It was, at the time, a profoundly felt lament: I’m always on the outside looking in. So old and familiar. So depressing and demoralizing. It was during the period when the black cloud of foreclosure and homelessness was gathering strength and bearing down, a period during which I scrambled to do whatever I could to stave it off. That required being in the city where I could whip up some income — fast. No problem! A friend in L.A. — a veritable goldmine of seekers interested in what I was peddling — offered me a crash pad, more or less, for about six weeks in an out-building on his small property. My air mattress and his wifi provided a base of operations and let’s just say I worked around no plumbing.
Everything about launching this practice was based on my very first experience: putting up a flier at the local market in my little town. I shit you not: two weeks later a bunch of people showed up and the class ran weekly, uninterrupted, for a few years before I left. That’s why the launch strategy, when it was time, was to simply be where there were more people and the same thing would happen only bigger. Not rocket science.
I was in desperate need of money and what I did to make money actually cost me money. Again and again.
But nothing was happening. Nothing. It was a time of repeatedly going through the rigmarole of renting a space to put on a workshop or a class, meting out who would do what when it came to marketing it at the venue, normal stuff, and coming up empty. Actually, almost always, less than empty. Too often, too few showed up to the class or workshop to even cover the cost of putting it on. I’d put it on anyway, of course, and be saturated in dissatisfaction and disillusion afterward. I was in desperate need of money and what I did to make money actually cost me money. Again and again. Fuck.
It was also a time of writing, which I love to do in coffee shops whenever I’m in the mood for it, which is often. I love everything about the non-corporate ones including how much they vary from one to another. I have my personal criteria and, as I am wont to do whenever I’m anywhere, I’d scouted several that fit the bill for my personal tastes. On this particular day I was walking home to do some writing on the air mattress, though I wanted more than anything to stop at one of my pre-approved venues, which I had happened upon. I was in the mood for it one hundred percent, but I couldn’t go in because I couldn’t afford so much as a cup of coffee, much less anything else. Ridiculous. I remember as clear as day standing on the sidewalk, looking through the glass at all the people doing that thing that I wanted to do. I felt my entire history of no and lack and limitation and can’t wash all over me and, yes, I heard the belief: I’m always on the outside looking in. In this case, literally.
…what transformation looks like in the life of someone who chooses, on purpose, to change something about themselves.
Well that would be the beginning of the end of that particular belief and of that particular experience. I was a grown-ass man trying to do a little good for himself and the world, but no. Not there anyway, not that way, not that day. I can obviously remember it well, I can tell you about it in detail. But there’s no emotional charge to any of it anymore. I can say the words that I’m always on the outside looking in, but barely. They just don’t resonate. There’s nothing left in my psyche to identify with them. Nothing for them to grab on to.
It’s one small example of what transformation looks like in the life of someone who chooses, on purpose, to change something about themselves. To be able to say, yeah, I used to believe that; I used to have those experiences. But not anymore. I don’t believe it anymore and I don’t experience it anymore. Change is embedded in the concept, we belong to the planet, not the planet to us. It means that creating change and allowing change aligns us with the nature of Nature. I have developed a certain reverence for the entire notion of change, which is handy, since I seem to have become an agent of it.