What I Learned from Being Homeless
For about eight weeks this summer I was without a home. As you can imagine, it was a pretty challenging time. But I gotta tell ya, I gained an awful lot by living with less.
I learned some invaluable lessons during this difficult time that resulted in gifts I can carry with me for the rest of my days (which will hopefully all be spent somewhere safe and comfortable).
Lesson #1: The Universe always provides.
That may sound a little strange. Your first thought might be, "Didn't provide you with a house, did it?" and you wouldn't be wrong. Let's remember though, that Source works for our highest good not our highest comfort. It is true that I was not provided with a house of my own, and that's not what I was needing during this stage of my journey. The homelessness alone was a provision from the Universe, and yet I was given so much more during this time as well. I never went hungry, and I got to experience life from many different perspectives as I stayed at a variety of places during this time. It may have not looked like it from the outside, but I was being perfectly provided for the whole time.
It is not uncommon for this perfect provision to look a whole lot differently than we expected.
Lesson #2: Asking for help is uncomfortable, and it's only half the battle.
"Battle" is not my ideal word for this concept, but for me asking for help and receiving it has felt like an internal conflict I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I was brought up with the mentality that asking for help is a weakness and means I'm insufficient as a person. It was one of the ultimate shameful acts. It has taken years of work for me to ask for help, and this adventure into homelessness gave me the perfect opportunity to practice receiving.
During these weeks I did not really have anything to give in return. I couldn't offer much in the way of barter or transaction. The situation forced me to ask for help from those around me and left me with no choice but to receive it regardless of how uncomfortable it made me. Sometimes the Universe puts the pressure on when learning the lesson can no longer be delayed. Pressure rarely feels good. It is rather effective, however.
The truth is we absolutely need one another to thrive as human beings. I knew that intellectually, but the lesson hadn't really permeated my cells until this experience. With all this practice I am much better at asking for help and receiving what comes my way.
Which is pretty darn important considering how essential receiving is to things like success and abundance.
Lesson #3: Being in service to others is like giving to your future self.
To put it another way, being in service to others is like making a deposit in the karma bank; then when you need something down the line, there is plenty in there for you to withdrawal. The best thing about the karma bank is how universal it is.
For example, my friend Janet is in need of something I have. I share it with her so we both are taken care of - deposit. Later I am in need, and a cousin of an acquaintance shares what he has with me so we are both taken care of - withdrawal. Because we are all connected, none of this has to be transactional. I don't have to call up Janet and say "Hey, remember that time I helped you? Well, you owe me one." No, I put a deposit in the universal bank and there are "ATMs" everywhere.
By helping others we help ourselves. Though I was making a withdrawal, the people helping me were making deposits, which they can tap into whenever they need to.
It's a perfect system!
Lesson #4: I don't need nearly as much as I thought.
Before this experience I was convinced I needed quite a lot in the way of comfort and convenience, especially in my environment. I'm a Virgo, an introvert and an Indigo, so my personal space was pretty important to me. I've taken great care in the past to set up my environment just so to facilitate my care and recharge. I thought this was essential for me to show up well in the world.
When all of that was taken away, you know what happened? I still showed up well in the world. I was forced to create that sanctuary space within. Now I carry it with me everywhere I go and can rest there any time I need to.
This was a MAJOR gift! It's weird to think about a lovingly nested place as a limitation, but I learned that it totally can be. Believing my sanctuary space needed to be an actual physical space meant I was shackled to something outside myself. Though a lovely one, this was a prison like anything else.
Having to let go of that gave me a new level of freedom I don't think I could have achieved on my own.
Lesson #5: I can decide who I am no matter what is going on around me.
To say this time challenged me is an understatement. It invited me to evaluate my beliefs, abilities, relationships, choices and everything in between. If there are tests of faith, this certainly was one for me.
In looking at all of this in the midst of tumultuous circumstances, it was solidified within me that I am really only ever in control of one thing: myself. I am in control of my perspective, my reactions and my choices. This is what will create the life I live. The world can be in flames around me, and I can still be the person I've been working towards all these years if I choose to be. I can always decide to experience life as the adventure it is instead of view it as a series of unfortunate events that happen to me between the "good stuff".
Nothing outside myself dictates who I am.
I'm not sorry to have been in this situation, though it was painful. In fact, I consider myself to be quite fortunate. It was clearly in service to my highest good and all that I work so hard for. As the saying goes "I prayed for patience, and what I got was a line at the bank."
The gifts we ask for are not simply handed over. Instead we are given the opportunity to earn them so they can truly become ours.
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