All That I Seek

Yesterday was a hard day for me. It wasn’t just the not getting the house. That was difficult, but I was prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for was how badly we’d be beaten. I wasn’t prepared for how hopeless the whole prospect of finding a home would feel.

Everyone says that we’ll find something we like more. That’s better suited for us. All I can think is, if we find something that we like more, won’t someone else like it too, someone with more money, who can outbid us again, who can put down tens of thousands of dollars more than we can? How will ever find something that we really truly want, that someone else with more money won’t want as well?

I think about our choices. We can move far away, abandon our parents and the amazing familial support we enjoy here. We could move to the outskirts of the Bay Area, still close enough to see our folks every once in a while, but still mostly alone. We could get a house much smaller than we’re hoping for and just make it work. We could suck it up and stay in this dark, dank mold infested cave of an apartment and focus on the fabulous neighborhood surrounding it. Certainly we have options, don’t we? It’s just none of them are very good.

I was talking to my mother, of places that maybe we could afford. She kept qualifying every option with, well that wouldn’t be so bad. I guess that is what we deserve in life, well that wouldn’t be so bad. We certainly can’t have what we want but what we end up with probably won’t be so bad. It’s worse than a lot of people have, that’s for sure.

A friend reached out to me after I shared our disheartening house news on Facebook. She shared a link to a post she had written a couple of years ago. In the post I am urged to realize a simple truth:

I already am all that I seek.

She speaks more about it in her post, about how this realization changed her own life, made it better than it had been. I understand this idea with my mind but can’t grasp it with my heart. I’m trying to embrace it but I don’t yet know how.

Mi.Vida and I are at odds again. We worked so well together putting the offer on the house. We were so in sync, every decisions seemed so clear to us then. We’ve responded differently to the news of how intensely inadequate our bid was. Mi.Vida is nonplussed but unconcerned. We’ll probably find something, he assumes, and we don’t really have to anyway, so it’s fine if we don’t.

I on the other had am much more pragmatic in my outlook. Our back up plan has always been rent a bigger apartment, but the truth is, with rents the way they are now, we can’t afford that either. And the thought of staying here indefinitely, in this apartment I’ve never liked in the eight years I’ve called it home, makes my skin crawl. Seeing that house I loved, knowing what I could, hypothetically have, makes me loathe my current home even more. We seem to be at an impasse, our future so uncertain, the path to get there totally undetermined. We can’t agree on what to do. We both feel so stuck, so suffocated, but for entirely different reasons. It will takes months to get out of this muck. I left the conversation, exhausted and depressed. I questioned to myself:

I already am all that I seek? 

What does that even mean?

Last night I read an email that went out to the volunteer alias of the mother’s group that published the magazine I write for. A volunteer mom is currently at UCSF medical center deciding what to do about her two years old’s diagnosis of a cancerous tumor in her leg. I shuddered at her horrible tragedy. I tried to imagine how I would handle it if it were my own. I told myself:

I already am all that I seek.

Today I went to the zoo with my parents and sister. My daughter was so ecstatic to be there she was clearly vibrating with excitement. The weather was gorgeous, a rarity at this zoo which sits right on a habitually foggy and windy beach. In short sleeves and sun glasses we visited all Isa’s favorite animals and shared a really fabulous day.

There were families everywhere, so many pregnant woman. They all had at least one small child, sometimes two and a few times three or more. I stared at their burgeoning bellies and tried not to think. Sometimes I look at the pregnant mothers of children Isa’s age and I think, why her and not me? sometimes I think, she has it so easy, sometimes I think, see, it can happen to people, it will probably happent to me. Sometimes I think a gentle and harmonious, that must be nice. I try to remind myself:

I already am all that I seek.

Our house guests should be arriving again any minute. We’ll host them for four days in this tiny apartment that can’t possibly house us all. They leave half way through the week, the week I will spend packing my classroom and basically babysitting middle school students who can think of nothing beyond what they will do this summer. Next weekend Mi.Vida’s friend and his hugely pregnant wife and their not-yet two year old son will stay in San Francisco and we’ll have to hang out with them. I’m just trying to get to June 18th. I’m just trying to get away from this week, to put it behind me. And I try to convince myself.

I already am all that I seek.

I may not believe it yet. I may not even understand it, but right now I need to grab a hold of something that isn’t just hopelessness and desperation. Right now it feels like all I have, even if I’m not quite sure what it is.

8 responses

  1. I’m sorry yesterday was so difficult. And what your friend said a hard concept to grasp … I’m not even sure I agree with it, necessarily … though I partially understand it as appreciating being present, in a Buddhist way.

    Yes, someone may come along with more money next time. Or not. You never know.

    The thing is … on my darkest days, I figure I have two choices. One choice is to try to believe that things will work out as they are supposed to, that I’m where I’m supposed to be, even if it’s not a comfortable place for me. The other choice is hopelessness, despair, and worse. The first option is a lot more appealing if I am to have any hope of functioning in the world and living to watch my children grow… and even when it doesn’t seem plausible, I’ve given believing it a shot. I hope you can, too.

  2. Dude, if Lori said it, it MUST be true.

    I am totally serious.

