21 things that got me through the biggest financial shock of my life

As I followed my boss through the hallway I wondered what could she possibly have to talk to me in such a rush after I had been away for five weeks in Thailand for yoga teacher training.

The sight of Celene, the Human Resources manager, clarified it all. After 10 years I was being fired.

From then on it was like a movie, I absorved the faces of concern, the fake extra-detailed reassurance of my boss saying that it had nothing to do with my performance, the cheap talk about how this was difficult, the fear in their faces, I mean: Would I sue like everyone else does in NYC?

Would I cry? Go postal? I had, after all, mortgage payments north of 2000 dollars per month in the worst housing market of the past 30 years, a car, a Yoga monthly membership, credit card debt, no family in the United States, not a penny in my pocket.

Of all the shocking situations I have lived through this one felt the most real because it had to do with the very practical technicalities of what I was going to eat the following week. With where  I was going to sleep if my house was foreclosed, the YMCA? friend's couch? a shelter? Time Square?

I remember walking back into my cubicle knowing that I could go home now, that it was all over, something I had secretly desired for years.

MS Outlook showed 2127 unread messages.  A form on my desk had a post it in it asking me to re-do some entry in the helpdesk database, and another asked for an explanation of a cell phone charge while in Hong Kong. I felt a burst of anger and laughed out loud. In my mind I gave them all the finger, I was now beyond all those mundane things I did not care for. I was free, powerful even.

Then of course I crashed.

Walking down Six Avenue later that morning I remember looking at people and seeing how the world kept going even in spite of my desperation, how it all seemed to go on as usual, how nobody noticed.

At some point around 46th Street I stopped dead on my tracks and in the midst of the bustle that is New York City I looked up at the sky and clearly stated out loud:
"Dear God, this is a bit much for me.  I will keep on putting one foot in front of the other but You take care of the big details cause this is frigging out of my range"
And then I did put one foot in front of the other, one breath following the previous breath, one moment following the other. I continued living.

Looking back I can say that many things contributed to get me through the storm and bring me back to a place of balance, happiness, stability and even reinvention.   These are 21 of them:
  1. Realized that I wanted to be happy rather than right
  2. Gave away 90% of my possessions -kind of had no choice, I was selling the house. Ended up being the best decision of my life.
  3. Allowed myself the opportunity to cry and feel like a failure. Then washed my face and kept going.
  4. Remained friends with the Human Resources person, I like her.
  5. Attended 12 step meetings, OA, DA, ALANON, SLAA. I admitted that I was powerless and I came to believe that a power "Greater than myself" could restore me to sanity. 
  6. Volunteered for the meetings above and NYCares, surprisingly that was one of the most rewarding and healing things I did. Helping others ended up helping me. Funny, I know.
  7. Woke up every morning to coffee, shower, and getting dressed.  I meant business regardless of what the so-called "reality" suggested. 
  8. Made a collage of the things I wanted to attract into my life, kept it cool, but did it anyway (see #1 above)
  9. Started dating again and kept actively and purposely socializing.
  10. Learned to dance tango and salsa. That part was so much fun. Affordable too.
  11. Read Wayne Dyer, Chopra and Marianne Williamson, I was in search for miracles. Learned that the biggest miracle of all is that of switching our own perceptions.
  12. Chanted the Gayatri mantra like I meant it. Guess how many benefits this mantra brings?
  13. Cooked and ate at home all the time. Learned a few dishes by the way, I can make a mean curry.
  14. Kept up the yoga practice, every day.
  15. Did not just look for jobs but after interviews I wrote lists to the potential employees with ideas of how they could improve their working situations (from the perspective of an IT Training Manager, which is what I was)
  16. Talked to everyone under the sun, financial advisors, bankers, psychologists, wise women of my tribe, friends, friends of friends.
  17. Did not waste energy on hating or blaming. Could not afford to.
  18. Walked up every morning listing all the things I was grateful for (yoga, friends, love, my family in Argentina)
  19. Meditated
  20. Slept and ate as healthy as I could on my budget
  21. Eventually, 6 months later, the house was sold without having to foreclose or short sell, taking a bit of a loss which was financed by borrowing from the 401K. 
I am enternally grateful for the lessons learned, and although I rather never have to go through it again, at least I know that I survived, it is possible, and it can be done.

