I recently received an email from an annoyed and confused woman. She wanted to know what possible reason I could have for sharing the fact I am going through bankruptcy with you.
“No one cares,” she wrote.
I couldn’t disagree more.
I am a risk taker and a rule breaker. My purpose is to experience the outer perimeter of what is possible. I explore the places people are usually afraid of. I go out to the edges and survey the scenery. I check for land mines and wild cougars. I make sure the ground underneath my feet is stable. Once I have illuminated the terrain of the unknown, I invite others (you) to join me. Why bankruptcy?
I’ve come across a lot of people who used their debt, or lack of resources, as an excuse for why they can’t do what they really really want. You know how it goes: I can’t quit my job because I need to pay the mortgage, even though I hate going to work every day. I would start my own company but I’m barely breaking even as it is. I’ll do it later, when I’ve paid off my loans and my life is more stable.
This was the exact thing I was doing. I sold a service that I did not like providing, and was far less impactful than I knew I could be in the world, because I felt like I had to. I was driven by a perceived need to make enough money so I could pay off my debts.
And in order to get un-trapped I had to face my single biggest fear, and be willing to run out of money. I stopped doing everything I was doing for the money. I gave up my credit score and credit cards. I looked at the reality of my indebtedness.
I let my bank account get down to $29, and I had no credit cards to fall back on.And from the edge of bankruptcy this is what I have to report:
I’m too creative and too resourced to run out of money. Every time I’ve been on the brink of not being able to buy groceries something has come through. A tax refund check, or someone wanted to buy a product I wasn’t even marketing, or an old friend that owed me money decided to pay me back out of the blue. There were unexpected gifts at the most opportune times.
Once I switched from living in the fear of scarcity, I realized that I was in abundance.
And surprisingly enough, the hardest thing to let go of wasn’t the money but my identity as a million dollar business owner. I had to relinquish the idea that my self-worth, my value, is intrinsically connected to my bottom line. And some of my relationships that were based on this assumption have died.
Now, I am starting to create relationships based on who I really am, not how much money people think I have.
And, I have a lot more figuring out to do. I am constantly finding out ways my relationships with debt and money run my life.
My hope is that my willingness to drop my identity, to release my debt in favor of doing more in the world, will break the conditioning that tells us we have to put paying off our indebtedness before living the lives we are supposed to live. I hope it will inspire others to put the purpose of their lives before the payment of their debt and see the liberation of letting go of it all.
The whole reason for this surrender is finding out what it is I’m here to be. I could no longer use my debt as an excuse to not live my full potential.
Nicole Daedone says, “I come back again and again to my teacher saying to me that surrender is not offering myself to something that I perceive to be more powerful – that is capture. Surrender is offering myself to something I believe to be less than me. It is offering myself in the face of humanity. By the same token, it is always through the mundane, through what I perceive to be beneath me – like, I should not have to do that don’t you know who I am? – that the beauty creeps in.”
So here I am, surrendering to bankruptcy, to not having it all together, to going for what I believe in, messy challenges and all.