Getting Ahead

In the past year, life has been a little less predictable than I prefer.  I can sense my controller screaming under the surface of my daily life.  She is very unhappy about the direction I have taken my life.

From her perspective, she considers it to be a decline in circumstances.  I have gone from a well-paying corporate job with a 401K and quality health insurance to self-employment, no savings and intermittent health insurance.  I am living day by day, week by week, month by month.  And my controller hates it.

She lectures me every day about where the income will be to cover the next bills or the next emergency.  She reminds me of how mean the universe has always been to me.  She tells me I am crazy to trust my intuition when I have no proof it will work.  She considers my higher self to be another untrustworthy partner.  She believes I am being tricked and manipulated once again.  She is furious with my naiveté and inability to ensure safety at all costs.

Several years ago, when this conversation first started, I had no proof this plan would work.  The conversation was much different then.  All I could say was, “Let’s try it.  We can always choose to stop before it is too late.”  My controller thought that was stupid, but was willing to let me “waste away” my savings in the pursuit of stupidity.  But as the money diminished with very little proof of sustainability, she became more and more furious.  She considered it irresponsible and childish to “chase dreams” like this.  I was an adult and I needed to act like one.  I needed to stop playing with life in this way and get down to business.  I had responsibilities and I needed to attend to those.  For God’s sake, what would happen to my children if we were homeless?

I heard her loud and clear, but I kept going.  There were many sleepless nights listening to her tell me the world was ending.  And I’ll be honest, many times, I thought it was me.  It sounded like me.  The controller is pretty smart and logical in the scheme of things.  Everything she had to say sounded just like what society reinforces.  And that made it harder not to take the rants seriously.

But I kept going.  Why?  When I was grounded, I knew my path was right. I knew it with all my heart and soul, even when my controller was not on board.  And as the savings ran out, there was money there to pay the bills.  Sometimes it seemed miraculous.  Sometimes it seemed the result of my hard work.  In reality, it was probably both.  And I kept showing the controller how we were being supported.  I kept recognizing the miracles and the opportunities as they came.  But I could hear her response.

“You’ve been lucky so far, but it won’t last forever.”

“Don’t get your hopes up because of a few breaks.”

“You will never have the stamina to keep this up.”

And recently, I started hearing a new rebuttal.  “You may be getting by, but you aren’t getting ahead.”  That is true to some extent.  I haven’t replenished savings or been able to plan for emergencies.  I am still just making it work, sometimes by the skin of my teeth.  But I can’t help but wonder.  Are we supposed to get ahead?  Are we supposed to be banking money because one day bad things will happen?  Or is that a myth fueled by fear-based thinking?  Is it possible we are here to allow a flow of income and expenses where we have what we need when we need it?  It certainly isn’t how society works, is it?  The goal is about getting ahead, saving for the future or having enough to retire early on a small island in the Caribbean.

That seems to be an approach developed by the controllers of the world.  Hoard the money.  Stop the flow.  Don’t have faith.  You won’t be supported.  Bad things are just around the corner.  While this may sound logical in my head, it doesn’t sound right to my intuition.  It sounds like fear.  It sounds like planning for the worst.  There is no faith in that.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting we should never plan or save.  I think there is a certain amount of planning and saving that is necessary.  But in our society, maybe we have taken it too far.  It has become an obsession to get ahead and have more than others.  It is driven by a fear-based thought model that will provide superficial comfort, but never allow our faith to develop.  If our controller is always fully in charge, we will never see the miracles, the support beyond the willful drive.

I don’t know what the balance is.  Balance isn’t always easy for me.  My past trauma can make it hard to find.  But the controller’s approach is exhausting.  And living life with a faith that I will be supported seems like a better way to live.  If nothing else, it feels less overwhelming.  And honestly, I have put myself in a position where I will have to live with faith.  And maybe that is exactly where I need to be.

Written By Elisabeth Corey, MSW

Getting Ahead was originally published @ Beating Trauma and has been syndicated with permission.

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