What I’ve learned from being ‘homeless’

Sometimes the easiest way to handle things is to turn our emotions off, so that we’re only dealing with the situation at hand. I treated my impending homelessness like an event. It was going to happen anyway, there was nothing I could do to stop it, so I just planned for my eventual homelessness. I donated everything, only keeping my text books and clothes in a storage unit I rented. Damn was that storage unit a drain on my monthly welfare cheque! Now I know why people would actually consider living in their storage unit….because I sure did!

Because I rented a storage unit I’ve been asked why I didn’t just keep everything. I gave my stuff away because it felt like this was a learning lesson. Being homeless is a big fear. Losing our possessions is a big fear. I’d use this situation to confront both. And you know what? It’s not as scary as you think! It’s quite freeing actually. (Luckily I live in a socialist country that provides homeless shelters.)

After I became certified as a Life Coach in 2012 or 2013 I started paying attention to people and their behaviours, as well as my own. I wanted to have a better understanding of people and why we do what we do. This understanding included my shelter-mates. In them I was able to see behaviours that led to their living in such an environment. It doesn’t matter whether we have a roof over our head or not, many of us create our own problems. We do not take a lot of responsibility for our own actions, reactions, or decisions. If someone is raised or always around people who behave this way then they also learn to behave this way. Our society also has a lot of self-centeredness. This grows mainly out of fear. Fear of not having enough and fear of losing what we do have. We are also taught this fear. We get this from our caregivers who worry for us and who only want what’s best for us. They think instilling this fear in us will protect us from the big bad world. We also get this fear from all forms of media because it sells goods and services. Fear is a great motivator so the advertising and marketing industry milk it for all it’s worth.

Since my life has been pretty nomadic I wasn’t falling far by becoming homeless and possession-less (that was the 4th time I’d had to give up by belongings). But I did get to see things through new eyes; I got to see things through the eyes of others. I lost friends due to being homeless. Why? I imagine the fear it instilled in them was just too much, it made them too uncomfortable. Fear, even when it doesn’t directly impact someone, will still affect them and drive their actions. This thing, which only exists in our mind, becomes as real as anything we can touch.

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I was fed, clothed, given a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, daily access to a shower, and provided with personal hygiene products. Yet all around me I saw people acting out of fear of lack. They did NOT lack anything essential yet the fear was all around me. The need for more, more, more. That tells you why so many people are so far in debt. They spend money they Do Not have on things they Do Not need. Will Farrell’s movie Everything Must Go is a serious look at a man who is forced to let go of his possessions. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1531663/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_31

What I learned:

  • We CAN get by on less and with less.
  • When you really need things: money, clothes, food, shelter they will become available. There are programs to help, though you may only find out about them when you need them. But trust me, they are there.
  • Possessions are just things. The world is full of things. THERE ARE MORE THINGS. Don’t live your life afraid of losing your things. Don’t make decisions solely to keep things in your life. The world has more houses, the world has more cars. On your deathbed you won’t be surrounded by your things, with them telling you what a great person you were and how they’ll miss you. Think about it.
  • What, and who, truly matter will never be impacted by where you live or anything else material. Aim for living a life that matters.
  • People will not usually take the first step to being kind, caring or thoughtful. YOU must take that first step. People are more willing to reciprocate than to initiate.
  • The world you live in is what you make it. This is not affected by material possessions or titles or anything fleeting. It is the way you see the world, your behaviour, your actions, your character. It is YOU. The world you live in is what YOU make it. It is all about you and only about you. Most people had no idea I lived in a shelter for that year. I didn’t tell people, act like it or look like it. Each day that I walked out those doors it ceased to be my reality.
  • We are too impressed by titles. The lowest segment of society is VERY impressed by titles. They actually see them as better than the rest of us, like a whole other breed of human. I have gotten to know people with titles, people with higher education. And you know what? They are just like the rest of us! They are just as fallible. They cheat, having drinking problems, have poor social skills, suffer depression, etc. They are no different from you or I and ARE NO BETTER. Please stop being impressed by titles. Please. There are so many amazing people we meet every day who get underestimated. People who Have done and Are doing amazing things.
Life path's tend to be more bumpy than smooth.

