Tag Archives: wealth habits

Samurai Reserves: Money Moves


Building your financial reserves is also about cultivating your samurai mind.

Building your financial reserves is also about cultivating your samurai mind.

If you’ve been following my blog recently, you know that I am taking a course called Build Your Personal Foundation through CoachU.   I am currently on a unit about building your “reserves.”   According to the guide book “the more our needs are handled the more we can stretch and grow.”   The course emphasizes building reserves in 10 areas including:  time, space, money, energy, love, information, wisdom, self, and integrity.

Just beginning to read this chapter made me turn to my internet banking account.   It’s been about ten years that I learned from Phil Laut that it is really important to have multiple savings accounts.   I use different savings accounts not only to keep my financial resources focused, but more importantly as a way to train my brain to think about myself and my potential.

The Building Your Personal Foundation course explains, “part of you is so focused on survival that there isn’t time to stretch and move and say no.”  Creating savings accounts in different areas, even if you only add small amounts, is a way to send your brain a message that you are creating room in these areas.  Having an internet account like the one I have at capitalone360.com (no plug intended – do your research) allows me to create accounts and nickname them for different purposes.  I have many accounts including:  cash flow, business development, clothing, apartment, classes, financial independence, freedom days, large purchase, and impulse.

I’ve explained the purpose of multiple savings accounts elsewhere.   Each account serves a different purpose and not only let’s me save money, but it also helps me energize different areas and projects in my life.   However, I have automated most of these savings so they happen on a regular basis without me expending my time and effort.  However, reading the article on reserves made me realize that I should also openly think about where I am putting my resources instead of going on auto-pilot.

So the other I put $20 in four accounts–not only to save money but also to put a mental bookmark on projects and processes that I want to make happen.  “Business Development” is to invest in making a better blog or increasing my skill set.   “New Apartment” is for our future three bedroom or townhouse.   “Financial Independence”  is an account that Phil Laut recommended for training yourself to live off investment interest.   Last month I made a whopping $.15 in this account, but I think the big pay off is that it opens you up to the possibility of becoming someone who can live off of investment income.

The last account I invested in was the “Freedom Days” account.  This is an account that I can use for thinking about creating days, months, or years where I won’t have to work.  Part of the energy behind this account is fighting the “part of you [that] is so focused on survival that there isn’t time to stretch and move and say no.”   By saying no you can say yes to bigger things to life.

I think I will be moving my money a little bit more consciously in the future.   Even if I only have a dollar to spare, doling it out in actual accounts seems like a powerful way to think to think about and energize projects and priorities.

Build your reserves.  Stretch and grow.  Act small.  Think big.

Other articles about keeping money in balance:


Money Buckets Samurai

Energy flows.  Life flows.  Money flows.  In the end everything goes back to the source. In the meantime, flourish from the flow with the bucket strategy.

Energy flows. Life flows. Money flows. In the end everything goes back to the source. In the meantime, flourish from the flow with the bucket strategy.

One of the best things that I’ve done to impact my creativity and productivity is to get my financial life straight.    I’m not independently wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but soon I will be down to no debt and am accumulating a modest amount in a retirement savings account.  I am a money buckets samurai.  I have multiple savings accounts for different purposes.  Having that system, catching that flow,   has helped me get clearer and more creative in other areas of my life.

There is the retirement bucket.  Steve Chandler in his book 100 Ways to Create Wealth suggests having a boring, automatic saving system along side to your more ambitious service and wealth producing ideas.  Though I never want to depend on money for my sense of security, there are times when I look at that slowly growing sum and think, “if something happens I could survive for a few years on that if something happens.”  Obviously, this is fear-based thinking and it is not advisable to touch your retirement account, but when my mind goes on fear, this account is one strategy to deal with it.

Phil Laut, author of Money is My Friend, introduced me to the concept of multiple savings accounts.  He explained that one of the reasons that it can be hard to save money is because people keep it all in one savings account.  For many people it can become a mental juggling act to remember the purpose for that money.   What I found revolutionary about Laut’s ideas about is that by having different accounts, you are also training your mind how to think about money.   Money buckets for the samurai mind.   Here is what Phil suggested:

You don't need to wait until you are financially solvent to sustain life around you. (In fact you might become more financially balanced if you focus on contribution and connection.)  However, the point of mind, body, wallet is also to be a vessel that overflows.

