Physical Immortality and Living
Peace of Mind
You can look at me and say, "he does well, he has a business", but it wasn't always that way. This is important, because in saying that, you could exclude yourself. We can look at a person who's gotten somewhere that we haven't gotten, and we can think they were always there in some way. But it's not true. You're not there till you're there.
And you can get so involved in the day-to-day, you can be so tactical - what am I going to do this half hour, or what am I going to do about this job, or this phone call - that you don't even really realize the whole story.
In seven years I have completely created a financial life that I didn't have at all before. I say seven years, but really it's spontaneous generation.
It's a matter of a person who was not moving, not creating, not spending, not experiencing, not flowing, becoming a person who is moving, is earning, is spending and is flowing. It's inspiring to know that you can create in areas you've never created before. You can create money at levels you've never created before. You don't just have to go on experience. You don't just have to go on the past. We can really go on each other.
Seven years ago I had nothing going on financially. I had the burden of an artist, the distraction of an artist, the escape of an artist. I was an artist at not escaping, which a lot of artists are. That's when I started getting down to really confronting earning a living.
Earning a living is having a living - having a living right now. So I decided I'd be a copywriter but didn't know how to do this. I apprenticed with another copywriter for a little while, and started learning how to do it, but I was soon totally out on my own. I made mistakes on the job - I had no other way to learn what I was doing. I burned clients. I just got out there. I did the right thing, I kept them - I did the wrong thing, I lost them. That's how I learned.
It's a strange experience to be completely out of your comfort zone and yet know that that's right for you - and have no way to go back. I always had no way to go back. Even though I didn't really know how to be a copywriter, and the easier thing would have been to just go to an agency and get a job there and learn the ropes, the salaries were so low that I realized I could get out and hustle the work. At least work my own business and make as much or more than what they would pay a beginning writer.
I didn't understand how much I could charge for my work. I understood how much to charge for my work based on my clients. I started having to pick up on the fact that I wasn't charging enough.
I had extreme fear a lot of the time. I had extreme anxiety. I would have a feeling of choking. I would have a feeling in my chest of just shutting down. At that time I thought having those fears meant that there was something to be afraid of. I didn't understand that having those things is to let go of them.
I'd never really experienced letting go to that point. It took me a long time. I just went along with it for a long time before I really started, like Jim says, to turn around and attack it. To give to a different feeling and really give to a letting go like I never had before.
I think that I had created a life, up to that point, that would insulate me from having to experience those anxieties. I didn't know it at the time, but I think, sub-consciously, I knew I had all those fears and all those insecurities, and I tried to accommodate them - and you never really can. I got a lot of great input. I got a lot of great input from Bernie and Jim, and at some point I understood I could take them on, even in the face of what I was feeling.
It's important to talk about these things because if you feel that having those fears means you're supposed to stop, or that you're doing something wrong, then it's really a shame because it doesn't mean that. There's a tightening of the body that's wrong for us. It's wrong for us in any circumstances. It's just a death response and we need something more than ourselves to get beyond it. We need all of ourselves - we need ourself totally and we need other people.
Then I started to have a flow, and I thought, "this is a flow". But it turned out it wasn't a flow - it was just one client who really liked me. So, then that flow seemed to stop and all the emotions came up all over again, and all the questions. It took me a long time to realize how many contacts I needed in my business to really have a business. I realized that that was really it.
I had all these questions - can I do it; can I not do it; am I up to it - and it really had nothing to do with that. It had to with these physical things like: How many clients do you have? How much work do they give you? and, How much money do you make for the work that they give you?
I got to the point where I could enjoy making twenty or thirty phone calls a day. I could just enjoy it. I almost felt like I was acting. I just put on this character and the outcome didn't even matter to me. I was just putting myself out there. Eventually I started making money. I don't really know how I did it those first couple of years - but I had you.
I started making money and then three years ago I started making a pretty good income. This grew in 2001 and then in 2002 it went down again. It was weird. My money went down but I started having a different feeling. I felt progressive in it.
You can't just react to how you're doing in any one given month. You can't get down on yourself, because there are bigger things at work. You want bigger things to be at work, and you want to abandon yourself to bigger things being at work. You want to keep track of what you're bringing in and what you're putting out, but you don't want your body to be controlled. You don't want the feeling of your body to be controlled by any one thing that's happening in any one month. This year, as of July, I've already made the most that I've made in a year - and there's 5 months to go - and I have about 3 months income saved.
What I feel is that I had to completely replace my money-making nervous system. I feel I did it with yours Bernie.
I would have night-sweats, I was miserable. Not that my whole life was miserable, but there were miserable feelings that I was having. It's fine if you're having an easy time, that's great, keep having an easy time. If you're not having an easy time, it's not the end of anything.
I had a really big breakthrough. I felt like there was a certain amount of money that I was supposed to be able to live on, and that if I couldn't live well on five thousand dollars a month, there was something wrong with me. I could feel this in my arms, like chains, like manacles, just squeezing off the flow - and I was always at or below, at or below. I just had to get to the point where I said, "shit, it's not enough - there's no extra!"
I now work with this one advertising agency. They pay me very well, they treat me very well and there's a great level of respect. I have more fun with them than I've had with other clients and I've written what is going to be the foundation of a really good novel at the same time. That's the thing I could never grasp. I always had one against the other in my body. I couldn't get busy with business, I couldn't be invested with business, or I wouldn't be able to move forward with the other - and it's not true.
You know what struggling artists do most of the time? They struggle about money.
It's a lot easier to make money. But there's no peace of mind for me - that money in the bank is no peace of mind for me. The peace of mind is knowing that you're my life. That's the peace of mind. That's the only thing that allows me to relax in a way to really be creative. To really be sharp with people, to really have the right tone of voice with them, the right body language, the right relaxation. That's the release - knowing that you're my life and I cannot lose you.
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