Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thoughts on Release


Something happened to me this week which has released a lot of pent-up stress within my body. I find myself happier, lighter, clearer-minded and generally, over all, more blissful.

Now, before y’all go jumpin’ in the gutter, it’s not THAT. It is something quite different. Something most would consider horrendous, shameful, and would qualify as an out-and-out failure. I assure you, I do not feel like a failure. For the first time in 3-1/2 years, I feel FREE!

What was this magical happening in my life that affords me the aforementioned bliss?

My car was repossessed.

My car, which I loved dearly; my car that I, for 3-1/2 years of the 4 that I “owned” it, struggled monthly to cover payments and upkeep; my car that I mentally released every time I was more than one month late – I didn’t own it; it owned ME.
Before you go judging, or feeling sorry for me, let me give you some back story. Perhaps then you too will see this as a blessing, not a curse.
4 years ago I purchased this beautiful, fast, brand-spanking new car, by far the nicest car I’d ever owned. At the time I was in business with a partner and our car expenses were covered by the business. Six months later, we (he) decided to split. Had I known this was going to happen, I most surely would not have made this purchase.  The expense of this car rivaled my rent and, because I worked from home, it sat much of the time in the garage. WAYYYY out of balance with its purpose in my life! Hind sight is awesome, right?
From then on I struggled.  The payment was high and the MPG not so great.  I also had begun to rebuild a business that I wasn’t completely certain I still wanted. But, it paid the bills. It was “good enough” for the time being.
I knew how to work the system with Nissan Motor Acceptance. Don’t answer the calls from the 800 number the first month because that was just a call center in India and they just wanted to bug me, reading from the script. No, wait until the call came from the 214 area code in Texas, and even then, wait until a message is left.  THAT call would be from the person who could really take the info, agree to the payment terms I was able to make, and more importantly, who could stop the repo man from showing up at an inopportune moment. This important call would come somewhere between the 2-2-1/2 month mark. 
Each time I eventually made that call, I was met with kindness and graciousness as we went through the list of “confirming-my-identity” questions.  One, of course, confirmed my address. I have nothing but positive things to say about the staff with whom I dealt over the years.  They were impeccable with their graciousness, understanding and respect.
And, I would be remiss if I did not mention the NUMEROUS friends – and strangers – who have helped me keep this car along the way. Some have drifted out of my life but I will always know that they helped me in ways that move far beyond keeping the car.  I doubt most will ever realize the measure of those ways, but in my heart, there is a deep and profound love always for each and every one of them.
It is also important to note that, just as I was purchasing this car, I began to take my spiritual life seriously.  Folks in my circles today refer to this as an Awakening.  My life began changing in profound ways – from the inside out.  Most around me at that time could not see the changes taking place; they could only seem to feel a distancing happening – as if we had less and less in common.  For me, I was experiencing a world I’d never known before. I liked it. I liked it A LOT!
This new world was not easy and much of the time, it was not pretty. One of my teachers likes to remind that “transformation is messy” and by GOD! I am a testament to that! Still, I do believe that what is left behind from all the mess is a beauty and grace like non other. If I must trek through the mud of my old life to get there, then trek I shall!
The first time I almost lost my car to the big, black tow truck, I was in a prosperity class (of all things!) One of my classmates, who did not know the level of my anxiety at being unable to pay my rent AND 3 months’ car payments at the time, shared his story with me. He said, and I am paraphrasing here, “Everything that is not in alignment with who I am now – HAD TO GO!  The possessions, the friends, the lifestyle – if it wasn’t in vibrational harmony, it will fall away.”
At that moment, I REFUSED to believe that God’s “plan” for my life included me and my 2 cats panhandling on a freeway offramp!
Gratefully, the waters soon parted and an angel showed up with a gift that helped me keep my car.  I offered the car in service to God repeatedly, praying, “If keeping this car is part of the plan, let me use it in service in whatever ways possible.”
Within hours I came across a Facebook friend’s post, asking for a ride to our Spiritual Center.  She lived out in the boonies and had a fairly large circle of “in-person” friends on Facebook.  As I read the post I said, “Someone else will help her.”  That still, small voice inside had a different take on things. It said, quietly,
Go get her.”
I waited. She posted her plea again.
“Surely someone else will help her.”
Again, the still, small voice replied,
“Go Get Her.”
The third time she posted her request:
“WHY isn’t one of her friends responding to her plea?”
With that, I sent her a message and the rest became history. She was the first answer to my prayer, and I, hers.  We became sweet friends and I am blessed to have learned so much about myself and love through that friendship.  Gifts received!
Similar opportunities to be blessed and in service continued, right alongside the struggles to pay for the car.  At another critical moment, I moved on another direction – straight from the still, small voice’s mouth. It told me to ask my Facebook friends for help – by asking each one to donate $5.00 to me.  I was flooded with paypal deposits and checks in the mail which more than covered keeping the car and paying the rent….AGAIN.
That experience also birthed a philanthropic venture for me, Microgivingworks.  Between the outpouring of support and the giving back of this venture, I received more gifts than there is paper on which to list them.
The last of the many opportunities for service came with my new roommate.  She was temporarily car-less and I gladly offered her mine to use.  Working from home and now living across the street from my Spiritual Center, I had random, little need for the car and that was easily worked around her schedule.
This worked great for both of us but eventually she wanted her own set of wheels so I took her to my car dealer and within hours, she no longer needed my car.
At the same time, my business dried up and I decided to trust that inner voice again when it led me to close the business – without a parachute or a plan.  It said,
“Wait. I have something better in mind for you.”
Man! Can I tell you how hard it was to take THAT advice?! That brought me to an entirely new level of faith that I am still leaning into and understanding.
With my car no longer needed in service to either myself or my roommate, I once again found myself in the “3-month” zone.  I made the call, gave them my new address, arranged the payments and then I did – or didn’t do – something I am still wrapping my head around.
I arranged to make one month’s payment  immediately – had the cash in hand – via Western Union. The balance would be made upon receipt of my final check from my final client in a week or so.  (That would bring me current – for now – but would also leave me with little left for the rest of my expenses such as rent and food.)  I went to the Western Union location listed that was closest to home and it was no longer there. Then, I went to one closest to a part time job I had.  At this one, the cashier was on a break and the store clerk that tried to help me didn’t speak English. I left without making the payment saying, “This payment is far too important to screw up. I’ll go somewhere else.”  AH! Irony!!!
But I never DID go to another place. Instead, I put the cash back in my nightstand drawer where it sits today.  I thought about it, saying, “I should probably call them or try and find another Western Union location”, but I did nothing.
Monday morning I was awakened by the sound of a car alarm going off. I knew it was mine. Soon after, I heard the chugging of a motor pulling out of our parking garage below my bedroom window.  There, attached to a big, black tow truck was my car. My heart raced and my body shook as I went to my roommate’s room to tell her what had happened.
And then, for what felt like the first time in ages, I took a deep, long breath. The mornings of waking with a jolt of anxiety, of running to the window to look for a tow truck, of not finding my car where I had left it, only to realize I had parked it in another row at the grocery store, those moments are gone.
I had, rather painfully, orchestrated the whole thing; all 3-1/2 years of it.  There were ways – which had worked in the past – which I could have put into action in order to keep my car. But, that friend’s voice kept repeating in my head. “Everything that is not in alignment with who I am now – HAD TO GO.”  It was finally the time: now.  It was gone, and I felt a tsunami of relief wash over me.
In a flash I remembered what I have known for a long time; that car is not in alignment with who I am.  And, in laymen’s terms, it was completely out of whack with my income and balance sheet!  That car cost as much a month as my rent! Completely unsustainable, no matter HOW much goodness and financial assistance I received.
It was also the last remnant of a life I am leaving behind.  Each time I thought of how to pay for it, there was a little piece of me that said, “It’s too much car for me” or “I never would have bought this had I known the business was going to split.” That last one led me to thoughts about my ex business partner and my un-forgiveness around him and that experience that still surfaced from time to time.  Granted, I could have done some prayer or energy work around this in order to release those feelings however, for me, that would be like treating the symptom, not the disease. I was exhausted, repeating that pattern over and over. It was time to let it go.
While I do not believe that one random, negative thought can change the course of my life, I do believe that continued energy placed in the direction of one thought or idea WILL eventually manifest.  I have just demonstrated this.
Thoughts, people, Become things!

