Table of Contents

Homeless

Go ahead and do it. The tale of momentary homelessness I'm about to tell was the culmination of a 2½ year psychological breakdown I went through, from the fall of 2018 till February 2021, when I moved into my new home. I finally have enough distance on this breakdown to see it in the context of my whole life, and to see why it was necessary. In February 2006 I had my come to Jesus moment, and for the next twelve years I immersed myself in remedial work: eliminating my bad habits and giving my body the time it needed to recover from the damage they caused. My recovery went well, but I still had two hurdles to get over before I could begin the work of making progress with love: my delusion that living in a household with other people was right for me, and my drug-dependent mindset. Both required heavy psychological stress to overcome. So with Leela's help and encouragement, I had a breakdown. Coming to terms with my drug-dependent mindset is the theme of my story about cannabis. My yearlong cannabis glut destroyed my self confidence, ripping me open so something new could get in. Just two weeks before my glut's denouement I got slapped with an anxiety bomb: the landlord of the little room I'd been renting for eleven years gave me a vague eviction notice: he was planning to sell the house within the next year or so. The stage is set (there are more details below); on with the tale.

The universe will take care of me. I became homeless for a very brief period in 2021. That was a mistake I needed to make, an opportunity to overcome some particularly deluded magical thinking I had talked myself into. The house was being sold and I had to find a new place to live. I had to move out by the end of January. Spicing the stew, my car battery had died and I had a flat tire from a slow leak because I didn't drive my car during the Covid lockdown. I could walk to the store for groceries and I had nowhere else to go in the lockdown, aside from long lonely walks. I dreaded moving out. The rent had been dirt cheap, and I knew I could never find another deal like that. Leela played on my stinginess to teach me a crucial lesson. She encouraged me as I concocted an elaborate fantasy based on a key element of my inner work: surrender to my own internal authority. To pass the test I had to stand strong and trust, steadfastly refusing to take any step toward finding a new place to live or even getting my car fixed. In my fantasy someone would rescue me, fixing my car and giving me a place to live. Besides being patently cuckoo, this fantasy fails the due diligence test: I have to use my conscious gifts as well as I possibly can to address whatever's in front of me. If I do my part, Leela will guide the actions I take to the right outcome. I obviously needed to get off my ass and begin a serious search for a new place to live. But even thinking about that brought up a tangle of internal obstacles. One the one hand I refused to consider living alone because I believed that living in a household was the right thing for me. But on the other, everything was still pretty much locked down for Covid, so moving into a household with strangers was a nightmare. It was also a terrifying prospect: living with strangers sounded just awful. Whenever I would start to consider getting a place of my own I'd run into money fears. I had a deeply held belief that I needed to leave my savings untouched so I wouldn't run out of money when I got old. I felt like I had no place to turn, no good options at all. So I just kept putting off doing anything, hoping for a miracle. Leela helped me befuddle myself good and truly so I'd be forced to solve my housing crisis, overcoming those prejudices along the way. It was an extraordinary opportunity for making progress with love.

Hypothermia. Despite mounting pressure from the landlord and intense anxiety, I made no effort to find a new home. The end of January came and the realtor had people in staging the house to sell it. I begged the landlord for a few more days, but he needed me out. I squatted in his house the first three nights of February. The landlord finally locked me out and I withdrew to my car. After two miserable nights in my car, part of the fantasy came true. A friend saw my plight and paid to have my car fixed. But I still had nowhere to go, and I knew I couldn't handle another night in my car. The first night I started feeling hypothermic in the wee hours; my down sleeping bag wasn't keeping me warm. I had to get out into the cold drizzle and walk fast for half an hour to pull myself out of hypothermia. The second night I had to do that twice. I couldn't feel it at the time, but my legs were beginning to get damaged by the cold, damage that would take weeks to heal once I got back into a warm place. I gave up all hope of rescue and drove to a cheap motel to spend the night.

Alone. That cheap motel felt like heaven after being homeless. But I still wasn't out of the water. I was still suffering from magical thinking. I didn't know what to do next. I stayed in the cheap motel for six nights. Over that time I rounded the bend from living in a fantasy to doing what I needed to do for myself. I found an apartment and moved in. Living alone, which I had so dreaded, is fabulous. It's exactly what I need. One core lesson among several: voluntary homelessness is an abdication of privilege. It was a bone chilling lesson in more ways than one.

Setting the stage. Now I can see the circumstances that conspired to make me homeless beginning years before. I suspect they go back much further than what I can see. Leela sees all the possible branching outcomes from 5-space, a perspective outside time. If I surrender and let myself be guided, Leela will lead me to the right outcome, the one that results in the most progress with love. I needed that experience of homelessness for a number of reasons, and Leela took great care to make sure I got it. I left my failed marriage in 2008, moving into a small rented room. A year later I got laid off from the well paid professional job I'd worked for ten years. I freaked out about the loss of income, but when I calmed back down I had a plan: to live frugally. I had a small irregular income from Waltz etcetera. I learned to live within those means. I got very good at living well off a little bit of money. My income was well below the US poverty level. It was a wonderful lesson. I learned a lot about what matters and what doesn't. But in the process I developed an unhealthy relationship with money. I took great care not to dip into my savings, and my savings became a sacred cow. I unconsciously believed my savings were like blood I couldn't afford to spill. Only moreso because my body can make more blood. That set the stage for the loss of my home. In 2018 it became clear the house I was living in was no longer a good fit for the owner. He needed to live in a house without stairs. So he began planning to sell the house sometime in the next few years. I didn't realize it at the time but when he told me that I lost the sense of security home is supposed to give. All through 2019 my anxiety about my living situation slowly built. In December I had my wakeup call, which launched me into a full blown panic attack. Then in January 2020 I broke up with Ruth. That devastated me even more profoundly. A month or so later the pandemic arrived, depriving me of dance. Just when I thought things couldn't get worse. All of that set the stage for my final descent into homelessness in February 2021.

A hundred. There's a teaching in many traditions that if I take one step toward god, god takes a hundred toward me. The one step I had to take was to find a place to live. The thing I'd been steadfastly refusing to do. With Leela's blessing. Leela's like that sometimes. Making me make just the right mistake so I can get the wisdom I need. Being homeless for two nights gave me a treasure beyond compare. It made me learn about homelessness and privilege down deep in my guts. It's a lesson that can't be learned without being homeless. It can't be learned experimentally and it can't be faked. I had to be genuinely homeless for a moment. I had to see the undisguised contempt in a former friend's face before I got it. Since I took that step my life has been richly blessed. I'm in a new home, my own home.