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Abundance

My mind turns now to the topic of abundance and possessions. My family and I are getting ready to leave the United States. We're at the financial point at which we no longer have the option of sitting here in our beautiful Northwest hideaway and living off of my Amazon.com windfall of '98.

True, I tend to regard most either/or choices as false dichotomies, but on the surface it looks as though two options predominate right now; get a job or significantly lower our over-head. Either choice involves selling the house and moving, as there isn't much of an economy out here on the Olympic Peninsula, and I'm not willing to spend 5 hours a day commuting to Seattle. Given that we're going to be moving anyway, we've decided to move to the 3-world (first Thailand and later Costa Rica) and structure our life so that we can live off of the interest from the money we'll get from selling our home.

Why chose option B? Because I don't want a job. I don't care to trade the hours of my life for the funds required to continue to live and consume at the North American level. Time spent with my 2 year-old son, with my wife, on creative projects, and just farting around holds a much higher value for me than does our Lexus SUV, our enormous house, or residence in the United States. I have other reasons for choosing option B, but the priority I place on my free time stands head and shoulders above my desire for the adventure and novelty of life abroad.

There's a catch, though: The actual selling of our house. The real estate market isn't exactly brisk out here, and there's no telling how long we'll have to wait before we've get that sale amount. In the past 24 hours two different parties have toured Cult Headquarters and gone away excited. One of them is coming back tomorrow with his wife. She was out of town yesterday when he looked around. The other interested party was here today, and our realtor called after they left to tell me that they were very excited about the place but that they wanted to come back and view the property when the sun was shining. Given that we live in the Pacific Northwest and that it is now October, it may be quite some time before a sunny day presents itself.

In any event, this is a beautiful house on a very private lot, and I have no doubt that the right people will find it and make an offer. I have faith that things are progressing as they should and that all will be well.

We’re also in the process of selling our beloved Lexus RX-300, but since we'll be paying off a lease with the proceeds, we won't make any money there. Spacemonkey, our Lexus, has become a bit of a white elephant for us. For what we spend on it every month, we could live quite well in the third world, and it has been the major drain on our financial resources over the last couple of years. My feelings and attitude toward that car may seem contradictory, and for that reason I’m tempted to describe them as “mixed feelings,” but that’s not how I experience them. I love to drive that car. I sometimes reach out and just rest my hand on the base-ball stitched leather cover on the gear shift or focus my attention on the way the seat supports my weight in such comfort. I enjoy every minute that I spend consciously behind the wheel, and yet I’m quite ready to give it up. I expect to look back on it with fondness but not to miss it.

The same is true of this house. I marvel at its design and at the space and privacy. I enjoy it as much now as I did when we were first furnishing and decorating it, and yet I’ll jump at the first offer that exceeds my secret minimum bid and not hesitate to part with it. My son was born in this house. My marriage nearly dissolved and then reconstituted itself in this house. I created many a comic right here at this computer in this house, and when the house sells, I plan to donate this computer to Vigilance, a local libertarian newspaper (the one that runs my comics).

We're selling all of our furniture. Mike, the owner of the local antique dealership bought two items yesterday and took them away. The room in which they stood now looks larger and emptier. Tomorrow, a guy will drive out here and I will help him pack our entertainment system into a van and he will take it away to sell on consignment. Once that’s gone, I’ll tell my friend, T, that he can come and take away the buttery leather couch that currently sits in front of that mammoth entertainment center.

We plan to place a few boxes in a friend’s storage space. Those boxes will contain photos and photo albums, some of my original artwork, a few books that Lara and I wish to keep, and a handful of assorted keepsakes. Everything else will be sold, given away, or discarded. We plan to travel light and think twice before acquiring anything new.

Given our tight financial situation, it would make sense to sell as much as possible, but much of what we could have sold we gave to friends. Why? I read recently that giving things away increases the circulation of chi and that holding onto things impedes that circulation and the experience of abundance that results from the free circulation of that spiritual energy.

“Giving money [and, I think, things of monetary value] away in this fashion not only does good in supporting the causes of your choice, but it also frees your consciousness from the commitment to the belief that there isn’t enough. It’s an act of faith, affirming the belief that what goes around comes around.” -Laurence G. Boldt, The Tao of Abundance.

