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Tuesday, 08 January 2013

Forced to Sell Your Home? Relax, Meditate, Roll with the Punches

By Jacqueline Herships of The Little Old Lady Stays Put

As I contemplate our rising real estate taxes, the need for a new boiler, for new wiring throughout the house and everything else that needs doing, the thought of selling my house and moving on becomes more pressing.

Then I suffer and know there is no escape except to move through the process of change wishing I were one of those people who loves to move, but knowing that unfortunately I am not.

In the midst of all this, my daughter gave me a book entitled, When Things Fall Apart - Heart Advice for Difficult Times which, now that I’ve been reading it, I highly recommend.

But at the time I wondered why she was giving me a book like that! 1!@#$@#!$

I work hard on keeping my anxieties to myself, or so I thought. But judging from her gift to me, I suppose they are leaking out all over the place and keeping the lid on is probably not such a good thing anyhow.

With more of us out there every day, we’d better get with it and adjust as a society if we don’t want to descend into a 21st century version of Dickensian London. How about home sharing as policy rather than a hippie alternative?

Then there is the truth - things are falling apart which is what happens when decisions are being made about what’s next. Where to live and how to live over the coming years are huge decisions which may involve mega-changes and in many instances we don’t have all that much control over the direction of our lives. Not with fiscal cliffs looming and crises of the sort caused by Bernie Madoff, too big to fail bailouts, outsourcing, and an economy built upon the development of prisons, border patrols, and pesticide-drinking super weeds.

So, why am I embarrassed by my finances when all around me homes are in foreclosure and money is running out for so many.

In her book, When Things Fall Apart, American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron describes the natural condition of mental assault we live with and presents us with ways to engage with our thoughts which we must do in one way or another if we are to attain eventual acceptance and peace of mind.

The method’s key is being attentive and then letting go. Here comes a thought. Recognize it as a thought. Let it go. Breath.

Since I began this blog I’ve wrestled with direction – money – continuing to work or not working. Although I’m still waking up at 4AM and worrying, I have visited several retirement communities, thought about renting rooms in other people’s houses, renting a big house and sharing it (as I share my own home now).

I’ve checked out subsidized housing (what’s left of it) and co-housing and registered for HUD housing. Through the process of writing this blog, I’ve met some and am looking forward to meeting others who are wrestling with these issues and in so doing so, to solving my own problem.

While I am not familiar enough with her writings to know if she would use a martial term to describe the work of facing our true natures, it seems to me that hers is advice on how to be a warrior in life – how to face, accept and ultimately let go of the chaos of our minds which drive us like wild ponies tormented by swarms of stinging flies.

I saw this once on the island of Chincoteague and never forgot the steel-encased buses with lattice steel window covers intended to keep the flies away from us tourists. Having no busses themselves, the ponies were driven into the sea to escape and we only had the barest glimpse of them.

We are like the buses encased in steel to avoid thinking and feeling. But the armor which protects us also screens out so much which is good and locks so much of ourselves in. I believe that if we work at it we can become black belts at being open, at not being grabbed by every thought, feeling and whim - at being here in life, now with a house or without it.

So for now, breath in, breath out. Think of the out breath, watch it uncurl into the atmosphere. If a thought appears, and it will – say “thinking” to yourself, then breath in and breath out.

[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Just lovely....thank you.

Currently in same boat, except I did get a 20 hr a week job, good for mental health as well as fiscal well-being..the breathe in, breathe out thing works too..thank you for being so honest about real life..same boat theory is good for mental health and nice to get away in too...

Your problem is money but you are so blessed to have a loving, caring daughter.

I love your fortitude, and writing for this blog is very therapeutic. I have a tangle of issues involving some property I own, but at least I own it.

Good luck, I know there is a sunshiny day for you soon.

Oh, by the way my pastor is telling everyone to "get out of the boat" (the safer place) and tackle new and more challenging things.

Life sure is funny.

I have been in H.U.D. senior housing for 15 years, and it is a wonderful solution for those of us who can't manage the cost or the upkeep on our former homes. Peace of mind is worth a lot at this age.

These transitions are challenging. I like your attitude, whether it be true or a bit of pretend put forth for our reading.... inspiring.

70-years-old living independently with husband in Florida. Children and grands all live in Wisconsin. Three years ago when we decided to retire and relocate thousands of miles from family and friends may not have been the best idea. Thankfully, we both are in good health but recognize if either of us become incapacitated -- we need to have a transition plan. Enjoyed your post.

Great outlook on a very serious problem.

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