10 Things I Learned From Financial Crisis

2015 was a rough year for so many of us. Relationships, jobs, and living situations blew up in our faces or simply evaporated. Many of our relationships were plagued by huge misunderstandings and explosive arguments. Most or all of our systems of security were decimated or, at the very least, severely challenged. I’ve dubbed 2015 The Year of the Exploding Relationships. However, though I’ve always known that though I can’t control life’s circumstances, I can always learn from them. I’m always make a choice on how I want to respond to life and to others.

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A while back I wrote a letter to a dear friend  while they were in the midst of a devastating financial crisis. I was touched by their heartache and grief over the losses that seemed beyond their control and I was prompted to share them a few things I’ve learned after going through my own financial challenges.

1. You’re always stronger than you think. Always. Even when I couldn’t seem to get out of bed all day, even when I was subsisting on a steady diet of glazed donuts and red wine, and even though I was exhausted and felt invisible to the world there was within me a tiny spark of desire that made me want to get up and try again. And, I did.

2. As painful as it is you will shed the things that no longer serve you. I had to let go of my pride and unwillingness to ask for help (kicking and screaming all the way!). Then, there were my judgments about what it meant to not have money and to not be able to support myself in an “socially acceptable” way. There is nothing dishonorable about being poor yet I was a harsh and unforgiving self-critic on this subject. Eventually I became much gentler and more compassionate with myself. I stopped struggling against the grief of my losses and found that simply in the act of letting go, a weight was lifted. Eventually, I would start over and go anywhere and do anything I wanted. I was no longer tied to a place or to my possessions.

3. You’ll find what is of real value in life. When you are left with little to nothing in material possessions it becomes quite clear what is truly of value in your life. These things, most of the time, are simple pleasures and are likely things you cannot buy at any price; a trusted friendship, the caress of a loved one, a walk in nature, a good cup of coffee with a friend, a beloved pet, the sun on your face, the sound of children laughing, your own beating heart, a brilliant sunrise or sunset. In the end, these are the things that really matter.

4. You’ve no idea how valuable this experience will be to you. You will learn many useful and resourceful abilities. You experience will change the way you look at and approach life. And, in turn you will also be able to relate to and counsel others going through this same difficult journey of loss. Many will be encouraged and comforted by the compassion and understanding that came as a result of going through your loss. You will be able to teach them about valuing what is truly worthwhile from a place of humility, a place of integrity.

5. You will love and appreciate yourself more.  You are valuable, just for being you, not for what you can do for someone else. The uniquely creative being that is you is of immense value, far beyond what you can imagine. You have already touched so many lives, and they, in turn, they have touched others, and they, others ,and so on and so on and so on. You may never know how many lives you have influenced for the good. The world needs you. This world would literally not be the same without you having been in it.

6. You don’t have to own things to be able to enjoy them. There was a time when the only things I owned were my clothes and my laptop. I found that people generously offered me use of their possessions…a pool to swim in, a place to garden, good meals, a vehicle to drive, art to appreciate, events to attend, all without asking for anything in return. I could enjoy and appreciate many wonderful things without actually having to “own” them.

7. You will find a place to live in deeper gratitude. You will not wallow in your anguish forever, it’s not your nature to do so. You will find your own inner spark and get up again and walk toward your calling. Some people may press you to find something to be grateful for in the midst of your loss. While this may be very effective for some, I found a hollow ring to my forced words of “gratitude” for my experience. More often, I’d have to first fully immerse myself in the loss, to become vulnerable to my frustration and anger. I needed to embrace the dark emotions that lurked deep in my psyche before I could then forgive and come to a place of gratitude for my experience. Good news is, you’ll find  your gratitude again. You’ll continue to experience your gratitude for this experience in new and deeper levels as your life continues to unfold.

8. You will be happy again. You will find that the sun will again touch and warm your heart. You will find a place of joy. You will find delight in the goodness of life again. You will find and renew your passion.  You will. I promise.

You are not alone…

9. You are not alone. Early into a spiritual crisis I heard these words directed at me, “You are not alone!” It was a forceful command. And, though I experienced a deep, aching loneliness in those dark hours I now know I was never alone. People reminded me of this along the way but I sometimes found it hard to accept. There’s always a time, a dark night of the soul, that those on a spiritual journey will undergo, a dark night that must be faced in total solitude. Nothing and no one can go through it with you. (read the stories of Jesus and Job) It is a birthing process.  Be as gentle with your self as you would a newborn.

10. You are more powerful than you can imagine. This one can be so challenging when you’re feeling anything but powerful. I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the grace of empowerment. I get glimpses of this power from time to time – enough to know it to be true. I learned that the most disempowering thing I have is my thoughts. Those dark and harshly judgmental mantras that I repeat over and over in my head… ‘I should have…’, ‘Why didn’t I…’, ‘I don’t deserve to…’, ‘What could I possibly have to offer?’  Underneath this dung heap of thinking is the true gem that is me. Because a gem is covered with dung, doesn’t make it any less valuable; it’s just harder to see its true value. You will stand up again, brush off the dust of your losses and find your true center again. You will. I promise.

