The cat’s purring on my lap and I’m sitting, hot cup of coffee in my hand, gazing out the window, my thoughts coming and going. The sun is warm through the windows , the sky is blue and I don’t have to be anywhere.

One of my morning sofa choices.

One of my morning sofa choices.

I do have a commitment with myself however  and that is to rapid write for at least twenty minutes every morning as soon as I wake up. Now I interpret the “as soon as I wake up” (which is the usual suggestion) to mean after I’ve managed to stagger out of bed and find a cup of coffee.

You see, I’m not much of  a morning person. In fact, I’m absolutely not a morning person. I’m in some sort of somnolent state when I get up and as long as I don’t have to do anything or go anywhere, this is fine. I like to sit, gaze into the distance and take my time. I can run into difficulties if there’s a morning person in my space- you know the sort. They wake up, full of energy, ready to take on the world. If I’m going to snap at someone that’s when it will happen. I try to make it clear to anyone who may be around me in the mornings that it’s best if they don’t speak to me and absolutely best if they don’t ask me things, like “What would you like to do today?” or “What are your plans?”

This morning, as is the normal pattern at the moment, it’s just the cat and me. A cat is the perfect companion for my mornings, being happy to sit and drowse with me.  I have one complaint. He can’t get up and make more coffee and toast and that’s when a morning person is useful -by this stage of wakefulness I would attempt and wheedle coffee and toast from them. After all, who am I to disturb a cat?  It’s a privilege to be chosen by a cat as a sleeping mat.

Part of the morning view.

Part of the morning view.

I cherish mornings such as this when I can wake gradually, write, gaze out the window and (when I’m ready) dislodge the cat and make my own coffee and toast. I revel in the pleasure of it and feel so very thankful. I don’t have to struggle out of bed, force myself into the shower, grab something to eat, find what I need for the day, get dressed and rush out the door (unless I’m on a morning work stint).

How wonderful to be able to start the day feeling grateful. It hasn’t always been like this, nor will it always remain so, but I shall cherish these moments of peace and slowness.


Home is where the heart is.

the view from my “old” deck.the view from my old deck.

Home is one of my highest priorities: home, and having my community around me.

Home is where I like to be. It’s where I come to be renewed, where I feel safe and secure- my haven. I called my first home “Hearts’ Ease”- I wanted it to be a place of heart’s ease, not just for me, but for anyone who needed it. And, I grew heart’s ease around the door.

Being a renter in the city for so much of my life, I found it more and more difficult to deal with the regular moves and the constant insecurity- Would I be able to find a place to live? Would I be able to pay the rent?

I used to joke about being a bag lady when I was old and although I was joking, underneath I truly did fear it. It was a dread that tied in with my lack of my own family, of not feeling that I belonged anywhere- the big two for me: feeling secure and safe in my home and having a place where I belong.

Something Gloria Steinem wrote about growing older and still not owning a home really struck me. She wrote that if she ended up a bag lady she would  politicize and organize them. I have a wonderful image of Gloria leading a demonstration of bag ladies- waving placards, marching, making demands…

This, quite literally transformed how I was seeing the future- from feeling anxious and fearful to knowing that “whatever happened, I’d handle it.” ( and thank you to Susan Jeffers book “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway“).

Now, I have a home and no mortgage. I am so blessed. I have a friend who will share it with me and together we will work out how to live co-operatively.

I’d love to have a granny flat or studio, a separate space, where we could offer sanctuary when someone needed it. There’s been times in my life when I’ve needed time out to regroup and recover, but there’s always been rent to pay and no chance to call a halt.

I am worried by the reports of the growing number of older women who, through circumstance, are vulnerable to rising rents, some of whom are already homeless. I feel powerless to do much about it- but have chosen to buy a house with a friend so two of us have a home.

We need to find new and better ways of living- ways that are communal, shared and sustainable; where people are supported and nurtured, rather than isolated, alone and vulnerable.

We can do it!