    Trying to embrace the concept, too. Maybe, we can make the most of what we have (whether we see it that way or not?) by embracing what we have. Bottom line: I would LOVE to live in your neighborhood. It is one of the most exciting, cool neighborhoods in the world. Really. What IF you could make the most of it? I know you don’t like your apartment, but what if you could make it awesome? There are blogs about renters who live in tiny, crappy apartments they rent that they have turned into oasises. With kids, even! Yes, they invest money into it, but they can’t afford to buy so it makes more sense? Your place had some strengths: a big kitchen (by city standards apartment). The storage is bad, but that could be changed?

    You KNOW I am not a false Pollyanna type. I just am wondering, could you make it work?

  3. Remembering Self Love
    An affirmation
    By Cynthia Long

    What if I had a gentle, irresistible alarm that went off within me, telling me when my body needed sleep, rest, meditation, movement, comfort, pleasure, joy…and I had to listen to that alarm. What if that alarm was created by my intention to love myself enough to begin by opening to these aspects of self-respect, so that they may lead to my readiness to love the world from a place of wholeness, and in this way offer my gifts. Would I not then be of wholeness, and in this way offer my gifts. Would I not then be completely empowered, and strong enough to be of the value I have always wanted to claim?

    What if it’s true that I have created every obstacle as I would mould a clay dragon before me, and I can just as easily crush each one to dust by refusing to believe in it anymore, by no longer giving my faith and power away?

    What if it’s true that the only thing that stops me celebrating each moment is the subtle, unconscious habit of believing I am not fit, that I should be punished for my failures of the past? And when I let go and stop condemning myself, there is nothing left but all possibility, anything and everything that gives me true joy.

    What do you love? Who do you love? How would you live if you could make no mistake and simply followed your heart?

    That is the gift you give to others.
    Stop trying.
    Start allowing every dream its rightful birth.

  4. I love Jjifaffe’s comment- yeah, what if you invested a little money in your current place and made it awesome? It seems to me that location is extrememly important to you, and if you are already in your ideal location, fixing up your current place to be more livable may be a great solution. I don’t live in a huge house at all (about 2500 sq ft) but sometimes the cleaning and decluttering just get so overwhelming and I wish we had a smaller place and a ton less stuff. And we’re lame and live in the suburbs- ha. But like I’ve said before, I totally empathize with feeling stuck and option-less because of finances. It sucks. I hope this is a better week for you despite all the crap you have going on.

  5. I am struck by how you write about the amazing day at the zoo and yet in the same breath you are looking at the pregnant women and wishing it was you- I think you lose sight of all that you have and that which is flourishing under your nose- you seem to always be focusing on something out of reach.
    They say the man who runs out of his house looking for happiness…chases a shadow.

  6. I think it is a good idea to consider some of the suggestions to consider fixing up your current place now. Obviously some things are out of your control to fix yourselves (mold).

    T + I recently decided to invest in our rent controlled apt. in NYC and it has felt really good. He painted kitchen shelves that have been unfinished for 8 years (and made me feel embarassed when people came over) and it made a HUGE difference to how I feel about our (still VERY small) kitchen. He hung an old brass chandeleier from a yard sale that he polished up, and suddenly our dining room (with scratched up second hand furniture) looks classy!

    The big decision we’re facing now is whether to pay someone to build a closet since we have a hard time with too little storage. We’re considering doing it at $2,500 even though we’re renting and figuring out whether we think it’s worth it by equating it into added monthy rent. (Adds $208 a month if we stay one more year, $104 a month if we stay two years, etc.)

    We made a list of the things that were bother us about the place and are addressing them slowly. We’re also prioritizing issues to raise with the landlord to get addressed slowly one at a time. After two years of trying they finally REALLY fixed the plumbing upstairs from us so hopefully it will not rain toilet water from the upstairs bathroom anymore (EW).

    I totally get being bogged down by things that drive you crazy about your apartment. I am sorry you were outbid by so much. Hang in there and hopefully you can think of some ‘quick fixes’ that could help change how you feel about your place one room at a time.


  7. I really like that quote by Deathstar.

    Right now you are acting as if you are small, limited esperanza. You feel you are being acted on by all the forces around you. The scenarios you describe are all stories. True stories, perhaps, but temporary conditions in the scheme of things, when you zoom out to the vastness of time and space.

    I already am all I seek comes from (and leads to) the Truth that you are BIg, Unlimited, the Creator of your stories. If you zoom in to your essence, to your eternal divinity and connection to Source, you can begin to realize your true power and become adept at manifesting more consciously.

    You are already manifesting. But you are doing so as little esperanza. By becoming more aware of your True Self, your big self, you will begin to manifest what you WANT instead of what you DON’T want.

    Think of that power! It’s a good thing it is weak until we are able to be more mindful and aware throughout the day. What would happen if an untrained mind created everything it thought? It might be thinking/manifesting accidents, illnesses, job losses, and other mmisfortunes.

    Then compare to what a trained mind could create: peace, abundance, wholeness, wellness, joy, harmony.

    My teacher once told me that my mind was a child and I had to bring it into alignment with my heart and soul. That’s what I’m working on. You have probably already noticed that yoga is a good way to quiet and discipline the mind. Take what you know ON the mat OFF the mat.

    This is a meditation that goes along with the post I referred you to. Maybe it will make the meaning of the words a little more clear:


  8. Loving your post, loving the idea that “I already am all that I seek” even though it is hard to believe this at times (especially recently for me), and loving all the comments.

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