In late 2010 I decided to put the wheels in motion and file for bankruptcy. My papers were processed in 2011, and I received a complete discharge in 2012. Between contacting a lawyer and getting all debt cleared, it was almost laughable. Every part of it was like a joke. And believe me, the joke is on us (consumers, the average person). There were so many scams being pulled throughout the whole process: from the government all the way to the common junk mailer. Everyone had some sort of hustle. Even the court trustee played dirty. He contacted the owner of my building to see if my apartment was rent stabilized — he wanted to know if there could be money made by evicting me (thus sharply raising the rent & finding a new tenant who would pay much more). He wanted to work a deal with the owner. Luckily, I have a great relationship with the owner, and I’ve always been one of their best tenants. So they just ignored the trustee & sided with me. Eventually the trustee gave up & saw there was nothing to gain from my situation.
Last week I heard about Casey Anthony and her trustee. The fact that the trustee wanted to own the rights to her life story and sell it didn’t surprise me in the least. Ya, they could say it’s to pay her credit debt off, but it’s really just a massive hustle by the whole system — from the banks & credit card companies, to the government & courts, to the small parasite businesses taking advantage of loopholes — everyone wants a piece. It’s all a big game. That’s what loans & credit cards are …game. Every game comes to an end. [To learn more about the game read The Debt We Shouldn’t Pay and watch Money as Debt, The truth about Money – Part 1 & Part 2 & Part 3. You can watch Part 1 at the end of this blog post, it’s embedded.]
When people think a game is real, they get hurt. Not only physically, but more so emotionally. Our country is hurting. Not so much the big guys, or one ones calling the shots with all the cards in their hands, but the average player. The common guy or average family that thinks they are getting ahead by playing along. But what are they truly gaining by passively following (or by trying to emulate what they see on TV)? Have they lost touch with what really matters in life? With what is truly real? Are they aware of what is most valuable?
Everyone should be clear: forget your credit line — your life is on the line! I’ve seen way too many people miserable over money matters. I’ve even seen friends, family & couples split up over debt or financial disagreements. We are not pawns in a game. We are living beings, gifted with the opportunity of life. Gifted with the precious ability to feel & to love & to see. Why is that not our focus? When did money take the front seat and drive the destiny of our lives? Where is our sense of Self worth? Is it the ‘small self’ or ego that is always worried, always chasing the carrot? The one always looking for approval & comfort? If so, that isn’t the real you. The carrot journey never ends. Oh, yes it does — pardon me. It ends at death. When we realize what truly matters.
The reason I filed or even thought of filing for bankruptcy was because I had a slow death. It started very gradually, slowly, but became very noticeable in 2007. Something in me was dying, and in 2008 it died. Everything I knew myself to be, all that I enjoyed being distracted by …died. I had been someone that loved art my whole life. I was the kid in their room drawing, while all the other kids were outside playing. I loved museums, and all creative things. I loved visual things & magazines. I even became an artist and worked in creative fields for 20 years. It all came to a crashing halt. I no longer wanted to make ‘stuff’ or buy stuff or felt inspired by stuff. I was suddenly turned off by it. I felt the weight & the responsibility for what it takes to make this stuff. You can call it art, or fashion, or interior design, or a cup to drink out of — just the whole idea of creating & shopping and the toxicity of it (not only for the person who’s creating it, but for the homes that store it and the landfills that eventually receive it). Everyone is destroying their health and the environment with the need for stuff. To have stuff or to make stuff. I just couldn’t do it anymore.
The ‘death’ or realization came after I finished a serious of bronze sculptures I was working on for a client. When the project was complete, I went to Africa for a month. After my return, I was clear that I was no longer going to make art or stuff for clients. At least not the way I was doing it before. I was going to allow a new work, a new career & purpose for myself to emerge. Well, long story long — it didn’t emerge! After returning from Africa, I got very ill, and I had problems with my old spinal injury (from 1997). I used my credit cards to live for a while, and to pay for medical bills. Needless to say, they piled up.
I found myself not wanting anything that creates and (supposedly) fulfills the life of an average human being: children, family, marriage/partnership, career, things, home, car, pets, property, hobbies, etc. I had no feeling or desire towards any of it. No goal to achieve it, no want to have it, no idea that it could bring me happiness — no interest at all. I found myself in a very odd place. I found the world and most people’s dreams totally unrelatable. What I thought might pass and resolve itself in a year or so, quickly turned into 5 years.
My love for art, or visual creative stuff never returned. My desire to go back to work, doing what I was doing before (making stuff that is toxic to people & to the planet) never returned. And neither did a new inspiring career to replace the old one. That never surfaced either. But what did was synchronicity. Perfect opportunities, that suited the new me. The right people at the right times. I met people that wanted me to teach. People that were excited about things that I knew how to do. I also met a person that was excited about getting land, and living off-the-grid. I teamed up with this person & I bought 5 acres of land (with their help & the help of a best friend).
All of the energy from the people I’ve been working with lately got me inspired to start a new business. It’s a business that teaches people how to be boundless (via e-books & videos). The business I’m beginning inspires me because it helps people to remember who they are. Who they really are; the Self they get in contact with at death. When one realizes that all the stuff in their lives is not what’s most important. All that they work to buy or keep up or represent, in the end has no value for them. What matters most is what could be felt. Was I loved? Did I love well? Was I present to feel life’s unconditional gifts? Did I truly appreciate the gift that was my life?
The interesting thing is, I don’t miss credit or credit cards at all (my life is so much easier & better without them!). I never needed a bank loan to buy land. I’m living with more freedom and more abundance then I’ve ever experienced. Not to mention, love. The amount of love in my life is unfathomable to the former me. Everyday is a celebration of life. Everyday I’m grateful for the little things. I’m healthier and more connected to my body, to nature & to all living beings. Life feels sacred again. I’m debt free, and my mind is free.
I’m also making moves towards a life of self-sufficiency, by moving to the country with my partner. Which I hope to do in the next year or two. I want to teach people how to grow their own food, make their own home, and find peace in simply being. Life could be really-really simple. It doesn’t have to be a money & status game. There are no “I bought my happiness” winners of that game. There are no winners in life. But there are ones who are successful. My definition of success is an unconditional constant abundance of peace, love & happiness. If you have achieved or realized those — you are rich.