Life paths tend to be more bumpy than smooth.

I get underestimated by everyone, all the time. This pisses me off but doesn’t deter me. I answer only to me and I’m Very happy with who I am and what I’ve become. It’s been a rough ride but I’ve come out better and stronger than ever. Without every twist and turn and detour in my life I wouldn’t have become the person I am today. Don’t ever regret a single thing that has happened in your life. Years later you’ll be able to look back and see how each event helped you to become a better, stronger person. You’ll see how your own hardships gave you the strength to help others along the way.

We are all superheroes in the making, helping countless people along the way.

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Stop

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There are things we do to ourselves every single day. Even every single hour. They are self-defeating. They are self-sabotaging. They are also by choice.

If we chose to stop doing these things, in all or in part, we would see Drastic changes in our lives. Drastic.

Here is your list of actions to live a better, happier life.

STOP…

1) Worrying and being fearful

2) Judging yourself and comparing yourself to others

3) Being embarrassed

4) Explaining or justifying yourself

5) Assuming or jumping to conclusions

6) Doubting your abilities or yourself

7) Rehashing things

8) Putting yourself down

9) Complaining

10) Taking things personally

11) Letting yourself off the hook

In the last hour, the past 60 minutes, how many of these did you do? And how often? Those 11 things are very powerful, and very harmful, behaviours. When you’re happy you don’t do a single one of those. Ok, maybe the last one ;)

Those first 10 behaviours are not motivated by happiness and do not have happy outcomes.

Here’s what you should do instead:

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START…

1) Accept the things that have happened. Deal with situations the best you can, as they arise. Know that most of the things you fear or worry about will NOT happen. Ever.

2) Try to be better today than you were yesterday. You are your only competition, your only comparison. No one is like you and you aren’t like anyone else. Embrace this.

3) You are human and will err. A lot. Accept this and get on with your life :) There’s nothing you could do or that will happen to you that hasn’t already happened to most of the human race (sometimes animals too).

4) It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. You know why you do what you do and think what you think. If any explanation is needed keep it to a minimum. Don’t let someone derail you or try to put holes in your logic, this will demotivate you. Stay on your path. The average way of thinking and logic will not be your way of thinking and logic.

5) You see, hear and think based on biases you’ve accumulated all through your life. Whether you agree or not, listen to what others have to say. Also realize that you don’t know everything, none of us do. You won’t know every facet of every situation. Acknowledge this.

6) You trust and believe in yourself more when there’s no outside influence. So Ignore negative external influences. Don’t compare your abilities. You know what you’re good at and you’ll continue to get even better over time. Stay true to that knowledge. KNOW it! You are DAMN GOOD…at whatever :)

7) Do the best you can and do what you can. That’s all we can ever do. When you’ve wronged someone then right it the next time you see them. If there’s a lesson to be learned from something then learn it. And be done with it. Move forwards not backwards, in thoughts AND actions.

People who succeed in life are rarely reflective. Their gaze is always on the future, that’s why they    succeed. – Unknown

8) No one does you quite like you. They never will. If you know you can work on and improve things then fine, make small steps in the direction of improvement. But ALWAYS commend yourself on the good things about yourself. Do this many times a day, every day. Be grateful for things in your life but also be grateful for yourself. You are….a good friend/listener/caring/thoughtful/hard working/intelligent/resourceful/funny/kind/creative/put others at ease/life of the party/compassionate/ethical/honest/empathic/sympathetic/loving/reliable/lover of animals and small children/chauffeur for friends/help people move/friendly/brighten up people’s day/make people laugh and forget their troubles/volunteer/patient/etc…. (Oh boy, the world needs Many more patient people – I’m not one of them, sorry)

You affect people in ways you will NEVER know. Your actions touch people you’ll never meet.

9) If you can change something (where you live, your job, etc) then do it. If you can’t make any changes then accept the situation and make peace with it so that you can have peace.

