CHRISTMAS PRESENCE

I wanted to give you all something for Christmas….maybe not exactly what you were hoping for, but perhaps more than ever, it is the thought that counts.

So, it’s not a shiny new stated income loan. Or a stay of execution from foreclosure proceedings. Or a chauffeured ride in Mr Peabody’s Way-Back Machine, to Christmas Past  when all our homes were worth more. In fact it’s not any of those great big dreams we were busy betting on the come not so long ago. No high rise condos in Las Vegas. Or shopping centers in Chowchilla.  No second homes in the mountains. Forget about those last two rentals in Fresno we could have leveraged into with the equity lines on our tiny Santa Cruz  bungalows.

There have been many occasions over the years in real estate, when I would wake with sudden clarity, from what felt like a somnambulist trance. In those moments I found myself wishing that the world would simply stop moving like a blur around me.  I just wanted to freeze everything in place. Give my fingers,  gripping the facade so tightly, a chance to relax. Forget about the strange surreal fluttering in my stomach that was mysteriously following me around from house to house like a dark shadow. Stop worrying about  all those people making huge life decisions on the fly with barely a second thought or glance behind at the houses they were buying.

For a long time, I’ve needed a breathing space and an opportunity to reflect.  A chance to search the landscape littered with careless chards of affluence in hopes of recovering a few small pieces of my own soul – ejected when the G forces on Mr. Toad’s Wild Real Estate Ride got so powerful it was impossible to hold it all together as a real person.

So some might say….  Be careful what you wish for…. You just might get it.   Well, that’s the both the bad news and the good news for this year’s Christmas Presence.

Now that we’ve had time to reflect – by choice or just by the default of the marketplace, how many of us would willingly plunge headlong back into those craziest of times? Sure we’d like to be a bit busier. But would we really want go back to that place where 18 offers in the first two days was considered normal?  Where overbids regularly stretched people’s boundaries past any recognizable human form? If this is your wish for Christmas future,  then you really haven’t gotten the message or spent enough time in mindful meditation about the miraculous gift  that has been put on our plates.

In case you haven’t noticed, the fundamental reality of our economic system has changed forever.  On some deeper level, we all knew this was coming. We all knew we were living beyond our means even in this, the wealthiest nation on earth where 5% of the world’s population uses 25% of the world’s resources. All of us have felt the existential pangs and emptiness of materialism and what  it feels like to invest our identity and sense of self-worth in the ubiquitous, consumer-driven world of “stuff”.

And now, that the frenzy has abated, we’ve been given another chance to summon the collective courage to live beyond this moment differently with a new sense of responsibility to ourselves and to others.

Maybe this will be the economic downturn where crime rates and divorce rates don’t increase and instead,  more random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty are spontaneously reported.  Maybe people will  pay it forward this time instead of letting it all pile up on their revolving/spiraling 18% credit cards.  Maybe this will be the economic down turn where  the goal isn’t to return to a bigger and flashier version of business as usual but rather to create a new spiritual and enlightened moral vision of what business as usual really ought to be.

Anyone who still gets a tear in their eyes while watching It’s A Wonderful Life t and A Christmas Carol  is still capable of accessing that deeper desire for a different value system –  one where self-interest and idealism and social change all intersect.

So here is your Christmas Presence. I compiled a small list of favorites to watch, read and reflect on.   Google the Following or Go Straight to my Blog Site www.real-estate-of-mind.com

George Carlin – A Wonderful Message

Jill Bolte Taylor – Powerful Stroke of Insight

Bill Moyers Interviews Andrew J. Bacevich

Michael Lewis – The End

Repossessing Virtue – Parker Palmer on Economic Crisis, Morality and Meaning/Podcast

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