Tripping Over Joy (excerpt)

What is the difference

Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved

Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I Surrender!”

Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.”
― Hafez

My days as a Realtor are made up of “a thousand serious moves.” I white-knuckle my Honda Fit all around town, looking at properties. I slog through my to-do lists on Google Keep and Evernote. I write and read a bazillion emails. Even the occasional drift over to a sidebar video with Jim Carey imitating Wile E. Coyote can feel tedious.

A couple I am now working for recently interviewed me to represent them as buyers. They’d been associated with an agent for some months and felt like the relationship had gone south. Like their agent was just “phoning it in.”

“All the joy has gone out of it,” they said, “This is our first home, and we know it’s hard to find something, but we want to have something of a feeling of excitement and joy about it, and we want our agent to share that.”

The search for a home in San Francisco can quickly begin to feel like a drudge. Agenting can feel like a drudge. I’m continually scraping Multiple Listing Service for new or neglected possibilities. I’m strategizing and problem solving and researching. I’m feeling my buyers’ anxieties, hopes and frustrations.

Stuff happens that makes me and my people feel like we got the salt kicked out of us. Most recently, a beloved client offered cash, no conditions and 20% over the asking price on a house. There were multiple offers but ours was clearly the best. Guess how the sellers responded. They countered us for another $115,000 and two months’ free rentback. This landed like a hard slap to the face.

Despite the sting, my client chose to stay cool and not take it personally. We made a generous counter offer to the counter offer and I calmly and clearly outlined our case to the seller. In the end, we all reached a satisfactory agreement.

What I mean to say is this: The acquisition of a house in a seller’s market takes a thousand serious moves, and you need a dedicated agent who can coach you through the game of buying.

Yet it’s equally important to hold a place in your heart for the excitement and relief (as well as the inevitable anxiety and apprehension) that accompanies the quest for home. I can help with that part, too.

For a short, inspiring talk by Tara Brach about serious moves and joy, click here.

Photo Credit: Tanja Heffner 

Cynthia Cummins is a Top Producer and Partner at McGuire. For info on SF real estate visit For the REAL scoop on residential REAL estate visit