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Vacuums, lawnmovers, and Dome of the Dogstar

This is how I want to be overlooking a cliff:)

Little things matter. Do we understand how and why? Yesterday, I showed a real estate client a home. As we stood outside, looking at a deck that had been built over a filled in cement slab that was once a pool. Let’s call her Susan for the sake of confidentiality. Susan asked me what I thought about this corner lot that had an abrupt drop off. As I scanned this cliff, and observed the levels of cement and wood plus paths of grass and a fence-less deck that too had a drop of about four feet, I took a deep breath. I told her that energetically this felt a bit disjointed and asked how she considered bringing cohesion to this back yard.  I also asked her how looking at these cliffs—the mini cliff off the deck and then the one that shapes one side of this yard—made her feel and how did they fit with the new life she was building.

Susan bless her heart went straight to the detail of what it would be like trying to mow this yard. There were no straight edges, just levels and inconsistent patches. I found myself focused more on the metaphor of the ledges and one wrong step and one falls. Maybe that is her lesson, maybe it is mine—either way it didn’t feel stable. As a Change agent, when I am working with my real estate clients, I am very intentional about not sharing my personal reactions to properties but rather asking questions and whatever conclusion my client comes to is the right on.  Mean while, I was ready to run away from these levels, but pressed onJ

Inside the house we went, Susan suddenly started taking me on the tour. She had been there the day before to the open house. Then I realized the tour was not for me, it was for her. As I watched and listened, she was trying to talk herself into this house. It was completely renovated and the charismatically newness scent wafted in the air. Then Susan’s question, “What should I do? Which house should I buy?” I gently reminded her that it was not my decision and I could ask her questions.  As I started to ask questions, she revealed she imagined that it would be a challenge to vacuum. Susan continued, she would have to plug and unplug the vacuum for every room in the house because each room was small. The amount of energy that demanded was concerning just like mowing the lawn amidst the cement and wood levels with the drop off.  Susan concluded that despite her love of the location and its’s proximity she felt better in the other home with its’ straight edges and clear boundaries, no levels just mountain views.

As a Change Agent, I create and facilitate change for my all clients through asking questions that reveal they do know the answers to the questions they have.  While I connected with the big metaphor and energy of this property, my client connected with the energy of the details and what it would require.  We all have our own process and way we experience the world.  The gift comes in the sharing of both.

About Joy Rain

Joy has been a diversity and inclusion consultant and mediator for over ten years. Prior to consulting, she was professor of Psychology and Women Studies. Joy has a Master of Arts in Psychology (Boston University) and a Master of Education in Social Justice Education (UMASS Amherst).


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