Every now and then an opportunity will present itself that is so large, so amazing...as to feel "too good to be true". You know that adage? "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."
Well, I've never really considered that adage to hold much merit until recently. And then it occurred to me that adages live long because they ARE true. Go figure.
Anyway, so this opportunity presented itself just a week ago; a pretty amazing offer of "free" living: rent, food, utilities, etc., along with a small stipend and run of the place. 7.5 acres in the mountains...complete with barn, round pen, arena, and all the necessities for a horse. Not to mention that it even SNOWS there! (yes people. it does snow in Southern California.) And I LOVE the snow. Especially if I don't have to go anywhere if I don't want to. Which, of course, this opportunity included. Basically the requirements were minimal: prepare a few meals a week, keep the main house clean, feed a flock of exotic birds each morning and generally look after the place. Not the heavy stuff; they'd have "hands" for that. But the basic stuff. When the offer came, I thought, "HOLY HANNA! How can I say no to THIS???"
And then...I remembered who she was and how she'd treated me in the past. It all came back in large, vivid pictures...along with the feelings that accompanied those past experiences. Not only did I recall all that...but she seemed to be in exactly the same 'place' all these years later. A combative, confrontational, in-your-face kinda woman who loves nothing more than to exert (or attempt exertion) control over any and everyone around her. She prides herself on being "a powerful Aries" woman.
Now, to be fair, let me say that I, too, was very much akin to this woman. We even share the same birthday (years apart, but the same date); and when I first met her, I was in exactly that same space. So, in the beginning at least, it didn't strike me as anything less than a kinship. It didn't take long for me to realize that I'd been completely blinded by my own needs/desires to see the differences. And let me tell you, they were VAST. On the surface, we were very much alike. Under all that...not so much. It was during a time when my own life had been turned upside down and I was feeling rather vulnerable. In fact, I WAS vulnerable. I just didn't realize it at the time. Funny about that whole "hindsight" thing, huh?
So it came to pass that after all these years, she contacted me with this amazing offer. Like I said, at first it just seemed incredible. Live out up the mountains??? With a horse and all that space and a minimum of obligations? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???
Shortly thereafter, she called me and we chatted about the whole thing. At last I asked the dreaded question: "How in the world did you manage to buy a $5M property?"
Well, as much as I'd felt apprehension before asking that question, I was oh-so-glad I did. Because the moment I asked, she reacted. Note that I said REACTED. She did NOT respond...and she sidestepped in every imaginable manner, including copping a righteous attitude about my asking in the first place.
That was all I needed. At that moment I saw as clearly as I've ever seen precisely what was going on. I felt it in my gut to the point where it made my belly cramp. No kidding. It was like this enormous punch in the gut...bells sounding, flags flying, sweat poppin' out on my brow. The whole nine yards. And all I could think was "PRAISE ALLAH!!!" My intuition went into overdrive and I hadn't even spent more than a few hours pondering the whole idea. Talk about a freakin' life-saver! WHEW!
I ended up hanging up the phone without making a commitment, one way or the other. At that point I realized that there was a lot of baggage and I thought it might be a good idea to just give it a minute. Shortly thereafter, she wrote an email...and ranted about all the things she'd "done for me". (She even went so far as to say that I'd had a "victim mentality" and couldn't see it for what it was. Hmmmmm.) THAT was the icing on the cake. As I read the email, I could feel the grin slide onto my face, and that warm, fuzzy KNOWING wash over me.
NOT A FREAKIN' CHANCE IN HELL I'M DOING THIS. NO WAY, NO HOW. AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN.
The result of the whole episode was even more remarkable. Because the MOMENT I made up my mind to stay in this lovely place I currently call home I was awash with appreciation for ALL that I have. Including the occasional challenges I face living with someone else. Even though we have entirely separate spaces; I'm in the West Wing...and I mean that literally. The entire western portion of the house is upstairs and separate from his living quarters. The house is built in such a way that it provides complete privacy, from one end to the other. We share the kitchen and they yard, but otherwise, if I don't want to see him, or vice versa, it's easy to do. So on those occasions when I want to shoot him for being who he is (judgments. judgments. judgments.), I can just remove myself and let the moment pass. The space I rent is more than plenty for me. I have 2 bedrooms, one of which I use as my office, a full bath, and a loft that has both a 'living room' and a sitting room, which I use as a sort of breakfast nook. The views are stunning. The light is abundant (large windows in all rooms...all double-paned and well insulated.) There's a swimming pool, a rose garden, a vegetable garden and tons of orange trees. The house itself is on a cul-de-sac so there is no traffic other than those who live here. A total of 9 houses. All very private people, all well cared for homes. In short...PARADISE.
So why in the world would I leave all this? Why would I forgo this Paradise...except for MONEY? Oh sure. It'd be terrific not to have to pay rent or buy groceries or pay all the other monthly expenses we all have to pay to live as we wish. But at what price? Is paying rent worth more than serenity? Or learning the lessons I apparently chose to learn? Or knowing that at some point there WILL BE a disagreement (to put it mildly) that might put me in an even more precarious position? Is free rent/food/etc. worth my PEACE???
NOT IN A MILLION FREAKIN' YEARS.
I've spent the larger portion of the past 3 years learning about illusions. My own, of course. Illusions like "security" and "limitation" and "CAN'T". Illusions that kept me so tightly wound that I was like some kind of dormant volcano ready to explode with the slightest tremor of movement. A zombie with cool cowboy boots and not a clue about what it meant to actually LIVE. I was, for all intents and purposes, a Living Dead. The result of that kind of existence was the decline of my physical wellness. And when it hit, it hit HARD. So hard that I was (literally) immobilized. And when that happened, it woke my little ass UP.
So here I am now...with all kinds of opportunities presenting themselves. Not just the aforementioned opportunity. Many others as well. I have opted to accept some and decline others. Because now I can see that opportunities are there for us to choose, not only what we may wish to have, but also to see that what we DO have is perfect just as it is. In other words: contrast to further define those things that bring us joy.
There are no "once in a lifetime" opportunities. That's a bunch of fear-filled nonsense. Opportunities ABOUND. The only true question is:
Am I choosing through fear or trust?
Ain't Life G-R-A-N-D???!!!