When we bought our old house, I fell in love with the large, picture windows that adorn our living room. The light it let’s in is bright and beautiful. It brought cheerfulness on dark times, simply, by being opened. I watched the world go by. I inconspicuously watched the birds and the critters that crossed our yard. I had a window to the world. Soon enough, the windows became a thorn in my side. My window to the world opened the window to me, to my family.
The windows are floor to ceiling and do not open. They face a very busy road. In the beginning I did not have issue with this. I’ve lived in a city atmosphere, and was used to have the road close to my abode. However, what I wasn’t ready for is the comments. I may have been watching the world go by, but that world soon turned to watching me. That I did not like.
I would run into nearly strangers and they would comment on passing by our house. They would say they saw us out, and this or that. At times it was unnerving. Once a gentlemen told me he felt sorry for my dogs, before he knew they were my dogs. Unfortunately, he didn’t know the “history” of my dogs. He only knew where I lived.
My dogs are shelter dogs. They have their issues, but they are loved and well taken care of. My illness, at the time, made it difficult to get out more with them. I had young children. I wasn’t thrilled about tying them out, but I lost a long owned, well behaved dog to the road out front. I wasn’t going to lose more. The point is, living with large open windows and on a busy road invites judgment. Usually not earned, but judgment none the less.
I started closing up the curtains and looking for ways to be less conspicuous. I tried to hide. I hated being seen and running into people who saw me, thinking that they saw all the flaws in me and my home. I didn’t want to explain. The windows I enjoyed became a thorn in my side. Everything that was wonderful was now, less so.
Then I started reading a book, Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine, by Saki Santorelli. I had an epiphany on my windows. In the book, he describes a meditation he uses with his groups. In it, he has the group watch out a window. Once they start naming something that they see outside the window, they need to look at something else. In this way, they were learning how to meditate. It was a way to open their minds. It reminded me of my times watching out the window, before it became difficult. Without even realizing it, I was meditating. I was calming my mind and I had pushed it away.
I’ve tried every other meditating technique. I do not easily relax. My mind, or body, is always on high alert, unless the illness shuts me down. I needed to look out the window and I needed not to be afraid. People are going to think what they want, regardless of what you do or say. I can not be responsible for that. I need to heal myself. Looking out the window helped me do that.
I’m still reading Saki Santorelli’s book. It’s helped give me new insight into what had once helped me feel at peace and why I no longer felt that way. My house is comfortable. It is not fancy. I have blocked some of the quick insight passerby’s have seen through my open windows. I planted a tree and put up bird feeders. I watch out the window, at the cars passing by, but I feel protected. And, I meditate just as the book says. I look until I begin forming names for things and I try to see beyond. My mind clears, and, for once, I am at peace, large windows and all.