Creating space is at the top of my most cherished things to do…

I will only buy the most wreck of a house- I want it awful, I want everything to be so bad that everyone else is scared off and then I can gut it and not have any guilt about what someone else has already done.  shoulshine12

I can’t do any of the work inside, in fact, I can’t even hold a hammer… but I have all the vision necessary and I find people who know how to create what I see.

I like to move into the house while in creation because I’m convinced the house will tell me what to do next.  Being in it and observing how it lives, sitting in various spots, I learn what needs changing and I see what can be even more beautiful.

Often it’s never what I expect.

Almost always, I begin by adding glass… lots of glass… walls of glass….  I want as little contrast as possible between exterior and interior— and glass provides no place to hide or be left undone because everything is so visible.  This creates an end product that has an authenticity you can feel.


The gardens and landscape is where I go crazy.  A perfect weekend consists of my hands in the dirt planting, re-arranging, planting more and by the end of a day I need 2 showers to even get remotely clean.. the end result being thousands upon thousands of bulbs and seeds and plants and grasses and tree’s and everything you can imagine. ( Never let an addict switch addictions. )

soulshine7A dump truck of mulch gets delivered and me and my wheel barrel work 20 hours at a stretch without stopping and I wind up so sore I can hardly move until the next morning when I’m back at it.

The yard quickly becomes unmanageable by any normal person’s standards simply because watching things grow and observing how grasses dance in the wind is so beautiful I can’t stop.

In 21 years, 22 beautiful and unique spaces have been created with this process.

That’s allot of moving but suits my restless gypsy nature just fine.

This 23rd space, Soulshine Farm, I think I’m in for the long hall, building a retreat center of sorts.  It doesn’t appear as though I’ll ever run out of projects or find any limitation in making it more beautiful, plus the motivation of building a refuge for people to come keeps me committed.

Being here has cooked me alive, I can’t hide from my internal bullshit, whatever I need to work on shows up in a hurry and because the vibe’s so intentional and spreading, other people show up to get still and be with themselves in an intimate and beautiful way.

What I’ve learned the most thru all this creating is that re-doing physical space is no different from the cultivation of an inner life and spiritual practice that creates meaningful joy. tree soulshine

When you move 22 times in 21 years, you usually don’t get to see what comes up in your garden.  You plant seeds and water them and add mulch and try to cultivate the perfect environment, but for a long time the seed is just stuck in the dark wet mud germinating and I was on to the next project so I had to trust that I had done the work, put in the time and the efforts would come.. mostly I had to let go of the attachment and the result.soulshine3

That’s exactly how meditation is–  lots of practice and dedication and time spent with no visible benefits… often you keep going for days, months, years and don’t see anything, life doesn’t feel all blissful and awesome like you’d expected.   But then one day when you least expect it a sprout emerges and shows you the light.. the mind begins to have a rhythm you understand and you recognize your patterns and nature in a way that significantly influences your future actions.   You become kind and radiant and sturdy without even knowing it happened, you become weatherproof to life’s storms and it’s only in the middle of it all that you look up and realize how well you are navigating, how sustainable your happiness is.


With every rehab, I do things different.  I learn as I go, building upon past projects.  Often I try something that I believe will be amazing and it ends up ridiculous… (for example, I have high school lockers as my kitchen cabinets)  but the process and exploration offered a huge benefit; the wisdom and experience pile up in a hurry and so the next and next and next get better and better.

That’s exactly how exploring an inner life works…  many of us seek and explore and read and talk to people.  We try different faiths and different paths and just keep at it….  Slowly, over time, we begin to take what we need and leave the rest.  We try stuff on, take stuff off; we test the truthiness of a concept or an idea.   Eventually we build a tool chest and define a spiritual path that resonates deep within us and fills us with significance. sunrise a soulshine

Just like designing space, some people get caught up in the planning and the theory of it all and never get to the building, the practical application of all the wisdom gathered.

After everything, one thing I know for sure, we must act on our understandings and on our awareness.  If we don’t, what was the point?

Rumi said, “ What you seek is seeking you ” and so I think seeking something really matters.

Chop wood, carry water.