Upside down justice

January 26, 2022

I’ve lived in my home for 22 years and have had 5 neighbors to the right side of my townhouse, some nicer than others. This current one can only be described as a witch. She’s truly a bully taking great pride in being selfish and demanding of her property rights over plants and trees but totally disrespectful when it comes to my rights. Here’s my story of what should have been a shared expense and how she reneged on her promise to actually pay me once repairs were complete.

Before I start my rant, because admittedly, I’m frustrated at the system that allows people in a neighborhood where the deed of the property clearly states a shared financial responsibility where a shared wall is involved, there are probably some of you that may disagree with my position. Since I believe that perspective is a fact in this world of duality, I accept that opposition to what I’m presenting is a possibility. Nonetheless, I’m going to present what happened in the hopes that eventually there is enough energy to move forward in a more positive way.

Over these many years, my house has needed quite a few maintenance repairs, of which very few involved my neighbors. That said, the walls between the homes to shift due to the settling of the houses. When this happens, the two walls essentially separate which causes a “crack” in the mortar. Although initially one can ignore the esthetically normal small crack, when it becomes a matter of a full length of the house crack then it’s a “structural situation”. At this point, it’s prudent to listen to the knowledgeable contractors that were repairing other parts of my home. “Hey lady, it’s time to fix this crack or you and your neighbor could have water damage”. When I hear this kind of statement, I listen. Having just spend a lot of money to repair first the siding a few months before and then the roof, now I realized I’d have to repair both side seams of my townhouse.

The neighbors on one side of my house had just moved in and were very nice people. During my investigation process and eventually completing the repair, they cooperated with me and paid their share (half of one side of the house or ¼ of the total cost). The other neighbor decided to make it as difficult as possible for me to get paid. As I was travelling out of the state to care for my mother, due to a family death, I was coming home to do these repairs. I was literally coming home for a few weeks and either getting bids or having work done and then going back to care for my Mom. It was and continues to be a stressful time. I just didn’t have lots of time to discuss the whys and wherefores of what I considered to be yet another home maintenance repair. After 22 years these repairs are to be expected.

Although this neighbor initially agreed to pay half of the expected repair, over email and through the President of the HOA to make it official, she later recounted her agreement. But she did this only after she got what she wanted from me – for me to trim a tree in my backyard that was growing into her “air” space. Let me re-iterate – it wasn’t touching any where in her backyard – just reaching into her “air” over a few feet over the property line. And for this transgression on my part, she wrote me a letter instructing me that I had to trim the tree by a certain date or her gardener couldn’t work at all on her backyard. I had a hard time not laughing since my tree was located in the corner of my backyard and was way over to the corner of her backyard. To say that her gardener was paralyzed from working until this beautiful cut leaf maple was trimmed was truly delusional. In 22 years, no other neighbor had bothered me about this gorgeous tree. Because the letter of the law states that I had to trim the tree, I did so and bam, once it was done her tone totally changed. Before that it was “what’s your PayPal so I can send you the money I owe you”. Once I had trimmed my tree, she came up with every crazy excuse in the books. Why did you do a mortar repair instead of caulking? Why? Because caulking isn’t for a structural situation where the entire side of the house is involved. The contractor I used was a licensed, bonded and insured real company that had reviews from doing this type of work, not a guy with a no-name truck like what she used to do her gardening work.

Needless to say, things went from bad to worse. I said she could pay me now or later. She sent $175 when her share was $700. I promptly refused the money she had sent and returned with an invoice for the full amount. She didn’t pay it. So, I tried through the small claims court system which was of little help. Again, she played a game until she got the ending she wanted. I went to court on the appointed day and she was a no-show. The judge called the case and shocked me with the news that she’d scheduled oral surgery that day. She lied and said she sent me a notice. I received nothing in the mail, in an email, nor on my door. It was a total lie. She just let me go to court, even though I had checked in the day before, the administrators didn’t know that there was a note on the file. The case was continued into the winter and of course it was on a day of bitter temperatures and icy road conditions. The federal and local governments were both closed but the courts decided to stay open. As I’d just had an accident earlier in that same week when my car slipped off the road during icy conditions, I couldn’t drive again and take any more chances (it was a huge repair bill). I called the court and was led to believe that it would be ok. But it wasn’t. Although the judge let her make up a story and play games with the date, he wouldn’t accept that I couldn’t drive (she has an SUV) so the case was dismissed not on merit but because I wasn’t there. I’m more than furious. But because I know that there is karma, I know that eventually she will pay her due. Comments are always welcome. But be gentle in this case…


Neck Pain or Pain in the Neck?