Please remember to be gentle and kind with yourself. Pray for the willingness to confront and transform your pain, fear, anger and shame into compassion, wisdom into a renewed vision of God’s purpose for you. It will get better. I promise, it will.

With Much Love and Grace,

Melody

 

(c) 2015 Melody Harris

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Chaos, Truth and the Upside to Destruction

Fire Moose.jpgHave you ever experienced a truth so deep that it reaches in and grabs you at a cellular level? Have you discovered a truth so compelling that rips a hole in your carefully constructed awareness, refusing to let you rest until you give it a place of honor and respect? Has there been a truth so powerful that in a micro-second, it burned through the tattered shrouds of your denial and incited a need for action on its behalf?

In the Five Element tradition, a system of healing I studied during my Plant Spirit Medicine Healer training, Fire is the element that embodies the purifying qualities of spiritual truth. As one aspect of the element of Fire, The Heart, embodied in Five Element medicine under the title of The Supreme Controller, governs our lives through the  unadulterated illumination of Divine Truth. As we submit our lives to the purifying heat of Divine Truth, all is laid bare before us in shocking clarity and, without judgement. Within this perfect moment, the ultimate truth of our beloved or our jobs or our relationships are exposed in piercing and unfettered detail.

Exposed by the intense and penetrating light of a truth infused with spiritual awareness, its brilliance both blinds and illuminates with utter transformational clarity.

In an instant we see every behavior-based wart, freckles and hair follicles of our lives. So, what might this exposure to Light look like? The light of Divine Truth may have revealed the level at which we’ve invested ourselves in a soul-killing job. Perhaps it shows us that our beloved is not a fantasy from an uncertain future. but is the gentle soul who stands right before us. Maybe the light reveals that we must not walk, but run from a abusive, soul-killing relationships or, that we must face the fact that our teenager has become an addict. Our darkness and vulnerabilities, immediately exposed, leave us feeling raw and vulnerable.

Though much has been made about “speaking our truth,” Divine Truth isn’t subject to the
opinion du jour,  our personal experiences, or  our religious dictates, the Truth, channeled though The Heart as Supreme Controller just is. Divine Truth demands that we summon the deep courage necessary for rigorous self-honesty. Divine Truth demands that we let down our defenses, that we become vulnerable, that we submit to the destruction of a life we have previously known. It demands that we face the consequences of our denial, our dishonesty, and our self-destructive behaviors.

Honesty and integrity, as it happens, are the virtues embedded within a well-balanced Heart as Supreme Controller. Heart is our inner teacher, always living in integrity with Divine Truth. Divine inspiration, pouring into our hearts from a perfect and wise Creator God, both emboldens and humbles, enabling us to speak the truth in love from a place of grounded humility. This is the place in which we become fully willing to accept the consequences of our words and actions. Once this truth pierces our hearts, we can never “unsee” a Divine Truth. Only from this place of divine submission do we find the strength to tell our partner we have tolerated their abuse for the last time, or that we have decided we will no longer carry our family’s destructive secrets, or where we confess our dishonesty to our beloved. We will be compelled to speak these truths though our hearts may tremble and our knees knock. We speak them boldly and with kindness and we are prepared to accept the destruction of the way things have been in order to birth a new integrity into our words and actions.

Frankly, living in the truth from a place of integrity and honesty is not all that much fun. Especially when, due to years of accumulated denial, we have created an illusory cocoon of security in our relationships. The unvarnished truth is, in taking action, to make a change for the better, our relationships will forever change. Relationships may end, business deals may fall apart, you may be attacked or persecuted or shamed for telling the truth. Things will likely get messy and chaotic as those cherished beliefs, the ones grounded in fear and mistrust, disintegrate. But Divine Truth endures the purifying destruction of  the facades and deception, mercifully leaving an empty but nourishing ground in which love can grow, once again.

During the intense but necessary purification process, it may be difficult to decipher whether the chaos we are feeling is divine chaos in action or chaos that comes about as a result of living a life that is out of harmony with our Heart. During this process, it is essential to remain in constant intimate contact with our Creator. It may require that we submit to extended periods of rest, contemplation, listening with an open heart and to trust that our Heart as Supreme Controller will guide our way  by the light of Divine Truth.

It’s good to remember that the strongest of relationships are not those who have artfully avoided disaster, but those which have confronted disaster head on, and found the courage to weather the emotional shit storm that is recovery. Facing Divine Truth is definitely not for the faint of heart. However, if you’re committed to living the life The Creator has prepared for you, a life that began before you were born, you will be imbued with the courage and resilience, not only to endure, but to flourish. Once you commit to living a life that is guided by Divine Truth, you’ll realize you can’t live any other way.

So, here’s to destruction. And to restoration. And to the courage to speak the truth in love. God speed.

(c)2015 Melody Harris

Fire Questions to Ponder:

What in your life needs the purifying light of Divine Truth?

Are you currently experiencing chaos in your life?

Do you know if the chaos you are currently experiencing is the divine chaos that accompanies the destruction of faulty beliefs, or the chaos that results from living a life that is out of integrity with your soul?