10) Nothing anyone does is because of you. Nothing. Not their good mood and certainly not their bad. Not their actions. Not their thoughts. We tend to vent to the first person we see or have contact with, or who lets us. Keep this in mind when someone is giving you a hard time. Always stay calm and don’t reflect back their bad energy, let it dissipate.

If you’re taking offense to something that’s because deep down you agree with what’s being implied. That’s the psychology behind our being defensive about something. When you’re being defensive take note and acknowledge that you have something to work on. And work on it.

11) Make yourself accountable for every goal, every action you want to take. Tell people who will follow up with you, people who will demand accountability from you. Set up rewards for your progress.
Everything you do either makes you money or costs you money. Make a ‘Must Do’ list of 3-6 things every night before bed. Those are your priorities for the following day. At the end of each day take stock of whether you ‘made’ or ‘spent’ money that day, with your daily activities.

 

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You are the CEO of You, Inc. Chief Everything Officer. You are completely in charge, no one else. Every decision you make matters. Your company will either prosper, stagnate, or go bankrupt. It’s up to you.

 

Jesus, Take the Wheel

Here is the Carrie Underwood video for this song if you haven’t heard the song before http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lydBPm2KRaU

I’d say this song of hers ‘So Small’ is the motto of my life recently. This great video can only be viewed on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEQj6RrQbgA so here’s a working video:

I’ve been holding off on mentioning this current aspect of my life, and unless I tell people they have no idea.

I originally wrote this with more information but for now I won’t include many details.

In the past few years I’ve spent some of that time sleeping on a friend’s couch (though I never considered that as being homeless, there Was a roof over my head, even if not my own).

Since last March, aside from 1 month again at my friend’s place, I’ve been living in a shelter.

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It’s definitely not an easy thing to go through but I’ve managed, and have taken this time to figure things out in my life.

It’s been a great growth experience, I’ll say that. Giving up practically everything I own (Once again – I have done that too many times in my life) and learning to be ok with it; we’re very much attached to our possessions. Giving up my books was the most painful thing but I did it. I did it.

Living with people who are on the lowest rung of society’s ladder I am learning more about the ‘human condition’. I can identify behaviours more clearly, understand psychology more easily.

Every single day my motivation and happiness gets tested. And every day I get better at becoming immune to outside forces. Happiness is an internal state, an internal choice. There is indeed humour to be found Anywhere, even in the shelter system (believe me I chuckle, or even LOL, regularly at the stuff I see. Silly humans 8-D). I’m in my 2nd shelter, this one being a ‘last stop’ type shelter; it’s the last option before the street for people who get kicked out of other shelters. The people I ‘live’ with are some of the hardest I’ll ever have to deal with in my life. But this experience is coming to an end. I now have figured out and learned what I needed to for myself.

But know this: if I can handle this massive upheaval then so can you!

I am no better than anyone. I am no stronger than anyone. I am just as infallible as anyone. I’ve just decided to not give in. Ever. That’s all it is. A choice. A simple choice.

I have my dark days too, but they do pass. Yours will as well. It’s not by accident that you’ve made it this far in life!

Anyone who walked out of the concentration camps survived, not necessarily because they went in being strong willed but because they Decided to become strong willed. They decided to endure whatever they had to, if it meant survival, so that one day they could walk out. POW’s had to use much more than they were taught in basic military training. They had to reach deep down to find the courage and strength that they needed. But whatever they needed was there. It was right there when they needed it, deep down. We ALL have what we need, deep down, to get through. We just have to reach for it.  

You don’t need a gym to get in shape, you don’t need college or university to get an education, and you don’t need to be a superhero to do super things. You just have to make the choice.

“God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” I wish he didn’t believe in me so much. But he does, so I will too.

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Success, Here I Come!!

(Success is not tied to business or money, success is whatever you want it to be.)

Want to be a successful business person or entrepreneur? Then this is your casual dress:

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not this:

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And this would be how you dress for work:

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And likewise for men.

If you want your days filled with appointments, with clients and meetings, then buy a nice daytimer. Make this your new reality! Buy the daytimer KNOWING you will be using it!

