappiness, anxiety, or dissatisfaction
  • a slight regular pause in the motion of a machine

I love this word. I love the way it sounds. I love the feelings and images it evokes when I say it or hear it. It’s decisive, impactful, and it’s a word I trust.

My mother often used it in support. Try not to dwell on it, she would say when I was fixating on a particular hurt or fear. It was her gentle way of saying turn it off for now, or things will look different in the morning. Do not be so hard on yourself. All of these phrases, these reassuring gems, were the wisest of the wise. I say them myself now, to Beatrice, to my students, to myself…I am always surprised when it comes from someone else though, as a comforting phrase. It’s like my mother speaking through them, just to make sure that I am listening.

As a mind dweller , I can become imprisoned with my own thoughts sometimes and so I sometimes need someone or something, on occasion, to interrupt the flow. It’s not that I am necessarily fixating on the bad either. It can be my latest hooking plans or a great new teaching idea that I get lost in. It’s at that time that distractions are needed and welcomed for the sake of my aching jaw. Intense I know. It’s fun being me.

Recognizing you are dwelling too much on stuff is half the battle. Shifting the direction of your thoughts is difficult. I would suggest not turning to social media, one of my pit falls, if you can help it. Music helps. Yesterday it was “Welcome to My World” – ironic I know- a simple melody made beautiful by the king. I really try, now that a year has passed, to find my own solutions at these times, rather than turning to others, if at all possible.

Shifting furniture is often my go to. Because my dwelling place is my true sanctuary, and tidying spaces, moving furniture, dusting, that type of thing, is a great stress release.

It’s interesting (and not surprising) that home and dwell share happy spots in my brain and heart. The healing power of place, as a sanctuary and as a source of identity are so very important to me. If there is a place where peace is ever going to be found in this never ending journey of grief it will be here, this dwelling of possibility.

That other meaning of dwell, the noun, I had never heard of before. A slight regular pause. Recently, I have set a daily alarm which asks two specific questions: how do you feel and what do you need? It’s actually part of a larger exercise in setting boundaries (dwell…boundaries…hmmm). It’s a slight regular pause in my day, a gentle reminder asking me what I am thinking and feeling at that time. I also record the response because writing, of course, clarifies things for me.

Currently I have something brewing that I wouldn’t call troubling. It’s a decision that needs making. There are a couple of other things that need my attention as well. I know this because I wake up at various times in the night thinking about them. The solutions are already there, I just have to act. And I am pretty sure that I can do 2 out of 3 today.

Not bad. I only had to rearrange the sun room twice in 24 hours.

Sally checking in on the sun room
I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –
Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –
Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –         (E.Dickinson)

Until next time,
Melissa xo

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One Response

  1. Dear Melissa,

    I have not been able to find words to comment on your writing since the “Saturday Morning” post. The “forever thinking” to “never thinking” took my breath away and still brings tears to my eyes. I know your grief has its ebb and flow and sometimes you have to stare into the abyss but… I much rather think of you as dwelling in possibility. I too spend too much time inside my own head. Finding ways to interrupt the cyclic rumination is indeed a crucial mental health strategy. Be well my friend. You are so talented. I love reading your posts even if some tend to haunt more than others.

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