When I began to get control of my finances I was inspired to lead “Mind Body Wallet” workshops not as a financial expert but more of like cheerleader to encourage people to create better “vessels” for their financial and creative energy. B-U-C-K-E-T!

  • Cash Flow Savings Account:  this is an account where all your earnings go and where you pay yourself out from.  Laut suggests keeping a months earnings in this account and “paying yourself” from this account.  “The practice of spending last month’s income this month removes you from hope about money.”
  • Large Purchases Savings Account:  this is an account where you have the freedom to withdraw from it to save for and buy whatever you want.
  • Financial Independence Account:  you deposit money here and only withdraw the interest.   You are training your brain to think in terms of financial independence.
  • Millionaire Savings Account:  here you are training your mind (and your finances) to be prepared for making investments.
  • Annual Income Savings Account:  in this account you save to take a year off of work, and to benefit from the creative energy that would bring to your life and work.  Laut suggests building up to take a day off, a week off, etc.  I haven’t tried this one but it sounds fun.
  • Generosity Savings Account:  this is an account where you practice giving it away.  Laut writes, “You will find that generosity will enable you to let go of your desire to control others and will increase your ability to express your love freely, instead of looking for something in return.”  I like the act of just giving back to a world that has already given me so much.  I love giving to public libraries.

Luckily, having multiple savings accounts is a lot easier than when I first started.   Capital One 360 (formerly IngDirect) makes it easy to create and nickname different accounts and make deposits through the internets.   Interest rates, of course, are way lower so you would have to investigate different kinds of financial buckets beyond savings accounts.  But the key thing here is training your little ole samurai mind to catch your flow, financially and creatively.  Bucket!

Samurai Mind on My Money Hack

With my mind on my money and my money on my mind. ……Snoop Dog

I don’t want to get all new age-y on you, but in a lot of ways money is energy.   You, or in the case of stocks etc, or somebody else did something for that money.  You could honor that energy or just throw your money away.  (Call me, and I will be downwind from you.  I will be the goofy guy with the butterfly net and the suit made out of fly paper. 🙂

Iknow.jp hooks me in with fun sentences and little pavlovian rewards for meeting learning goals.  It's a little mechanistic so I listen to Japanese youtube and limit using this web service to about five minutes a day.

Iknow.jp hooks me in with audio sentences and little pavlovian rewards for meeting learning goals. It’s a little mechanistic so I listen to Japanese youtube while I am using it and limit using this web service to about five minutes a day.

One of the ways I like to honor money is to use it to trick my mind to learn more.  Money can function like a timer, turning learning into a game.   See how much learning you can get with your money.  I remember in the old video arcade days that one of the advantages of getting skills was that you actually spent less money.  See how much you can get out of a service or product by keeping it in “play.”  I try to “make contact” with products and services that I’ve purchased to help me learn:

  • Iknow.jp:   hundreds of sentences read by native Japanese speakers.   The service can be come hypnotic/robotic so I only try to make a “target” of 30 minutes a week.
  • japanesepod101.com:   now that I have more language under my belt, I am appreciating the grammar and cultural explanations.  I switch between yojijukugo, beginner, video, lower intermediate, upper intermediate, and cultural lessons.  I listen on my way to work and switch to Japanese music or podcasts when I am done.
  • silverspoon/neutrino:   I am done with this but it was one of the most expensive pay by month services.   But it was kind of like going to a trainer who changes the way you think about exercise.  It seems expensive but the benefit, if you “play” it right lasts long.
  • jamplay.com:   this is a guitar learning website.   I like the teachers and the tracking tools so much I’ve put a link to it on the right.  However, as the time to renew (and pay) approached at New Year’s I beat myself up for not keeping up with it.  (Note:  don’t beat yourself up.  It hurts you more than you.)  I recently came across a whole stash of Julia Cameron quotes from back when I was “doing” The Artists Way book.  This is a gem:

Instead of thinking about conquering an art form, think instead of kissing it hello, wooing it, exploring it in small steps…sit down at the piano and touch the keys.  Five minutes a day is better than no minutes a day.

One of the nice advantages of paid learning services are tracking tools.  I was a lot more active on jamplay before and am easing back into playing. Part of the mental trick of practice is moving "the bars" of progress a little bit.  I do it with jpod, too.  I don't think of mastering the language but just moving the bars forward.

