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Creating from Nothing

When I move around in the world and meet new people, I introduce myself as a social entrepreneur — someone committed to changing the world through business. It so happens that my business, this business, Spiritual Workout, is in the health and wellness category. More specifically, it’s mental health and even more specifically, it’s living consciously as a spiritual being having a human experience — a frame I use but, you may notice, I did not make up.


My twin passions of human consciousness and entrepreneurship — merged together by design — have taken me on a wild, circuitous ride easily summed up as creating from nothing. The crux of this project is that I’m not just the creator of Spiritual Workout, I’m also an adherent, a subscriber, a practitioner. So this corner of cyberspace will be for stories about my entrepreneurial journey of creating a business — Spiritual Workout — from nothing — by using, ahem, the business itself. You with me? Fantastic.

The crux of this project is that I’m not just the creator of Spiritual Workout, I’m also an adherent, a subscriber, a practitioner.

Suffice to say I was at the top of my game. I was living large and eager to launch my fully-formed and thoroughly market-tested work into the world. I had amassed a rather luxurious financial runway from which to power it all in a sane, rational, best-practices kind of way. I had it going on, people, for real. Then I lost it all in spectacular fashion in that global financial meltdown thingie, circa 2009. Yeah, that.


I was certainly aware that “things were happening” in the real estate market, but I was also personally very unconcerned because I was in it for the extra long haul at my forever new home base from which I would come and go at will. Market fluctuations? Not my business. My move to the mountains — to a place that had been my go-to getaway for 15 years prior — had occurred only four or five years earlier when I was making wholesale changes to every aspect of my life. I was mourning and processing the death of my partner. I even wrote and published a book about it and how the experience grew my soul (and could have been called Spiritual Workout for grief and loss). I was letting go of what remained of my soul-sucking marketing consulting work. I was changing my lifestyle, completely, into a rural one. I was acclimating, readily, into being part of a dynamic community of people who were family from the start. I was bringing Spiritual Workout from my heart into the world.


I was grateful for having had a few years to do all of that. And part of the financial machinations that facilitated such freedom was putting more than 50% down — more than the bank — as cash equity in my beautiful house (during, it must be said, a booming market). The idea was just to have a much smaller mortgage for a few years while I wasn’t generating income and a general plan to re-visit it all at some point and/or take out the cash as needed. You know where this is going, going, gone.


So, instead of launching my endeavor from the lofty perch of that best-practices, cushy, sturdy runway I would do so instead, from the bottom of a deep, dark ditch of financial ruin and emotional upheaval. I was homeless, penniless, insurance-less, credit rating-less, community-less, and stuff-less save for what fit into my car.

I hadn’t come this far, however, to give it all up before it even began. And when I drove off that mountain — ten years ago next week — with what remained of my life, I actually felt empowered.

Losing a house, as it were, is not a process that happens overnight, though I do believe mine was one of the fastest on record. I went through all manner of emotion over the course of many months. I was incredulous. I felt dismayed. Bewildered. Not to mention embarrassed (somewhat) and most definitely, cheated. For years I had done everything right in the realm of “follow-your-bliss.” I created my own work, for crying out loud — work that actually does good in the world. People tell me all the time. And I was about to launch it without needing anything from anyone. I was ripe and ready. And so far all I had to show for any of it was a dead partner, a ten-year-old Prius, and whatever belongings I could fit into it.


I hadn’t come this far, however, to give it all up before it even began. And when I drove off that mountain — ten years ago next week — with what remained of my life, I actually felt empowered. Other things, but empowered is what was dominant. Feeling empowered is the direct result of doing the thing that we so often resist: taking responsibility — nobody’s idea of a good time. There were so many places to look, so many people to blame. But as a Spiritual Workout practitioner, one just doesn’t do that. Anymore. The truth was millions of families were suffering and losing their homes. It was also true that plenty of people were doing just fine, unaffected. People were thriving. The only questions were 1) Why was I one of the suffering ones? and 2) What do I have to do to get my project on track without any resources?


Watch this space.


I’m no hero, I’m just a doing my best to live a conscious life and help others do the same. It’s not that complicated. To be sure and as I said, my personal entrepreneurial journey has been a wild ride. Reflecting back today and choosing the stories I will share about it to anyone who cares is fun. It’s a lot — replete with the harrowing, the humiliating, the humbling, and everything in between. Every single one of them will be about using the Spiritual Workout concepts as my only tools, my only resources. I hope to demonstrate to anyone who will listen precisely how to create from nothing. But I promise you none of it — none of it — would have happened if I hadn’t started by taking responsibility for my spectacular fall from grace.

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