The day after I was fired, on my next yoga class, when I told John Cambpell (my yoga teacher) what had happened he said to me: "This is your work now".  He meant yoga. I smiled.

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40 comments:

  1. for me, number 7 is what i would consider one of the greatest accomplishments. but all of them are very inspiring. as a former teacher of mine would say 'strong work'.

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  2. Dear Claudia
    This explains your talent for putting such a high quality blog- your IT background. Bendito nena, I've been in this situation so often- it's part and parcel of my industry- I know it's not a walk in the park, so I understand what you went through. Things are more stable in my current situation. I like number 18. I hear people are doing that with luxury items right now- you can see what's practically being given away in eBay these days.
    hugs
    Arturo

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  3. @Tova, thank you, yes number 7 is a good one and it may sound simple, but it takes "strong work" like your teacher says. Good to hear from you, and let me take this opportunity to thank you for bringing David in to answer the nutation question a few days ago, I am grateful to you :-)

    @Arturo, so you know ha?, yeah!, tough business... I feel that giving away so much really made me feel like a new me, much lighter. It was also sweet to see all those boxes outside the old house going to the Vietnam Vets, to people that hopefully could really use all that accumulated stuff, not that I had much, but I had some. I felt so good afterwards!

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  4. your yoga teacher's statement really spoke to me. I'm not sure why.
    I am so glad for you though you made it through. I have no idea what i would have done in your place.

    Much Light Claudia :)
    (ps, I can completely picture the stopping in NYC, especially after my first trip ever there in Sept!)

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  5. Love the last comment about yoga being your work now!! I am on a similar path as you. Left the corporate world and am pursuing a much happier life with fewer possessions,eating at home (much prefer it now to expensive, unsatisfying and unhealthy meals out), and to my delight lots of yoga and meditation. Am almost finished with YTT and hoping to make yoga my work as much as possible. Your story is very inspiring and I wish you a peaceful and prosperous New Year!

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  6. Loved this post, and I have to say that in hindsight, it was the moment your life turned around for good. Sometimes blessings do come in disguise (if you have the strength and wisdom to see it, and you did). Love u. nat.

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  7. Claudia

    Glad that u converted the crisis in your life in to an opportunity for self growth .Keep it up .

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  8. @Eco Yogini, thank you, maybe it spoke to you because yoga is your work too :-) I would say so. So you have been to the big Apple? impressive ha? impersonal yet so close, next time you are around let me know, would love to have chai with you

    @Maria, thank you, congrats on getting closer to the end of the YTT, and I very much relate to you, I do indeed enjoy cooking at home and having less and less... it feels so light, happy 2011 to you too

    Nat, si, very true, gracias :-) Love you too

    @Krishna, yeah, guess you can say I converted the crisis, did not feel like an opportunity although it clearly was, I will keep it up :-)

    @Lilasvb, thank you, and so are you! my dancer yogi friend!

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  9. 14. ahhhh so that's where the lists come from.

    Think I like JC, what a cool thing to say, pithy.

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  10. Hi Grimmly, yes I love my lists, that is the kind of girl I am what can I say! and yes JC is really magic, very special :-)

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  11. what a truly inspiring post! this one is getting bookmarked :) I've learned over the past year that one of the best ways to cope with problems is to focus my energy on others. #16 is my favorite - wasting energy on hatred and negativity is so tempting sometimes, but always in vain. Kudos to you for recognizing that and being so strong.

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  12. @Charmcityspence, thank you, I agree, although it is hard, directing the energy towards the light is much more effective than using it on hating... I am happy to come to your blog too, will blogroll and follow it :-)

    @FFT - that one gets to be added to the unusual yoga quotes. I love it!

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  13. Very beautiful post, Claudia. Thanks for sharing. I think #7 is very powerful, and takes a lot of work. I understand and appreciate it intellectually, but I find myself driven more often than not by the desire to be proven right (you can probably tell this from some of my postings). Much work in this department for me.

    As somebody (1)who has no family in this country, (2) is still looking for a tenure-track (i.e. permanent) position in academia (translation: I am the academic equivalent of a temporary worker), I think I can relate to at least some of what you went through. But I also believe that nothing is all bad or all good. You gained so much from going through what you went through.

    Again, thanks for sharing!

