Excerpt from Exhilarated Life: Discovering Inner Happiness
Does God Have a Sense of Humor?
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You bet. We call it irony!
Remember the bad dream I mentioned in my last story? Well the next
day, I got to live it! Isn’t that ironic?
I figured the car fire was, in a way, a good thing. I’d call the insurance
company; they would write off the car as being too old to warrant repair
and I’d get something more reliable. As it happened, the deductible
was way more than the repair and the repair was way more than I could
afford right now. So just when I thought I was catching a break, I was
actually getting another slap. What was that about? Well, one thing—
it wasn’t about the smack—it was about the punch to the solar plexus
that was about to knock the wind out of me!
When I called my insurance broker of nearly thirty years, I was feeling
the full force of my financial bind. Not being able to sell my house over
the past two years has been a test of trust that the universe would unfold
and somehow I wouldn’t get pinched in the creases. The best advisors,
well-meaning friends and I, myself, agreed that I gotta go. But, I’m
sure I’m not sharing anything of great incidence when I say that this
economic meltdown has dominoes falling the size of Stonehenge! The
fallout has affected us all.
My broker said in his Eeyore drawl, “You can lead a horse to water, but
you can’t make them drink.”
“Huh?” I responded.
“Marilyn, I told you years ago about XYZ who would give you a huge
line of credit based on your equity, and you didn’t do anything about it.”
“Well, tell me again—I’m listening now!” I certainly didn’t recall our
previous conversation, but it may have occurred just when my husband
died and I was not making major banking decisions at that time…or
actually thinking at all.
“I’ll have the agent call you and we’ll have this in place in no time.”
Wow! The clouds parted, the sun shone, and my phone rang. It was
the other agent. He reminded me we had spoken some time ago and I
didn’t get back to him. Mmm…same “excuse.”
“Let me take down a little information and we’ll have this done today!”
He took all the info and then, as he was finishing up said, “Of course
you have to have a good credit rating…”
“Actually,” I said, “You’re going to have to pull a few rabbits from the
hat on that one. I have a lousy credit rating because I have been in
survival priority mode and late on repayments many times.”
How could I explain that sometimes weeks passed when I simply didn’t
pick up mail, let alone open it? There is no entry on the form that
says when the polestar of your whole life is extinguished your universe
shifts, and things take more than a little time to regain a cogent orbit.
Anyway, he was as efficient in delivering the bad news as he was in
promising the good. The irony? If all my affairs were in order and I
didn’t actually need the help, I would have gotten the green light!
My “score” was off by a few points and he said,
“I wish you’d called me six months ago.”
“Yeah, well, I wish my husband didn’t die. But there you are. Stuff
happens.” I couldn’t resist reinforcing the obvious.
That was a quick roller-coaster ride between hope and despair.
Despair? Why despair? My worst-case scenario is better than a lot
of people’s best-case dreams. And what does this have to do with
happiness, fear, irony and a bad dream? Just this:
The path of enlightenment or spiritual mastery is the path of freedom—
to the simple values of love, peace, and happiness. Love is the energy
of all of creation. It is all there really is. Peace is the state of calm no
matter what circumstances you experience. And happiness is the tiny
pulse of joy that is sometimes glimpsed for short moments, but mostly
suffocated in all the stuff we think is more important.
I asked for this mastery and so I am learning it. Some years ago, just
before George died, I was studying the yoga sutras (sacred texts) and
my beloved teacher told us,
“Remember, when you begin this study,your life will offer the experiences to
illustrate these lessons.”
My growing up was full of many sudden tragic losses and separations.
My grandfather, my adored aunt, and dear big brother all committed
suicide. My mother was hospitalized when I was three and she didn’t
come home until I was nine—the same year my aunt died. So when
George got sick, I was in abject terror.
I think I tried to bargain with God to exchange a million little fears
for the one big one. How could I possibly lose the man who once
said to me in a time of self-doubt:
“I know you better than you know yourself and I will love you until you
love yourself”. How could this mountain of protection crumble? But he
did and my mastery over fear and the first steps of enlightenment (lightening up)
began. So in the grander scheme of things—how does a credit rating really rate?
My agent seemed to sense my dismay as an invitation to give his opinion
of all I should have done that I didn’t do. He finished off by saying,
“You’ll just have to sell the house and get a condo, pay your bills on
time and learn to live a different lifestyle!”
I wondered what lifestyle he was referring to. It sounded like the one where
I drink champagne in my spare time when I’m not buying shoes. It certainly
wasn’t the one that I’m familiar with. However, the truth notwithstanding, I could
feel all the joy in my many accomplishments draining from my soul
like blood from a wound. The irony that everyone seems to miss is
that it was the banks’ abuse of credit that caused this collapse in the
first place. And here nearly two years later we’re still feeling the seismic
The dramas we live and play out are never really what they appear to be
about. Instead they are about unveiling our weaknesses and polishing
our strengths. The US Army says, “Be all you can be,” and to get there
they put a cadet through rigorous training to expose any negatives that
might come out at the wrong moment; endangering the soldier and all
who depend on him.
So yesterday I spent the day doing the things that I could do to solve
my immediate problem. To do that I had to ask for help—which is to
admit that I can’t do this by myself. It is a lesson in humility. There
is a solution and it may be different from what I expect. A lesson in
This morning I woke up thinking about this writing and, before I knew
it, my throat began to close up. My heart was pounding and I was
racing toward a full-blown panic attack! What was this about? I did
three things before I was calm enough to see what these past days were
for. First, I got hold of the runaway mustang of my mind racing to join
the stampede of thoughts of doom.
Second, I took some Dr. Bach’s Rescue Remedy (where would a new
mother or bride on her wedding day be without it?) and third, I got down
on my yoga mat and began my series of sun salutations. I took a moment
longer and did some reflexology on my hands and feet to release the stress
in my neck. And then I began to bring some objectivity to this drama. Again,
it’s never about what it seems to be about. It’s inevitably about our own
mastery,and to get caught in the drama is to miss the whole opportunity.
Yesterday I found myself recounting the family suicides to a friend
who didn’t know. I wondered why I did that. Then I realized it was this
month that my brother died. Our souls recall anniversaries so that we
can heal residual emotions. Clearly this was all sparked by the fear of
losing my home. My fear is hooked into all the latent losses and grief
that I somehow still hold, and it is interfering with my happiness. My
fear really had nothing to do with the actual experience with these two
agents. The fear was in me and the experience drew it out into light. I
have so much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to. But I
had slipped into an unconscious choice to believe in fear.
In my dream I was willing to be shot in the heart rather than live
with fear. It was a portent for another leap toward the love, peace and
happiness I dearly desire in a simple and free life. The reason I created
LightBeam in the first place was to offer people the means to solace and
wellness in natural therapies and practices. I share my own experience
in such detail (“open my kimono” as George would say) to offer
others some light. I’ve witnessed the suffering and needless tragedy of
hopelessness. Sadly we live in a world that thrives on hopelessness. To
rise in spite of the naysayers and find happiness is an act of will and
To get to that learning, however, I needed a catalyst. My insurance
broker played that part. The last words he said to me were,
“You know what’s going to happen? You’re going to go into what they
call financial depression—and then you’re going to get sick!” Sweet guy.
He hung up, saying, “Keep in touch.”
At least he had the restraint not to say, “Have a nice day.”
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