Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Red Tide of Debt

It's time to consider what debt does to us.

The hardship of paying unusually high interest rates may make you sick, damage your relationship with your spouse and, if allowed to go untreated, may mean foreclosure, bankruptcy and/or homelessness.

To put it simply, the tears have still not dried on my eyes, even though it's only been a year since I got out of debt, closed my accounts, torn up my credit cards and vowed never to use any unsecured debt. Still, the fear exists that there's not enough love, not enough money, not enough food, not enough work. After long and painful years communicating with creditors, seeing added penalties, late charges and extremely high interest rates, the stress just grew. Money does have an energy all its own. But it builds muscle when we give it power over our lives. Much like the red tide that washes over the shoreline, killing fish, birds and marine mammals, the red ink of debt can annihilate us.

But there are things we can do while we are slowly getting out of debt. And one such way is to do just that: GET OUT OF DEBT S-L-O-W-L-Y. The reason for this is simple. Well beneath the pyramid of debt lies the truth. We have overshopped or underearned because it felt good and for the time being we needed something outside ourselves to make us feel good. The inside wasn't feeling so hot.

It's one thing to get out of debt by filing bankruptcy. But that usually ends up being just another quick fix. So is credit counseling which builds another debt as they charge exorbitant fees. And, before you know it, you're back doing what you've always done. By paying down the debt slowly, you will hopefully take a look at why you've allowed this to happen on a deeper level. Once armed with this new information, you'll be getting out of debt sooner. There's more to it than just the numbers.

So how do we know what it is and how to stop it from happening again?

You may consider seeing a therapist to pick up the missed stitches of your life. Your perspective on money may be skewed. Do you see it as evil? Are the rich seen as merely bourgeois and greedy? You may have had parents who fought about money all the time. There are plenty of reasons why you've gotten yourself into debt. And there could be reasons that are not of your doing.

Money as rocks? Beads and shells? Money as barter for time and services? As paper or precious metals? Money can be symbolic of a lot of things in other cultures. But the one culture that counts is you. How do you see it? Do you see it flowing away from you. Or is it the steady stream of Niagra Falls, always more where it came from? There are many questions to ask ourselves to help get rid of the poverty consciousness, or, conversely, the consciousness of entitlement we may still hold onto.

The economy, through its upturns and downturns, may be an excuse for why you're in the straits you're in. But in the worst of times I made more money than I ever did in the best of economic times. So it's really not about the economy. Straight up, whatever got you into debt can be turned around in no time at all.

It isn't voodoo. You can still get out of debt.

"Money is spiritual" ~ Anonymous

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