This beautiful, foggy Sunday morning I spent, as I often do every week, watching Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. Her guests usually fill me with hope, insight and inspiration. This morning she had Sarah Ban Breathnach as her guest. Sarah wrote the book 'Simple Abundance'. I have read many inspirational self help books but have to admit that 'Simple Abundance' was not one of them. 'Simple Abundance' is one of the best selling books of all time.
On the show, Sarah reveals that after her phenomenal success of 'Simple Abundance', in her belief that the money would never end, chose yet another bad spouse, divorced for the 3rd time, spent her money recklessly and lost her massive fortune and was humbly forced to move in with her sister while she wrote her next book. In a nutshell, Sarah found herself in what I call 'the hole'.
I am fascinated by the rags to riches to rags stories. Although to a much, much smaller degree, I understand this story for I too have lost everything. Over ten years ago I found myself with my identity totally wrapped up in materialism and in turn lost who I was supposed to become in striving for financial attainment. I say that I lost who I was supposed to become because I never knew who I was in the first place. Like Sarah, I too lost all material things that I had acquired through the choices I had made (bad financial decisions, spousal choice and the belief that the money would never end). It forced me to a place that shook me to my bones. This place was a horrible, deep dark hole. This dark hole forced me to take a hard look at myself, my belief system and most importantly at the choices that I had made that so perfectly paved the path for me to arrive smack dab in the middle of darkness. It was then that I realized the shallow, materialistic person I had become. It also forced me to take a look at myself and why I attracted abusive people into my life. For people treat you the way that you allow them to. Unfortunately some of those people were my family (namely my mother and step father) and to this day they will not speak or acknowledge my existence because of the shame and embarrassment that I brought to them in their community (their words). My youngest son Noah humorously tells me that I got a burn notice from my mom. He is so funny. My children will never know this kind of pain. Please note that there is more to this story than I am writing, I just don't have the time or space allowed to bore you with the years of details that led up to my being blacklisted from my family. They are not fully to blame here. I take total responsibility and own up to the behaviors and choices that I made for my part in this occurrence.
So back to the Sarah Ban Breathnach interview; I found it interesting that a person who wrote that peace and fulfillment is found in simple abundance could so easily get wrapped up in materialism and finding her self worth in bad relationships. Yet I found this eerily ringing true. How many of us seek the truth, know the truth, then allow ourselves to be led astray and before we know it find ourselves back in the dark hole? How many times do we have to end up in the dark hole before we say 'enough is enough'. For many months, years and sometimes a lifetime, people find themselves in the hole, deflect their bad behaviors and terrible situation onto the blame of others and never take full responsibility for ending up in the hole, or even staying in the hole. Some people spend their lifetime in the hole and keep themselves there numbed by self medicating, therefore never allowing themselves to acknowledge, recognize or own up to how they truly ended up there in the first place. For others, it is a blessing, an awakening, a call to action. A time for drastic and radical change to get back to authenticity and their true nature.
Throughout my entire life I have made job decisions based on money. All the while, I was miserable in my jobs, never feeling authentic and always feeling trapped. I can't tell you how many years I have spent driving to work feeling like just another rat in a wheel. Invisible. Unfulfilled. Guilt for leaving my children when they needed a mommy. But I did it because I had to support my family. This is what I told myself. Yet all the while, not saving money and making bad choices and ending right back up in the hole. I could pull myself out for a while only to end back up in that all too familiar dark place. There are different degrees in the depth of the hole. The biggest degree is rock bottom, the deepest part of the hole. Surprisingly rock bottom is the one that can be the biggest blessing if allowed. The one that awakens you, makes you change everything. It is the constant cycling through the upper layers of the hole that is the most dangerous. For if you are like me, you can pull yourself up for awhile but before you know it you have made the same familiar choices and find yourself back in the same place and lots of wasted years. If not recognized it becomes a never ending lifetime cycle.
For several years now I have had a stirring. Interestingly enough, so has my husband. I think it is important for one to pay close attention to this stirring, which also feels like a discomfort or edginess. If you pay close heed to this stirring it can be an anti-hole prevention insurance policy. I believe God placed this feeling of discomfort within us to get us to look inward. A time for introspection and reflection. This gives you another chance to move forward, to break old habits, to rise above mundane and a pause for deep search for your true calling. A time to give permission to just be. If recognized, then your hole becomes a gift. It enables you to ponder on how it is that you truly want to live your life day in and day out.
For years now I have been drawn towards getting back to nature, simplifying, meditating, praying, slowing down, allowing my creativity to flow in whatever form it wants to take, becoming increasingly self sufficient by living more off the grid and spending more time with family and most importantly with God. I am never more at peace than when I am doing those things.
Ah....now to just remember this on a daily basis and not to slowly slide back into the all to familiar hole.
My prayer for you, the reader : When you find yourself in the hole may you fully receive the blessings and gifts that your hole offers you. After all, one cannot know peace and happiness if one has not experienced its opposite.