Someone said to me recently that moving home is one of the most difficult  transitions/experiences to undergo and that it ranks alongside the death of a loved one, divorce, losing a job and so on.

I wonder sometimes if I am in denial about our imminent move. Pretending to myself that it will go smoothly. And wondering if I am in denial, whether this is a form of resistance in me, in one of its more insidious forms.

There is something meaningful about my visits to the townhouse when I cart stuff from home that fits into the spacious boot of my small car when the back seats are down. I like entering the townhouse and unlocking other doors and especially going into my study to unpack books and placing them consciously and strategically in the newly installed, very large, brand new bookcase in my study to-be. The days are so bright and sunny and warm right now in spite of it being winter so the driving backwards and forwards is a pleasure. The freeze is yet to come.

I also keep on wondering how to position my study desk and drawers from home, so that all is comfortable and cosy, inspiring and conducive to creativity for me.

 It’s been rather wonderful to discover some old books like those slim ones by R.D. Laing. I remember his ‘Knots’ from when I was a young adult and how it made an impression on me; I will definitely re-read it soon and no doubt get tied up again in knots. There’s something rather special about untying knots and seeing whatever it is for what it is. I brought back home a few days ago his ‘Politics of Experience and the Bird of Paradise’ which I am currently re-reading in the bath at night. Deeply disturbing and psychologically penetrating and so apt for today’s world despite being published in the 1960’s.

I can’t say I feel stressed about the move because I don’t, not right now. I certainly feel more tired than usual and I put this down in part to the changing seasons here in South Africa, from autumn to winter. My skin is a bit grim and my erratic and appalling eating habits leave much to be desired. So maybe this is an expression of inner processes going on.

We have an indigenous herb in South Africa called impepho (do google it – it is a Zulu African Sacred plant and I am sorry I cannot yet figure out how to do a link but it is particularly interesting), which I used once before many years ago when tenants from hell in the townhouse finally moved out. It was an unbelievably stressful time over a year or two ‘dealing’ with those crooks. When finally, finally, they were out and locks were changed and all their stuff left behind was gotten rid of and the townhouse cleaned from top to bottom, side to side and inside out, I sourced impepho from an African market downtown and burnt it and let the smoke waft in and through and out. I could feel the horrible destructive negative energies leaving.

I won’t go the impepho route this time because there is no need. Our last corporate tenants loved the townhouse and its own well-tended garden and surrounding gardens in the complex and they left behind good vibrations.

I am hoping that our sons can fly up to Johannesburg and come and help with the final move on June 21st, (if that is when it is). In my fantasy I see the four of us having dinner at our new home on the longest night of the year, of bread and wine, blessing our new home and my husband’s father whose home it was until he died in it about 10 or 11 years ago. I will smudge the home with sage and ask the ancestors for safe passage for all.

All of that is looking forward in a positive way and saying hello to the new; but how will it actually be, I wonder, when I have to say goodbye to our old home. My sister is flying up from Cape Town next week and will hopefully keep me focused on the straight and narrow. I may well have a birthday lunch in the middle of next week as part of the ritual of goodbye and drinks later in the evening for those who can’t make lunch or tea or whatever I decide to do. Somehow it’s important that I do this.

That’s next week … and then the week after is the final push and pull.

50 Comments on moving home – 2

  1. Moving is really hard–I move a lot for work. I am from Houston and currently living here. I am being moved up north for work for six months and I am dreading it. Because it is for such a short amount of time I am considering leaving most of my stuff in storage in Houston. But it is still difficult.

    • Margo, I can hardly believe that I am only now responding to your comment and a belated thank you for it. A car accident the day before the move intervened …

      I hope your move goes well and that you are settled.

    • Thank you Misha, though you will see previous comment by my sister. Bad accident, car a write-off, right writing hand heavily bandaged, i can do nothing,out from overnight stay in hospital, sons and husband being superstars in doing the moving. The best laid plans …. and all that.

