Abundance & Losing It: A Shamefully True Story

I’ve been doing a LOT of inner work on my money mindset lately.  I’m growing my business in ambitious proportions, and we’ve been enjoying a quality of life that’s really pretty excellent for the past few years, even with the difficulties that we may have.

In short, I really love my life.  

People seem to think that earning more money is the best/quickest way to change your life profoundly, tho this isn’t actually true.  You might be able to afford new things, new superficial markers of recognition…but the truth is, earning more money generally just brings you MORE of what you’re already experiencing.  If you have shitty relationships, for example – having more money will ensure you have more shitty relationships, or else, that your shitty relationships get even worse.  If you eat crap now, you are not likely to switch overnight to an all-organic whole-foods diet…even if you insist it’s “only” money that prevents you from eating healthier.

If you don’t love yourself when you’re broke, you won’t automatically find the wherewithal to start a yoga practice, meet new, uplifting friends, and find your authentic self when you’re richer.  It’s just not true.  

Money is an amplifier – not a magic ticket to awesomeness.  

You’ve got to add your own bit of awesome, regardless of how much you make – to experience awesomeness in any capacity.  

 

So, I know I have a lot of “baggage” with money.  I was a spoiled only child, and money was used to manipulate and dis-empower me – by my parents, and later, by my ex-husband.  

I feel like there’s certain stories in our past, for all of us, that need to be told – released, like a catharsis – to be able to heal, grow, and move past them.  

This is one of them – a terribly humiliating story to share…  

 

It’s the story of how I blew nearly 100 grand in less than a year.  

 

(Sounds positively appalling, doesn’t it?  Toe-curlingly irresponsible.  Ridiculous.  Definitely, absolutely shameful.)

I feel like the things I write create this image of me as someone who’s always lived in poverty – but that’s actually not the case. I had a relatively “rich” childhood.  When I moved out at 19, I *thought* we were poor. Then I got divorced and realized a whole new level of poverty.  I got remarried, but not “back on my feet” – not by a longshot.  

Then, something huge happened:

My husband finally got a settlement check, for a legal case that we wish hadn’t even had to happen. His share was a lump sum of over $90K.

We were so broke we had to borrow the money for gasoline to drive an hour away to find a bank to cash the check. Our own bank wouldn’t honor it cause we were so overdrawn – and we were so jaded and distrustful of banks at that point, we felt terrified to even open a new account to deposit the money into.

 

It actually felt safer to drive home with so much cash it barely fit in our glovebox.

 

We KNEW what this meant: the END of all our bullshit money troubles. We would never have to tell the kids no about petty things again. We would get out of debt; buy a proper home, a new vehicle that wasn’t slowly dying, finally honor our hobbies and pursue our interests – we could travel.

We would take a trip to the coast, see the ocean, stay in a beach cottage, and give the kids amazing, fun memories to cherish. FREEDOM…such sweet escape, we dreamed of.

 

We did pay off our credit cards. I put just what I needed to pay them all off into a new account, and did so with a few quick phonecalls…boy, did that feel great.

We kept our clunker car for backup, found a modest but nice minivan that fit our family, and paid cash for that too. The sales associate didn’t know whether to peg us as crazy conspiracy theorists or bank robbers, when we showed up to buy that van.

We even found the perfect home – older, smallish, out in the country, far away from friends and shopping – but it had everything we truly needed. Space for the kids, a great yard and garden, etc. We imagined, even if we had no furniture or stuff, how wonderful it would be to never fear the possibility of losing our home for failure to pay every month – because we had enough to buy the house outright.

Incredibly, we were the first ones to notice the little gem, and we made our offer – they accepted!  We even signed a contract on it, but then – I freaked out.  In Texas, you have three days to nullify a contract on a home, for whatever reason.  

 

I was paralyzed with fear.  I realized that after paying closing costs and moving expenses, we might not even be able to afford to buy the one other big-ticket thing I really felt we needed: a nice mattress.

We’d been sleeping on the floor for over a year, living in project apartments.  I gave up most of my furniture in the divorce, and we’d yet to replace any of it.  We were constantly scrambling, and It seemed like there was never even enough money to buy an air mattress and pump, in all that time…

 

I was mentally and emotionally destroyed.

 

We voided the contract.  Passed up the house at my insistence (bolstered by my parents’ bad advice).

Instead, we decided to rent a place from my FIL, who turned out to be not as interested in philanthropy as I initially assumed. I deluded myself that he’d eventually sell us the house at a loss, since he didn’t want to live in it.

 

I decorated the place inside and out. It felt wonderful, like I was creating a personal sanctuary for my family that could never be destroyed or taken away.  We made loads of repairs, bought furniture, even installed a pool.

