Need a Soul-Lift? Start in the Basement


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Dear Reader:

In cold weather…I have a special happy time in my “Happy Room” which begins around 8:30 or 9:00 in the evening. I get a fire going in the fireplace and slowly turn off all the lights in the den. Usually I light a candle of lavender to soothe and unwind by…

I jump on the sofa and pull my (now electric) blanket around me….find a station that I like (I had to see the finale Thursday night of How to Get Away with Murder) and feel the most blessed sense of gratitude for having a happy room with a warm crackling fire and time for myself to unwind and reflect… watch television, read, or simply think back through the day with a big thank you to God.

I really cherish this time each evening…not allowing myself to start it until the blog is finished and tucked away, the kitchen cleaned, and the house semi-picked up. It is my closure to another day of life…a celebration of sorts for still being in it.

Ever since I heard God’s voice calling out to me in the den almost seven years ago…  asking me to “Hold His Hand“…I continue to feel a special aura of delight and happiness around His Presence felt in that room…thus my name for it…“The Happy Room.” Reflecting back on its creation…I now realize that it only came to fruition,  after some personal, deep, dark soul searching.

In 2007 the renovations began  (after much discussion with close friends over to “Love it or Leave it.)  I realized I loved my home and I wanted to stay…I just didn’t like the dark colors and drab furniture…left over from the earlier “me” days.

It was time to let go of the past and let the rooms in my house reflect the new me– a clean slate with happy colors that made anyone entering the room happy too! A place that would give everyone a “soul lift.

…And it does have to start in the basement or the dark, scary, bottom of the house. For me my dark soul-searching days correlated with my cancer diagnosis and facing an uncertain future…but also coming to grips with who I was at the moment and who I wanted to be for the remainder of my life.

Hint: Do you know the easiest way to discover your own identity, as seen through others…stop and look at your friends. Who are the people you surround yourself with….who you have been drawn to in friendship by some unknown magnetic draw.

The close circle of friends whom God has sent to each of us… are the tools we need to help us through our life here on earth. A book reader/and commentator for the book (In the Meantime...Finding Yourself and the Love You Want-an Oprah Selection from 1999) by the name of Kimberly said this about “soul lifts” and friendship that I especially liked:


What you believe about yourself is reflected in the people with whom you choose to align yourself.”

“Our relationships and the people in them are the tools God uses to give us a soul lift. God, the creator of our life, wants you to elevate the way you view yourself and treat yourself, and ultimately the way you treat others and allow them to treat you.”

How true….when I think of my most wonderful friends I have from my past and  present (and the ones I have yet to meet)…my soul surges with happiness. We all know these special friends by the way we feel when we leave them….empowered and strengthened… after retreats, travels, special adventure days, friendship lunches/dinners, and just plain old “talk jams.”

In the book (above) the author Vanzant uses the metaphor of cleaning out a house from the basement to the top floor as the spiritual approach we must take to facing our soul…our true self…and then nurturing it through all the stages of life until we are happy to just be ourselves. It is then that love appears.

One reader (Ariana) commented:

 This author describes the different levels of life and your happiness, using the metaphor of a house. The dark, scary basement right up to the top floor of happiness – in order to move up to being happy on that floor, you must start in the basement, and clean house floor by floor, before you can be on that happy floor. Each floor represents what stage of healing you are at…

Getting to know ourselves, our souls, takes a lifetime doesn’t it…but, yet, we all know when we are happily content in our lives…our own personal homes and space reflect the change in us. And folks…I am pretty darn happy!

And guess where I am taking my happy soul now…OUTSIDE or as Rutledge would say “OUTSHIDE”….because the SUN is OUT and the garden is calling me! The sun did come out tomorrow (today) and I couldn’t be happier! Blue skies and HOPE letters smiling in the sunshine on the deck!

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So until tomorrow…Stop the soul searching for a moment and think of your special friends who are there for you through thick and thin and then SMILE….see yourself in their reflection! Now go find or create your Happy Space!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

photo** I am sorry to let you know that two of my special friends lost their mothers this past week. Both Gin-g Edwards and Susan Gaston are dealing with funeral arrangements and telling their moms’ good-bye for now. No matter how old we are or our parents are when we lose them….the child/mother bond is so strong…it is never easy to let go.

Please keep Gin-g and Susan in your prayers. I would like to share an eulogy in prose by Sir Walter Raleigh that I love… for both my friends. I hope you like it.


When at heart you should be sad

pondering the joys we had

Listen …and keep very still.

If the lowing from the hill

or the toiling of a bell

do not serve to break the spell,

Listen… You may be allowed

to hear my laughter from a cloud.”

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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6 Responses to Need a Soul-Lift? Start in the Basement

  1. Anne says:

    Becky, We ARE birds of a feather – I totally connected with what you are saying today. It really struck a chord about friends and building that Happy Room – in my case a Happy Home. It’s unbelievable that it has been almost three years since I paid two guys $50 to rip out that stained, flea-infested living room carpet as the starting point for my new journey! Then, with the help of friends and family, came new chair covers, new doors, fresh paint, car loads to recycling and Goodwill, a red (!) sink, etc. This week I had insulation installed and electricity run to the unfinished upstairs room – hmmm, perhaps my yoga room? Thanks for being such a wonderful friend – through thick and thin!
    PS I HEARD my mom’s laugh as I read your words…what a gift!


  2. Becky Dingle says:

    Anne….I will always remember the red sink….for me, watching you, it symbolized the new beginning…the metamorphosis between the old and the new you….the best was yet to come.Think about all the adventures that were about to begin!


  3. Cindy says:

    Becky, connected so with your entry today and especially loved the eulogy – my mom passed a year ago and I hear her every now and then. I have been re-reading Simple Abundance this year and oddly enough, February 28 is titled “Creating a Sacred Space.” I am thinking that it will be in the room over the garage. I too am looking for a yoga spot, Anne.


  4. Becky Dingle says:

    Cindy….what a God’s wink! I just looked up Feb 28 and saw the entry “Creating a Sacred Space” and somehow I ended up at the same “sacred place” on the same day using a different road. God has such a wonderful sense of humor….just goes to prove that we will all end up in the right place at the right time…no matter which detour we take. Love the yoga spot idea!


  5. Carolyn Davidson says:

    What a wonderful story!!! I believe we can all relate. I ordered the book, “In the Meantime”. You brighten my life. Thank you.
    Carolyn Davidson


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Carolyn, I am so glad you liked it…I have missed seeing you at church….between Ya retreats and babysitting I have been busy…but thank you so much for your sweet comments…with this dismal weather we seem stuck in…I am glad to be able to brighten something…and especially a something as special as you!


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