“We had most of our money invested with Bernie Madoff,” a friend recently said. Rather than be stuck in anger or blame, my friend had never looked more alive, as he worked to make the best of a difficult situation and grow from it.
Isn’t it marvelous to have friends like this! Rather than moan and grown about how awful it is, they talk about how the current financial mess can be a catalyst to something better — like better discernment tools for investing in what is honest and really matters to us.
Meister Eckhart’s prayer, “If the only prayer you can say is ‘thank you,’ that is enough” gets quoted a lot in hard times.
Maybe the only honest thanks at first are “thanks for the clarity about what is painful in my life!” That prayer can easily turn to “thanks for the knowledge that I’m not alone,” which can lead to “thanks for all the role models who have transcended something awful and now glow with new life.”
Recently, inspirational speaker and author Matt Weinstein created a brilliant video telling how he was on vacation in Antarctica when his wife, author Geneen Roth, called to say that Bernie Madoff — with whom they had invested their life savings– had been arrested. Unable to get home until the scheduled trip was over, Weinstein had to work out his anger among new friends, a stunning landscape, and penguins on whom he could easily project the face of Madoff.
Then Weinstein recalled the great Greek stoic philosopher, Epictetus (55-135 C.E.), who taught that happiness can only be found by ceasing worry about things we can’t control and celebrating what we can do.
Even if you’ve never had investments that have gone south or been stolen, check out Weinstein’s insights on what Madoff (or anyone else) can never take away.
What values can never be taken away from you?
How can the eternal value that flows through you help you meet your own money, work or other challenges gracefully? As always, many blessings. Your comments are welcome, and please come back again real soon.
Pat McHenry Sullivan copyright 2009