By Tyler Lewke

In January of this year, I bought the ugliest old house ever built.

I made it beautiful, and today I am selling it to someone who loves it more than I ever could. Everyone told me I was crazy, but I had a feeling; I saw an inner beauty I could reveal.  

I like to let a house tell me what to do with it. I find that the weird small hours reveal the most; when you walk into a kitchen, and you realize what it needs or what would work better. Or you stay up late one night with your family visiting, and you notice the way people should be able to flow, sit, and commune. Or the time the sun comes in and suggests all new colors and walls to be removed and the right kind of plants for the front gardens.

housecollageI find moving in and living in the space amidst the transformation is key. If I just create a plan and get to work without letting the space talk to me, I blow it.

The Buddha said, “Come and see, don’t come and believe.” To hurry is to destroy, but to wait is even worse.

I once removed a wall with the claw side of a hammer while still in my bathrobe. I couldn’t wait til 9 a.m. when the workers arrived because I knew they would try to stop me. They’d mention how impractical I was being and suggest rules that conformed to their conventional thinking.

The key for me is not to ask. I start what I want to get done before I ask if it can be done. I make a big mess so that it’s easier for them to do what I want versus repairing what I destroyed.

This works great because I can override their limited beliefs and judgments of what conforms to logic. This also narrows the pool of who will work with me. I’m okay with that. It’s just like how some friends fade away and some new ones rise as we transform.

As it nears completion, and as the last guys pull away, I begin to feel trapped and stifled. I wonder what else I can do, destroy, contemplate, and re-build. I want to keep growing and making things more beautiful. I know that more can always be done to make stuff work better, and me work better.  

My mom says that life is a series of three steps with one repeated: Burn, Reveal, Burn. With houses, with words, my spiritual practice, with businesses and with myself—that’s what I do and intend to keep doing.

Let the work teach me what to do.
Start by starting.
Slowing down.
Speeding up.
Removing limits.
Going, looking, going.
Transformation only requires three things:
Burn, reveal, burn.

Tyler LewkeTyler Lewke is brutally irreverent, often way too direct and it gets him in trouble. He’s an optimistic pessimist, a grateful dad and friend, a hardcore capitalist, and a deep-seeking mindful and compassionate guy who’s most inspired by helping people through the bullshit parts of religion and spirituality to define a life of joy and contemplative service to others.

Tyler was born months before the official end of the Vietnam War on the Campus of Washington State University to a hippy mom and a heady scientist dad with an IQ that rivals Einstein… a combo that has left him totally out of place in the mainstream.

Tyler lives in the sky in downtown Chicago, in a 100 year-old bungalow in suburban Illinois and from his backpack as he explores the world. He teaches meditation and mindful leadership, has written as a form of art and spiritual practice every day for as long as he can remember. He shares his personal stories of integrating a spiritual life into a daily mainstream existence through his daily blog where he posts his raw, firsthand joys and struggles of trying to practice these mindful principles in all his affairs. Tyler thinks we all have only one real job, to add more love to the world.


Photo: Hammered/Flickr
Second Photo: provided by author

Editor: John Author