Even though he never possessed a credit card, William Blake, the English 18th Century painter, poet and visionary, famously wrote “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” But sadly not always.
Relationships aren’t just about people. Your relationship with money is paramount, as money is often a major component of relationship breakdown, including financial disparity between partners, mentioned in previous blogs. There is a lot of new age waffle in many self-help books, without practical support, but the concept of abundance and its reverse – scarcity consciousness, is a valuable study to partake. Despite stereotype, every gay man doesn’t go to the gym, have natural decorating skills or have disposable income. On trips to India, for example, I have met a wide range of people, from high-end gays in Mumbai, owning apartment blocks, to young gay men living at home in third world conditions, who can’t afford a coke, let alone do a line of it. The jury is out on who is happier. Money can provide security of sorts, but like that line, it is temporary and can fuel the need for more, more and still not enough. It’s not a large poll, but I found those guys up and down the financial scale in India, knee deep in gratitude and simplicity. It may have been great to be shown around silent streets of Mumbai at midnight in a swish car, but the gay guy driving only spoke of excess without wisdom of perspective. First world gays are not always a vision of functionality when it comes to role models or examples to follow.
Cashpoint concussion is when you go to the cashpoint and no money comes out, because unconsciousness has become the master, and resentment its sidekick. Credit card concussion occurs in a more publicly shaming situation – a shop, petrol station or restaurant when your CC is refused because you are over the limit. Both these avenues of financial support, support consciousness in operation, not unconsciousness in application. So it’s wise to check statements every week.
Perhaps then, it’s better to learn to know at ‘any one time’ HOW MUCH YOU HOLD in your bank account or CC card, thus avoiding future self-flagellation or guilt? Trust me, living within means doesn’t sound a barrel of laughs, but then nor do court judgements or scarpering into ‘not known at this address’ escape routes. Peer pressure and competitiveness occur whatever your financial strata, but an Indian gay guy in Goa only knows what he has in his pocket and stays within limits. He has no other choice, but it pays off in terms of inner peace. First world gays demand more in the palace of excess, not wisdom. I learnt the hard way going bankrupt for five years with no credit. After years of reckless behaviour I cleaned up my drug use and faced the demons of 15 credit cards and five overdrawn bank accounts. Like my using, I never did things by halves, but that was over 25 years ago. If a hopeless junkie, as I was, can turn around – so can you, with less weight above your belt. It just takes courage, awareness and practical application. I learnt my lesson of excess, bouncing into a world of wisdom based on current consciousness and coming out of the coma of delusion.
The palace of wisdom only occurs if you wake up and learn from past experience. It doesn’t come from a self-help book, though they are useful in forming a foundation to whether you reside in scarcity or prosperity – and I don’t mean money, the wealthiest people are often poor. Living in emotional and financial balance is essential in maintaining harmony. One is well aware in the West particularly, that retail shopping consumption has become an epidemic, if not the only hobby for many. It’s just another quick fix drug of choice. So consider taking time out to look at your bank statements, your credit card bills and your debts to observe the reality of chaos living or living in harmony. Which is it? Maybe your drug use, including alcohol, is a better friend than what is before you in the shape of monthly demands on paper. Consider a financial diet by ‘fasting’ once a week, skimming what you usually spend if funds are dire. Maybe spend a bit more on yourself if flush.
Hoarding money as a drug is equally counter-productive when living in a mindset of ‘never enough’ and often comes from a family base of scarcity and make do. Published in the 80s (but still available in updated form) is a little pocket tome of discovery called “MONEY IS MY FRIEND.” It has been my trusted companion in and out of financial disarray. It’s a New Age precursor of the current “Laws of Prosperity” movement running through Amazon at this time of world austerity. Take the bits that gel and ignore the bits that don’t. Easy.
Avoid being deceived by appearance. People think that double income two-car gays don’t do debt. They do, and many end up like I did, losing everything. Debtors Anonymous may help. They hold online meetings and it’s an avenue to explore if these things trouble you. As I said in my last blog, support is out there. If shame is a governing factor, try sharing with someone you trust first. Don’t maintain the secret, it leads to all manner of destruction. Depression, chems, bar bills and hiding bills in drawers are common warning signs, so learn to respect money, not trash it, for in the end you trash yourself. Making a friend of money creates conscious thoughtful spending, saving more and a decent balance sheet. So start that weekly meeting with yourself and THINK before you spend unconsciously. Inner prosperity is the result.