  2. Hello to all of you. Just to let you know that my sister Susan was involved in a car accident this morning – her husband called me about an hour ago to inform me. I returned to Cape Town after helping Susan with some packing up and packing in. Neil has told me she is not too badly injured – it seems that her wrist is damaged, and we were speaking, she was on the operating table for her hand. He has also assured me it will not be necessary to fly to Johannesburg, as he is on leave, and their sons are home. Apparently a car went right through a stop as she was driving down the road.
    Please will you send her love, healing vibrations and positive thoughts. Thank you and peace to you

  3. I hope the move goes well, Susan, but I’m sure it shall given the preparations you’ve made. I expect you’ll find on looking back that this has been the most difficult part. Be kind to yourself whilst it’s happening…eat well, have some nice pamper products for the bath and look after you! I think that’s the most important part of all this.

  4. I think looking for ways to position your desk so you could enhance creativity is already a good sign. Stress is inevitable during such life-changing event, but sounds like you’re not going to let it get to you, maybe use writing (and reading) as a way to ease into this transition. Best of luck, will be reading for updates.
    I love the artwork for this post … so very relaxing and beautiful.

    • Thank you so much Sylvia for your comment. I took my sister (up from Cape Town) this p.m. to the townhouse. She was advising about where to position to my desk and yet again I had a new way of looking how best to accommodate myself so that all is conducive to what I love best – writing and reading –

      Thank you for saying about the artwork for this post. It is lovely isn’t it.
      Thank you for your good wishes, and all good wishes to you.

  5. I remember when my family and I moved into our current home (2 hours south of the city). I remember crying when we pulled out of our old house because that’s the house I had tons of fond memories in.

    I think any change is always difficult to a degree, but they’re not always unpleasant. I hope your move is both easy and pleasant. 🙂

    • Ria, thank you so much for stopping by, I really appreciate this. My sister is now here from Cape Town as of this p.m. and she was telling me earlier (after she read your comment) of her changes of home over the years and her attachments and sadness when leaving homes she really felt a connection to.

      Thank you for your good wishes. 🙂

  6. It’s inevitable to miss your old home, but instead of dwelling on it try focusing on the possibilities you get to try out at your new home. Have you thought about how you’re going to decorate your new home?

    • Thank you for stopping by! Yes we think continuously about how to decorate the townhouse and re-arrange things all the time or change minds etc.

  7. hi Courtney so nice of you to stop by. I am hoping to re-connect with A-Z bloggers once the move is over and all is settled (whenever that may be!).
    Interesting about salt – I had forgotten that. A friend on the phone last night said that my Brazilian friend many years ago had said about salt in all the 4 corners which I now remember I did. I will do again I think …so thank you for saying about this!
    Hope all very good with you in Hawaii!

  8. HI Susan… stopping by.. just catching on some blog hopping. Thank you for commenting on my site during A to Z. I was so crazy, I haven’t followed up as much towards the end and also in May! Good luck w/ your move. I am intrigued w/ your use of imphepho for space clearing. We do similar things in Hawaii with ti leaves and Hawaiian salt and prayer.

  9. Great that you stopped by Melissa thank you! I would love to post pictures of new home when all settled though that seems far off now. .. all is chaos as of yesterday and it really is starting now. But thank you for your encouragement to ‘stay positive’!

  10. Stay positive, Susan! Everything will be alright 🙂 Hope you have a chance to post some pictures of your new home when you’ve settled in.

  11. Oh dear, your solstice dinner burst my lids banks… prior to that I could see your expansive and cosy study (I can’t wait to read the magic that will present itself from your new perspective) I pictured you in a big brown chair sipping a warm drink…
    As emotional as it is, and will be, your transition sounds so ideal. Perhaps you could do a white light or a dance around the house ritual or much like you cleanse a new home with sage you can leave your gratitude and release ties with sage too…or perhaps impepho has the answer too (which I am just about to google – try googling how to do links in wordpress – it has all the answers 🙂 Your pic is perfect too, it’s like you past and present offering blessings to each other. All the best

    • Oh dear, I had posted a reply to you Ida and then we had an electricity cut and my response back to you got lost.

