FINAL SALE. A new owner on the deed. And that makes me just one of the many travelers over the last 119 years who have called this plot of land their home.
This change has forced the completion of every last errand, every decision not yet made and prioritized the reconnection of relationships that had fallen by the wayside. No wonder buying or selling a house is one of life’s major transitions.
Giving up the four walls of this Victorian home that have provided me a quiet, protected and
peaceful place in the world and deciding what to keep or let go of has me feeling raw and
vulnerable. While I’ve developed a higher tolerance for mental and emotional chaos as an
entrepreneur over the last 12 years, until now I never noticed how important it was to have the physical stability of my home grounding me.
Significant changes have a funny way of bringing life’s big questions to the surface.
So I found myself wondering, What is home anyway? Is it my favorite Persian rug and comfy pair of slippers that welcome me after a long day? Is it the art and photos that remind me of my travels and joyful experiences with loved ones? Because if it is, all those items are neatly packed on truck that will accompany me on the next leg of my journey. No, it’s more than that. It’s about having a haven infused with the aroma of ginger and cardamom tea to welcome in friends and family. It’s about unexpectedly finding home-grown meyer lemons on my doorstep from a thoughtful neighbor. It’s about a nurturing space to perform my daily rituals as I work to make a meaningful difference in the world. Yes, my house has provided the physical structure—a stage upon which the story of my life unfolded for more than a decade—but it’s these touchstones, relationships and memories that
have made it my home.
I found it odd that the sale of my house required so many professionals to attend to details and buffer the emotional charge of this experience. Each with an essential role to move the business transaction forward: realtors, title and escrow officials, appraisers and inspectors. Everybody with their own set of documents, signatures and details to check off a list. Everyone’s attention focused on the physical aspects of the sale. The price was agreed upon. Check. All contingencies removed. Check. A rock solid team to make it happen. Check. I initiated and agreed to this. Check. So why then, did it feel like I was losing so much?
Then a letter appeared in my inbox that broadened my perspective.
I’m really excited about the prospect of purchasing your beautiful home. It’s perfect for me in many ways. I want to assure you I will take care of your home. . . . I’m a history buff so the Victorian architecture and charm is something I’m really drawn to. I love the big open rooms and high ceilings and the wainscoting. All of these details of this home are not lost on me. . . I love the idea of sitting in the sunroom with my coffee in the morning . . . and I’m hoping to have some zen time in the backyard with the New York Times on my Kindle. My hope is to grow into this home, hopefully having a wife and child or two to round out things down the line, not too far off. I can’t wait to make [this] my home. All the best.”
As I was busy ruminating on all that I was about to lose, just a few blocks away a man I had never met was dreaming about all-things-possible. That was exactly what I needed to be reminded of how this world is so beautifully interconnected. It was time to get out of myself and focus on the bigger picture. So I did what I’ve always done when it’s time to surrender—I made a hot cup of chai.
Then I sat down and began to write:
“Thank you for your thoughtful letter with the details of how special Page St. will be to you. It meant a lot to me. . . . This home has served me through an enormous transition from being a…physician…to becoming an entrepreneur and author. . . .
It definitely has a special place in my heart. . . . I hope that this home will be your sanctuary and support you in creating all that you dream of. So glad our paths crossed at this juncture. . . .
If you have any questions or I can support you in any way during your transition, please don’t hesitate to ask.”
Maybe transition is all about honoring how a relationship, experience or even a home has served me. It’s that moment in time where my past meets someone else’s future. Perspective depends on whom I’m focusing on and in which direction I am looking. When I looked beyond myself and focused my attention forward to see the big picture for both of us, I could let go, feel peaceful and embrace a new beginning. I guess I just hadn’t completed the sentence yet…
“Bye-Bye, Page Street. Hello, Bayard Street!”
What about you?
Your Awareness Prescription
- How do you handle life’s major transitions?
- Do you focus solely on the physical aspect?
- Whom do you focus on more—you or another?
- And in which direction do you look—the past or your future?
- How does your choice impact the emotional experience for you?
I’d love to hear any insights about how you handle transitions! Join the conversation below.
To the beauty of letting go,