A few weeks ago, I told you how I became involved with sober companion work in late December, 2009, and how I miraculously caught up with my car payments and other expenses in a matter of days. I even got to do some last minute holiday shopping, in complete denial that my bills would all reappear in January.
About two weeks later, I received notice that I had to make an appearance at the unemployment office; any of you who have collected in New York know the drill. You have to show proof of jobs you’ve applied for, interviews attended, etc. It was only the third time I’d been required to go in seven months, since seemingly half the state was unemployed at the time, but the last time had only been a few weeks ago. I didn’t feel like going again, and had no new leads to report since I essentially stopped looking for a job the moment I got my first sober companion assignment. So I emailed the woman I was supposed to see and told her I was doing some freelance work; she assured me she could freeze my benefits. I just had to visit the office before collecting again.
I hope you all had an abundantly blessed Thanksgiving. Since we are amidst the season of thankfulness, it seems apropos to write about gratitude.
Growing up, Thanksgiving was one of my least favorite holidays. There were no new toys to unwrap and play with, no costumes or candy, no basket of stuffed animals and treats and no fireworks on the beach. As a teenager, I flat out disliked the obligation of sitting in traffic for hours on the way to my grandmother’s house; why not visit relatives on a day with less vehicular congestion? I despised the flagrant sexism displayed as the women in my family spent the day cooking and cleaning while most of the men sat on their asses and watched football. I took a stand and joined the men until they learned to pitch in. In my 20s, I became a vegetarian, one less reason to like Thanksgiving. Clearly, I was missing the point, although that was no real fault of my own. Gratitude wasn’t taught in school and saying grace for a couple of minutes didn’t really explain much. Why were we only thankful for dinner and one another’s company once a year?
“Whether you think that you can or that you can’t, you are usually right.” Henry Ford uttered these words; this philosophy is nothing new. So how is it possible that so many of us still don’t understand the power of our beliefs?
A belief is only a thought you have focused on so many times, it has become part of, or indistinguishable from, your reality. Most of us have many that serve us, and just as many or more that don’t.
Here I sit at a Starbucks on Fifth Avenue, as my client attends an intake at an outpatient treatment center. This gig was only supposed to last one night, which is how many I packed for. But my client is enjoying her time of rejuvenation at the Brooklyn Marriott, as well as my support. So I will be staying a third night with her, thus effectively paying those bills I almost stressed about four days ago.
I mention the monetary benefits first because this is a prosperity blog. I’m relieved and overjoyed by this opportunity to catch up on my bills and get myself back on a roll. But this is not the reason I’m most grateful for this experience, and perhaps that’s why I feel this will begin an upward spiral of epic proportions. When I start to panic about money, even ever so slightly, I forget that it’s not the primary reason I want a new sober companion job. I want one because I passionately love this work!
Last night, I tallied the differential between my scheduled income for the remainder of the month and the amount of bills I have yet to pay. No wonder math has always been my least favorite subject!
Successful people are fueled by challenges, not defeated by them. So instead of panicking as I would have a year ago, I thought of all the various actions I could take. I could see if either of the companies that refer me sober companion clients have anything else I could help out with. I could research other such companies to partner with. I could draw new private clients to work with as a life coach. I could even find and take a temporary job; at this point, I think it would be easy enough to use the law of attraction to obtain one. But it feels morally challenged to take a job I know I’d quit as soon as I’m referred a long-term client. And if I can use the law of attraction to draw a job, why not just create what I actually want?
Today, I went on my sister’s annual bus trip to the outlets in Riverhead and while it’s always been a fun day, it used to also be a very dangerous one for me. The sales and coupons made impulsive and compulsive spending seem both necessary and innocent, even back when I was using charge cards to pay for every last purchase. There’s nothing like the illusion of a great deal to justify insanity. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my logical mind, I knew the fabulous discounts would transform into inflated prices once the interest accumulated, but I could delude myself easily enough.
It’s been two weeks since I posted my first entry and I have yet to change my visibility settings from private to public. Why am I procrastinating? The same reason any of us procrastinate something we want to do: fear.
Fear is not necessarily a foe; it is designed to help protect us. It just wants to get our attention, to make sure we know what we’re doing, that we are truly ready to act. Without fear, I would have prematurely started this website in the summer of 2009. Had I done that, I suspect I may not have drawn the amazing opportunities which followed.
I spent the rest of yesterday afternoon exploring the local area. Chicago missed a spot on my list of top places to check out foliage, but my instincts led me to some surprisingly beautiful displays. From the orange trees which formed a perfect row up the side of the bridge to the Art Institute to the multicolored Millennium Park, it was stunning. Along with the bright blue sky and intoxicating architecture, the autumnal backdrop energized me.
Several hours and miles walked and a a scrumptious feast at Nacional 27 on Huron Street later, I was back in my hotel room, thinking about delicious slumber. I exchanged texts with a friend from Colorado who thanks to Facebook, I learned was staying a mere eleven blocks away. She suggested coffee at 7 a.m.; while it sounded early, I was planning to go to bed by 10 so I agreed.
Those of us who are revolutionizing our entire relationships with money are going to fall back into old patterns at times. Financial recovery is about progress, not perfection. The trick is to allow ourselves to make mistakes and learn from them; the minute we start beating ourselves up, we’re bound to slip deeper into our old ways.
This is why I am sitting here at my hotel room at the Parker House in Chicago, focusing on the fact that I’ve made the most responsible irresponsible decision I could have. Bonus points: I have a good story to share with you.
Before I can share how I began to allow my financial turnaround, I feel it will be helpful to let you know how completely out of control my spending habits used to be. Debt doesn’t have to be part of a scarcity story and some who charge only do so because they see no other choice (due to today’s economy, having lost jobs, etc.). But it was part of my story and I’d be remiss if I didn’t include it here, especially because I know there are some people out there who will relate. Continue reading