The Vulnerable Power Of The Ask

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The Vulnerable Power Of The Ask

The Vulnerable Power Of The Ask
Our Miraculous Journey Into Home Ownership


Our journey into home ownership began simply with the desire to claim our own destiny. My husband, Bob, and I were tired of living under the obligation of others’ whims and it was time for a change. There is no better symbol of claiming your life than by taking ownership of your emotional home — and that manifestation can happen as home ownership.

The short version of the story goes like this:

Our new home on Pitkin Mesa, North Fork, Colorado. (Photo by Bob Stovern).

Four years ago, during the middle of the summer, the landlord we were renting from here on Pitkin Mesa in the North Fork of The Gunnison Valley (Colorado) did us a surprising solid. He offered to sell us the home we were living in through an owner carry option. (Owner carry means that he would sell us the home and carry back the note for a certain period of time. Essentially, he became the bank until we could refinance the note to a traditional bank loan). The house had been on the market for more than a couple of years and he was eager to sell and we were terrified but eager to buy.

The longer version of the story goes like this:

The offer of this home through an owner carry was a miracle. When we left Durango, Colorado, our soul focus was to purchase our first home — this dream was a near impossibility given that we’d been through financial hell after losing our son and after me nearly losing my life. We had done our best to get back on our feet, but as we left Durango and moved to Paonia, Colorado, saying we were going to purchase our own home was exactly like saying we were going to piss into a stiff, cold wind and stay dry and warm.

The truth was that we’d been so physically and emotionally pushed to our limit at our old rental location in Durango, Colorado that I truly felt I could never ever rent from a landlord again. The rental situation at our cabin on the stunning Florida Mesa above the Animas River Valley, in view of the La Plata Mountain Range, had turned into a subtle living nightmare. Our landlords, who lived in a home adjacent ours, had gone a bit nuts over the five years that we’d rented there.

By the time we moved out, I was praying we’d get out in one piece before they did any of the following. Take your pick:

  • Blew something up — The dead cottonwood tree they’d neglected to consciously cut down ended up falling during a high wind storm, landing on the other tenant’s porch next to the propane tank creating a silent leak that could have set off the 50,000 psi British Petroleum pipeline nearby.
  • Broke something — In the last months, they were systematically digging up trenches all over the property for irrigation without warning.
  • Snowed us in — During the final two winters we lived there, they simply refused to help with digging out the eighth of a mile lane from snow saying, “We’ll just wait for it to melt”.
  • Instigated visits from the Sheriff’s Department — They broke their restraining order multiple times with our other neighbor while Bob interceded on several occasions.

The cabin on Florida Mesa, south of Durango, Colorado, overlooking the Animas River Valley. (Photo by Bob Stovern).

Yes, the tension was so great that I physically swore I would never rent again, even though I had no idea how we would buy. Given our situation, we were no dream picture for a bank.

So, when Jim made the offer in Paonia, Colorado to sell us the home we were living in, it was a miracle. Jim decided that we were taking such good care of his property — the best he’d ever seen in tenants — that he thought we’d make great owners. What made this even more magical is that his offer nearly matched, line-item-by-line-item, another owner carry deal we’d tried to secure earlier in our move. It had failed.

That failed deal became the open door to the miracle of claiming our new home. It all began when I became so determined never to rent again that I talked Bob into boldly (or stupidly) shopping for a new home without having any idea how it was going to work.

It was in that space of bold determination coupled with the ridiculousness (or idiocy) of no plan, when the first owner-carry situation landed in our lap. Literally. Through connections, we learned about a half-finished home one of the many mesas in the North Fork. The owner was ready to let go of his beloved space, but the property was not yet on the market.

Through conversations and visits with the property owner, we thought for sure a property deal would work out. The signals from Spirit World were all green lights until the day of offering the deal. That’s the day a fist-sized rock fell from the mountain, hitting the front grill of our car as we traveled over Red Mountain Pass on the way to the North Fork. That’s the day we spotted a coyote (the trickster) in the field adjacent our sleep accommodations. And right before the meeting, a deadly Black Widow spider crawled out of a chair. Those were all red light omens after having one green light after another.

Despite the signals, we had to follow through. I remember sitting with Paul, the owner, and Bob and Paul’s wife in the cold room of the kitchen basement with a shaft of spring afternoon light beaming through the window onto the wood surface of the kitchen table. When the conversation turned to the deal, I sketched the outline of what I thought would work on a yellow notepad, making the offer and pushing it across the table.

