Your Home, Your Self

Is your home in conflict with your true self?

When I sat down to write this post, I was going to write about home remodeling trends. And then I realized how dead that felt to me. I think trends are manufactured and, as someone who cares about value and quality more than whatever is the flavor-of-the-moment, why would I write about trends?

And that got me thinking. What does it mean to not follow trends in real estate?

If the discussion was about fashion, I think someone who defies trends is someone who is self-aware and has vision, strength, courage, and a whole lot of confidence. When it comes to a home, that kind of radical defiance requires a lot more effort. It’s easy to walk into a staged home or a design showroom and just buy the pieces as shown and put them in a house. And if you did, it’d be a lot like someone who just bought the outfit in the window and wore it exactly as it was displayed. It may be a great outfit, but it would tell you nothing about the wearer (other than maybe that they have no self-expression). It takes much more clarity and connection with self to really transform a house into a home that is reflective of the owner’s authentic self.

When it comes to home remodeling, I think the most important thing is to do what makes you happy. After all, you’re the one who’s paying for it and living with it. And a home that reflects its owner’s personal sense of style and expression is admirable. Even when a home is decorated and remodeled in ways that are not to my taste, I can still appreciate the vision and joy behind it. There are design trends, color trends, and trends on trends – all good information, I suppose, if you’re a trend-following kind of person. But really, how boring is that? Seeing the hundreds of homes I do every month, I think that’s one of the things that really differentiates a home from a property. A home can’t help expressing something about its owners. The property (especially the kinds that are quickly done by investors) tend to have the same trends-inspired feel to them. They look great maybe the first five or ten times you see them. Then they get really boring because they are all exactly the same. There’s no humanity behind it, there’s no quirkiness, there’s no individual expression – just a cold calculated “this is what’s trendy now” kind of approach to the entire project.

I think being true to your self and what makes you happy ultimately makes the remodeling project more fulfilling and rewarding. And why wouldn’t you want your home to be an expression and extension of who you are? More importantly, if you are someone who seeks to live authentically, why would your home not be a reflection of that authenticity?

I’d love to hear how you bring your authenticity to your home. How does your home express your values, your truths, your spirit, your Self?

Work From a Place of Authenticity

“Something in us knows that we are not just here to toil at our work.” – Jack Kornfield

Do you find your daily schedule packed with work-related activities and all the things you “should” do?  Are your identity and self-worth dependent on how much you work, how closely you adhere to the way you are supposed to be?

After long long days (weeks, months, even years) of working to the point of exhaustion, do you ever find yourself wondering, “Is that all there is to this life?”

I have found myself at those points too many times.  And I am grateful that each time I have found my way out with new insights about myself and my growth.

Looking back, I have noticed that it is when I have lost my connection to the greater purpose of my being that hours spent working becomes draining and pointless.  Sure, working to pay the bills is important and necessary.  Yet that is not enough.  Our existence has to be about more than just getting up, slogging through the day and putting in the hours to get a paycheck so that we can then pay someone else.

I find such a significant difference in my energy and attitude as well as the results of my efforts when I act from a deeper knowing. From the outside the actions may look the same and yet the internal experience is vastly different.  It’s a lot like when I practice yoga as a form of offering, as a moving meditation, as an expression of my inner being versus when I practice mindlessly and just making my way through the poses, looking at the clock and counting the minutes until I would be done.

In my business it is the difference between having a soul-less conversation with someone and just focusing on them as a potential client when we meet at an open house versus having a meaningful engagement with someone and interacting from a place of service. From the outside, it may look like I am having the same conversation and yet my experience of the interaction is dramatically different: the former is depressing, deflating and an energy drain whereas the latter approach is much more authentic, energizing, enlivening and purposeful.

The tricky part, sometimes, is that when people walk into an open house, they’re not always energetically open to having that kind of exchange with me.  My job, and this is effortless when I am strongly connected with my inner self, is to hold that space for those who are open to it so that we may have the meaningful exchange.  Just because we are talking about the number of bedrooms, the square footage, the functionality of the fireplace, etc. does not mean that I have to hide my inner self.  It would not be authentic for me to not allow my spirit to come through.