One of the nice advantages of paid learning services are tracking tools. I was a lot more active on jamplay before and am easing back into playing. Part of the mental trick of practice is moving “the bars” of progress a little bit. I do it with jpod, too. I don’t think of mastering the language but just moving the bars forward.

  • books:  get thousands of dollars of value out of books.  How?  First, enjoy the heck out of them.   (Check out ajatt’s article “If Your Played Songs The Way You Read, You Would Hate Music.“)Go to the parts that you like.  Skip around.  Read the book that you really liked again and again.  Read it backwards.  Read it fast. Read it slow.  Put the juicest parts in your samurai notebook.


Money is just a like the boundaries of a game.  Limits can frustrate you or they can force you to be creative and really play.   Become a pinball wizard.  Bend it like Beckham.  [insert sports or game metaphor here].  Put on some good tunes while you’re “doing it.”  Enjoy!


Read This Fast!: Samurai “Speed Reading”

Well, I finally finished reading, 情報が10倍になるNLP速読術 BY Naoya Matsushima.  (soy sauce translation: Get Ten Times More Information Through the NLP Speed Reading Method.)  Since the book is about speed reading, I had to read it fast.   I probably only understood about 40% of its real essence, but the book seemed to offer a mix of novel and common sense advice for

These days I’m always ready to read. As a busy dad and teacher, I don’t have a lot of discretionary time, but if I keep my “man bag” ready with good stuff I can read. I’m trying to learn Japanese. Here are the NLP speed reading book and Japion a free weekly newspaper for the Japanese community in New York.

reading more effectively.  Here are some of the key points I remember:

  • when you prepare to read, get yourself into a good state–imagining a pleasant memory totally unrelated to reading
  • check and fix your breathing, posture, and mental state before and while you read–Matsushima offers some NLP exercises but I didn’t understand the finer points of how to do that
  • really pre-read a book and do it with gusto–look at the front and back cover, preface, conclusion, and the table of contents
  • ask you look at the front and back matter, really think to yourself, “What do I want to get out of this?”
  • practice relaxedly scanning each page—begin this with books you really want to read
  • be ready to switch techniques at any point

If you are already a reader, most of these techniques are not big news too you, but it was nice for me to be reminded of how I could be a better reader.  I turned reading this book into a game.   I read the table of contents really thoroughly but briskly and enjoyed the promises of the book.   When I got bored, I practiced just scanning the lines and looking at the sentences as a picture, not really stopping to decipher so much.  I tried to see how many pages I could read while taking the subway from West 4th street to West 23rd street.  (short ride).    When the book got boring or frustrating, I switched to other books or did something completely different.   If I didn’t know the kanji or vocabulary, I just tried to think, “nice to meet you maybe I’ll see you and understand you again.”

Sometimes you just have to add a little velocity to the learning games.   There’s a time and place for more in-depth study but moving quickly seems to do a few powerful things:

  • gives you quick in context exposure to new ideas and vocabulary
  • short-circuits some of the negative self-talk that can frustrate you when you read–you are just reading so fast you don’t have time to call yourself an idiot 🙂 (lies, lies, lies)
  • gives you a quick road-map for knowledge in a field

    I also have been carrying around a copy of the Beck Music Guide, a music guide to the music of a fictional rock band manga. On the back is some sheet music from Jamplay. They had a great lesson on visualizing before you play so I thought it would be great to carry sheet music around with me as well. Trying to stay like a rolling stone.   “Gotta keep on movin’.”

I really liked Khatzumoto’s article, “Reading is Skimming.”  He has a wonderful way of explaining the power of skimming in your life:

There is only one book: the world book.And all books are volumes of this one book. And all pages are pages of this world book.Now, there are billions of pages in this book. And you’re never going to read them all. Not. Ever…..Don’t save the best for last. Take the fun right now. Be a pro-active fun-seeker. If you don’t have fun now, today will be the beginning of the end as far as Japanese is concerned, believe you me.

I think this is true for whatever you really want to learn.   Give it a try, have fun, flip through pages, and open up the book of your life.

Online Guitar Lessons



The Happiness Decision: Samurai Book Review

Be absolutely determined to enjoy what you do.  –Ben Hogan

  • You don’t have to “feel”happy to put your mind in happy places.
  • Focusing on happiness is a decision.
  • It’s possible that happiness is a habit of turning your mind to positive places.  There is also a key role for tears.  Sometimes you need to wring out a wet towel before putting it in the dryer.
  • The happiness decision may help you learn more.  Earn more?
  • Learning more may help your happiness.  It’s an unvicious cycle.

