abundance · action · possibility

A bigger database.

3.21.18

I’ve heard it said while languishing in scarcity-mind: G-d has a bigger database than you.

And this is good, because frequently it’s hard to imagine a life bigger, more full, more “optioned” than the one I invent from my brain.  In particular at present, I’ve been having a brain-expanding (exploding?) moment around property, homeownership.

Perhaps if you’re like me, you’ve considered that owning a home is something for people who have saved a ton of money, who have worked in high-earning fields, or who have family to help them out.  I’ve certainly thought this way.  I’ve made homeownership to mean “something for other people.”  People who are lucky (and in my darker moments, ungrateful) enough to have family to support them (ingrates).  People who earn copious amounts of money that I never imagine I’ll attain.  People who’ve scrimped and saved, while I’ve rubbed two pennies together, hoping for a nickel to pop out.

But.  G-d’s database is bigger than mine.  I don’t know everything.  (Luckily, cuz then I’d die!)  For example, I didn’t know that my paltry-for-the-Bay-Area salary means I qualify for affordable housing opportunities.

Like this one-bedroom condo on Lake Street in San Francisco.

This all came to pass because of an email describing a program I don’t even qualify for.  At work, my boss forwarded an email from the County Education Office heralding a program for teachers to get assistance in the downpayment on a house.  Galvanized by this idea, I emailed the company and they replied that it’s a program only for public school educators, not for a private school teacher like me.

But between the moments of excitement and deflation, I went to their website and used their calculator to discover that with my (paltry) salary and their loan terms, I could afford a house costing $350,000.  So I went onto Redfin, typed that number into the search features in San Francisco, … and found the most wonderful home.

Wait a second, even teeny tiny condos on Lake Street go for $600,000 — what is this?  Well, it’s an Affordable Housing unit where the prices are held artificially low for people, like me, to have a chance.

This led to a flurry of activity.  I discovered yesterday that to qualify to be considered for this property, I have to complete a housing education class, I have to apply to the program, I have to talk to one of their loan officers, and then I have to wait in the lottery to win the place or any place in their program.

Huh.  Okay.  …  Well, I can sign up for an education class.  I can apply to a program, talk to a loan officer, and carry on with my life while my number may or may not come up.  In other words — I can do this.  I can do this.

Absolutely zilch may come of it—it is a lottery after all—but you can’t win a lottery unless you buy a ticket.

And furthermore, the remarkable idea that a person “like me” could own a home in this crazy messed up market makes my little heart flutter with possibility.

 

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fate · life · possibility · writing

storytime

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In soft, rainy weather like this, you warm up a mug of cider, coffee, cocoa, cradling your palms around it for heat. You sink into the couch and watch vaguely out the window as everything gets welcomely
drenched.
Your mind begins to drift, out of plan-making, errand-plotting, and back into the story that’s always being told.
It’s the one you were told before you were born. About wood
nymphs, and magic, and the luminescence of play. It tells of quests and triumphs,
failures and wounds burdened. It reminds you of the goat you rescue and the
crow you chase out of the darkness. The lovers you are meant to kiss and those who trick you into it.
In the story that is always behind thought, you meld
with ancient heroes, you are the foes they vanquish, and the cities they lay
waste to. You are the sword of justice and of vengeance. Both the hag and lady of the lake. You are the
unquantified stem cell of protagonist.
In grey weather like this, you aren’t yourself any longer,
because you’ve gone back to what you’ve always been: everything. nothing. and
teeming with every ending ever conceived. 

anger · authenticity · faith · forgiveness · grief · growth · Jewish · possibility · spirituality

T’shuvah

(In my vague and limited Jewish knowledge) T’shuvah refers to the time in the Jewish calendar between Rosh Hashanah—the Jewish New Year—and Yom Kippur—when our names are sealed in the “Book of Life” by G-d for the next year.

T’shuvah literally means to return, but most interpretations take it to mean a time of repentance. A time of atoning for our “sins,” and to acknowledge where we’ve “missed the mark” of our own moral target.

I’m not one for “sins,” or for “atoning,” or for asking forgiveness from a spiritual entity. In my own spiritual practice, there is a habit of taking note of where we’ve been wrong and amending that behavior, whether through direct conversation with someone we’ve harmed or through choosing to act differently in the future.

But, the idea of asking a “higher power” to forgive me for anything at all has never sat well with me. I simply don’t think that anything that has the power to create life and death and change and love would need my asking. I believe that whatever “G-d” is, “it” is much too loving or non-personified to ever require me to ask it to forgive my behavior.

As I said, I still think the process of taking stock of my behavior and righting my own wrongs is very important to my emotional wellbeing and my personal relationships. But on the spiritual plane, G-d would never need me to ask for forgiveness. There’s nothing to forgive – there’s only love, acceptance, and a desire for me to be my best self.

That said, I have been reflecting that this week of t’shuvah has certainly been one of returning. I feel that my actions are those of a woman returning to herself and her values; returning to my true nature, and returning to ideas and hopes that were feared or abandoned.

