Yes.  Another Thanksgiving Day post about gratitude.  I'm sure your inbox is full of them by now - mine is (including several mixing things up about the negative side of gratitude - interesting trend this year).

But don't you worry.  Instead of giving you sage advice, I'm just going to talk about myself.  So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.  And if you learn something along the way, that's your own fault.

Today, I am going to talk about what I'm grateful for.  Sure, I could say my friends, family, health, blah blah blah.  And of course, all of that is true.

But you know what I'm really grateful for right now?

Being poor.

Yep.  I'm grateful that I'm at a time in my life where I'm struggling financially.  I'm not talking about the usual stress we all have where we just wish we had more money, less debt, etc.  I'm talking about, each month it is an adventure to find out whether or not I'm going to have any money to pay rent.  I'm talking about eating Raman noodles for lunch every day (currently an overpriced .30 cents a pack) and $2 frozen meals for dinner, and worrying if I even have the money for that.  Because that is as low as I can go, and still eat.

So.  Why am I thankful for this?  Besides just the plain ol' fact that I'm crazy?

Well.  To answer that question, we must go on a little journey.  Back to when all this goodness began.

Two years ago, I quit my very stable, well paying job with great benefits.  I enjoyed my work, and I loved the people I worked with (I still consider them family).  But, being a Clinical Data Manager was not who I Was.  Who I Was was a person dedicated to helping people figure out their life lessons, and move through the gunk and junk, to really set their life up in a delicious way.  Well before I received my life coach training, I was essentially coaching people all around me.  (Ahem, some might even note that I fell into this coaching roll with a few coworkers even when I was supposed to be churning my wheels doing data management…).

So.  I jumped.  I quit my job, to leap into the unknown void.  Now, I could have scaled back to part time, and started my business while working.  But the truth is, I knew myself well enough to know that I needed the pressure to push me forward.  As long as my life was comfortable, I wasn't going to get anywhere.

And, with very little savings, and quite a lot of debt, I walked away from my job. 

For the first year or so, things went fine financially, if a bit tight.  I had a few side jobs/income streams, and I had cashed out my retirement, and had several lines of debt that I could draw on, to get me by.

I began my coaching training.  I floundered about trying to figure out what kind of a coach I was, who my target market was, taking lots of courses, redesigning my website 80 million times, and basically doing everything I could except do the work that would really build my business.  Because? I was terrified.  Was I good enough?  Did anyone want my help?  Isn't it all being offered/said/done already?  And who the hell do I think I am, anyway?

This is one of the reasons why it was really good I quit my job first.  Because I could have talked myself out of it.  I could have run far, far away from the personal growth challenge that I had to go through in order to settle into my Calling.  But you see, I was right smack dab in the middle of it, and the only way out was through it .

And oh, how I struggled.  I discovered that I had performance anxiety (yes, odd, since my first career was acting - but then it made those audition freak outs make a lot more sense).  Yeah.  I discovered that I would physically break down if I had to speak to a client.  At first, I couldn't even call my clients back.  I would get totally freaked when I saw a voice mail, praying that it would just be a sales call that I could ignore.

But the clients started coming anyway.  And I continued to show up.  I signed up for a year lease for an office - having no clue if I was going to be able to pay for it each month, since I only had one client at the time.  Who only had one session.  Yep.  Then I began working with other practitioners in my office, trading their services with mine.  I gently took one step forward after another, even though I was terrified. 

Gradually, the anxiety began to ease.  Eventually it became exciting when I was contacted by a client.  And then came the day where I was able to see a new client without feeling like my face was going to explode. (I'm still working on the public speaking side of things, but am fully confident that I will be able to get through that as well).

My business began to build.  With very little work on my part.  I wasn't paying for ads, or shouting at everyone how they needed my services, or anything that felt unauthentic or uncomfortable.  I just showed up.  And gave each client who came to see me my all.  And continued to remind myself that this was my path, and I was on it, and that everything would unfold in time.

But, truth be told, I was a bit comfortable about everything.  While I knew where I wanted my business to grow, I wasn't putting in the effort to get there.  It is all fine and good to make up a list that you want to manifest in your life, but I've learned that the Universe likes you to pour a little of your own blood in there to really get things moving.  And please.  I don't mean real blood.  Let's keep things metaphorical, people.

Time went on.  Savings began to dwindle and peter out.  Debt began to climb.  And so did my fear.  I knew that the day was looming where I wouldn't know how I was going to be able to pay my rent the next month.  If I was going to be able to buy myself food.  If I would be evicted, or have to move back in with my mother, or declare bankruptcy.  I kept reminding myself that the Universe would take care of me, but I was petrified.

The fear of being poor had me in a death grip.  If I was not spending much time building my business before, now my energy really screeched to a halt.  There were days that I was so flipped out, with all my fear and doubt and bullshit mind chatter, that all I could do was lay down on the floor and breathe.  I was frozen in the fear that I HAD to do something or DISASTER was going to take over me.  I had to do something to start bringing in tons of money, or I would be in ruin.  So.  Yeah.  That kind of pressure really didn't help things too much. 

And then.  The day came.  This September.  The day when I no longer had debt to rely on.  No savings to drain.  And I looked toward the end of the month and wondered where that additional $1000 was going to come from.

It finally happened.

What a relief.

For this, I am grateful. 

I am grateful, because finally, I don't have to worry about it anymore.  It is here.  And the only thing I can do is react to what is real.  I can't worry about whether or not I have the money to pay rent until it is time to pay rent and I need to find the money for it.  And of note, each month, I have had the money.  It actually has been a real little Christmas treat.  Because a little surprise awaits me at the end of the month, when I realize - hey!  I CAN pay rent this month!  How did that happen?  And I again and again am reminded that the Universe will take care of me, and all is good.

I am grateful, because now I get to simply live in the present moment.  The dreaded future is here.  And, what my future holds, I don't know.  I could be a millionaire.  I could be continuing to eat Raman for lunch every day.  I really don't know.  So, I get to just be here Now.  And appreciate what I do have in my life in this moment.

I am grateful for everything that comes my way.  That free piece of chocolate that is offered to me by a coworker.  When a friend offers to buy me a drink.  The Starbucks card my mom sends me (because it is a certified crime for a person in Seattle to not be able to drink coffee).  Each thing is such a gift and a joy, that I can really be so grateful for the things I once so easily took for granted.

I am grateful because I no longer am frozen.  Since I have fully accepted my present circumstances - because that is all that is left for me to do - I am okay with where things are at now.  Which means that I can go ahead and create anything I want.  I find myself more focused and more driven to create my offering to the world.  I've gotten to this point and haven't given up, so I might as well get down to business and offer what I've got.  Will there be people that do it better than me?  That already offer what I do?  Will some people be turned off by what I have to give?  Honestly, at this point, I really don't give a shit.  I'm just going to do it.  And I may fail.  And that is totally okay.

I am grateful because, in this place that I was dreading for so long, I find myself feeling the most peace, joy, happiness, and excitement then I have felt in a very long time.  I am alive, filled with life.  I am free.

And now I know, this thing called "being poor" or "financially struggling" is really what you make of it.  We seem to think it is the end of the world, and put up with so much shit to avoid it (watch out for a future blog post about how I now believe that expecting people to have to work a full time job is a crime against humanity).  But it is the fear and the avoidance and the resistance that is the true horror.

So.  That's my little story.  Full of all the gritty reality, and not dressed up in half-truths.

Now.  Get back to eating yourself silly.