I’m back in New York and writing out of the Writer’s Room.  It has a lot more sunlight than the cave-like atmosphere of a manga cafe. My laptop, copies of the books in the post and two of my samurai notebooks. Samurai notebooks are more fun to review when you fill it with fun, personally thought provoking and inspiring material. What is in your notebook is a happiness decision.

For a few weeks now I’ve been walking around with two Japanese books in my “man-bag” and realizing that there is a strong connection between the two books but not quite being able to put my finger on it.  Today I finally realized what was the connection.  Happiness is a decision and it can help you transform everything that you do, especially with learning and transforming your life.

My dose of soy sauce translation of the two book titles are:  Only Do Good Things with Your Brain by Ken Mogi (脳にいいことだけをやりなさい!)and Speed up Your Information Rate by 10 Times with the NLP Speed Reading Method by Naoya Matsushima (情報量が10倍になるNLP速読術).  (Keep in mind that I am in day 457 of a 595 Japanese immersion experience.  Some day I will throw more English resources at you.)

Only Do Good Things with Your Brain by Ken Mogi (脳にいいことだけをやりなさい! )

Ken Mogi is a Japanese brain scientist and prolific writer and talk show host.   This book is slightly more technical, so I find it hard to keep really give the full meaning of it to you.  (I am also only in the middle of the book.  Yeah, I break the rules but at least I tell you!)  But it is pretty clear from on of the first drawings that Mogi believes that happiness is, in part, a decision. Part of the reason I picked the book is because it has pictures  (all is fair in love and reading!).   The first picture shows a happy person with the happiness lgauge on full blast.  The illustration below that is an unhappy person (fumes emanating all around him) with the happiness full gauge on low.   The final illustration on the bottom shows a person changing a control gauge (like an old fashioned volume control) from bottom to high.   The phrase at the bottom reads:  脳の中にある「幸せど度」いつでも変えられる or “You Can Always Change the Degrees of Happiness in Your Brain.”

How do you do this?  The second illustration tells you how.  It hows a person who has built a happiness house:

  • The foundation is “elimination of negative thinking.”
  • The supporting pillars are:  positive thinking, love and gratitude, the body’s energy (breath, position, etc), and “grabbing big power” (?)  「大いなる力」とのつながり。
  • The roof is goals for living.
  • There is a nice yard around the house and that is labelled, relationships with people.

All of these things interact and Mogi spends the rest of the book describing certain techniques for developing happiness.  Just looking at the picture makes me happy.

Speed up Your Information Rate by 10 Times with the NLP Speed Reading Method by Naoya Matsushima (情報量が10倍になるNLP速読術)

Matsushima’s book is a guide to help busy, overwhelmed or under-motivated readers increase their reading speed and increasing their information retention.  Matsushima, being an NLP guy, emphasizes the importance of getting in the right state of mind for reading and argues that one of the reasons people have problems with reading is all the negative associations they have with reading.  He offers several exercises for using breathing and body posture for changing your state of mind before reading.

But what is most interesting to me is that he asks readers to pick a happy moment and think about and feel it with all the senses before commencing with reading.   Happiness is an active decision that can help you learn more and experience joy through learning, if I follow Matsushima’s book correctly.

This happiness decision might be worthwhile in other areas.   In  100 Ways to Create Wealth, the authors explain that you should always “move to the part of the work that you love.”   This is a happiness decision that can result in improved efficiency, service, and even the ability to more easily transition to work that you love.

If you make the happiness decision then maybe you can experience more creativity in your life. Self-loathing and criticism aren’t going to help you. I finally got around to getting out my Japanese guitar books. Learning through love. Trying to make the happy decisions. Many birds, no stone. Online Guitar Lessons

I will warn you that the day I made the connection with all of this happiness stuff,  I was grouchier than the Grouch.  I also believe there is a role for crying and other forms of expressing other emotions.   Sometimes you need to wring out a soaked towel before you put it in the dryer.

But it’s nice to be able to make more decisions to move towards happiness.   Heck, it might even get addictive and help to you to transform the world.