I have never felt so vulnerable in my life. Little did Bob and I know, in those moments, we were in the sacred and powerful space of the vulnerability of the ask. It’s the place where there is great power, poignancy, and yet a space of being completely unshielded in your vulnerability. All you can do is just breathe and be.

During that quiet, pin-drop-of-a-time in the kitchen, as I sketched the deal and then Paul read my writing, I felt the presence of several Ascended Masters and Arch Angels materialize in light around me and around the table. Their presence and power was so palpable I felt one of them holding me with his hand on my shoulder. I heard another of them say to me, “Just write it out and hold presence with it. That’s all you have to do.” Once I pushed the notepad to Paul, I heard the last phrase, “It is done now.”

And I thought that meant we’d worked out the deal.

That was not the case. During the meeting, Paul said that he would take some time in consideration. Later, he let us know that he could not accept our offer. That evening, I felt like I was tumbling off the side of a cliff. We’d already given notice in Durango and now we had no space to move to in Paonia.

But you know that thing about some of God’s greatest gifts being unanswered prayers?

When the deal fell through, Bob and I scrambled to find a new place to live in the North Fork. We were able to secure another month of extension on our old space and then we never worked so hard to find a new place to live. Week after week we made volleying drives from Durango to Paonia, Colorado, a four to five-hour trip, trying to locate our new home. I was demoralized that we were going to have to rent again and the pickings were slim.

We reached the point of no return. Our time in Durango was running out, money for hotel stays was running out — we’d scoured the valley and we still hadn’t found anything in Paonia. On a poignant spring evening during our search, we were camping by the edge of the Gunnison River at Pleasure Park east of Paonia and Hotchkiss, Colorado. That night, I visited the women’s shower room to wash. I was by myself, right before my shower, after a long day of searching, feeling homeless when my deceased Grandmother Newby materialized beside me. I felt her maternal energy encouraging me that everything was going to be okay, even if it didn’t feel that way. She encouraged me that my real estate offer was not folly. (I’d been beating up on myself for being an idiot). I felt her let me know that our family had lived through much worse during the Depression. I felt her let me know that I would always have a roof over my head. Her presence and message delivered the waves of tears and crying that I needed. That night, I padded back to the tent and Bob, freshly showered, lighter and hopeful.

Mountain view from the living room of our new home. (Photo by Bob Stovern).

It wasn’t long after that, somehow, we allowed ourselves to fall into renting a home on a month-to-month lease. The rub was that the home was on the market for sale and could sell out from under us at any moment. The home was also trashed from the previous tenants. And the home was three times the size we were looking for. All of these were things we thought we didn’t want.

In other words, the place was a big fat “NO”, but we were two weeks out from the move and we had to take it. I told a friend in Fort Collins, “OMG, we just signed papers on renting a home that I can’t remember the interior because it was so trashed. What are we doing?!” That’s when we tilted into the whirlwind of a life change that we could not have anticipated.

Yes, we moved our lives across the state to this mystery property. The 4,000 square foot space came with two and a half acres of yard, an elk fence and gate with water rights and a phenomenal view of mountains including the fantabulous Mount Gunnison. The landlord helped us with the initial cleanup that we continued. Gradually, we realized that every single wish on our list for a dream property, this property and home had for us. We gradually realized the sweetness of the water. The amazing view. The resources of the space. The garage and workspaces. The energy of the yard. Bee space. A private orchard. A lovely neighborhood with great neighbors and fields and organic orchards. We realized the Universe was answering our vulnerable ask and wish list with this property.

The only question was, “Were we paying attention?”

Just about that time, Jim called and offered us the property with the owner carry. The miracle, it turns out, was that Jim’s offer was just about the same deal I’d written on that yellow notepad not four months prior. It was as if the Universe was saying to me, “Dana and Bob, same deal, but not that property, take this one.”

We closed on our new home with minimal negotiations about two months later. We became homeowners of a property and home that seemed beyond our wildest imaginations. I still wonder how this has all worked, and how we’re still doing it, but we are — growing and expanding to hold space with this phenomenal space. This is not a home we would have chosen for ourselves — but the Universe chose for us. It dreamed us up much larger than we realized we could. And we are so lucky — every single day.

As a post script to this story, what is truly amazing is that a year, nearly to date in the spring, following the attempt at our first owner carry home deal, we heard that the first property owner sold his property . . . for pretty much the same deal that I’d written on the notepad in the first place.

That’s when I understood that writing out the first vulnerable offer and holding space with it was the most powerful and valuable thing Bob and I could have done for ourselves and Paul and his wife. We were breaking through to the Universe with two potential property deals, not one, with an authentic power of a vulnerable ask — and the Universe answered to all of us.