We got cats, which we’d always wanted but couldn’t afford to feed or take care of before.

Then the bills started rolling in: The house seemed to lack insulation; I was flabbergasted at the $450-$600+ electricity bills, when we’d previously been paying just over $100/month. The pool upkeep cost tons of money every week.

 

Our “friends” expected us to entertain, and we did. Barbecues and parties…we drank a lot at that house – first because it was fun to revel in not having to worry – and then, because we WERE worried.

 

My FIL asked us to either pay double or move out. He could charge someone over twice what we were having extreme trouble paying him every month.

At first, we thought we could take what money we had left and use it as a down payment to buy another modest home, and finance the rest. However, our previous credit and distrust of banks proved to be our undoing.  We got financed, but for an amount just barely enough to buy a home at all.

In two months, we offered on SIX homes, and were outbid every time by some opportunist investor (whom I referred to as ASSHOLES at the time) with cash to spare. I cried every time we got the bad news.

 

My husband’s illness got worse. Seizures at work. He had to quit his job. The credit cards that I’d almost cut up started to be used in constant succession for everything, as I had no other way to buy groceries.

It got colder, and we resorted to buying firewood to use in the “decorative” fireplace – because we were terrified to turn up the heat another degree and be slammed with another $600+ utility bill we couldn’t pay.

 

The kids and I cried bitterly, very hard, when we had to rehome the cats. I still sometimes have trouble mustering much feeling for the dog and snake we have now. I shut off that part of myself – the animal lover.  Intangible losses…

 

I was in utter disbelief. HOW could this be happening to us?

We tried so hard to make the right decisions, but my damned fear brought me right back again. We SWORE we’d never go back to this life again.

 

My husband found some apartments that offered reduced rent to low income applicants. We got back on food stamps. We sold many, many things at a pathetic, desperate loss – things that I’d bought with a satisfied smile on my face, “knowing” I’d never have to sell my things to make ends meet again…

Here we were, in the very hell we thought we’d escaped forever. Ironically, it felt about 100 times worse, being here after experiencing “somewhere else”.

 

I had to ask my parents for immediate help with our bills until assistance kicked in.

I had to swallow my pride and admit, with extreme nausea, that we were down to less than $400, when less than a year ago we had had $90K.

 

Just writing these words is so hard for me, even all this time later. Hot tears prick my eyes, and a wave of deep, disgusted shame is coursing through me still.

 

My deepest fear about earning more money is that I’ll just lose it all again somehow. It’s not even an unfounded fear – for I’ve lived through this nauseatingly, shameful scenario in real life. We had the funds we needed to make just about anything happen – and we utterly, completely, profoundly FAILED.

 

I resolve to change my story.

I AM worth more than this.

 

I deserve more than what I’ve been receiving…and I KNOW that I will never let fear hold me back from making the right decisions again.

 

I am a good steward of money – I will do wonderful things with it, for mySelf, my family, and for others as well.

The more I have, the more I can responsibly give back to the world. With great power comes great responsibility.

 

I release this story of the past, and embrace my new reality of financial abundance, prosperity, and responsibility!

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Living with My Dad, Remembering My Mama

I’ve been in an altogether different headspace over the past few weeks, which is to be expected what with my mother’s passing, our move, rearranged living circumstances, etc.  I haven’t forgotten this blog–far from it, I’m simply refining some ideas, and waiting for the right time to execute some changes that will affect the overall vibe of this place, as well as my otherwisequitegood.com site.  Bit of a change of direction is in order for this cosmic traveler and her work!

I’m listening to a song right now (Okay, it’s Panic! At the Disco.  Don’t hate.) that just sang the line, “Hey kid, you’ll never leave this town,” and it’s a funny coincidence, because I was always afraid of being that kid.  The kid who’d be agonizingly stuck in Middle-o-Nowhere, Texas, with a perpetual “present tense” that never changed.  And now, 12 years later, I’m living in my childhood home–and feeling NONE of that whatsoever.  If you’d been able to show me a “preview” of now, even a month or two ago, I would have been amazed.  (Initially, I was going to say “disbelieving”, but quite clearly I WAS able to believe it, because otherwise it wouldn’t have happened!  Ha!)

No, all the bad tidings that I feared a move into this place would bring were really just paranoid nonsense.  We love it here.

No, really.  It’s flippin’ awesome.  An acre and a third out in the country versus a cramped, mildewy apartment is heaven.  The kids are so free and happy here.  We already have gardening plans in the works, and we’re gonna plant a Magnolia tree with Nikolas’ placenta (finally), in honor of my mama.  Magnolias were my mom’s favorite tree, and the miserable ordeal that ended with her passing, started with her falling and breaking a hip–right after my fourth son’s amazingly wonderful home-birth.    (Which I shall post here, straightaway!)