Samurai Money Journal: Seeing is Believing

I used to do a series of "Mind, Body, Wallet Workshops" to encourage people to think about money.  Sometimes money is a reflection of thought patterns that obscure reality.   Surfing is great but if your mind is ruled by these unobserved and uncontrolled waves it can lead to trouble. Keeping a money journal helps.(Drawings are by Ken Polotan)

I used to do a series of “Mind, Body, Wallet Workshops” to encourage people to think about money. Sometimes money is a reflection of thought patterns that obscure reality. Surfing is great but if your mind is ruled by these unobserved and uncontrolled waves it can lead to trouble. Keeping a money journal helps.(Drawings are by Ken Polotan)

I have to admit that I’m over my head.  As part of the All Japanese All the Time process, I am trying to listen to materials that I am interested in.  Books on tape aren’t as common as they are in the United States.  One title that interested me was いつのまにか「お金がたまる人」のさりげない習慣 .   My dose of soy sauce translation of this is:   “Before you know it, You’ve Saved a Lot of Money:  Casual Habits”  or “Casual Habits for Casually Amassing Money.”

I’m interested in the topic but I admit I don’t really understand the majority of the CD.  One of the first points that the author makes is that in order to save money you need to adjust your hobbies.  Most “sarariman” (Japanese businessmen) tend to go for gourmet food, cars, and golf.  However, these interests take a lot of money.  His top three suggestions for alternative hobbies?  Drum roll please: Continue reading

Samurai Money Energy: A Penny “Saved”

Small counts.   Sometimes I pick up pennies to remind myself about the "energy" of money.  I don'tmeaninit a new age way but as a way to respect the labor, sweat, and creative flow behind money.

Small counts. Sometimes I pick up pennies to remind myself about the “energy” of money. I don’tmeaninit a new age way but as a way to respect the labor, sweat, and creative flow behind money.

A funny thing happens in New York.   People throw out pennies.  You find them on the street, lost and lonely little pennies.  I’ve witnessed people hurling them into the street.  My wife, Yoko, was shocked about this.    This just doesn’t happen in Japan.  People may leave their money at Shinto temples but money isn’t just thrown out like that.

I’ll share a little secret.   Every now and then, I bend down and pick up these tossed away pennies.   Because it’s more than you would earn a day in savings accounts these days? No.  It’s because money is energy.   When I pick up a penny it’s to reaffirm a message to myself that I am a director of energy through money.

You Con-du-it

Er, you are a conduit.   All kinds of energy comes into you and leaves in a different form.  A lot of that is involuntary but there is also a lot of room for choice.  You have input choices:   food, information, et cetera.  You also have output choices:  how you move your body, treat and speak about others, etc.  You can come from your day at the munitions factory, eat fast food, watch five hours of escapist television and be mean to people. No. Please. Don’t.

Bending down to pick up a penny is just a physical reminder to myself that I am a conduit, a conductor of wealth.  Even if you make $20,000 a year for the next 50 years, it’s a million dollars of energy that will flow in and out of your life.  You get to direct that energy to support more energy.  You get the chance to orchestrate the direction of that flow.

By keeping a money journal years ago, I started to become aware of financial patterns and changed them.  For example, the money that used to go my every other day ice cream addiction might go to investments, acupuncture treatments, jamplay.com guitar lessons, or a chance to help a friend or stranger in need.

Small Counts:  Think Big Act Small

Picking up a penny is also a way of honoroing the small.  Big results are often the result of the accumulation of small choices.  I don’t know if anyone knows much about Shakespeare’s writing habits.  (Bill, if you are reading this now, I am sooooo totally open to “channeling” opportunities.)  However,  I’m pretty sure he didn’t write all of his works overnight.  He had to get up, sharpen his quills, and make small decisions that added up to his compleate [sic, man, sic] works.

Toni Morrison, in an interview in Paris Review, explained how she became a dawn writer, waking up at the pre-dawn before her two small children woke up.   James Arthur Ray, author of Harmonic Wealth:  The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want, describes Morrison as “writing at the edges of time.”

In  100 Ways to Create Wealth, Steve Chandler and Sam Beckford explain that the extra five minutes on a project that you are thinking on giving up on can make all the difference.

Small counts.   The other day I visited Big Booty, Chelsea bakery with excellent “pan de yuca” and an outrageous name.  After making a small purchase, I reached into my coat pocket to get a tip and pulled out some quarters and some pennies.

“I am sorry about the pennies,” I felt obliged to say.

“No need to apologize, thank you very much,” Elvis, our favorite bakery guy, replied warmly.

