Our Christmas tree was in a new spot this year.
After nearly a decade in the same corner, year after year, an adverse situation caused things to shift.
The recliner my husband needed to recover from surgery now sits where the Christmas tree once did.
Unlike the couch or armchair, the recliner allowed his neck to be in a comfortable position to heal.
Moving the recliner up from the basement (with the help of some strong neighbors) meant the living room had to be reconfigured.
After a sweaty hour of arranging the furniture pieces like a puzzle, I finally found a way for everything to fit: My cozy armchair smack dab next to Scott’s recliner, both sitting in the middle of the room, with the love seat and sofa against opposite walls.
Did it look aesthetically pleasing?
Absolutely not (the baby adults in the house were quick to point that out)
Did the side-by-side chairs match?
No, and not even in a stylish, mismatched, trendy way either.
Did the arrangement allow for a clear passage to the kitchen?
No, but if you turned slightly to the side, you were fine.
Did it have good Feng Shui?
Considering that means “creating good energy in your home”, I’d say YES… because Scott was in the best position for healing, and I was close by (extra close by) if needed.
Best of all, this arrangement tickled us. We’d often look over at each other sitting in our side-by-side chairs like an old couple and laugh at ourselves.
The other night, as were in respective spots admiring the Christmas tree, Scott looked over at me and happily exclaimed: “This is the best move we made all year!”
I know Scott meant this in a literal sense, but I couldn’t help but think about what the side-by-side chairs represented symbolically:
The decision to put things in our life where we wanted them—
not in an aesthetically pleasing kind of way but in a heart-pleasing kind of way.
Something that helped me make several heart-centered moves throughout this challenging period was a remark Scott made a few days before having surgery on October 13th. Our favorite baseball team had made it into the National League Division Series playoffs and the second game in the first round was happening in our city the next night.
“Do you want to go to the game?” Scott asked hesitantly, knowing he could count on one hand the number of times I did something spontaneous (especially on a “school night”.)
But what he said after that seemed to float like a hopeful balloon in an atmosphere saturated with uncertainty.
“I don’t know if I’ll have another chance.”
I decided to grab that balloon and run with it.
Donned in our best Braves apparel, we went to the energized game. For six innings, the Braves were hitless, yet the crowd stayed upbeat and hopeful. When Austin Riley was up to bat in the eighth inning, he hit a home run into the Phillies bullpen, putting the Braves ahead for the first time in the best-of-five series.
Scott happened to capture it on camera.
Above the eruption of the crowd is a voice screaming for joy.
“Is that… Rachel?” confused friends and family said when they listened back.
Yep. It was me.
I was so happy we shifted our Monday night plans to be there in that full-of-life moment surrounded by people not willing to give up on their team.
I couldn’t help but feel grateful for this place – it had been in this very stadium in August that Scott had taken a selfie of us. That photo led him to seek medical attention for the lump in his neck that seemed to stand out in the image. This led to a two-month blur of activity, that led to a 2.5-hour surgery, that led to the recliner being moved up from the basement.
Recovery wasn’t easy; Scott and I spent a lot of time sitting side by side waiting for answers, daring to make future plans. But what I did have certainty around was the decision to make better use of my precious time. I set a goal to cut my social media usage in half and did so quite quickly. This freed up space to make recipes from my childhood, like Irish Lemon Pudding, and research ways to expand my retreats to exciting destinations, like my first camping retreat in California this fall. I partnered with Alice Kajoina to help her fulfill her dream of replacing her dirt floor with tile in her modest Ugandan home.
I also decided to go back to my roots, to the very first place I felt a sense of peace: My treehouse. This time, my treehouse is not a physical refuge; it is a metaphorical one, an online place without the distraction, vitriol, and algorithm issues experienced on social media. After months of building and preparing my treehouse for visitors, it is finally ready for your arrival. You can join me here.
And through it all, Scott and I would have our nightly chair time, looking over at each other and laughing even when we didn’t know how things would turn out.
When our neighbor offered to help move the recliner back downstairs, we told him thanks, but it’s never going back downstairs.
That’s what perspective does.
It turns mismatched chairs, sitting in an odd formation, into balancing energy for weary hearts.
It squelches the notion that things must stay the same because that’s the way they’ve always been done.
It clears away things of false importance so what really matters gets the attention it deserves.
The best move we made was accepting help to carry that heavy recliner upstairs.
The best move we made was allowing uncertainty a little space, but not letting it take up the whole room.
The best move we made was paying attention to emotional and mental health when physical health was the more obvious area of concern.
The best move we made was replacing “I should have done this sooner” to “Let’s focus on what we can do now.”
My friends, as 2023 ends and 2024 begins, perhaps it is worth looking around and asking, “Is this arrangement working for me?”
Just because something has been put in the same place year after year doesn’t mean it has to stay there – especially if it’s taking up space for what really matters in life.
Is there a move your heart’s been telling you to make?
Take it in 2024.
You’ll never regret the decision to put things where you want them to be. The good energy created by heart-centered moves are truly unmatched. ❤️
As mentioned in the post, I will be shifting my time, energy, and creative work away from social media to one that feels healthier, less restrictive, and more authentic to me. In addition, I will no longer be writing here on my Hands Free Mama blog, so I can focus exclusively on building my community at RACHEL’S TREEHOUSE. I invite you to my new sanctuary hosted by Substack, a thriving hub for readers to enjoy the musings of their favorite writers without the distraction of social media. I have been following several of my favorite authors for over a year and can say without a doubt that this is the right move for me.
The mission of this new space I’ve created is to have a direct connection to people who want to reclaim their sense of wonder, curiosity, peace, presence, and joy. Rachel’s Treehouse prioritizes human connection, and it simply wouldn’t be the same without you. You can join me by clicking here. Thank you for your continued support and belief in my life's work.
P.S. The California destination retreat opened for booking on Wednesday! Three of the eight early-bird discounted spots are still available! Click here to read all about this once-in-a-lifetime adventure!