Music Monday: To Build a Home


Every day is a new beginning.


I moved recently; abandoned people and tore down the life I knew to throw myself out into the unknown, to take a chance.

The place I sleep is not mine.

The food I eat is not mine.

The friends I meet are not mine.

I wanted to take this step because I’d gotten comfortable, and I didn’t like what I saw in myself. I wanted to tear it all down and start over. But with what? What do you start with when you rid yourself of (almost) everything and try again?

Like houses, days and lives—I believe—are built on foundations. Though I rarely follow this advice myself for the current iteration of my being, I understand that how you start the day might not be how you finish it, but any carpenter will tell you that a good foundation is a fundamental step to a sturdy house. How you wall it, paint it, fill it or make it a home will differ from person to person, but without a good foundation, that thing you thought looked perfect is one bad wind from crumbling away.

In New Orleans, the new city that I hope to call mine someday, I had a chance to go through the Lower Ninth Ward, which saw the worst flooding after the levees were breached. The people there have mostly rebuilt. It’s difficult in some areas to tell that there had ever been a disaster.

But every so often, we’d drive by a plot of land; humbly small for a suburban life. Just enough for a yard, maybe a kid’s playground, a driveway sometimes. But where once was a house now sits only a square of dead grass. I don’t know why, but that image shakes me; more than the videos of the destruction, the museum diaries and voice recordings and replayed broadcasts from the horrible time that Katrina rolled through. To see a house reduced to its foundation humbled me to mine.

So it’s time to get back to our roots. The supermoon has come and gone, the solstice is passed, and it will get cold again soon. Maybe you think it’s too late in the day to get started. Maybe you think it’s too late in the year to start a new resolution. Maybe you think it’s too late in your life to start a new practice. I tell you truly: if you’re reading this; if you’re making a conscious effort to reflect upon the day, the year, the life you live right now, then it’s not too late. Start today. Start now. How do we set our day? Is it a cup of coffee? A morning asana practice? Do we write? Journal? Read? Play music? How do these things affect our day? Do we enjoy doing them?

It’s your life. You build it. So ask: what is your foundation?

And if we don’t like how it’s built, what can we do to change it?


Cover photo: Jewish Women’s Archive/Flickr