Meditation of the Week 5/22/07

One of my greatest pet peeves is dishonesty. I just wanted to get that out there front and center…

A dear friend of mine recently indicated that it appeared my life was fairly “happy” all the time, especially when I write these Meditations. In her opinion, I was choosing to elaborate primarily on the peppy side of my life. She stated that it may be beneficial if I shared more of me in these writings, shared more sides of my journey. I heard that I was sharing only that which made me look good. I value her opinion, so I have frequently thought about this since she mentioned it.

Do I sugar-coat my life in these writings, and – I am afraid to even consider this – in general?

I do tend to be a joyful person. I like butterflies and rainbows and laughter. I like being with people I love. I like good food, good music and good conversations. I have a tender, romantic heart and I can easily – and quickly – get wrapped up in situations which hurt that heart. I decided a long time ago that life can either be a misery or an enjoyment. I opted for the latter.

And so, on that note, I am going to reveal a part of myself to you.

I feel oh so very afraid…

A few weeks ago, I lost thirteen hundred dollars. I realized I had lost that money the day before my rent was absolutely due. I was frantic!

I come from a long line of people that work hard for their living and most make just enough to cover their lives, without much left over and hanging around at the end of the month. My one confirmed source of financial help, my former husband, (yes, you read correctly) has run upon his own hard times and has found his financial situation fairly inflexible. He could not rescue me this time around. To make matters worse, the physical credit cards I have left are maxed out. The only credit available is on two credit cards which I cut up so that I would stop using them.

There was nowhere for me to turn. I was worried beyond belief. My mind reeled at the implications of what I had done. Thirteen hundred dollars?!?! How does that much money just disappear in an apparent blink of the eye? I was consumed with thoughts of what in the hell am I going to do? And how can I legally generate thirteen hundred dollars in a matter of 24 hours? And what in the hell am I going to do?!

They say that the thing that bothers you most about other people is the very thing that you refuse to hold conscious in yourself. Something happened in the moment I realized that money was gone, never to be recovered. Something flipped in me and I lost my mind, my cool and, apparently, my integrity.

My integrity is something I have recently realized I have been withholding from several areas of my life. I feel ashamed to admit that to you. I feel afraid that I will lose my credibility and be seen as a fraud. I feel afraid that you will see that I am not, indeed, hmmmm… that I am not enlightened and perfect. And, even to write that sends shivers of fear all the way to my toes.

The money I lost was not an actual wad of cash that I mistakenly threw away when I hurriedly cleaned out my car one sunny Saturday morning. Although this is what I told several key people in my life – all of whom receive these Meditations. I feel ashamed that I lied to people who are the closest to me – family, best friends, mentors and my daughter.

The truth of the matter is I lost that money because I have an abject fear and loathing of all things financially related. I don’t balance my checkbook. I only loosely monitor my credit cards. I have no assets to speak of. I owe my life to financial institutions across this great nation. And I despise that fact.

The moment of realization was when I went online to transfer money from my checking account to my apartment complex. In my head, mind you, there was plenty of money to cover the $800 rent payment, pay my cell bill and utilities with enough left over to go to dinner. Reality was a stark contrast. What’s this?! Over four hundred dollars in the hole?!?

Oh dear!

I still have no idea what happened to all of my money last month. I wish it was the lie I told because that was, although stupid enough, a tangible, explainable and possible mistake to make. There was no excuse for what I had done. There had been no race with time. There had been no unconscious gathering of odd papers and emptying of the trash. There had only been unconsciousness.

I realize now that the unconsciousness was a defensive posture. I didn’t want people to see me as stupid or careless. I didn’t want to be questioned about my finances. I didn’t want to be called irresponsible. I didn’t want to face the natural consequences of my truths. I didn’t want to get in trouble.

I sit here trembling and feeling the actual impact of my loss of integrity. It has shaken me to my very bones. I feel sad that I have lied to people whom I love dearly. Mostly, though, I feel sad that I let myself down. It feels as though a big chunk of me has been lost by my decision to go unconscious and lie. I feel afraid that that missing chunk may never be retrieved.

And while some may call this a small thing or brush it off with a shrug and a flippant ‘everybody does it’, I do not. I have prided myself on being honest my whole life. I do not steal. I do not cheat. I do not lie.

But, I do.

After crying a lot of tears and taking an advance at work to resolve the money crisis in the bottom of the ninth, I realize how grateful I am. This experience has given me the opportunity to peek inside myself and uncover one of the greatest barriers to my success: my unwillingness to act from a place of integrity at all times. I have had the chance to really understand and love myself for being human. I have also had a very profound lesson that it is my perfections and my flaws that make me who I am.

The great thing about life is that, once you are aware, you can change your path. It’s called recommitment. I recommit to choosing into integrity and being consciously willing to act from that place.

And now I am really scared.

©Angie K. Millgate 5/21/07

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