You don’t have to pick up pennies.   Move into the small corners and moments were the creativity energy lies.  Pick up that pen or legal pad.   Dust off that guitar bag and open it.   Pick up a penny of your dreams.

How to Use Multiple Savings Accounts

Capture your financial flow.  Use specific targeted savings accounts to be a financial samurai. This is a graphic from one of my Tao of Money seminars.

Capture your financial flow. Use specific targeted savings accounts to be a financial samurai. This is a graphic from one of my Tao of Money seminars.

Disclaimer:  Remember I am just a motivational speaker who lives in a van down by the river.  Multiple savings accounts are a great way to train your mind to think about money, and I think that will have an impact on your creativity and you peace of mind.   For actual investment advice,  try Personal Finance for Dummies.

Advantages of Multiple Savings Accounts (MSA’s):

  • MSA’s let you too keep the purpose for your savings clear.   It lets your mind know how your money is allotted rather than have to keep track of it mentally or otherwise.  It saves time and space on your mental hard-drive.
  • MSA’s tap into the creativity and energy of flow.   I like thinking of money like water.   If water doesn’t move it gets stagnant.   Multiple savings accounts help you creatively accelerate the flow of money in your life, specially if you use direct deposit and automated savings.
  • You earn interest.   When I started doing multiple savings accounts, I typically earned 5%.  Now I earn a whopping .80%. Woohoo! However, the first two benefits make this worthwhile.

Multiple Savings Account Suggestions from Money is My Friend

Like I mentioned before, this is one of the key ideas I got from reading Phil Laut’s book, Money is My Friend.   In the book, he suggests creating the following banking accounts.   There are finer points for each account and I highly suggest buying it out checking it out from the library.    Phil Laut suggests the following accounts:

  • Cash Flow Savings Account:  keep a month’s worth of income in and pay yourself from there
  • Large  Purchases Account:  deposit into it regularly and use it for whatever you want
  • Financial Independence Account:  train yourself to get used to just spending the interest earned
  • Millionaire’s Savings Account:  money for investments
  • Annual Income Savings Account:  for a year off or shorter amounts
  • Taxes Savings Account:  save for your taxes
  • Generosity Savings Account: giving away money is a great way to free up your mind

Make Savings A Game

When I started doing this, I actually used real bank passbooks.  The passbooks at the bank used passbooks that looked like grey passports.  I went a little overboard and put stickers all over it to make it fun.  Those were the days.

Now internet banking has made it easy to create these multiple accounts.  I started with ING Direct and have stuck with them, and haven’t really researched other options.   What I like about ING is that they make it easy to nickname your various accounts to make this system work, and you save on postage or trips to the bank.  Please let me know if you find better or different banking options.

I don’t necessarily follow Laut’s system to the letter.  My Cash Flow account is typically the amount of cash that I tend to spend per week.  It’s automatically withdrawn twice a month and when I want more money I transfer it online to my credit union.  I also have a Bills Account.   When I charge something on my credit card, I place the exact amount into my ING Bills Account.  When the bill comes, I have the exact amount waiting for me in the account.

I also have an impulse spending account, which is just play money.   Do I want to spend $50 on stickers or chocolate?  It’s right there.   The purpose of this account is to allow for play and impulse instead of associating saving with deprivation.

Of course, with the right attitude and creativity Multiple Savings Accounts help turn setting financial priorities into a game.   Enjoy the game and save!


Do Money or Money Will Do You: Rich Samurai/Poor Samurai

Screen shot 2013-07-18 at 1.42.14 PMSorry about the Rich Dad/Poor Dad reference.  I just had to.  Truth is, I found that book in our book sharing shelf in the building and I haven’t gotten around to reading it.

Now, remember, I am just a motivational speaker who lives in a van down by the river.  I am not a Rich Dad or a Poor Dad.   I am a dad.   However, I have stopped “being done by” money.

Take care of finances, so finances don’t take over your life

I made that decision in the middle of the wilderness in Western North Carolina.  I was at a base camp of the North Carolina Outward Bound School, where I went to learn how to be an outdoor educational instructor.   I woke up that morning to the hooting of barred owls outside of the rustic cabin I was staying in between wilderness trainings.   Someone came to my cabin and said,   “Juan, you have a phone call.”  I put on my fleece jacket and shuffled down the trail to the base camp office and picked up the phone.  It was a collection agency.  My credit card and college loans debt had caught up to me. Continue reading