ISO… Serene Sightlines

In Part 1, we looked at Divine Discontent and what happens when we ignore our Big ‘D’ Desires. Often, it leads to depression, anxiety, and this constant feeling of missing… something.

Something important. Essential, even. Something our soul needs.

I shared how I’d had the realization that, once again, I was living in a house that didn’t bring me joy.

Now, before I get into what’s wrong, let me get into what’s right with my house:

  1. It’s on the ocean. Like, right here on the ocean. (see the photo below)
  2. It’s a big ol’ rambling farmhouse with loads of space.
  3. It’s white.
  4. It has the most adorable lightning rods and I love them.
  5. It has not one, but TWO wood stoves that do bring me joy.
  6. It faces East so we get stunning sunrises over the ocean almost every day and gorgeous southern light pouring into the kitchen.
  7. It came with out-of-control gardens that include irises, sweet pea, mint, chives, and roses everywhere. A dream for my low-maintenance gardening self.

So, there’s a lot to love.

Beautiful blue skies and angel wing clouds over the sea at Cocagne, New Brunswick.
One of the first awesomely blue days we were blessed with after moving to Cocagne. Also? Angel wings in the sky. 

What on earth could I be complaining about, you ask?

Focusing on the Inside of My Home

Well, I don’t know if you noticed but almost everything I mentioned had to do with the exterior of the house. The outside.

There’s a lot to love out there and for the first year that we were here, it was all that mattered. I was in awe of the ocean and I could sit on the couch and stare out the front window and let everything else slide.

The ocean, the gardens, the siding… I love the outside.

But, the inside? Not so much.

And that’s where my discontent reached a peak over the last few months and I stomped my foot and said, “No more!”

You see, it was the sightlines that did it to me.

Do you know sightlines? Do you use them? I’ve realized recently (again?) just how important they are to me. 

A sightline, the way I think of them, is a straight line of focus from my eyes to the far wall. Everything that falls along that ‘line’ is part of my sightline.

Come and sit a spell on our veranda and enjoy the view.
Come and sit a spell on the chippy wood of our veranda and enjoy the view.

It’s a pretty straightforward concept.

But, whooooo baby, when you start using them, and noticing them, and noticing where you avoid noticing them… that’s when it gets really real.

Using Sightlines to Tidy

In the past, I’ve most often used these sightlines to tidy.

Here’s how I do it: I’ll walk into a room with a ‘Visitor Mindset’ (as if I were entering the room for the first time so I’m un-numb) and see what there is to see. And then I’ll tidy to get it looking as good as possible.

Socks on the floor. Dishes on the table. The… what the heck is that anyway that tends to accumulate when we live with other people. My personal clutter tends to be book- and work-related. Lots of papers. Whatever project I’m currently working on. That kind of thing.

I’ll keep walking out of, and back into, the room until it feels good to me. Grabbing this or that and putting it where it belongs. Adjusting. Adding. Until there isn’t anything that distracts me in my sightlines.

When it reaches that place of ‘goodness’ then I know that I can have company over and it’ll be fine. And that my husband will notice the difference.

(he’s often marvelled at my ability to tidy and putter and it’s all because of how I use these sightlines)

Discovering the Source of My Divine Discontent

But, what happened recently was that I realized (hmm… y’know, it probably had something to do with all the cleaning I was doing as I got up and close with the baseboards of this house over the Summer) that there wasn’t a single sightline that brought me joy in this house. 

Not in the house, at least. If it involved looking out a window, there was all sorts of joy.


Like, not one. Not in any room. There was not one line of sight that I considered to be clean and beautiful and finished.

Yikes. This discontent and desolate despair (yes, really, it was very melodramatic) was made worse as I discovered Instagram.

Because of the decor ladies.

Discovering the Decor Ladies

Or, to be more honest, I want to blame the decor ladies. I really do.

Do you know the decor ladies? They’re these lovely women with oh-so-gorgeous Instagram feeds that feature square after square of immaculately decorated, curated, constantly changing, beautifully lit rooms, vistas, and vignettes.

Well, dear reader, I confess that I’ve been scrolling and absorbing every bit of that beauty into my parched soul. Lusting. Yearning. Wondering how the heck they did it. And thinking, that CAN’T be real.

You can’t really have beauty like this.

Not in your house. Surely not on a daily basis. Not not in a magazine…

(… can you? and, more important, can I?)

But, it turns out, you can. And they do. It didn’t happen overnight. And their lives aren’t magically perfect because their homes are… far from it. They share and they struggle just like the rest of us. But their homes are a source of pride and beauty and I want it.

I want it big time.

(if you want to check out a few of my faves, here are 3 IG handles: @farm_decor_momma, @blessedonbluefinch, and @homesweethometn… there are dozens – thousands? – of them. My recent scrolling obsession started with @lizlovegrowswild and her gorgeous neutral DIY feed… *le sigh* my heart goes pitter pat)

But, me being me, the despair was short-lived and I resolved to do something about it.

Pink sunset skies over the sea at Cocagne, New Brunswick.
Pink sunset skies over the sea at Cocagne, New Brunswick.

Something radical and wild.

I decided I was going to create sightlines that brought me joy. Even if there was only ONE, it was going to happen.

And, y’know what, I’ve done it. I’ve got one. Maybe even more than one. And I’m working on others.

I’ll tell you all about it in Part 3.