Around this time, Bart and I began attending a Life Coach training course.
A short 10 months after purchasing it, we sold our gorgeous condominium in Sausalito because now we had only one income. The “Dot Com” boom in nearby San Francisco created a hot real estate market and we received windfall profits. We moved an hour north to Petaluma having bought and restored a mobile home. My time was full making another a new home, beginning to coach more formally and recovering from the very traumatic ending of Mars Venus Institute. The Mars Venus story was a long story but was is not my story anymore.
Less than two months later Mars Venus Institute closed its doors. Now Bart had no job. Within days, a friend contacted Bart about a consulting job in Las Vegas. Bart and I were scared and confused. We had just spent 5 years with a regular income and being part of something. We were now without income. We had big profits from the sale of our condominium and did not know exactly what to do with them. We had some formal Life Coaching training but neither of us yet saw ourselves having what it took to get a coaching practice going. I never liked Las Vegas so moving there seemed almost impossible to conceive of. I could not see what to do next. Anxiety so clouded my thinking, I felt no connection to my intuition.
We moved to Las Vegas. My husband started a consulting job to develop and invent a toothbrush sterilizer. You've probably seen the infomercial on TV. I had a few coaching clients and was again getting us settled.
During a casual visit to the home of Bart’s boss, the owner of a multi-level marketing company, the topic of having written workshops for John Gray came up. His ears perked up, “Are you a writer?” I answered, “I guess so. Although I have never published anything.” He then asked, “I have some ideas about a book I’d like to be able to give my networkers about success. Would you like to write it?” I told him that I also had some had ideas on success and was not interested in ghostwriting. We came to an agreement. I was to be paid to write!
For many months, I worked on the book every day. Sometimes it took me two weeks to put together the right sentence. I began to build confidence in my creative abilities inch by inch. It was slow going but I was thrilled to be doing it and – wonder of wonders – very patient with myself.
After September 11th and my patron’s need to focus on his business, he discontinued his financial interest in the book project. Ultimately, I self-published my own ideas in Once Upon a Time There Was You: Three Magic Secrets to Finding Your Real Self.
About a half a year later, we were notified that an investment we had made with all of our money might be in jeopardy as a result of September 11th. I experienced moments of fear, however, it took many more months before all hope of ever recouping any of the money needed to be abandoned. The repercussions had been tremendous for everyone involved in this apparent scam. We had lost everything. Bart and I entered an otherworldly time of almost daily palpable fear.
Having decided I would rather be broke in Los Angeles with friends and family than broke and alone in Las Vegas, I traveled back and forth from Las Vegas to Los Angeles staying at a number of friends’ houses and trying to figure out how to get a life and a place to live in Los Angeles once again.
Then Bart’s consulting job ended. No jobs and no money. We were both overcome with contagious fear for many months. The tools acquired over all of these years did not seem to work anymore. For the first time in over 23 years, I begin to think it might be better to die than to live daily in fear. I saw no way out. I was 60. Bart was 68. Where would money come from? What kind of job could people of our age and talents hope to get?
In March of 2003, Bart and I were both in L.A. for the weekend. Usually, we reserved our limited time in L.A. for our closest friends and family exclusively. This time we had said “yes” to an invitation to watch a movie with some acquaintances on a big TV at a local hall. As soon as I walked up the stairs, I saw a woman who Bart had been coaching who asked, “Do you want my apartment in Santa Monica? I just decided to move back to Texas.” “Yes!” Once again, I did not know how we’d do this. I only knew we would. My intellect knew I was grateful for this magic but I could not quite feel it.
We moved into our apartment. Not only was this my old neighborhood, it was next door to one of my closest friends, it was several hundred dollars below market rates on the very expensive Westside of L.A. and - two of children also acquired apartments in the building within the year!
Bart and I continued to experience tremendous terror. All victims of catastrophes must feel like this – utterly at a loss. Being in our presence was probably like being with disaster survivors. In an attempt to begin to earn money, we started a multi-level marketing business that did not succeed. Later we realized it had its purpose. It helped us to have something to focus on, no matter what we did, the Universe believed me when I said, “I will never do work I don’t love any more.”
During this period, in a networking group I attended, one of the suggestions was to call other members encountered at meetings. I met another Life Coach who said something intriguing while introducing himself. I called him and he spent over an hour talking to me and then talking to Bart. The upshot of what he said was that if I took full responsibility for creating September 11th, my fear would disappear. I could not really understand what he meant or how I could do that, but because he generously spent so much time with us, the seemingly strange things he said stayed with me.