“The things you own end up owning you.” -Tyler Durdin, Fight Club

In 1998, after 2 grueling years at Amazon.com, I walked away with several hundred thousand dollars. For the next two years, I traveled freely, spent freely, ate in expensive restaurants, and enjoyed the status accorded to people who never have to look at price tags. Just before I left Amazon, my father committed suicide. Those two years of high living and lavish expenditure were the two most miserable years of my life. In that time, I gained 70 pounds, started drinking again after a 5-year dry period, pursued my two-girl sex agenda in a most destructive and hurtful way, and generally inflicted lasting damage on myself and my relationships that I’m still working to heal.

That said, I also learned a lot in those two years and collected some experiences that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

As the money ebbed away (accelerated by the bursting of the Internet-economy bubble) I started to pay more attention to where and how I spent it. I also started creating comics on a regular basis. These things helped me to focus my energies in a manner more conducive to my own fulfillment.

Then in November of 2000, my wife, Lara, gave birth to our son, Logan. Becoming a father did not change me over night, but as Logan grew and his personality began to emerge, I started to notice that all of my experiences of intense joy stemmed from my interactions with my family; my wife and child. This year, Lara and I very nearly ended our marriage, but when we started down that road, we both discovered not only that we couldn’t live without that child, but that neither of us wanted to raise him without the other.

With this discovery, we each learned how to let go of the baggage that inhibited the free circulation of love and spiritual energy and created the problems in our marriage. She let go of the certainty that I would leave her for a younger, more nubile, sexually adventurous woman, and I let go of my desire for a harem. I had held on to that expectation for so long and held as a benchmark of personal success, that for years the idea of giving it up stood as my paradigm mark of personal failure. What a shock to discover that making an exclusive commitment to my wife (something I pointedly did not do when we got married) would open a door to the experience of abundance.

“We can live any way we want. People take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience--even of silence--by choice. The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse. This is yielding, not fighting.” -Annie Dillard

Things turned a good corner in terms of my body several months ago when I resumed my practice of Tai Chi after a hiatus of several years. Spending time everyday focusing on the immediate experience of moving my body, breathing, and stretching has worked wonders in increasing the flow of chi and the experience of personal abundance. I’ve come to a new appreciation of the magic that martial arts can work in my life. In the future, when I’m living consciously and growing rather than living unconsciously and ossifying, I will be practicing martial arts. (Having watched the first 18 installments of the Ultimate Fighting Championship on tape recently, I very much intend to incorporate some form of grappling into my martial arts training: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu being my first choice.)

Now, in an effort to focus on what I value and love and to cut that which is extraneous, we’re shedding the bulk of our possessions and moving to Thailand. I plan to take a digital still camera, a digital video camera, my laptop computer, a few drawing supplies, and a few articles of clothing. Everything else I have or will cut loose.

Greater simplicity, adventure and abundance await.

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
carocrow
Oct. 2nd, 2002 05:46 pm (UTC)
Good Luck, Good Karma, and all the best to you and your family. May your manifestation come on soft wings and be as fulfilling as you anticipate it to be.
kmo
Oct. 2nd, 2002 08:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you
May your gentle blessings unfold with a surprising power.
carocrow
Oct. 3rd, 2002 04:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Thank you
Namaste!
keshet29
Oct. 2nd, 2002 07:25 pm (UTC)
This is the first entry, save the ones about your wife a few months ago, that I've read in which you talked about yourself or life at all. It is so strange. I realized I conjured up an imaginary you based on the small amount of information I had.
Good luck.
kmo
Oct. 2nd, 2002 08:26 pm (UTC)
conjuring up an imaginary KMO
You can find more clues here.

Your comments about making up an imaginary person based on minimal information resonates uncannily with a comic I created just recently.
venusflytrap
Oct. 2nd, 2002 09:24 pm (UTC)
best of luck, good friend. have a great time and do come back soon! I can visualise..you, creating your comics(and farting around, of course)...Logan growing up to a fine, handsome, intelligent young man ...and Lara running a successful business.

P.S.Just because Logan drooled all over me as an infant, dont think I wont hit on him when he grows up to be a gorgeous young man.
kmo
Oct. 3rd, 2002 06:57 pm (UTC)
Logan as a gorgeous young man
Go for it, Ms. Flytrap. Just keep in mind that he's likely to be his father's son. That is to say, don't bluff, 'cause he'll call that bluff.
quaesta
Oct. 2nd, 2002 09:44 pm (UTC)
Wow...
...it sounds like you've had a spectacular journey and will continue on more spectacular paths. It's posts like this that make me wish you'd post more often...I find journeys like yours so interesting. It's similar in some ways to that of my best friend who was once a CEO, president of the local chamber of commerce, etc., etc., with the big house and some of the other accessories...sucessful in a very mainstream way. He ditched most of his stuff and is now bouncing around, having adventures, couch-surfing, learning languages and pursuing other passions.

