Receiving the Good

Tomorrow the kids and I are closing on a house.  This process has been different for me than any other house purchase.  For one thing, I have no co-borrower to sign with.  It’s the first house with only my name on the mortgage.  I have had many moments of self-doubt about that, but then I remember what my wise friend, Mary, said to me one time.  She said, “I think you should put on your cape and remember who you are.”

Another difference is that I have not made any major purchases since being a cancer survivor.  The loan process was different; I had to write a detailed list of the dates of my chemotherapy treatment and surgeries to provide to the underwriters.  I have exposed myself during my cancer journey in many ways, not the least of which has been this blog.  But this letter was an invasion to me. I understand where the money lenders are coming from – they don’t want to give me a huge loan if I’m going to die soon and default.  But it’s another way that cancer has entered into my life.  Just when I thought I had figured them all out – HA!

The biggest way that the process of home buying has been different for me is that I have struggled with feeling worthy.  I have explored this struggle in my meditation practice and my journaling.  What became clear is that I have, unbeknownst to myself, been harboring a mistrust of good things coming into my life.  A mis-trust of happiness.

The ultimate life smack-down, cancer, took away my ability to trust in happiness.  Which is saying a lot for me because I was born with sunshine coming out my backside.  I am a summer baby and I love fire.  Ayurvedically speaking I have a lot of pitta, which is the fire element.  When people describe me they use words like sunny.  They say that I light up a room.  Some nurses said that to me even when I was in treatment and did not feel sunny at all.  I am an eternal optimist.

Recently I have discovered that I have dulled around that optimism.  The underlying belief is that I don’t deserve good things, or that good things won’t last.  I kept thinking, “Who am I to buy a house?  What if cancer comes back and I go into treatment again and then other people have to help me pay for the house or take us in?  What if I die then someone else has to sort this all out?”

Someone even pointed out to me after a bad inspection on a different house that I was trying to buy that I had better not get that one because it needed too much work and if we moved in and then I got sick again it would just be a big mess.

Of course, anyone who buys a house could get sick and die.  But people who have not had a life-threatening illness probably do not use that as one of their filters when making large purchases.

I “happened” across a poem this week that I had read before, years ago.  It came at the exact right moment.  It’s about receiving and flowing with happiness.  Tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 I’m going to sign on a hundred dotted lines, get some keys and move my kids into our new house.  I am going to receive the love and divine gifts that are mine.

So Much Happiness

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records…..

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known.

~Naomi Shihab Nye (You can see her read it here)

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