Why you need to live life to the fullest to find out what money means to you
Imagine a pawnshop for life experiences. You need cash, bring your life lesson and now you can pay your debt. You won’t get back that specific life experience you traded. Would you do it?
You probably have memories and experiences that are priceless, would you trade them for a million?
Let’s put it this way. When you are lost in the desert and you can choose between a kilo of gold and a litre of water: which do you choose?
I guess your choice is water.
Money is relative in certain circumstances and many life experiences can’t be expressed in money. On the other hand, when your life is full of rich experiences, that doesn’t automatically mean your bank account is full too.
My experience in life is that in order to have many enriching life experiences, I needed to let go of my bag of money. The stuff I accumulated over the years.
Life is a bunch of circumstances that makes you let go of things that become too heavy to enjoy a light travel.
I am now 53 and when I look back at my life I see myself accumulating stuff, experiences, money, and friends in the first part up ’til 40. The last 13 years have all been about the often painful process of letting go of exactly the same things I did so much work and effort to assemble. Happily, my life lessons remained. They are my true gold.
“So what’s the point?” I hear you ask.
Wait, there is more to it. Already at a young age, I had experiences that made me question everything. Still, I needed to be in the money game and become successful.
These life experiences and lessons made me discover the real value of money.
When death happens early to you, it will mark you for the rest of your life. I don’t mean your specific death since it would be game over. No, the death of a dear close family or a beloved one.
I lost my mother from cancer when I was 31 after a process of 15 years. It told me so much about life. It cleared most of the unhealthy patterns we had in our family.
Death is the only profound experience that can teach you what life is really all about.
It was a process of purification and looking to the existential stuff out there. No more time for bullshit when you have a few days more to live.
This intensity before a loved one dies, that sacred space of heart connection and being human is an amazing gift. My mother gave me that gift: to feel life deeper and more sacred than ever before
After these experiences I still wanted to succeed in my work, make good money and build my reputation. The presence of death, however, had given me the assurance that it can fall away one day.
Everything you have built up your entire life can fall away in an instant and death taught me that what you will find in that space of loss is priceless.
It made me less afraid to lose everything because I knew it would not be the end of it. Merely a beginning.
I wasn’t afraid to lose everything since I had experienced that life is the biggest gift and losing is not the end but more often the beginning of unexpected journeys.
I took this quite literally.
After my mother died I got introduced to the world of casinos and gambling through a friend and I start practising losing everything. I did lose everything, many times.
Life had hit me hard. I closed my heart to avoid more pain. Sadly this way I isolated myself from real love and nurturing relationships.
Gambling became a substitute, a place where dopamine kept me alive when all I needed was allowing myself to open my heart again. But I couldn’t.
The heart has its own mysterious ways and there is beauty and grace in suffering too.
Some I drank seven whiskeys at home, walked to the casino, lost thousands of bucks, but felt alive. The next morning was a different experience, more like an elephant of guilt, blame and shame stamping on my head.
When you are standing with your back against your empty bank account, you start to appreciate the things you always took for granted.
Real friendship, family, your health, the fact that you have a job…
I won once in a while too. In the drunk aftermath, it was not unusual to visit a hooker or call a girl. Yes, that one, the one you call.
A lonely attempt to get my heart filled when my glass, heart, and wallet was empty.
It took me about 10 years, I lost about $100.000, and had a lot of dollar coaster moments in the casino that I never will forget. From people desperately asking me if I wanted to buy their wallet five minutes before closing to $500 sticking out of the ATM machine inside the casino, people had forgotten to take the money with them. The Chinese or Russian mob playing $100k at the time without blinking an eye.
Everybody that gambles has their reason and their pain. I never forget the conspiring atmosphere between the green tables, the buzzing of the wins and loses against all odds and hope dying out like the smoke of a cigarette on a wet street at the outskirts of life.
It taught me the essence of money.
Money is life energy, it is love, it is everything and nothing and you will always get some more even when you just lost everything.
But you do need to work for it. A casino is no shortcut to money neither to real life. It takes both away from you.
I finally managed to open my heart again after countless relationships with the most beautiful women on earth whom I met through my passion: the Argentinian Tango.
There was potential true love in there, and I always gave my all. But that didn’t make me attach completely to these artsy, crazy, wonderful creatures. I believed I attracted the women that had the same problem, often the same pain. They stayed at a distance even when our bodies would press hard against each other in a firm embrace on the dance floor of life.
They would angle me in with their sensual amazing bodies and let me play around for a while.
And then, all of a sudden they would throw me out, drown me in their undercurrents of toxic purple rain, their pain, the unresolved trauma’s. We would mutually drown in drama, waving at each other from a sinking titanic, our love hitting the iceberg of our cold hearts.
Yes, it was passionate, it was sensual and sexual, but it was still not nurturing.
Until I was ready. Until I did the work, released the pain, opened my heart really and fully. Only then I was ready to meet my real-life partner.
My soul mate, my friend till the end. The wise counterpart that forgave me my sins even before I would make them. I can tell you, unconditional love beats them all. It makes you forgive yourself, it makes you not make a mistake because you don’t need that pattern anymore to kick yourself in the balls later.
It made me let go of my shame, blame and guilt play. She is the perfect mirror and she made me grow beyond I could ever imagine.
She made me realize forever and ever that love, real love always beats money. The real love in your heart. Money can cover up the lack of your connection to that love. Money can cover up that dark hole of pain cut in your soul.
The more you are able to fill that black hole of the absence of love in your life, the less and less important money will become for you.
This blog was originally posted on Medium, read it here >>