I live on the most beautiful street in the world.
Well, at least I think I do.
I live on a river. There are six other houses along this river. The street feels like Hobbiton.
About a month ago, the owner of one of these houses decided to sell. He has been renting the house and hasn’t lived here for years. The renters come and go, and it can be challenging for us resident Hobbits. (This is a complaint-free way of avoiding the expression “riff-raff.”)
So, I decided to buy that house. After all, it’d be a great investment, and it’s a beautiful property. Plus, I’d get to control the riff-raff!
I began the campaign in my head. I spent lots of time and energy making plans for re-doing the house. I figured out the up-front costs. I wondered if I could create a little writer’s retreat and rent it out to artists. And I thought of all the changes I’d make to it. Pretty soon, Dwell Magazine was coming to photograph my new house. It was fabulous!
In the meantime, I have maybe a few other things on my plate…
I’m writing songs for a new CD, writing blogs (like this one), leading retreats for women, doing keynote presentations and creativity trainings, touring and performing (I have a show tonight!), and facilitating an online e-Seminar. I’ve also been talking with a publisher who wants me to write a book. And we won’t even go into the constant learning curve of on-line marketing information and keeping up with that side of my business.
And yet, I began fantasizing about getting this house and fixing it up and creating a perfect Dwell house to rent out to perfect people…
My brother called me after I left him a message about this house. He owns a rental property and I had called him to ask him his thoughts.
Then he said, “You know what Christine? It’s fine if you want to do this. But it’s not just about ‘having an investment property.’ It’s a business. It’d be a whole different business for you. One more thing to do.”
And I got it. The swirly-twirly Christine that likes to hallucinate about all this extra time she seems to have landed hard on the ground, still dizzy from her fantasy. I took a deep breath and let go of the idea of taking on one more thing. I’ve gone through this process enough now that I didn’t have a huge let down. I just remembered who I am and got back on track.
In fact, when I let go of the idea, a vast expanse of new space was created in my mind because I was no longer thinking about the house all the time.
Does this happen to you?
Do you sometimes get a little dizzy from all the possible paths that are out there for the taking?
Well, then, here are some questions to consider before you add one more thing to your schedule, your life, or your load:
1 – What is my intention right now?
Setting an intention can be as simple as choosing a word for the year, and as complex as healing a long-term illness. What is your direction right now? If you don’t know, then take some time to get clear. You’re more likely to keep adding excess stuff to your life and your schedule because you haven’t established any priorities. If you do know, then ask yourself if this new thing is in alignment with your intention – or if it’s just a distraction. Having a strong intention often means saying no to lots of other options.
2 – What do I value?
This might seem like an easy question, but take a little time with it. Get clear about your true values.
Personally, I value time. Not only do I like having free time, but I need to have free time. Writing a song or a blog (or a keynote speech) takes a lot of moodling time for me. I need to allow for that. An investment property would steal more of my moodle time than I can imagine. (Especially since I don’t have a clue about investment properties!) I’ve been learning about stock market investing for over a year now, and that has already taken lots of study time. (And I love it!) So, I can easily continue on that course – and I’m getting better and better at it.
3 – Why do I want to do/have/add this new thing?
In this situation, I wanted to have this property because I wanted control. I could feel my inner Gollum grasping and clutching to keep control over my precious street. The truth is this: I was reacting to an old limiting thought that says, “The universe is not to be trusted! I have to fix everything!”
I realized that it was not my place to to control the rental situation. I chose to use my creative thinking to know that only wonderful people live on this street. (And to stop using the phrase “riff-raff!”) And if some not-so-wonderful people moved in, then I could learn from that, too. The externals of my world do not dictate my ability to be happy. I know this. Sometimes I forget it, that’s all.
When we’re trying to justify cramming one more thing into our schedules or lives, our motivations are not always about our highest good. Perhaps we want to be liked. Maybe we want to be cool. Maybe we think that this is the only opportunity we’ll ever get. Lots of times (most of the time!) our thinking is limited.
4 – Am I acting out of fear or love?
I’ve always loved this question. It says it so clearly. And deep down, we almost always know the answer. We just don’t always want to admit it. In this case, I was acting out of fear.
So, how about you? What do you need to say no to?