When I moved back to the Bay Area from LA at the beginning of 2009 I wasn’t sure where I wanted to live. I also had very little money so the first few months, before I got a job and got my finances going again, I stayed with friends and did house-sitting gigs, letting my lack of home be an entree to sampling different nooks and crannies of the Bay Area.
After six months of this I got a sublet in Potrero Hill that was to go from July through November. Ahhh, a base. Music to my Taurus ears!
Then one day in early September I got a call from the owner telling me that she needed her place back the next week.
My immediate thought was: This means MY place is going to be ready next week.
So I upped my house hunting efforts, looking all over – East Bay, City, and mid-Peninsula – with the belief that my right place would be in the right place.
That Friday night I got a bee in my bonnet to write. One thing that was odd about my sublet, and that threw a minor wrench in my Craig’s List housing search, was that at 8:30 every evening the internet went out. But on this night I was on my computer typing away when at about 10 p.m. I saw I had an internet connection. A sign! I got right on Craig’s List and saw a new posting for an open house the next morning in a cute San Mateo neighborhood several of my friends lived in. Excellent.
I arrived at the open house 15 minutes early and was the only one there. Odd, but ok by me. The landlord, whose name is Art (another positive sign), and I hit it off and the house was amazingly charming. Cute yard, redwood tree, lemon tree, two stories, quiet, private, laundry, hard wood floors, lots of storage, close to town, off-street parking, unusually affordable. I jokingly asked him if I was missing something – like are there roaches? No. No roaches or anything else gross. I wasn’t missing anything. It really was my place. I signed the lease and moved in the next week.
That was five years ago and I still, very happily, live here.
Now, when I tell people this story, they always ask: Didn’t you freak out when you got the call saying your sublet was over early?
I’ve unquestionably freaked out in other moments like that, so I completely get why they ask. But I think because I’ve moved sooo many times in my life, I’ve developed a familiarity with the rhythms, feel, and ways of how life orchestrates moving us from place to place.
So – truly – when I got the call saying my sublet was over in a week I had faith this was signaling my place’s arrival or, as a worst case scenario, an opening to move to some other place until My Place showed up.
‘CAUSE YOU GOTTA HAVE FAITH
What if, as a practice, we took on having faith about things a whole lot more?
What if, instead of habitually assuming the worst and feeling fearful, tense, anxious, and (let’s face it) uptight about nearly everything, we PRACTICED trusting?
The reality is that even with your best laid plans and positive intentions, life throws us curve balls ALL THE TIME.
So what are you going to do – freak out, exhaust yourself in a spin cycle of anxiety, and lose sleep at every turn?
When you look at your life – to the surprise breakups, jobs suddenly ending, housing snafus, projects that tanked, unexpected pregnancies, and whatever else life has thrown your way – has it not always led to something GOOD? And if not obviously good, then at least illuminating and empowering? (Which are still extremely good options in my book.)
I say this a lot in my posts but we really can’t hear it enough –
Despite what the voice in your head (ego) is constantly trying to bamboozle, brainwash, manipulate, and bully you into believing:
We are here to to LIVE our lives, not to survive them.
But survival as a general approach to “living” is the default setting in nearly all of us. Spend ten minutes observing and listening to your mind chatter to see what I mean.
But it doesn’t have to be like this.
Through practice and repetition, we can interrupt the fear and survival default setting and replace it with faith and trust.
And we can choose to believe, and get grounded in the perspective, that life is FOR us and that everything that happens in our lives is for and with us, not something happening to us.
So the next time something doesn’t go your way, don’t freak out, get worked up, attack someone, or collapse in a puddle of helplessness and doubt. Instead…
Bless it as an opportunity to practice trusting life.
Then, step back and see how life plays its hand with you. I’m willing to bet that with a bit of time – no matter how initially messy, unwelcome, or unpleasant – you’ll see that it was a gift opening you to something good, illuminating, and empowering. Hasn’t it always thus far?