June 6, 2018

painneckEver wake up with a stiff neck and wonder if you slept wrong or moved wrong in your yoga class… or perhaps doing sit ups at the gym? But did you ever relate that neck problem to a person who’s troubling you and have been thinking “what a pain in the neck?” What we think we create! As Edgar Cayce notes, first comes thoughts, then comes action; thus, what we think becomes what we concentrate on creating new possibilities that lead to other actions. Our world is a template of what is first conceived in our minds.

It’s not that our pains aren’t real. For sure, they are. Our physical world is composed of real stuff including real problems, real emotions and real physical issues. But where does it all start? As souls in a body, we are first spiritual beings with a soul plan and karma to be dealt with. Everything we do leads us closer to completing our karma both on the positive as well as on the negative side. Sometimes that negative stuff requires us to learn lessons that we are stubborn about learning. The universe is patient giving us many chances and creating many opportunities for us to go about learning these lessons. If one way doesn’t work, another way is tried. Have you ever felt as if you’re just in the same soup warmed over and over with different people playing out in a different place?

This has certainly happened to me whether at work, at my gym, at my aerobics class and even in my dance venues. People pop up and things happen, words are said, exchanges are made and I feel like – “wow, again the same thing. Why does this feel so familiar?” the answer is simple, because it has happened before, perhaps many times before. And you may have learned the lesson in one form but need to learn it again in another form. That person that is a pain in the neck may be teaching you a lesson but since you’re not learning the lesson, yet another person that is an equally difficult person – another pain in the neck comes along. And then you wake up one morning to find that you have transferred the emotionally pain in the neck to the physical pain in the neck. As Louise Hays points out in her classic book “You can Heal Your Life”, a pain in the neck points to “inflexibility, or failing to see an issue from multiple sides”; or “being stubborn”.

So the next time you feel someone is being a proverbial “pain in the neck” look at yourself in the mirror and ask, “am I being stubborn or inflexible?” and then wait for the answer. Your comments are welcome. Always in light, Rev. Joanne.

 

 

 


Stand by your beliefs and you will be supported

May 1, 2018

Recently I watched a TV evangelist talk at great length about how God promises us that we can be ten times better if we just “believe”. He then went on to give examples of how this can come to be; one of these stories was of Daniel, a well-known central figure in the Bible.

According to Good News Translation/The American Bible Society, the following passage tells the shortened version of the story of a young man who along with others of his day stood by their beliefs and came out not only momentarily victorious, but generally many times stronger.

The Young Men at Nebuchadnezzar’s Court
1 In the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia attacked Jerusalem and surrounded the city. 2 The Lord let him capture King Jehoiakim and seize some of the Temple treasures. He took some prisoners back with him to the temple of his gods in Babylon, and put the captured treasures in the temple storerooms.

 

3 The king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief official, to select from among the Israelite exiles some young men of the royal family and of the noble families. 4 They had to be handsome, intelligent, well-trained, quick to learn, and free from physical defects, so that they would be qualified to serve in the royal court. Ashpenaz was to teach them to read and write the Babylonian language. 5 The king also gave orders that every day they were to be given the same food and wine as the members of the royal court. After three years of this training they were to appear before the king. 6 Among those chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all of whom were from the tribe of Judah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

8 Daniel made up his mind not to let himself become ritually unclean by eating the food and drinking the wine of the royal court, so he asked Ashpenaz to help him, 9 and God made Ashpenaz sympathetic to Daniel. 10 Ashpenaz, however, was afraid of the king, so he said to Daniel, “The king has decided what you are to eat and drink, and if you don’t look as fit as the other young men, he may kill me.”

11 So Daniel went to the guard whom Ashpenaz had placed in charge of him and his three friends. 12 “Test us for ten days,” he said. “Give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare us with the young men who are eating the food of the royal court, and base your decision on how we look.”

14 He agreed to let them try it for ten days. 15 When the time was up, they looked healthier and stronger than all those who had been eating the royal food. 16 So from then on the guard let them continue to eat vegetables instead of what the king provided.

17 God gave the four young men knowledge and skill in literature and philosophy. In addition, he gave Daniel skill in interpreting visions and dreams.

18 At the end of the three years set by the king, Ashpenaz took all the young men to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them all, and Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah impressed him more than any of the others. So they became members of the king’s court. 20 No matter what question the king asked or what problem he raised, these four knew ten times more than any fortuneteller or magician in his whole kingdom. 21 Daniel remained at the royal court until Cyrus, the emperor of Persia, conquered Babylonia.

Daniel

The point of the story is that Daniel and his comrades chose what they believed to be the correct behavior regardless of what others thought. In this case, the heavier food would indeed slow them down while a lighter diet kept their heads clearer and facilitated higher performance. In the end, Daniel rose up through the ranks as he aged and eventually became the leader of the city, while his comrades were also appropriately rewarded for their service.