So, where does all this leave me now?  I honestly have no idea! I do, however, know some things:
  • I know that my bicycle and I are going to get to know one another better and that some of the benefits of that renewed relationship are going to be seen in my dress size. 
  • I know that my financial burden is lightened in the very week that I begin my further education into becoming a licensed, spiritual practitioner. This is the most important thing for me right now and the lowering of my overhead by HALF is making a huge difference already in my ability to be fully present for my studies.
  •  I know that now I can take my cat to the vet for needed treatment; treatment that would have been delayed had I chose to make that car payment.
  • I know about ways to tool around the city, when needed, thanks to a little company called “Relay Rides” (as I said, I’ve been here before and as such, I’ve explored other options!)

And, most importantly, I know that I know that I know that ALL is WELL. I read something this morning about faith. “The faith OF God is very different from a faith IN God.   The faith of God IS God, and somewhere along the line of our spiritual evolution, this transition will gradually take place, where we shall cease having faith IN and shall have faith OF. Always in such degree as this happens, a demonstration takes place.”
I know there is a success story being written here.  I don’t know what it looks like but I am willing to be open to it in profound new ways. I look forward to using my experiences to teach others; teach them to find what’s important to them - and what’s not; what faith is and what real spiritual growth is all about.
Why share this with you? Because I KNOW there are those out there struggling to make it. Like me, there are some who hold so tightly in one hand what they are SURE they need, they are unable to open that fist – and those arms – to receive a better idea than they could ever hope for, dream, or imagine.
I share this with you because I know there are those who feel like the world judges them by their possessions and worldly “success”, and, for the most part, it does. By the world’s standards, I am a complete and utter failure.  By GOD’s standards, I am the child in whom God is well pleased. Not because of what I HAVE, but what I can GIVE.  Today, I can give you my story, in the hopes that somewhere within it you may find something that resonates with you; that you can know that your bliss and your happiness do not lie in things. These qualities are God-given and cannot be taken away by the world or anyone in it. 

I leave you with this profound comment found today on Facebook:
There are times when we do not recognize that it is time for us to move forward. When life is ready for us to move and we resist, life will move us by any means necessary. What may feel like a disaster is actually a graduation. Remain open to being guided, supported and protected by the universe.

Journey on til next time-