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  14. Nobel, you make me laugh, can I tell by reading you? ha ha ha. Number 7, perhaps I should clarify, is a work in progress for me too... I relate to what you are saying, yeah, intellectually is all good, but when the gut reactions kick in, another story! I see we have quite a bit in common... and yes I did learned a lot from this one, although I do not wish it on others... this was a tough lesson, a very scary one!

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  15. you are amazing...a big warm hug

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  16. Thank you Maria, big hug to you too

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  17. Lovely, Honest, Powerful! #16 is very wise! Why reject your karma? Stand up, face it and purify:)
    big hugs,
    Janaki

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  18. Thank you Janaki, that is a good way to put it! hope the Tara meditation went well :-)

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  19. Claudia,
    What a beautiful list. All 21 are wise actions in anytime of life - and can be truly savored for their divine purpose and inspiration when the trappings of the (temporary) world dissolve. Thank you for sharing your process and result. (ps #3 helps with 1,2 and 4 through 21).

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  20. Thanks Kyczy, nice to meet you.

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  21. One of your husband's followers mentioned this post today. I'm glad he did. Thank you for this.

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  22. Thanks for writing Brooke, glad you liked it :)

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  23. Claudia -- Your blog is a delight to read. I am glad to have found it. I found your Mysore guide to be quite interesting. I call Bangalore my home. Made a trip to Mysore with my family couple of years ago, after living in this country for nearly 21 years!

    I am at the crossroads trying to find the right course to realign and re-calibrate my work and personal life to bring in more balance and health.

    I am leaning towards Yoga for developing that balance.

    Thanks for your blog. And for James' as well!

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  24. Suresh, thanks for writing and for the compliment on the blog. Nice that you live in Bangalore! an for 21 years, wow, long time!

    I think you are not alone in the recalibrating of work and personal life, a big shift is happening which is also pretty much reflected in James writing. Thanks for letting me know you read us both :-)

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  25. I had no idea you've known John so long!

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  26. I'm going through a very similar situation in my life currently (in terms of nobody in US, no permanent employment, leaving 90% of everything I had etc.) and share a huge part of your leanings (including the power of gayatri mantra, something that I have been using for a while). What I don't understand is submitting to a higher power? It seems counterintuitive and counterproductive to me?

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  27. yes, long term teacher... :-)  I am sad he is leaving!  oh well...

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  28. Ppagarwa I guess the thing with "higher power" is that it is a term like "god" somethng that a lot of us associate a lot of things with... when I think Higher Power these days I think 'the ways things are", the way reality is, the way life is taking me through different stages which are all for my spiritual development.... so I suppose it depends on how you interpret it...  good luck with what you are going throughv :-)

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  29. My name is cherly from Florida I have to give this miraculous
    testimony, which is so unbelievable until now. I had a problem with my Ex
    husband two years ago, which lead to our break up. when he broke up with
    me, I was not my self again, i felt so empty inside me, my love and
    financial situation became worst, until a close friend of mine Lucy told me
    about a spell caster who helped her in the same problem too his name is
    prophetnwut I email prophetnwut the spell caster and i told him my problem
    and i did what he asked of me, to cut the long story short. Before i knew
    what was happening my husband gave me a call and told me that he was coming
    back to me in just two days and was so happy to have him back to me. We
    have two kids together and we are happy with ourselves. Thanks to
    prophetnwut for saving my relationship and for also saving others own too.
    continue your good work, If you are interested to contact him and testify
    this blessings like me, the great spell caster email address is
    :prophetnwut@gmail.com you are the best among
    all the spell caster.

    ReplyDelete
  30. testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 5 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 3years. I really loved him, but his mother was against us and he had no good paying job. So when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him. At first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. And in 7 days when i returned to Canada, my boyfriend (now husband) called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married. I didn't believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do. Well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid, and my husband also got the new job and our lives became much better. His email is atilahealinghome@yahoo.com.