      Thank you so much for commenting – I really appreciate this and for all the wise things you said … the white light and the dancing on the night of the solstice; as well as releasing from the old home and using sage for this as well …

      Also so wonderful thank you that you said about the picture as ‘past and present offering blessings to each other’ – this is so lovely and is a new perspective for me. I am thinking that I will read to my family on the night that we are all together in our new home, the comments from people on my ‘moving’ blog. They will I know then have a wider view of this whole process. Also for me – the comments I receive make me view this all in a more comprehensive and real way … a sort of blending of the sacred with the mundane …

      thank you again Ida …

      • funny thing the internet I didn’t see your reply when I posted about the impepho.. How wonderful to share everyone’s thoughts with your family. I love how a simple suggestion can bring new ideas, I am now picturing a grown family dancing around a house and I’m laughing instead of holding back tears… I have a love/ frustration relationship with my home. There is no oak tree but a view of the most beautiful fjord in Denmark, it will be hard place to leave, but by then I will be tired of the big garden, I longed for when we lived in our cosy, easy to maintain apartment. Locking the door will be easier than you think, at least that is my wish for you. P:S I read you can make a tea out of impepho too… 🙂

    • The more I read about impepho the more I think your homes might not need it but the benefits for you would be divine. 🙂

  12. A moving piece, Susan, and one that makes me wonder how my own transition from our current home to a new one will be in the future. I love that you are taking plantings from your old garden to your new yard (from the last post). I have so many favorites that it will be arduous work to ‘pack’ my outside belongings along with the contents from inside. Peace to you as you continue this new journey!

    • Thanks so much for stopping by Dawn! As of today all is getting a bit outrageously ‘frantic’ – I met a girlfriend at the townhouse this p.m. who has given me so many constructive ideas of how to re-arrange and simplify things, not only in my study but in the rest of the townhouse. For me it was quite amazingly wonderful to get this fresh and keen eye of Alison’s. So, this was an eye opener while my own eyes were wide shut …
      Thank you for your peace wishes. I need them.

  13. A thoughtful, at times wistful piece about moving and transitions, Susan. Moves are such a mixed bag of feelings….I love the line from R. D. Laing about knots. Good to know about Impepho. I have used sage — and, once, Balm of Gilead — for the same purpose.

  14. Susan,

    First — The stunning image heading Moving Home – 2. I love it! Where do you find these?

    Second — Ditto what Patricia says. Moving lets go of the old and clears the way for a new era. Each of my moves has seemed to me like entering into a new lifetime; I perceive that I have lived lifetimes within this lifetime; same with changing jobs and careers.

    Third — The impepho — Seems like an excellent plant and one I could have used here after my mother and her teacup poodle passed on months apart. As it was, my daughter and I shampooed the carpet in the living room and rearranged the furniture where they both spent their last days, and we both saw a dark low-to-the-floor shadow leave and sensed disturbing cross vibrations. We’re both tuned into these things and so, when we’re together, sense them more strongly, and this dual sensing serves as confirmation for one another. This night, after our activities, we left the room and the spirits to themselves and went to bed. The next day all was clear. My old Victorian house has a strong, positive, happy vibration, anyhow, that the negative just seems to bounce off of, and I’m wondering if some of that negative was not residue from a negative healthcare aide who was fine in the beginning but one day sent her evil twin. Also, the suffering of my mother and her dog and my mother’s confusion during her passing as to where she was and where to go next. About a month later I had a house clearing party and all was well. I would have smudged with sage but was unable to acquire any at the time.

    And fourth — It IS fun moving to a new place and deciding where to put things, how to arrange them. I have tons of files and books in storage in Calif., that I keep hoping to have the funds to bring to me, for they are who I am, so I’d be rediscovering myself. Meanwhile, I may have to move from this house, and I hope not. This time, I do not want to move. This seems the ideal place for me now, and I purposefully chose this house in this neighborhood a decade ago knowing what was to come. But, yet, I wonder if I am not in denial. I seem numb to the possibility of having to move — and to a smaller place. As with you, this feeling is hard to identify. With the passage of time, I will see, I suppose.

    Anyway, thank you, as always for writing two such beautiful and thoughtful posts here. You give me solace and food for thought. So glad you are able to bring part of your garden with you and share parts of it with others.

    Happy Birthday!

    Love, Carol

    • Thanks so much Carol!

      1) If I see a lovely image usually on FB and if not credited, I save it to images. I gather this is ok to do. This came up as a question a while back and I understand if there is no one or organisation that ‘owns’ it, it is ok to use. I am running out of images though – must get down to some more downloading and saving!

      2) Lifetimes within lifetimes – another lovely image!

      3) How interesting about the night your mother died and the evil twin and dark shadow and what an excellent idea of the house-clearing party a month later. And so lucky that your home has a lovely vibration as it is. Do we create it? I think we do – but this makes me think about the importance of creating a happy home.