Sometime in October 2003, I began to investigate bankruptcy. I did not know who to call to ask questions. It seemed too daunting to call an attorney and then I remembered that Beth – remember Beth? - the woman I had befriended back when I was doing financial services in the ‘80’s - had gone bankrupt in her past. I called her.
When she called back, I told her what was happening with us and the most unexpected thing happened! She wanted to coach Bart and me every week – gratis! She wanted to assist us because I unknowingly helped her in our financial planning days. For 10 years, she had been providing spiritual coaching for friends, family and corporate executives in the financial services world and now she wanted to help us. Beth is a very special woman. She has overcome bankruptcy, has lost over 200 pounds, amongst other amazing life-changing events! She is loving, brilliant, insightful, psychic, grounded and totally on my wavelength. She began to teach us about how we created our lives the way they were and how we were fully responsible. She taught us many concepts and tools that helped us rise out of our pit of fear. With love, awareness and new tools, we slowly climbed back into the drivers’ seat of our lives.
Someone suggested that 70-year-old Bart might teach school. He had been an engineer with a background in Physics and Math. He was not old and he never saw himself as retiring. As the hold fear had on his mind collapsed, he was able to see himself trying something new.
In due course, he began teaching Physics at a Los Angeles inner-city high school.
I was coaching; I had created two websites; worked on a proposal for reality shows with Beth, her husband, Doug, Bart, and two other wonderful women, Agnes and Lori – the All-American Transformational Dream Team. However, mostly I had been writing this book. Although the grave financial losses felt almost insurmountable, we had our life and perspective back and we had learned on a very deep level how to create what we want - and what we are here for.
In September 2005 we calmly filed for bankruptcy. What had seemed an overwhelming impossibility in former years - the specter of which had in some ways run our lives - felt now like an appropriate option designed for people with circumstances like ours. I knew we would recover our balance and our finances. I knew we would own a home again. I knew we were fine. I knew we create our lives. I knew we created this whole situation for our learning – and our teaching others so that they could transform their lives also. I had never fully accepted my power – and now I must and I can.
Starting in November of 2014, my darling husband had a growth under his arm. He went through much pain as time went by and other very unpleasant experiences with the whole thing. He had accepted that someday we die. He was 80 and on August 25, 2015, he left this life as we know it. As I am writing this it is six weeks since that happened. I have gone through much on the emotional, physical and spiritual levels. I am learning how to be alone although when I am peaceful and centered, I'm very aware that he is with me. Someday I'll probably write more about this but for now, this is enough.
I've had much love and support since Bart transitioned. I have one friend, Beth Fortman-Brand, who has called and/or texted me every day since July 24, 2015, when Bart had a heart attack from blood loss. One of the YOU University coaches, April Julson, you can see on our website and writing here in YOU University called me every morning for four months and continues to call every other day at this time (2/19/16) to "have coffee" with me. I live in California. She lived in Missouri.
It is love that propels them to give me so much love. They have heard me cry, whine, be everything emotionally that one can be. As time goes by I am more stable and more able to be alone and loving myself and being comfortable with it.
My life is about my growth and continuing to become all that I can be and help my clients and coaches be and do the same. My "final" big issue is allowing me to receive financial abundance from the creativity and talent of my soul - to fully support myself in the style I want to which I want to become accustomed. So both April and Beth continue to support me in that direction by reminding me my worth and how to continue to "erase" old programming. I must be succeeding because an amazing thing has happened earlier this week.
April had told me about Periscope, a phone app created by Twitter that was used for social networking via video. I had put the app on my phone but didn't really get it. That day, a Monday, I had had one of the grief dips that happen periodically whenever they feel like it and I was coming out of it and decided to lie down for a little bit. I took my trusty phone with me and the impulse to look at Periscope entered me. I opened it and decided to record to see what happens. I started talking about how I felt and it made me cry. I turned off the recording and put my phone away. Later that day this is what I discovered. Chalene Johnson, "Life Changer | Motivational Speaker | Author | Fit Life Professional...", who is the queen of Periscope saw my video, featured it because of its authenticity and told people to follow me. Tuesday and Wednesday I was trending on Periscope and today, Friday, I had over 20,000 followers and over 300,000 hearts. My journaling community was bustling, I have a gazillion new Facebook friends and likes on my page and another of my coaches, Gina Bendel, is arriving tomorrow (we've never met in person and have worked together for 5 years!) and both of us are going to Chalene's Smart Success event which just so happens is nearby and in only two weeks.