    ReplyDelete
  31. my names are Sandra Collins i am here to testify the good deeds that DR. OBHIOGUN did for me. i was having a serious fever. though i did treatment, the fever never went off, i was asked to go for cancer check-up, because fever is one of the signs of cancer. quickly i went for check-up.i was told that i have a blood cancer. i was filled with sorrow, i felt that i was am going to die soon, i was told of a great spell caster, DR. OBHIOGUN who can cure any disease, i collected his email obhiogunspelltemple@live.com, i emailed him quickly, and he told me that i should not bother myself, that all my problems are over, he asked me to buy some items which i did faithfully, then he told me that after casting the spell i should go for screening which i did afterwards, i was screened there was nothing in me again i was cleansed totally, i am free, am having a peaceful life, if you are passing through hardship, or you have any disease you can email him on obhiogunspelltemple@live.com he is waiting to help many people that comes to him.

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  32. I am Precious Levitte, I promise to share this testimony all over the
    world once my boyfriend return back to me, and today with all due
    respect i want to thank Olorun for bringing joy and happiness to my
    relationship and my family. I want to inform you all that there is a
    spell caster that is real and genuine. I never believed in any of these
    things until i loosed my boyfriend, I required help until i found
    (Olorunoduduwaspiritualtemple@gmail.com ) a grate spell caster, And he
    cast a love spell for me, and he assured me that I will get my boyfriend
    back in two days after the spell has been cast. two days later, my
    phone rang, and so shockingly, it was my boyfriend who has not called me
    for past 3 years now, and made an apology for the heart break, and told
    me that he is ready to be my back bone till the rest of his life with
    me. Olorun released him up to know how much i loved and wanted him. And
    opened his eyes to picture how much we have share together. As I’m
    writing this testimony right now I’m the most happiest girl on earth and
    me and my fiance is living a happy life and our love is now stronger
    than how it were even before our break up. So that’s why I promised to
    share my testimony all over the universe.All thanks goes to Olorun for
    the excessive work that he has done for me. Below is the email address
    in situation you are undergoing a heart break, and I assure you that as
    he has done mine for me, he will definitely help you too. email him on;
    Olorunoduduwaspiritualtemple@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  33. I Am Mrs Tina, i live in Texas (USA).
    [READ MY STORY. ON HOW I GOT MY AIDS CURED].
    Truthfully, i was tested HIV + positive last 3years. I keep on managing the drugs i usually purchase from the health care agency to keep me healthy and strengthen, i tried all i can too make this disease leave me alone, but unfortunately, it keep on eating up my life, this is what i caused myself, for allowing my fiance make sex to me unsecured without protection, although i never knew he is HIV positive. So last few 4days i came in contact with a lively article on the internet on how this Powerful Herbal Healer get her well and healed. So as a patient i knew this will took my life 1 day, and i need to live with other friends and relatives too. So i copied out the Dr,OKPOKHEN the traditional healer's email address Via. dr.okpokhenspiritualtemple@live.com and I mailed him immediately, in a little while he sent me an email back that i was welcome to his temple home whereby all what i seek for are granted. I was please at that time. And i continue with him, he took some few details from me and told me that he shall get back to me as soon as he is through with my work. I was very happy as heard that from him. So Yesterday, as i was just coming from my friends house, Dr,OkPOKHEN called me to go for checkup in the hospital as i am sharing my testimony i am negative i want to say a big thank you Dr,OKPOKHEN may God bless you.and you shall continue to help allot of people in the same situation you can also contact him today via mail at. dr.okpokhenspiritualtemple@live.com