I've been having an amazing journey as well. I had a house and a houseful of stuff, now I've just got a bedroom. I can't afford not to work at the moment, because San Francisco is where I need to be, but I'm looking for options that are less than 40 hour work weeks, because I value things other than work and stuff. My life has been exploding (but in a good way, like fireworks) and I've made discoveries of self and spirituality and sexuality and relationships and I'm not prepared to give any of that up for money.

Which is all a long winded way of saying that I want to see more of your posts. :) I'll be sending you good energy for your journeys.
kmo
Oct. 3rd, 2002 07:15 pm (UTC)
Exploding like fireworks
Thank you, Quaestra.

I don't think I've ever told you, but I just love your lj icon.

In response to your bottom line, I think I'll be posting more once we get to Thailand. Maybe sooner. We parted with our beloved entertainment system today. We'll be selling it on consignment at a stereo store in Seattle. Without the THX surround sound big screen cathode ray brain nummer, I may well find myself itchin' to do more typing.

I hope that you continue to savor those discoveries you mentioned, and continue to expand the percentage of your time that is truly yours.
wolfieboy
Oct. 2nd, 2002 11:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Abundance
cindygerb and I would love to take you and your family (or just you if that's what you'd prefer) out to dinner before you leave the NorthWest. Please mail me at my livejournal address if you are interested...
kmo
Oct. 3rd, 2002 07:18 pm (UTC)
Dinner in Seattle
We'll be in Seattle on Saturday. Dinner maybe? We could invite other Seattle LJ folk and make a gathering of it, or we could keep it low key. In any event, we'll need to hold it in a child-friendly venue.
wolfieboy
Oct. 4th, 2002 12:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Dinner in Seattle
Unfortunately, on Saturday, Cindy and I will be doing orientation for the club that we belong to. It's not something we can get out of. Hopefully we can come up with another option if it's available.
BTW, all the options that we would come up with would be child-friendly.
saint_monkey
Oct. 3rd, 2002 08:31 am (UTC)
several comments

1) gracie style kung fu rocks
2) i am glad to see you acknowledge that the pursuit of the harem was damaging (essentially i view it as creation of a marital conflict) i never saw it as security. (ie "i'm so secure in my relationship that i can pursue this avenue," people secure in thier relationship DON'T pursue those avenues, but them i'm measuring by my yardstick, so i'll shut up.) i wondered why you and lara (who seem to me to be very intelligent people) wouldn't realize that you were both essentially creating barriers for each other, (and recreating the barriers you percieved while growing up) when it is each other that you love. were each of you free, could either of you say that you wouldn't be looking for someone just like the other within a year? i was especially worried when logan came into the picture. fortunately, things worked themselves out and it seems that you've come to the conclusion that the both of you together is what logan needs, and i agree. even in the third world, a family is a family. lack of that is what has created this desire for conflict in you and lara, and the two of you facing and overcoming this need for conflict is what will insure that Logan has no such troubles. i'll get off my soapbox now.
3) good luck. make your own way.
kmo
Oct. 3rd, 2002 07:21 pm (UTC)
Amazing Gracie
The Gracie's practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, not Kung Fu, but I agree, they rule!

Thanks for saving the soap box stuff until after I had found my own way to the place where you would have directed me had you not kept mum. It works better this way.

I'm glad to know you, Stephan.

Be well.
srmg
Oct. 3rd, 2002 10:32 am (UTC)
Good luck to the both of you! Maybe I will see you in my travels after I finish graduate school in 2005. I gave away a good many things when I moved to Portland, and I don't miss any of it. I commend you on your choice. My new address is 25 SE 75th Ave. Portland OR 97215-1451, in case you choose to go old school and go back to the art of letter writing. If you would like to receive tangible correspondence in your new abode, do send me your address when you arrive. Papers in the mailbox can help with culture shock, I believe. Happy travels! Oot!!! OOOt! - Kristin.
kmo
Oct. 3rd, 2002 07:24 pm (UTC)
Oot!
Hey K,

We'll meet again, and I'll take you up on that shiatsu offer. I don't see myself taking up the art of snail mail again, but email sent to kmo@c-realm.com will always reach me.

Oot!

-KMO
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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