      4) Today at the townhouse I carted more stuff over and watered the garden which I think will look so pretty. I’ll take photos to use on my blog I think. I did some more re-arranging in my study (not by any means determined as yet) and I couldn’t help but think how this process is alike to a psychological one in that ‘moving things around’ physically gives one the opportunity to view or see things from different angles; and that if one does that also in a psychological sense, all the things that one thinks and feels about, different ways of looking at the issues arise! I may well write about that on my next blog.

      Thank you for birthday wishes! Next week!



      • I like the psychological idea of moving things around to get a new perspective, Susan. Placement of things in my house has remained so static over the years of caregiving for my mother; I had not time to even think about those. Lately, though, I have been cleaning out and organizing a few things, as evidenced in the appearance of my updated website. So, I’m getting there; never soon enough for me, though. 🙂

        I think over the past 120 years, every family who has lived in this house has been happy — lots of kids, good energy.

    • Ha ha! That is so great Joyce! Happy Anni for Friday and here’s to at least another 23 years, before the pine beckons from afar.

  15. Hi,
    Right on, Lady. Your happiness about leaving the old and moving into the new has to do with the fact that you are moving in the right path for your life. It is wonderful when you know you are one step farther.

    The decision to move, the decision to downsize, the decision to give away items that are no longer needed and you no longer use, is a natural process of making room so that you can receive the new.

    Difficulty comes when we refuse to change; when we insist on keeping everything as it is; when we refuse to let go. Sure, you may have a tear or two when that final day comes and you may even mourn for a day or a week over what was after you have moved, but you will find yourself and soon you will start rejoicing again, because you know that you know you have move into an even more meaningful period of your life.

    Happy moving.

    • Thanks so much Patricia! I will keep that thought in mind that getting rid of the old makes way for the new to emerge. Thank you so much for your encouragement, as always. You always hit the right note and make me look at things anew and with optimism and hope. For that my thanks are abundant and eternal.



  16. It’s nice that you’re not stressing about the move. That’s good. Perhaps that’ll keep this low key even though it is a stressful event. Here’s hoping…

  17. Hi Gwynn! Gone 11.00 pm my side … I SHOULD be fast asleep by now but got happily sidetracked by comments to my blog. I am keeping track on my feelings etc, checking my pulse on all of this. Thank you for caring. I’ll keep you tuned. Xx

  18. I am so impressed that you seem to be honoring your feelings and acknowledging that more feelings could arise when your move is complete. I think your moving bits and pieces into the townhouse and settling in may be cathartic to you too. In the end, you may be too tired from moving and getting settled to experience pain… but then again I’ll stay tuned.

  19. A move can be very stressful but what you have going for you is a familiarity with your new home. It already feels like home to you! I wish you much peace and comfort there . One final tear of goodbye to your current one and off you go. I did it after 18 years and under duress so have no doubt of your survival and seemless transition.

    • Lesley, so great to hear from you thank you! I think that this is so, now that you point this out i.e. that there is enormous familiarity with the townhouse. Neil’s father lived there for about 27 years or so and died in his bed (we were with him) aged 97 about 10 years ago. So the fond familiarity is there..
      Just NOW had an email from the agents to say that the sale of the house is about to be lodged so in about two weeks time transfer will come through. It almost seems too seamless …

  20. You will miss your tree, but I think in every other way it will be a happy and productive move. I’ve moved SO often in my life that my home is wherever I hang my hat, sometimes that’s not been in the most auspicious of places. Everywhere I have lived has a place in my memories. I’ll think of you on the 21st, at 11 pm, when the Scottish sky is finally deepening from cornflower blue to indigo. (Sorry, couldn’t resist. Remind me of that comment on the winter solstice.)

    You’re moving by choice. The traumatic moves are the ones that life forces on you. Sterkte!

    • Elizabeth, how terrific to receive your comment thank you! Going on 11 pm here in SA! I will definitely remind you of your descriptive comment on the Scottish change on the 21st!
      You are so right – very often change is forced upon us whether or not we like it. I too moved a great deal, though in my younger years.
      I appreciate the reminder about home is where you hang your hat.
      Just this evening my husband said he wants to take his sons to Scotland so that they can know their roots. Maybe we’ll do that in Sept next year on the equinox.

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