What does all this mean for you or me? Well, it means that even under duress, if we take the higher ground, we will be supported by the positive forces in nature. Recently, I had 3 nasty things happen to me during a very short period of time. In just one week, a pipe burst flooding the lower level of my home; while the house was being repaired I was very sick with the flu; then at the end of the week when I finally went out my car was hit on the highway during a flash rain storm by an exploding semi-truck tire. It was almost as if it all was meant to happen to show me that I could live through lots of duress. Although each of these things were quite distressing, I kept my perspective and believed that it was all part of the divine plan. In fact, I believed that there was some lesson I was meant to learn. Perhaps that God had saved me – each time. I could have been away when the pipe burst; I could have gotten ill during a vacation rather than a week when I had to be home anyway; and the exploding tire hitting the car could have killed me. So I had lots to be grateful for. I continued to believe and stay positive.

The next month I left for a 2-week vacation and everything went very well… or at least the challenges I experienced were all kept under control. I had a wonderful time. I went on the trip believing that I had had my “three” bad things happen to me so that nothing else would happen this year! It was certainly one way to look at it! I believed and I was supported. We always have the choice to make daily how we will believe, and whether we will take the higher road when under duress.  

 


What goes around doesn’t always come around

June 24, 2015

terrierEvery once in a while although we try to be nice to those around us, still someone just doesn’t return the kind feelings. And so it went with one of my neighbors. Sadly this negative state of affairs went on for many years. Thinking back, the only instance of interaction that I can even remember is when I chatted with him, more me than him, as two new neighbors having just moved into a neighborhood. At that time, he was washing his car and I was about to head into the park to take a walk. His house is just at the end of the cul-de-sac before the steps to the walkway. Although I interpreted the brief interchange as pretty normal, he must have thought otherwise; since, from that moment onward he never spoke to me again. In fact, when I would pass him going on my walks with his little terrier, he would turn away as if I had developed the plaque. And the same would be true if he was walking with his wife. At first I wondered why he would be so abhorrent towards me and then I just figured he must have thought I had some ulterior motive in speaking to him. Isn’t it a shame that a single woman can’t approach a married man in her neighborhood without being branded a hussy? Well, of course, I’m being sarcastic, but the end result is the same – he just wouldn’t speak to me. Eventually, I accepted the situation and passed it off. Everyone is not meant to be one’s friend.

Now my philosophy is that we are constantly presented with situations that test our moral fiber, as well as opportunities to learn lessons. One of these situations came to pass during Memorial Weekend, when I went for my usual walk in the park. As I approached the bridge just before the plaza, I saw my neighbor’s dog surrounded by people – with his collar but no neighbor at the end of the leash! To confirm my suspicion I asked the lady hovering over the little dog to check his tag and sure enough, the address was my street. “That’s my street and that’s my neighbor’s dog”, I said. “I’ll walk him home”, I continued without giving it another thought or considering that I had a plan to go to an event that would have to be by-passed to complete this new mission. After all, if my pet were lost, I’d want someone to get him home too. But when I tried to take the dog back into the plaza to first look for the owner, the little guy wouldn’t budge. He seemed afraid. So I headed for home and he willingly trotted along. I asked the concerned pet lady to come too since I really wasn’t sure how my having the neighbor’s dog would be received even with my best of intentions.

Once back at the neighbor’s home, his wife was at the garage door, so I called inside, “I have your dog!” She came outside, took the leash out of my hands, barely saying any thank-you with a very surprised look on her face. I felt that I had done my neighborly duty, spiritual responsibility and just plain obligation according to my karmic belief system. I even expressed concern over the owner’s possible safety if he’d allowed the dog to get loose. Was he in poor health himself or possibly had an accident?

I decided I really wanted to finish my walk, so back I went into the park and headed down to the bridge and the plaza. At the same spot where I intercepted the dog, I walked right into the owner – now about 25 minutes later. He too had a very surprised look on his face when I said, “I walked your dog home, and your wife has him”. The neighbor, obviously frustrated from searching for the little dog, was now relieved and gave me a warm-hearted thank-you. And I walked on completing my walk not thinking more about it.

The next day, there was a knock at my door. It was the neighbor with his terrier in toe, and this time he really thanked me with great emotion in his eyes. I doubt that I will ever have an issue with this neighbor again. Even though he had directed negative energy towards me for many years, I chose to do the right thing by him. I took the high road as one would say. Now this could just be a case of coming full circle and feeling good about it. But the story doesn’t end here.

The following weekend I went on a retreat and lots of unexpected good things came my way. So not only did I create positive karma, I also was in abundance and began to reap rewards very quickly! And in the few weeks since then, other good things have come my way. Holding one’s self up to a higher standard may be difficult at times, but in the end, I certainly feel it pays off. Being a good soul has its rewards now as well as later. What goes around doesn’t always come around – sometimes it’s better.


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