I even like living with my dad.  Three years ago, he wasn’t speaking to me.  Two years ago, he had only recently met my then-one year old daughter, and still wasn’t speaking to my husband.  Now, I brew coffee for both of us in the morning, and he sometimes calls me on my cell phone to ask (jokingly!) about room service…!  Being around the kids seems to energize and mellow my dad, and he’s finally lost the “grouchy old mean-guy” disposition, for the most part–which he even had when *I* was a girl!  He likes my husband, but there’s no weird powertrippy stuff or dominance fights going on either.  And I don’t remotely feel that he’s trying to usurp my power or strongarm my family with his “advice” and opinions–such a nice, new feeling…!

My dad bought himself a motorcycle (!), and he really wants us to ride with him–to the extent that he might even buy a second bike one day.  He wants to travel–or in his words, “disappear over the summer”, and with us here to care for his cats, he can do that without guilt or worry.  Those cats were my mother’s babies–Ginger and Pepper (AKA “The Spice Girls” – Yep, she really did–LOL.), and they are the two most paranoid, skittish Persians I’ve ever seen.

My sweet friend Susan did an intuitive reading for me recently, and she said (among other things that were spot-on) that the feeling she was getting from my mom was “ecstatic” – like, almost manic, thrilled, brilliant happiness.  She was almost hesitant to say it…as if a recently departed soul shouldn’t be coming through that way!  My husband (another scary-deep intuitive) actually used the same word about her energy earlier.  Isn’t that curious??

Well, the way that they explained it was that my mom’s greatest desire was always to bring her family closer together.  She ached, those years that my dad and I didn’t speak.  So I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she is “checking in” on us, and feeling like, “HA!  Finally, they get it!”  In a way, her ordeal has healed mine and my dad’s relationship in ways that may never have happened otherwise–and I think she’s enjoying a sort of “last laugh” about that.

She used to say things like “Love will prevail!” all the time.  You were right after all, mama…

The Fallout From Getting What You Asked For

So aside from a huge dose of grief and loss, it’s very interesting that my intentions are indeed coming to fruition.  Quite rapidly,  in fact–but as is quite often the case, there can be unexpected repercussions to getting what you ask for.  This story is rich and complex, and I want to do it justice as it continues to unfold in the days and months to come.

We have been busy this past two weeks, because (unrelated to the passing of my mother, although curiously timed) the decision had been made to move into my father’s home with him.  Over the past two months, his back pain has become crippling, and he can no longer take care of the house by himself.  Once my mother passed, it was clear that he ought not to be alone for long, so we moved shortly thereafter.  This decision gives us much-needed space, and a fair bit more financial freedom.  The kids are ecstatic with nearly an acre of land to run around on, and cable television too!  My dad is coping with my mom’s passing as well as can be expected, and I think our family ties are strengthening, which is really nothing short of incredible given our history.

So it seems that my intentions are manifesting, in ways that are unexpected, but nevertheless, profound.  This particular unfolding will have some unexpected consequences that are even better than I had hoped for.  It will also involve a painful, and perhaps gruelingly difficult amount of emotional growth and effort in dealing with my past.  No pain, no gain, right?

Naturally, to tell the entire story and have it make sense requires a fair bit of background filling-in.  So without further ado,

The Backstory:

I’m an only child with virtually no extended family that I’m close with.  My parents are also roughly a generation older than most other parents with children my age.  Given these facts, I always knew it was a possibility that I would have to deal with their deteriorating health and more at a relatively young age.  In fact, I remember vividly around age five, sitting on my swing set in the backyard, thinking about how I’d need to have children young if I wanted them to have a relationship with their grandparents.

Then, when I was 12, life changed a lot–my grandparents (whom I did not know too well, and who were suffering from dementia and did not really know us anymore, either) moved in with us.  To put it bluntly, it was a nightmare for me, a previously spoilt-rotten 12 year old kid, whose life revolved around her mother.  My house felt like it was a nursing home, and my mom was way too busy with elder care duties to pay much attention to me.  Now, 18 years later (yes I’m 30…how did that happen?!) I know fully well that my mom did the absolute best she could in that situation, and she did damn well, all things considered.  But in my 12 year old mind, I felt angry, betrayed, miserable, and oh, did I mention ANGRY?

Those were really rough times for the whole family.  Perhaps in a less dysfunctional family, that sort of situation would make them pull together, but no, my dad and I both felt unspeakably angry and betrayed.  When we weren’t fighting with each other, we were bonding over our frustration with the “loss” of our mom/wife.

So for better or worse, that’s the truth of my past.