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Don’t wish and hope you’ll live the destiny you want, KNOW you will! And act the part :-D

Your car might be one like this:

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Is there a nice car in your neighbourhood? Every time you’re walking past it pretend that you forgot something so that you can’t get in the car just yet. But you will when you get back. Or that you decided to walk because it’s so nice out or for the exercise. Feel like the car is truly yours. Feel like you DESERVE a car like that! Feel like you deserve THAT car! Truly feel it.
When you walk by a fine restaurant you’re just heading to another upscale restaurant instead. This is your new reality. Believe it. Live it.

Feeling self-worth will bring you So much closer to owning whatever car you want, or anything else for that matter.

Don’t hope, wish or dream. Know and expect. Know that you’re good enough for Anything. You deserve to have Anything you want. And lastly, EXPECT everything you’ve ever wanted to come to you. You’re freaking awesome, why the hell shouldn’t you get everything you want?

A great way to get and stay motivated is a vision board.

DreamBoard

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It is a board that is visual so keep the words to a minimum. You want to visualize ‘your’ car,  house, spouse, vacation, etc on a daily basis. Don’t crowd it with pictures either, you need to be able to clearly see what you want so that you can visualize it.
In the first one the man put his face on the cover of a magazine, that is a Great idea! (As for the last one I’m more motivated by pictures of out of shape people than people in great shape. Buff bodies make me feel guilty and bad about myself. Out of shape is unappealing to me so it gives me more of a push to work out and eat right.)

Motivation and inspiration aren’t onetime deals; you read a book and you’re motivated and inspired for life. No sir. It’s a regular, daily part of life. Likewise, vision boards shouldn’t be your only visualization and self-motivation. You could put stickies up in your room/apartment/house, even if just on the bathroom mirror.  Use good visuals or sayings for your computer/phone/tablet screensaver or wallpaper as well.

That thing that you really want, close your eyes and imagine what it feels like to have it. Smell the new car smell, feel the steering wheel in your hands, the force of gravity as you step on the gas pedal and are pushed back into your seat. Visualize the layout of your new home, what each room looks like, how you’ve decorated them, the view out of the window from your favourite spot, what the backyard looks like. Feel what it’s like to have the partner of your dreams cooking dinner with you, walking beside you when you go for a walk, having deep, soulful conversations late into the night . Truly imagine how good it feels to have or own the things you really want. FEEL those things as if they’re already a part of your life. Hold onto those feelings and relive them Every Single Day!

That, my friends, is how you manifest things into your life.

 

 

To Be Thin…

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This image is from the transit ad for a book. We all strive to be ‘thin’. We do this because we’re told it’s fashionable and attractive. 150 years ago being thin meant you were poor, it wasn’t fashionable or attractive. To be heavier meant you could actually afford to eat.

A person is So much more than their body. But thanks to marketing, and society’s belief of what the marketing gods deem to be fashionable and attractive, we value and judge ourselves by our body, by our looks. This doesn’t just affect women, it affects men too. Young men and boys also suffer from body issues.

We need to start a new trend. Instead of striving to be ‘thin’ we need to strive to be happy. Happiness isn’t determined by your clothes, your job, what you drive or even If you drive, or where you live – whether you own your own home or just rent a room, or money. Money WILL NOT BUY YOU HAPPINESS. It won’t. Happiness is a frame of mind. Happiness is completely independent of anything material.

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Here’s the cool thing about changing your perspective from ‘I’ll be happy when I lose x pounds’ to ‘I’m happy, and hey, I’m losing weight! Cool!’ EVERYTHING becomes icing on the cake :-D I used to jog a couple of years ago and the interesting thing I noticed was that it quickly stopped feeling like exercise and started to become an outlet – to get rid of stress and have alone time. That release I got every night was reward enough, getting in better shape was just icing on the cake.

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When you are happy you just Glow! You are great to be around! People will want to hire you, to become your friend, to date you and marry you. Happiness will get you further than any ‘game’ or 6-step plan ever will. Happiness is genuine. If you strive to be thin instead of happy all it’s going to get you is….hungry ;-)

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