Turn Your Life Inside Out: a Beginner's guide
Updated: Dec 26, 2018
Image: Swiss Family Robinson Tree house, Tokyo Disneyland.
The moon is full tonight, and on this solstice day the sun was at its longest and strongest for the year. Its like the year has had a big, long inhale, building up, building up. From today it gets to have the exhale, the winding down. We have this chance too, in our personal lives. We could choose a new season of letting go, letting life have its way with us. But we probably won't. We could say 'Rent out the house, lend out the kids, we are going to read library books on a tropical island for a year'. Of course we could. But there is this impetus to keep on doing what we are already doing, and its as powerful as the orbit of a planet. Its like that for everybody, no matter how good, bad or tedious our lives are.
Every year or so for decades now, I go to Tokyo Disneyland. My favourite attraction is the Swiss Family Treehouse. Its made from salvaged bits of shipwreck, bits of jungle, and one family's ingenuity. Its all quite plausible. They even have running water and bamboo pluming, waterwheel powered, and a lovely seashell kitchen sink.
Is it inside or outside? Its on the edge of both. I love the ambiguity of edge-dwelling life, that you can feel safe and cosy, that you can feel free and resourceful, all in the one place.
Now here is what I want you to do. I want you to pick up a bit of furniture, and take it outside, under a tree. Maybe just to the edge, the veranda. If it starts to rain, you are welcome to bring it back in. Now do something with it. Put a blanket over it and make a fort. Set it for a dinner party with placemats and flickering candelabra, and invite people over. Or read a book. Or do all these things, and have a nap underneath it afterwards. I don't care that you are a 60 year old accountant, and your family will be puzzled. Tell them that life has lots of surprises in store for you, and you want to pre-empt them. Even if the only guest for your inside-out dinner is you, imagine the dramatic, possibly irreversible improvement in the quality of your conversations.
Housemate Mariko, and angels trumpet tree in the courtyard of my Melbourne house, taken a few years ago. Photo by me.
This time last year, I had to leave my beautiful and beloved inner-Sydney house, but had no idea where I would go.
I ended up spending 2018 in Gardenfarm, Gippsland, and wish everyone alive had the chance to do such a thing. Come visit.