I used to think that when I was in my real estate mode, I had to send my yoga self off to a separate room.  It was as if I was playing dress up and I would put on my real estate mask to cover up my yoga self.  And that was not authentic.  And it made me feel horrible.  Not to mention bad for business (would you want to work with someone whom your gut could tell was not being completely real and authentic?).  I now realize that my yoga self and my real estate self can and need to co-exist, to show up together if I am to operate as an authentic and whole human being.  As much as I know that, there still are days when it’s a little scary to be so open.  Being authentic can feel a bit scary because it requires us to be vulnerable.  And yet, it’s totally worth.

Why waste time and energy on anything less than the authentic?

Many Paths to the Divine

A colleague recently mentioned how stressed he was and how much he wanted to learn meditation because he had heard it would help with stress management.  And that conversation got me thinking about how often we look outside for answers.  On the one hand, I know that we are Truth, we are Light, we are Love.  I know that simply connecting with breath may be all that I need to find peace and connection with spirit.  And yet I also know that I sometimes forget or lose my way and it is through the guidance of teachers that I find my way back to my own knowing.  I guess it’s about being open to both the possibility of finding our way in to experiencing the divine on our own and recognizing that, sometimes, finding the teacher guides along the way is the path through which we come to connect with and experience the divine.

I love this reminder from Jack Kornfield as to how there are many different ways in which we may awaken to spirit.  In After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, he writes “We can go to India or Jerusalem – and some of the most magical stories…might have us believe that this is the way a spiritual life must begin.  But it also begins in a moment of gardening, in the simple act of returning home after a voyage and seeing it fresh, in the touch of an inspired piece of music, a poem’s song, the flight of a bird.  Every pair of eyes we look into can become the eyes of the Beloved.”

Share Your Beauty

Beauty matters.

True beauty can inspire action, bring joy, give hope and lift our spirits.

I’m not talking about artifice passing as beauty.  I’m talking about real, authentic beauty.  The kind of beauty that has nothing to do with the application of make up or having the perfect body.

I’m talking about the beauty you experience when in the presence of nature.  Or an incredible piece of artwork.  Or musical performance.  Or a meal cooked with love.  That kind of beauty.

And I’m talking about the kind of beauty we can infuse into our daily interactions.  This is the beauty of our presence when we show up as our authentic selves, when we act mindfully, when we speak with kindness, when we show respect for each other and recognize the humanity in the other.

It doesn’t really matter what it is that we may be doing or where we are, we can always bring more beauty into the moment.  We just have to set that intention and act accordingly.

Which may be easier said than done sometimes.  Like when I am sitting in traffic.  And yet, being angry isn’t going to get me to my destination any faster.  Me sitting in my car being frustrated by the situation isn’t going to change anything other than give me more wrinkles and up my stress level. Stewing in all that negativity just makes me less attractive.  Generally speaking, don’t you think people who are pleasant, happy, smiley, kind and nice are just more attractive?

Will you be bringing more beauty into your daily life?  How do you bring beauty into your life?

You’ve got to sell your heart

Whether you’re an artist or not, I think this post beautifully reminds us and encourages us of the necessity to create and live from our most authentic selves.

Cristian Mihai

heartIn 1938 aspiring author Frances Turnbull sent a copy of one of her stories to Francisc Scott Fitzgerald. In the feedback he offers her there’s one great piece of advice: “You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner. This is especially true when you begin to write, when you have not yet developed the tricks of interesting people on paper, when you have none of the technique which it takes time to learn. When, in short, you have only your emotions to sell.”

You can read the rest of the letter here. It’s really worth the time, and it’s the kind of advice writers give only to closest friends. It’s not something you can tell anyone about, because most people will think you’re crazy.

Now, about selling your heart…

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