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  • Writer's pictureMargaret Wolff

The House of My True Becoming

I‘m a storyteller. On a cellular level. It’s my bird’s-eye view. I write and tell stories that launch new beginnings in an organization, a community, or a family, and that commemorate a job well done or a life well lived. My stories preserve a “Great A-ha,” an individual or family legacy, an organization’s history, a community’s past and future. They bring people together. They comfort. They inspire. They open hearts They make us smarter. They make us proud.


I teach storytelling as a team building and conflict resolution tool in college classrooms and corporate boardrooms, in transformational workshops and retreats at conferences, in non-profit organizations and churches that serve the Greater Good.


The following story tells of a time—a millisecond, actually—when the Universe opened Its generous heart and fed a yearning within me so many of us have these days to live with greater meaning and purpose. I hope it speaks to you.


If you have a story that you want to tell and you need a good writer to help you find the words, give me a jingle at I’m in!


The House of My True Becoming


I lived for 5 years in an elegant old craftsman house in Northern California, built in 1909, the year of my father’s birth. The hardwood floors, the wainscotting in the dining room, the banister, the pantry in the kitchen—all the color of café au lait with an attendant spot of cream—were made of old grove wood harvested in the days when trees rimmed the newly incorporated city of Berkeley like an emerald halo.


The floors were scratched, and the mantle was dinged. The window frames in the master bedroom and the small, enclosed porch I deputized as a library, buckled. Most of the joints and hinges were just plain tuckered out. Yet every time I walked through the front door I felt as if I was returning to the womb. Something maternal and paternal, an intimate Father-Mother presence embraced me, protected me, and filled me with the peace that “surpasses all understanding.” I cannot express, even to this day, what a kindness it was to live in this house.


I was long of the opinion that whenever I moved into a new house my belongings—each piece of furniture, each objet d’ art, each sacred little chachkie I alone loved—would tell me where it wanted to “live.” These things and I had grown up together; they were appendages, reminders of what I’d become as I negotiated the rites of passage of my life. I was surprised by how quickly the house came together, that everything seemed to leap from its boxes and ease into its appointed place as if it was custom-made, as if it was as glad to be there as I was.


As time passed and the Grand Scheme of Things unfolded in my life, I grew less attentive to everything I was most familiar with. On New Year’s Eve Day—in what I later realized was the homestretch of the time I would have in this house—I spent the afternoon tidying up and cooking dinner for a friend. About 4 PM, I lit a dozen candles in the living room and went upstairs to dress for dinner.


I came downstairs at the bewitching hour, just as the sun began to disappear behind the Berkeley Hills. As I walked into the living room, I drew in an audible breath. Everything in the room—the furniture and art, the old wood, the scratches and dings and buckles, the hinges worn nearly to a frazzle, the chachkies I alone loved, even the dust floating in the last light of afternoon sun—had become its Best Self and sang in one voice of the Beauty in all things.


When I think of that experience now, I think of it as the tick of the second hand of Time when the Universe reminded me to notice the Beauty in all things—in the throw pillows plumped on grey tweed of the couch, but also—more  importantly—in the Beauty in broken things: in the scratched, the dinged, the buckled, and the tuckered out things and people in the world that are not easy on the eye or the heart.


Ah, this was the house of my true becoming. 




Margaret Wolff Margaret Wolff is a nationally recognized author of 21 books, writing coach, trainer, and retreat leader. She holds degrees in Art Therapy, Psychosynthesis, and Leadership and Human Behavior. She has presented 250 keynotes, workshops, and retreats on the bounty of our collective wisdom and the power of creativity to reveal the truth and beauty of our inner lives.

COMING HOME: Finding Shelter in the Love and Wisdom of Paramahansa Yogananda (White Pearl Press, May 20201), is a curated collection of 14 modern-day stories of spiritual awakening that reflect “the most creative and transformative experience life can offer—developing an intimate partnership with the invisible God of one’s heart.”

Available wherever fine books are sold.

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