When there’s nothing left to lose

“Freedom’s just another words for nothing left to lose.”  Confession: I’ve belted this song along with car radios, around campfires, and in the shower for about forty years now.

At first is was just between me, Janis Joplin and Bobby McKee, managing various crises and losses in my life.   I thought I “got it” in my twenties and even more in my thirties and forties.  Each decade has peeled back more of the privileged veneer of my life.

But never have I seen the depth of truth like I do today as I am inspired and instructed by friends and clients who have discovered they have less than nothing.  I’ve wept as I hear testimonies of people whom I love and can only help by listening.  They have little or nothing.  They are facing their financial truth, strategizing food stamps or unemployment.  And some of them are breaking through to a freedom I have only occasionally glimpsed. They are reporting that from a place of economic ruin they are discovering great kindness and love in the Universe.

There’s a freedom in truth.  One woman, laid off from work and now suffering medical disabilities that have prevented her from finding a job, told me that she’s noticing that being in this state has opened up a  deep sense of gratitude.  First she began to notice little kindnesses, like the light on the puddle by the curb or her cat’s sweet face. When she stopped believing that she shouldn’t take from people who could help her out, she noticed that her own past generosity was being reflected back. Some even told her that she was giving a them a gift by allowing them to help her out.

Once she began to appreciate these small kindnesses, there was a cavalcade of evidence for the generosity in her world.  As she tried to share the depth of this experience with me, she seemed to be brought to her knees by the kindness of the Universe. With nothing to lose, she could receive…and receive….and receive.

And in sharing her story, she once again had something to give. To all of us.

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