Today I turned 68 years old, and I have more than I ever imagined to celebrate!
Six years ago at this time I was still reeling from having discovered that the financial person I had trusted and utilized for my investments had stolen the money and lived on it, instead of investing it, and so had to face that I had been taken in by my own little Bernie Madoff.
I was devastated, had no more savings, just my current assets. After making this discovery in June of ’09, I pulled myself together by July, gathered my wits and my paperwork and called the FBI. They wanted copies of everything I had (3 inch stack of papers, emails, etc.) and I met with them at the big FBI building right off I-35 and Northwest Highway.
It was scary. I was full of shame that I had been fooled and gotten myself into this situation. I couldn’t let the shame take over, because I knew I had to take action. The FBI agents warned me not to tell anyone publicly what I was doing with them because they wanted to catch this person by surprise.
I wrote blogs about going through a difficult time, but I couldn’t write about the actual crisis I was dealing with. I learned how to say things without giving away the whole story, because I really needed that outlet to express my feelings.
As the investigation went on, the FBI told me that this person had committed so many crimes, and hurt so many people, I had nothing to be ashamed of. She was an accomplished sociopath that had fooled everyone. They did catch her, and she has been in jail since 2011. The whole story flooded back to me last week when I got a note from the Department of Justice saying she would be out of jail in 2016 and on probation for 2 years after that. I felt nauseated, but it passed, and now I’m just glad I am well out of that difficulty.
In June, July and August of 2009 I had to call my best friend Lida in Houston so she could help me get out of bed each morning. She would insist that I recite my Life Vision Statement each morning–which seemed like empty words–until I started believing in myself again. By that fall, I slowly started coming back alive.
I had to tell my friends what was going on because I was walking around like a ghost, not remembering to call them, take time with them etc. One of my best friends was very upset because she was going through a devastating time with her grandchildren and she didn’t understand why I hadn’t been with her. When I told her my story, we cried together, and I vowed to not let my love for my friends be overshadowed by my shame and fear that I couldn’t pull myself out of this.
My friends were amazing. They helped me keep going. My family was supportive and gave me the love and encouragement I needed to stand up and move forward. I felt more love from my mother than I ever had.
All of the myths I had been living with fell apart. I realized I had seen myself as successful more because of the money I had than for who I am in the world. I had to revisit all the exercises about wealth and abundance that I had given my clients over the years and find my new source of wealth and abundance–my friends and family, my love and wisdom, my ability to teach and do what I love, all of which I came to see are my true wealth and the value I have for myself which is reflected by what I have expressed around me.
Fast forward to six years later: I have a new life that I wouldn’t exchange for anything. I have broken patterns that I may have been carrying around for centuries. I understand myself better, see what I really want in life and am living it to the fullest.
If I never work another day, I have enough money to live on. I have saved what I need, I have been careful with what I spend, and I take care of myself mentally, physically and most important, spiritually. I am so grateful for all of it–the good and the bad that got me where I am today.
Today I’m the mom for a precious 12–almost 13–year old girl. She has become so important to me that I can’t imagine my life without her. I am living in a house I love, fixing it up so it feels exactly right for us. My darling friend Jennifer has rented part of our house and become just as much part of our crazy family as Tori and I are. The three of us (ages 68, 35 and 12) make up an unusual but very functional family unit. Throw in my almost 91 year old mother who lives in a retirement community nearby and we have 4 generations of love, wisdom and learning.
“Losing” the money helped me find more of me. Ending my last relationship gained me an adopted granddaughter that brings light and joy, challenge and growth on a daily basis. Facing up to my own “stuff” gives me a wealth of knowledge to pass on to my clients and friends.
What a great place to be! And thanks to all of you out there who have been a part of it.