More than a Coat

I have struggled with overspending for as long as I can remember.  I am now committed to planning a budget and sticking to it because it’s necessary to live the life I want to live.  I am learning to enjoy my life outside of things.  In the past, I have used money in exchange for love and that isn’t a fair trade.  I believe life supports me; all I have to do is show up, be present and do the next right thing.  Yesterday was a powerful reinforcement of those beliefs.

I had a coupon from Younkers for $60 off an outwear item that costs $100 or more and I needed a coat.  I had up to $55 budgeted for it.  My partner found me the PERFECT one but when it came time to check out, it rang up at $79.99 (40% off). The clerk couldn’t change the original price back to $110 so I could get a better deal with my coupon.

I froze.  Feeling a bit overwhelmed, I asked the clerk to ring up everything except the coat.  I had money for a $55 coat.  I did not have money for an $80 coat.

As I walked through the store to see if someone else could get the coat price down to one I could afford that day, more and more things were jumping out at me and my mind raced with dialog.

“Oh, what a cute tumbler, I could use it!”

“You already have all the tumblers you need, another one would take up room in the cupboard and not bring you any more joy”

“Oh yes, that’s right”

“Slippers!!!  I can use slippers!”

“You have slippers that fit and buying more will not bring you more joy.”

“Right”

“Oh, pants!!!! My son could use more work pants.  Good mothers buy their sons plenty of pants.”

“Dear one, your son is loved and cared for.  He has pants to wear to work.  They wash, they fit, and if something happened, there are 24 hour stores that sell them.  He will not go without pants.”

“My goodness, I need to get out of this place”

I refused to let myself go down the path of bargaining with myself for an extra $25.  I attempted that game many times before and always came up short.  As I shared my angst with my partner, he likened the experience to an alcoholic visiting her favorite bar.  In a former life, I would easily spend $400-$500 in a single visit buying all the items I didn’t buy this trip.  The result was a house overflowing with stuff, an empty bank account and unending stress.  I reminded myself I am changing and it’s safe to change…

We eventually arrived at another counter with an experienced looking woman who I hoped could help me.  I approached without expectation that I would get the coat or not get the coat but I REALLY WANTED the coat.  When I explained the situation, she regretfully informed me that she couldn’t adjust the original price either.  My heart sank.  It was perhaps the most perfect coat I have ever found but I was $25 short.  In my disappointed state, I asked the woman behind me if she wanted to go while I thought about my situation.

Although she could barely speak English, the woman next in line handed me a printed out coupon stamped with yesterday’s date.  It was for $25 off any item $50 or more.  I read the offer as words but the meaning didn’t sink in.  I looked up at the woman who handed it to me as if to ask “what is this for?”.  Her eyes said it was for me.  I looked back down and suddenly realized this coupon would make the coat affordable!  I looked back up on the edge of tears and said “Is this for me?” accompanied with a gesture.  She nodded.  The waterworks came as I said “thank you so much” over and over again.

Tears are flowing as I write this now… I am grateful for the kind hearted woman who was born speaking another language but connected with me anyway.  She was a quiet person; I can be loud.  Her face didn’t express her emotions outwardly like mine does but she had wise, knowing eyes.  When I made eye contact, I saw a hard working woman who knows the pain of heartbreak and has made many sacrifices in her life.  I felt like she understood me completely in that moment despite our differences.  After I paid, I turned around again and asked if I could give her a hug.  She agreed and even more tears fell down my face.

I was overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and grief for all the times I felt misunderstood and unloved.  On top of the gratitude for the coat, I was grateful for the experience and the sensations of my feelings I was experiencing in real time.  She reinforced my faith that everything works out perfectly!

Thank you, dear, sweet woman who made it possible to buy my coat.  I will think of you whenever I wear it.  Remembering your kind act helps me be aware of opportunities to give what I have at the right time for someone else.

 

From my heart to yours,

 

Thanks for reading

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The Books You Read and The People You Meet

Last night, while reconnecting with a friend from middle school, I was reminded of something I heard Dave Ramsey quote from Charlie Jones, “You’re the same today as you will be in 5 years except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read.”

Although very different in some ways, my childhood friend and I share commonality beyond words.  Both of us have gone through significant transformation in the last 5 years that has landed us on a very similar path.  There is something extremely special about conversing with someone who knows who you used to be and still cares about you now.

Most of our conversation revolved around identifying limiting beliefs and how to turn them around into empowering concepts.  Here are some I’d like to share:

1) If you tell yourself “I can’t lose weight”, “I’ll never be thin”, “It’s too hard to change”, all of that will come true.  If you resolve to change with an executable plan no matter what obstacles come your way, you will be successful.

2) When changing, there’s a lonely time period where more people are leaving your life than coming in.  However, that will soon turn around as you open your heart to being loved and embrace your new stage of life.

3) Sometimes, when you are just sure something is going to suck but have nothing tangible to base that assumption on, stick around.  Something wonderful is about to happen.  Part of your ego is about to die and is putting up a fuss.

4) Perfection is an illusion.  Nothing is all good or all bad.  Everything is a little bit of both and nothing lasts forever.

5) Sometimes “more” is not worth its price.

These are things I need to remember but are easy to forget.

Sometimes limiting beliefs sneak in without me realizing them.  I start to think that things can’t be any better than they are now.  “You don’t know how good you have it”, is something I used to hear from my mother often.  From her vantage point, I can see exactly what she meant but that doesn’t mean her past, or mine, should keep me from experiencing the very best of today.

Other times, I get a bit pompous about how “well” I’ve done or start to focus on how “necessary” I am in a certain role.  Usually, that’s just before I go into another down turn.  Do I have value? Yes.  Will the world stop turning based on anything I do? No.

Everybody has baggage.  It’s easier to see what someone else “should” do differently than identify what needs to changed within.  But it’s only by changing within that anyone can truly help anyone else.  By being authentic, overcoming obstacles, building resolve… we can change the world.  One person at a time… starting with ourselves.

 

From my heart to yours,

Thanks for reading