Posted by: GPK | 29.October.2009

From setback to survival…

I have two friends, both survivors, dealing with incredible financial hardship right now.  Literally on the verge of complete collapse financially.  Actually, they are both already there.  One has only his modest Social Security each month (less than a thousand dollars), the other has reached the point where selling the furniture in her house enables her to scrape together her rent and groceries.  Despite people reaching out to help and encourage them, understandably, they’re both scared.

It’s a scary thing to feel so completely out of control in life.  Have you ever felt that way?  I remember when I was released from the hospital after 26 days of treatment just four and half years ago.  I was isolated at home for another two months.  Gradually I was able to go outside and gradually I regained my strength.  I was lucky to have savings to be able to spend down to save my house and pay for groceries.  It’s taken nearly five years but gradually through a lot of hard word and thanks to the generous encouragement of my family and friends, I’ve worked my way back to relative stability.

At the time, however, I remember taking the approach that I would pay what I could pay when I could pay it.  That they could come and shut of my cable (which they did), they could come to shut off the power (which they did), they could come to take my house away (which they almost did) but as long as I was alive I had a chance.  As long as I was thinking, I had a shot at figuring it all out.  As long as I could come up with ideas, write, speak, share, I had an opportunity to rebuild my life.  I knew in my bones that no matter what, that which did not kill me made me better, stronger and smarter!  I was able to consistently find great peace in this, amidst what could have been paralyzing fear.

How do I convey to these folks that they have that chance too?  How do I convey to them that as long as they have a breath in their body, they have a shot at recovering from any setback?  How do I help them find peace amidst such a profound unknown?

And then there’s the idea “What if I hadn’t been so fortunate?”  Where might I be today?  Where would any of us be?  I’m writing this today to encourage all of us – to remind all of us – to take a moment today to be mindful of the abundance in our lives.  Even if it’s all just a thought away, we have amazing stores of abundance in our lives.  Friends, families, strangers willing to share and of course the bottomless well of resources that rest dormant deep within our minds.

Have you been at a place in your life when you thought all was nearly lost?  And yet here you are, sitting at a computer that you probably own.  In a room which is probably paid for (at least for the time being).  Having eaten a meal which was probably prepared with care and served even with love.  Possibly around people who care greatly for you.  Maybe preparing to do good work for which you receive a fair wage.  Possibly with some health issues to deal with but also probably with access to quality medical care.  And at the top of the pyramid, the possibility to connect with a powerful energy capable of anything!  In any event, most likely there’s a bit to be grateful for.

If you’ve experienced a big setback in your life, please share how you rebuilt or are rebuilding afterwards.  I know a few survivors who could use the encouragement!

Engage, think, share!

Peace and Gratitude,




  1. This one I can easily speak to…as a newly single mom, my two children and I slept on the floor of a small apartment (no beds), ate off of cardboard boxes (no table and chairs), watched “green” people on TV (TV someone didn’t want), sat on a broken couch that someone had tucked away in their basement. I told my children it was like camping, when in truth, there were days that I did not have enough money to buy groceries to feed all of us. I always made sure my children had enough to eat, but I went without. Sometimes, I would eat the leftover trays at work (untouched, of course). I never once thought that I had made the wrong decision to leave, and absolutely believed that my love for my children would overcome any temporary unpleasant living situation. I also did not believe that I would be stuck in that place forever. Eventually, things did get better…much better. My “children” are now adults and their memories of that time are so different from what I expected. They vaguely remember sleeping on the floor and the “green” TV, but all else is forgotten. They do remember fun times and lots of love and still tell me I’m the best mom.

  2. Good for you Jan for embracing that attitude. I know the trials of single parenthood first-hand as well. It always amazes me how fondly my kids remember some of the most trying times! We are blessed with the ability to choose how we remember things and how we respond to things. I would argue that this amazing choice is our greatest ability! Thanks for engaging and sharing, Jan!

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