By the time I was an adult, I never wanted my kids to have to go through what I did back then, and my parents agreed.  They didn’t want to “be a burden”, and as my family grew, it became increasingly evident that I wouldn’t be in much of a position to take care of them anyway.  Those were thoughts to think on for another time…some faraway, nebulous future when my parents might no longer be the feisty, self-sufficient people I had always known them to be.  It was really easier to believe that that would never happen.

Then there were the memories of my life and times in that house.  I only lived in two houses over the entire course of my childhood, and everything with my grandparents occurred shortly after we moved into what was to be my parents’ “dream house”.  Twelve is such an awkward, defining age, and I was NOT happy about moving in the first place.  All three of my beloved pets died in the first year after moving there, and I took that as confirmation that we shouldn’t have moved!  Also, I got involved with my first husband way back in junior high, and he left a nearly indelible presence on the home as well.  My parents, although initially apprehensive, came to welcome him like the perfect son they never had, and those memories are also part of the emotional baggage with that house.

Suffice it to say, I never imagined in a million years that I would willingly agree to live here again.  The first few nights were especially uncomfortable.  I’m finally finding a focus for some long-suppressed anger and resentment, and it’s not always fun to arrive at the conclusions I’ve been coming to.  This is the flip side of intention-manifestation–to be prepared for some serious “growing pains” along the way to realizing your dreams.

Consciously Effecting & Accepting Change

Change is inevitable.  However, in my life, I seem to follow a sort of holding pattern for years at a time, and then changes hit fast and furiously, all at once.  I am not always sure if I create this pattern through my own subconscious, or…?  Regardless, it’s clear that now seems to be the time for one of these change-storms.

I’m on the path (albeit stumbling!) of veganism again, or at the very least, a much healthier diet with fewer processed foods.  I’ve made a commitment to putting my family first, and to being a patient, gentle and respectful parent.  I’ve been making time for spiritual nourishment and self-exploration, dismantling my blocks to abundance and fulfillment.  In short, I’m feeling pretty good about the “work” I’ve been doing with my Self.  And so the Universe, in her infinite wisdom, has decided to give me a swift kick in the pants!

Now, as any good student of the Law of Attraction ought to know, if you want to experience more or better than your current state of affairs in any area of life, it takes more than just wishful thinking.  You have to be in alignment with your desires (whatever those desires may be), in order for them to manifest.  This shifting of consciousness takes work, but sometimes, when you make your intentions quite clear and start moving your behavior and thoughts down the correct path, the universe/divine/collective consciousness seems to recognize your sincerity and your commitment to growth.   Therefore, you will find that you are led naturally down a path of synchronicities that will encourage you to grow as a human being.  In other words, the universe gives you a kick in the pants!  Sometimes you can see this coming for miles, and other times it catches you unawares and hits you like a ton of bricks.  Ironically, many people resist this cosmic push very strongly, and then wonder why they’re not getting what they wanted/wished/prayed for!

“I wanted X, but I didn’t want it to happen that way…!”

That’s not the way the Law of Attraction seems to work.  If you’re asking for wealth while turning up your nose at pennies on the streets, for example, then you’re sending out mixed messages to the universe.  Do you want more money or not?  Either you truly appreciate any extra money that you can (legally!) find, or else you’re not really in alignment with attracting wealth yet.  This can apply to virtually any situation.  You have to trust that the push you’re feeling inside is directly related to the manifestation of your desires, even if you can’t see how all the points could possibly connect to get you there.  If you want to manifest your desires, you have to be open to them manifesting in any way possible so long as it serves the highest good of all.  Sometimes, you must consider that your dearest desire may not be in the highest good of all (even if you’re asking for something like a war to end–gotta consider the butterfly effect after all).  Sometimes, your desires will manifest in ways that are wildly, insanely different than what you had imagined.  Trust and be thankful, either way.

So back to my fast and furious ball o’change, rolling down the hill and gaining momentum.  Two nights ago, I held the intentions for our family to have enough money where it will no longer be an obstacle or stumbling block, for our family to not be strained any further by employment-based time commitments to obtain this increase, and for my relationships with my children and husband to become stronger and more joyful.  Since then, several seemingly unrelated yet strange and interesting things have occurred, and I can only conclude that I’ve willingly gone down the rabbit hole, into the realm of intention-manifestation.  

There’s going to be some uncomfortable growth experiences coming, surely, and some long-buried wounds are going to be ripped open.  I can also see clearly that I am getting what I want.  Not in the way I expected to–but in a way that will provide me opportunities to become a stronger and more congruent person along the way.  I’m not afraid like I have been in the past, but rather, nervously excited.

It feels really good to be riding this wave consciously, to be embracing my power again…!