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  34. my name is john, from the united state of America. i want to share this wonderful testimony, to the people who are in the same problem that i was before. I meant doctor okpokhen in the Google site when i was searching for help. I was living with HIV for the past 3 years, and after going to all the hospital searching for a good doctor to help me cure my sickness,and there were no changes. until just last month as i was browsing on net, i saw a testimony of somebody called jane, testifying of how she was cured from HIV by a spell caster, and i decided to also email and tell him about my problem, and as i did that he told me to send me some details which i did, and then he told me to wait for some time, and after four days he told me to go for another HIV test, which i did, and to my greatest surprise i was confirmed negative. oh people of the world,I'm so happy today and do not even no who to do. all thanks be to Dr, OKPOKHEN, for all he has done in my life, he bring me back to normal life again. and if you know you are in this problem I advice you to better email him now on: dr.okpokhenspiritualtemple@live.com , and i strongly believe that he will help you just as he did to me. wish you guys all good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hello, my name is Mrs Filomena, am from united states of America i want to use this opportunity to share my testimony, i was marred with a man called Johnson, we have been living happily for the past 8 years no problem, one day when he go out with a friend he came back late to the house very drunk, then i was very sad have not see him in such manner before, then the next day morning he said he is going to the office, then after some hour later my friend called me i respond to the called she shouted at me that what am i doing at home when my husband is in the hotel room with another woman, i was so shock to here that i trust my husband with all my heart i did not know that he can do a thing like that, later the day when he came back he just change automatically i greeted him he did not respond to my greetings i was lost of hope, after two day later when he came back from work he drove me out of the house with a machete, then i parked out of the house i really, i love my husband with all my life soul and heart, i could not resist it then i went to my friend house to help me beg my husband to allowed me come back but still yet no way, after 5 months i was still thinking of him cause i could not forget him thought on my mind, then i look for a spell caster to help me bring him back but know one want to help me but just to eat up my money, until my friend introduce me to once prophetnwut a great spell caster from the accent Paris of Africa, who help me to bring my husband back, when i first met him he told me that my husband will come back to me but i did not believe cause i have tried so many spell caster but know way, he said that he is a different man that he can help me i said okay let me give him a try really after i have done with what he ask me to do my so lovely husband came to my house with his friend begging me for forgiveness i have no choice than to forgive him, ever since then we have be together with love, happiness, trust and so much more, please you need to contact this man cause he is a real spell caster he is great, please his email contact is: prophetnwut@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. Special thanks go to God almighty for using dr.zack balo in curing my Cancer disease, I was having a lung cancer and doctor told me that I have two years to live, that news brought sadness into my life, I was depressed, don’t know what to do. One faithful day I saw a testimony on how a spell caster cured a man, who is called Sean Mark, due to his testimony the man is a great man, quickly I copied his email, then I contacted him and he asked me not to bother myself that all my problems are over. I was happy to hear such words, he told me to buy some items, though I couldn’t find the items myself he asked me to send down the money to buy the items for me, faithfully I sent him the money he bought the items and prepared a cure for me. He told me that he is going to send the cure through courier delivery service, I paid to the courier delivery service, then, I got the cure, he instructed me on how I will take the cure. I took the cure and I was freed from the cancer, I went for scanning, the cancer was no longer there. I am very grateful for what he did for me. If you have any disease you can contact him via email on wiseindividualspell@gmail.com, if you don’t have an email you can contact him through his mobile phone number on +2348078927387.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hello let me give this testimony to the public about a great man who help me out in serious illness I have HIV AID for good 5year and I was almost going to the end of my life due to the way my skin look like all I have in my mind is let me just give up because life is not interesting to me any longer but I just pray for God every day to accept my soul when ever I’m gone lucky to me my kids sister run to me that she found a doctor in the internet who can cure HIVAID she help me out on everything the man ask for my picture, so he can cast a spell on me from his temple after all he ask is done 45mins later I started getting more stronger my blood start flow normally for 4 to 5 days I start getting Wight before a month my body start developing my skin start coming up after 2month I went for HIV test and I was tested negative if you want to confirm just email me on cuteloganhanderson@gmail.com, I’m so happy that I can say I’m not a HIV patient if you have HIVAID or any sickness please for your save contact him for cure now on dr.aribaspelltemple@outlook.com OR call +2348163979933 he can also help you out okay.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 5 weeks
    before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on
    for 3years. I really loved him, but his mother was against us and he had no
    good paying job. So when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and
    explained the situation of things to him. At first i was undecided,skeptical
    and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. And in 7 days when i returned to
    Canada, my boyfriend (now husband) called me by himself and came to me
    apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got
    a new job interview so we should get married. I didn't believe it cos the spell
    caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to
    do. Well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid, and my
    husband also got the new job and our lives became much better. His email is
    atilahealinghome@yahoo.com. testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me
    5 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has
    been on for 3years. I really loved him, but his mother was against us and he
    had no good paying job. So when i met this spell caster, i told him what
    happened and explained the situation of things to him. At first i was
    undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. And in 7 days when
    i returned to Canada, my boyfriend (now husband) called me by himself and came
    to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and
    he got a new job interview so we should get married. I didn't believe it cos
    the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted
    him to do. Well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid,
    and my husband also got the new job and our lives became much better. Email him
    with odumaspiritualtemple@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

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