What I learned about ordinary desire from Ikea

May 1, 2013

I have a renewed “room of my own” that I want to share with you.

It includes a new adjustable desk base from ModTable with a top from Ikea and new art table from Ikea, too.

I turned my old desk into a wide open space to write at, with Buddha looking out for me.

My couch that doubles as a bed for  friends when they come for a visit is now under the windows.

Here is my little altar I made at the top of the stairs. It’s such a good reminder when coming into the space.

Here is where I meditate and where the dogs often nap.

I’m showing you my space not because it’s all tousled house porn and Dwell magazine cool — ha! — but because I finally feel deeply at home in my space for the first time.

See, I’ve been a restless gal much of my life. My itchiness has taken different forms — mostly related to creativity, identity, and nesting — and yet no matter the outward form, each instance threads back to my central life lessons: learning to accept reality, embrace the ordinary, engage creatively with the present, and give up fantasy.

So every spring when I invariably get chuffed about changing my house or my work, my ears perk up and I become watchful, curious, a bit wary of myself. What am I looking for that I think can arrive from out there?

And yet…

Another life lesson I’m always learning is to allow myself to want what I want and to take action on my own behalf. To not collapse by always putting others first or by being afraid to speak up. By not giving up on the help and support my creations deserve. To not think it’s impossible, forbidden, too much.

So when it comes to my room of my own, I wanted to claim my desire for beauty and step away from fantasy. Both and.

Which is what I did.

I’ve been working through body pain and injuries for a few years now and one idea my various body gurus have suggested is to switch position often. Which means less sitting. So I played with working at a stand-up desk for a few weeks, and realized I desired an adjustable desk where my computer would live and a wide-open sit-down desk for wide-open dreaming. I wanted both.

And that I also wanted a better art play space.  And to frame some art and generally make things mine.

Here is what would have happened in the past — I would feel a shaming story of “too much,  you want too much” gush up around all those desires, and then I would either buy something that I didn’t really want, thus discharging the uncomfortable energy of owning my desires, or get all sleepy and confused about what I wanted, make it complicated, and then do nothing.

Instead, this time I held on to my desire and the knowing it need not be perfect. Both and.

I searched on line for about a week before I found and ordered my base. Then I decided on a butcher block Ikea top instead of the one the desk came with. Now going to Ikea is not my idea of fun so I prepared for my trip by going alone (it can be hard for me to stay in touch with my desires when someone else is with me), gave myself plenty of time, had all my desk measurements in hand, and a bottle of water with Vitamin C (Ikea makes my allergies crazy).

Most of all, I prepared by reminding myself, I could have what I really wanted and what I was capable of getting.

That last point is as important. Another way I snarl up my desires is thinking I should be someone different than I am and thus be able to fulfill my desires in a different way. For example, I hate hate hate to shop. Yes, that much. For me to search for the perfect funky art table or desktop would be torture. I’ve tried. Big stressful fail. Ikea is good enough.

So dear Bob constructed everything for me this past weekend and I am swooning with love for my space. It feels incredible to have what I want, served up with the ordinary Jen way. Forget house porn, I got ordinary desire!  Come over and let’s make an art mess together!

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