“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
– J.K. Rowling
A little over a year ago, I hit rock bottom financially and it could also be said I hit rock bottom emotionally as well. It’s certainly not an easy task coming to terms with harsh realities or coming face-to-face, and toe-to-toe with what was then considered my worst nightmare and biggest insecurity ever: running out of money.
You would think back in December 2013 when I boldly quit my six-plus figure career, ditched my possessions and crammed what little left I had into two carry-on sized bags to travel internationally for the first time alone with zero plans for the future, I’d encounter my greatest fears. I did, except all but one, and this was my deepest darkest fear of all: the scenario involving me completely running out of money. This was the one monster in the closet I never wanted to face and in the past I prevented the possibility of it from even happening. I was prideful. I always held my own never needing assistance from anybody, and back then I truly believed there would never come a time in my life when I would need to ask for help from anyone.
Before continuing on, I want to be clear, I am not saying there’s anything WRONG with accumulating luxurious possessions and having large sums of money. Those are indications you’ve led a abundantly successful life, and by having more of something you create the opportunity to give more freely to those who in need. I share many beliefs behind the primary purpose of leading a soul-fulfilled life, but the one on which I place most value is: LIVING MEANS GIVING.
It wasn’t that the money I had accumulated before was wrong, it was just that my heart was not in the right place regarding it.
One reason was I falsely approached life feeling as if I need to survive it. No amount of money or the price-tags on my possessions mattered either, whatever I had simply wasn’t enough. My life continually felt lacking and I would attempt to fill the void by consuming more. I lived for the thrill of the “paper-chase,” and my insatiable hunger for more cash and more “things” wound up consuming me.
After a consistent urging from my soul the last seven of the fourteen years I lived this way, I finally decided to give up money as my main drive and focus and instead pursue what I knew in my heart I knew was my calling.
Intuitively I knew taking this leap of faith and leaving behind the old career and my lifestyle that came with it, I would lose everything tied with it, but even in knowing this, I still wasn’t quite ready to let go. The life I gave up was the life I’d known the past fourteen years, so any outside, unknown future prospects terrified me. I grasped on even tighter to the little savings I had left and put every ounce of energy into delaying the inevitable arrival of fast approaching “rock bottom.” I lived two more years in fear and delaying the inevitable and by the time the “bottom” actually hit, I wasn’t even scared anymore, just exhausted. I’d held onto feelings of scarcity and lack with an iron grip for far too long. I was energetically drained.
Time to face the music. I was as ready as I’d ever be, it was time to face this nightmare head on. I’d trust I’d overcome it and accept whatever the outcome may be. All I know is the anticipation was killing me. Honestly I just wanted whatever may happen to come, have its way with me, and then be over and done with.
The world of social media assumed I was living the dream, and they had no reason not to. I just moved to Bali and taught yoga five days per week at a five-star ocean-side resort. Virtually my life appeared amazing, but the reality was everything was falling apart, and fast…or at least that’s what I believed.
My energy was diminished and there wasn’t much left I cared about anymore. That little bit of fight I had left in me was gone. Fate had me cornered, elbow placed squarely on my jugular and was twisting my arm seemingly to the point of breakage unless my ego humbly “tapped out.” I realized surrender was the only option if I ever wanted to see this emotional and mental trauma end.
I said to myself silently, “I’ve followed my heart and done what feels best for me, so if I’ve come this far in life only to be dropped on my head, than so be it.”
Truthfully, I didn’t believe getting dropped on my head was the case, but regardless I was too exhausted to do anything else BUT surrender and accept whatever the outcome of my reality may be.
At first I believed I was completely alone in my experience, but ironically this experience showed me we are never alone and are always connected through our shared human experience. I may have been a world apart from friends and family, but never completely alone. I was surrounded constantly by large numbers of loving people on social media who supported and offered encouragement to me and my journey.
I accepted the truth I’m exactly where I need to be in my life at this time, and whatever emotions surface, are precisely what I’m needing to feel. I didn’t try and force myself to enjoy this experience, I just acknowledged what I needed to become aware of, especially within myself, that blocks me from moving forward and realize how now I have the opportunity now to overcome them. Everything I experienced then was part of the process of becoming initiated into something far greater.
Meanwhile, a quiet voice inside me comforted and urged me to hang on. It assured me all was well even if I couldn’t physically see it.
A new formation of trust evolved within me and I learned to flow with the ways of the of “zig-zag,” creative, and walk along “winding paths” into unforeseen developments armed with only my faith in the unknown.
The nights seemed long, dark, cold and distant…but without them I would have never of noticed hope’s light thriving and shimmering in the darkness or how the imagery of the Phoenix arising up from the ashes of despair can be so beautiful.