I am in a musical. I’ve returned to that dream of acting and singing, despite the fears and self-judgments it still brings up in me.

I have officially announced this week that I am moving on from my office job. Again, a return to my true desires, my internal compass. I have stopped hitting the Snooze button on my instincts and drives.

No matter what comes of it, disaster or “success,” I am trying something brand new for me. And that is certainly a return to curiosity, innocence, hope, and creation.

I told my coworker that I boycott Yom Kippur these days. The fasting and the communal atoning of sins. I shun this day and its activities because the idea is that by atoning for our sins, we will be “inscribed in the Book of Life” for another year.

According to the Jewish calendar, in 2012 the evening closing Yom Kippur was the moment of my Leukemia diagnosis. I spent the day of Yom Kippur in an ER. And closed the chapter of that day with cancer. I was 30 years old.

I have done a lot of work around turning that diagnosis into the seeds of a new life. But I will never deny that I have a few wheelbarrows full of anger and grief that still need … sorting or composting or alleviation. Or simply time to feel them, and then to let them go, perhaps, if that’s what happens.

But for me, the idea that on one of the most holy days of the Jewish year, on the day when a person is either granted another year of life or is not, I cannot hold the tragedy of being told half my blood was cancer on that same day.

And, I imagine, my feelings toward all of this will transform, lessen, or evolve. But, for now, I boycott Yom Kippur.

I have used this week of T’shuvah to take stock of where I am desirous to return to and acknowledge and rejoice in the truth of my soul, and to note where I already am. I have used this week to affirm that life can be new and different and fulfilling.

I will never need the forgiveness of an entity that is either made of benevolence or simply is the indifferent force of Life itself.

My week of T’shuvah is and has returned me to a place of excitement and possibility. I don’t need a communal atonement to reward me for how exceptional that is.

That said. Shanah Tovah u’Metukah — May you have a good (tovah) and sweet (metukah) year, friends. And may we write our own Books of Life.

abundance · aspiration · change · ease · energy · possibility · self-care · self-love

Fulcrum

(No, sorry, this has nothing to with the group of evil spies on the t.v. show Chuck.)

Ever since I listened to this podcast on the development of energy efficiency, I’ve been thinking about developing a process to create more while expending less.

In “olden times,” the podcast said, a day’s work could earn you an hour, maybe, of candlelight. Imagine having to work an entire day, just to get one hour of power to your iPhone, let alone your refrigerator or car.

In contrast, through scientific achievement we now, through a day’s work, earn a whole lot more power through our effort.

… I can’t remember how many days it reported precisely, but to give perspective to it: I pay on average $12 a month for my PG&E bill. (Granted I have most of my stuff attached to power strips I turn off before I leave, and never leave things plugged in that I don’t have to.) But, if I earn more than that per hour of my work, I’ve earned myself over a month of power in 60 minutes.

The point is, science has created a system whereby we work less to produce more. Our efforts are magnified through efficiency — we don’t have to work as much or as hard to get what we need. Science created a fulcrum, a point on which we can pivot our efforts to enhance them exponentially.

In my life, I am in a process and a pattern where I work a lot, like most of us, and what I earn from that pay supports a life that is getting by. I’m not saving much. I’m not spending much. I’m pretty much working to get by.

And I’ve decided I’d like a fulcrum.

To be specific, I’d like to work less and earn more. (Wouldn’t we all? But yes, isn’t that the point — perhaps we can.)

I did some calculating this weekend, and I can earn what I’d like to be earning (more than a “getting by” amount) by working half the time, 20 hours a week, if I triple my hourly wage. Sounds far fetched perhaps. But stranger things have happened. And the rate I’d need to earn isn’t outrageous. It’s actually pretty attainable for a skilled service.

The question now is, what will the service, my fulcrum, be?

At various times, I’ve teased the idea of throwing caution and (my own) morality to the wind and thought of prostitution. I’m sure I could earn there, but at what other cost? Result: rejected.

Other thoughts:
Consulting — in what?
Counseling — perhaps — more schooling then?
Coaching — maybe — more schooling, too.

But, we’re back to the point of the fulcrum — I can expend energy now in creating my fulcrum. It’ll likely take time and effort, but boy howdy! The results!

I don’t know yet what the outcome of this line of thinking will produce, but I like that I’m thinking this way, out of the box of where I usually look. Instead of looking again at the job sites I always look at to get a higher paying job but work the same number of hours, I’m realizing I need a different way.

Because I need to be available to the projects that ignite me, and I have to give myself the time and space to do that. … Without being a starving artist — I simply refuse to struggle more than I have to. It’s not fair to me anymore, when I know there can be another way.

So, if I can find a kind of steady-ish, scheduled-ish vocation that allows me to produce more while expending less, … well, as Archimedes said when demonstrating the lever:

“Give me the place to stand, and I shall move the earth.”