When I was buying my car in August, the financial advisor noticed how antsy I was as we were completing the paperwork in his office. He assured me that my income was fine–it was great at the time. I was concerned getting to this tight spot three months later, with no real job prospects in sight.
Of course, too, all day, I was ruminating about my shitty credit, made shitty thanks to grad school. Even as I type this, moving to Florida has been all about taking risks, for following my dream of writing. The dream is realized–I’ve been a writer for four years. But at times I wonder if it was all worth it, especially financially.
As I joked my way out of my fear of the future, the financial advisor said something sagacious that reminded that I was not my credit score or my finances. It’s something that’s stayed with me and has been more important to me now, after two stressful phone calls with my car loan company and my long-suffering but not that great cell phone service provider.
I’ve come to a point that I’m doing all I can and it’s not enough to pay bills on time. I can understand suicidality from a place of–I can’t live like this anymore, the bleak and unyielding despair that can try to choke you out. There are no options. And it’s something that even last month, I batted around like a cat would with a toy mouse. I’m too lazy to do that, and I’m also curious about what will happen next in my life. But I get the exhaustion, the frustration, and the sense of hopelessness that one can feel when unemployed. I’ve been here a few times and this time feels more like…an object lesson.
One of my favorite movie scenes is from Dune, where Paul is given this test to see if he’s divine (I think, right?). He has to place his hand inside a box and endure inordinate amounts of pain. If he removes it, he’ll die. He holds it in the box until the test is over. It seems like his hand is being seared from the inside. But, when he removes his hand, it’s fine.
Also from the book and the movie, there’s the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear that Paul recites in a stressful situation (can’t remember what it was), but here it is:
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
I know things will be fine, eventually. There are things I know coming down the pipeline that will help tremendously. And then there are things that I don’t know are coming that will also be helpful. I have to have faith that the latter is very, very true.
I don’t fear that I will be homeless, or even that I will lose my car. My phone may be turned off tomorrow. I fear that I’m letting myself down in terms of how I wanted to live my life–with independence and aplomb. This feels like yet another adulting failure, but so many people are in my position right now, doing the best they can.
Deep down, though–I fear that I am my shitty credit score or my bank account balance or even the number of friends that I have close by.
I am none of these things, and I never have been.
The lesson that I’m learning, with a little more ease this time, is that I had been identifying with my job and with the amount of money I have. Money, my phone, my car–they are all tools. And I am not defined by tools, or even my access to tools. It’s tough to say this, as a double Capricorn, who likes to work, who likes to have money, who likes to pay bills on time. Not having these things does cause some suffering. It’s suffering that I’m learning to be present with, with copious amounts of self-compassion–even if it comes out in dribs and drabs.
Once I let go of this identity tied to money, then I’m just me–an able-bodied, hard-working, fiercely loving, highly intelligent person who deserves love and compassion and is doing all she can. All of this is enough, no matter what circumstantially happens to me. That’s still a hard pill to swallow. But, day by day, internal meltdown after internal meltdown, it is becoming enough. Scorpio season may have ended yesterday, but my own personal transformation is still happening. One can only be stripped down every so often before it starts to become not about the things being stripped away, but about what remains.
I’m so grateful to be housed, for my plucky resilience, for the few people that have helped me during this transition time, and that I’m still alive to see what will happen next. Again, my own personal readings have been so positive. I believe I received one today about golden opportunities. I look forward to not scoffing at these readings and really embracing them as messages from Spirit, that things are about to get better, that things are already getting better.
Anyway, I’m a broken record, but it seems like every time I blog about this, my attitude and my circumstances start to shift. I write because I am compelled to, and I want to document this journey. But the self-encouragement as I go on another hero’s journey is so necessary.
When I’ve done all I can, I have to throw the rest of it up to the Universe/higher power/God to take care of the rest–even when it’s out of exasperation. That may be the best time to do it.
Even in the expansive space of gratitude, it’s been hard to embrace that the Universe pro-me. It’s been yet another lesson that I’m learning. And while I am learning, I’m not giving up.