I know its so cliché to throw around the old ‘changed my life’ phrase.
Flash back to the not so good old days.
This is not a story I have shared often.
When you are knee deep in financial poo and struggling to find a way out – there is a quiet shame that hovers thick and heavy over your head.
It’s not something you share with your friends over a cuppa!
It’s just one of those things that you hide away.
Brave smiley-everything-is-fine-and-we-are-amazing face!
Don’t let on that it churns away at your insides and eats you up.
Feeling physically sick with worry and sleepless nights.
It was a Tuesday and my husband’s payday wasn’t until Thursday, AND we quite literally had NO food that would constitute a meal in the house.
I had 3 children under the age of 5 and another one on the way!
Quite literally maxed out credit card (thankfully we only had one at the time!) and tapped out overdraft.
I can actually feel that sick feeling swell up as I write this. It’s a hideous desperate pain and shame that is difficult to describe.
So – what do you do when you are stuck in that situation?
Well I don’t know what other people do – but I sat on the living room floor and cried.
And I asked the ceiling, or maybe the sky or the universal powers that be (if we want to get poetic) for HELP.
Yes, I looked up at my ceiling (not even remotely as romantically as Gwyneth Paltrow could muster up in an amazing movie scene) quite pathetically!
and cried HELP.
And the weirdest thing happened.
No – I didn’t hear voices or see lightening bolts, but a whisper of an idea flashed through my mind.
I could sell some of my jewelry.
(And No – I didn’t have a secret stash of rubies and diamonds but I did have some Sterling Silver necklaces and bracelets that I didn’t really wear very often).
So I rifled through my jewelry, picking out the pieces that I thought might be worth something and off I went to sell it.
Now to be clear, there was a deep churning shame that reared its ugly head as I walked desperately into a pawn shop (heavily pregnant) and with 3 little kids in tow.
But I walked out calmly, cash in hand. Hopped into my car and cried tears of JOY.
I can remember turning and saying to the kids – Today we’re buying grapes and watermelon.
Weird!? I know!
They must have seemed expensive to me at that time – like the special fruits I had been unable to buy over the last few months.
Once home, the reality hit that this was not a sustainable way of getting by.
Sadly I just didn’t have any more jewelry to sell!!!
So I started on a journey to find a better way to GET BY.
And in the process I discovered the wonderful world of ‘Everything is Energy’. This was to become my all time favourite website for years to come.
Everything is energy – and money therefore is just energy.
Now, when you’re flat broke and desperate for help, and that is the info you hear some dude declaring, the response goes something like this
(Again – I am talking to my ever-patient ceiling!!...)
‘Yea what EVA’ (yes expletives heavily splattered within that 3 word sentence!)
Followed by a self righteous dose of
‘Easy for you to say mate – when you’re loaded!!
But – I was desperate so I listened – I had NO option.
First lesson. BE GRATEFUL
Oh yes – The ‘easy-for-you-to-say’s ‘ were flowing.
SO how do you find things to be grateful for when you have NOTHING
(or what felt like nothing. Perspective is a funny thing!)
Be grateful when you see the mail carrier put the bills in your letterbox.
I know what you’re thinking (because it's what I thought.
But I listened to the advice and this is what it was…
Just think, you have had a whole month of POWER or PHONE or whatever and you haven’t had to pay for it until now! YAY?)
When you go to the supermarket – instead of wincing in pain, watching the total go up & up & up as each item is scanned,
Focus on how awesome it is to have everything you need under one roof!
You don’t have to go out and plant wheat to have bread – NO, its baked, sliced and packaged just for you!
Be grateful to the farmers who grow the produce, the people displaying everything so nicely, etc. etc.
And where ever you go (driving or walking) look for whatever you can to be grateful for!
Find a way to see the fabulous in everything around you.
FIND THE WONDER and SAY thank you (to the ceiling or sky or wherever feels good for you!)
And NOW here’s the totally crazy part that still baffles me to this day.
Four days into this new GAME of looking for things to be thankful for,
MY LIFE CHANGED.
I got a bonus cheque from our power company.
Then 2 days later, (sometimes I have to really shake my head about how this all happened)
I won a $150 voucher at the supermarket for being a lucky 1,000th customer!
Then over the next few months and years – WEIRD stuff kept happening and slowly different opportunities started flowing for our family.
Life was on the up and up.
You can be cynical and I don’t care!
My challenge to you is to give it a go and watch the magic happen.
And here’s the good news that I have discovered along the way -
Gratitude has no “shallow-meter”
It doesn’t care if you are grateful for your shoes, your great hairstyle, your amazing mascara.
Whatever, it doesn’t matter.
As long as you are authentic, and real!
So don't TRY to be grateful for your kids who have driven you crazy this morning, or your wonderful husband when you have just had a rip snorter of a fight!
Gratitude KNOWS when you are faking.
So don't try to be Mother Earth, and all happiness and roses about all the deep and meaningful stuff (this is my favourite part of this whole lesson), just pick the things in this moment that you authentically CAN BE grateful for.
Pretty simple game!
Why not give it a try.xx
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