The winter came and I was at the bottom of a river of shame. The powerful torrent of self-deprecating feelings like crushing water barreling towards me. I had found the rock bottom that the old adage described.
All the money I made, gone. There was no savings, no reserve nor back up plan because I’d been buried under the weight on my own debt, my own failing business, my own bad decisions for so long that the closest relief I knew was to swallow my pride and ask my mom for help.
Like a homeless child holding a sign, intentionally guilting passerby’s into helping. I came to her as close to being on my knees and I’d ever been.
My car had been destroyed in an accident. My motorcycle was not a viable source of transportation for a family of 5. So with everything I had left in my spirit, I asked my mom for money to buy a car.
$3000 later I owned a used car and the stress eased back just a little bit. And then there was Christmas. I had to skip the rent at my salon to afford even a few presents for the kids, forget about affording anything for my wife. The woman I pledged my life to and had broken that pledge to all in a few short years was about to get nothing more than an “I love you” and a “Merry Christmas” as gifts this year.
I couldn’t get her anything and I couldn’t look her in the eyes to say anything. I was broken. I felt the dirt beneath me. Christmas was the 25th. On the 26th, that car I bought went to hell. It needed a tremendous amount of work and without knowing that, I’d put my family in danger. The tire exploded on the highway. We were fine but the mechanic we towed it to later that day revealed the devastating news that it would be a long time and a ton of money, twice what I paid in fact, to get it safely back on the road.
I’d already said I felt the dirt beneath me, but then that dirt-laden bottom dropped out from under me. The free fall was fast, it was dark, it was horrific. It was earth-shattering. It was the last straw. I was now nothing more than a carcass. Beaten, torn to shreds, ripped asunder by the life I couldn’t seem to get ahead of.
I wanted to cut myself. Wanted to bleed all over this life I’d been trying desperately, failing miserably to build. Wanted to let it all go.
I wanted to drink so much alcohol that I’d forget not only my struggles, but myself. Wanted to black out my life completely.
I wanted to wake up a different person, in a new place, in a new time and realize it was all just a bad dream. My wife would be next to me smiling in the early morning light through the window. My kids would be safe in their beds without a care in the world.
And me? Well I’d be on my way to work, not stressing over money, or over schedules, or over any curveballs the world had to throw at me. But as you all full well know, that isn’t how it works.
It was then that I found faith. Found the thing I always said wouldn’t help.
Please don’t take this next bit of prose as an advert for Christ. Don’t look at these words and think I’m saying any more or less than what the words actually say. I knew I needed to change. And this is how it happened.
My wife and I use essential oils for basically everything. And the whole time we’ve done that, I’ve know the biblical implications that oils had. Oils are in scripture constantly. Heck even Christ’s own name, Messiah, means “the anointed one” which is a direct reference to essential oils. The company we use, Young Living, is full of members who are extremely successful on so many levels and they all had the same behavioral characteristics in common. The same business practices, same IPA’s (income producing activities), same positive attitudes. And we had all of those things in common with them.
What did they have that we didn’t? God. They were very close to their savior. Prayed every day over their lives, their family and friends lives and prayed intentionally over their businesses. I figured that one little thing, faith, can’t possibly be the reason they’re seeing the success that we aren’t.
I picked up a book called Oola that is all about finding balance in you unbalanced world. And I think that if my world were to be described, “unbalanced” would certainly fit the bill. I also began reading a book called GamePlan, written by an extremely successful essential oiler who’s system has been duplicated successfully so many times by so many people she encountered that she decided to write it all down. And it works. But in that book of awesome guidelines was a chapter on how God helped her business. She said in order to have success in life and in business, you must adhere to this order:
If you apply your efforts in exactly that order, you’ll find the extra time you need to get things done. You’ll find the success your business needed. You’ll have greater love for and from your family. Your marriage will be stronger than ever.
And among the incredible teachings found in Oola, the concept of Faith was paramount. Chapter by chapter you could see God at work.
Neither of these books were about religion, yet somehow in my quest to grow as a person and in the essential oil business, I found my way to faith in both of the books I chose.
Remember where I was when you started reading this? A black hole of depression, negativity and self-hate. Well I figured, what’s the worst that could happen? So I launched myself headfirst into that order.
I started praying. Started reading the Bible. Started exploring what it meant to know God. Started teaching my sons to understand and to live the way Jesus lived instead of trying desperately and unsuccessfully to use my own words to explain how to best live life.
And an incredible thing happened. It all changed. I was getting more of my to-do list done. I was able to save money and still pay the bills. I was gaining new clients left and right at work. My boys were behaving better. My daughter couldn’t stop smiling.
And my stress? Gone. Totally gone. Not because I took new meds. Not because I found a coping mechanism. Certainly not because I was rolling in cash. We still had the struggles we’d always had. Everything was the same. But at the same time, something was entirely different.
I had God.
Now instead of fighting, and losing, the battle of life on my own, I was supported by something bigger than my problems. Bigger than anything I could ever encounter. And that was so incredibly empowering.
That book, GamePlan, showed me and Amber how to lead the business we were running in a successful direction in a short amount of time, and it was working.
The word of God I was learning about showed me how to lead my life in a successful direction in a short amount of time, and it was working.
Am I here to tell you to give up your current lifestyle to adopt God and begin using essential oils? No. Actually yes, but no. What I do want everyone to know is that wherever you are right now, whatever apocalyptic plague of life that you’re engaged in, there is a way out. My way may not be your way. You may find that my way is total bullshit. That the toxic chemicals in your home aren’t hurting you at all (even though they are). That God is just another story (even though He isn’t). That you’ve got it all under control (even though you might not).
But if you can’t figure out your way, I’m encouraging you to keep searching. I’m happy to help in any way I can. There is a wealth of knowledge out there, just waiting to be taken in and put to work to make your life better. Can encountering fewer toxins and using essential oils make your life better, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually? Absolutely and I can help you get started. Can accepting God make life easier to deal with. 100% and I’m happy to help there too.
In fact, anything you’re thinking about trying, I’m here for you. We are not alone. Not now, not ever.
This began as a story of suffering perhaps not entirely unlike yours. But it’s not the end of the story, not by a long shot, nor is it the end of yours. Fuck that broken car. Fuck that negative balance in your checking account. Fuck the to-do list that never gets any smaller. It’s all just grains of bacteria-laden sand at the bottom of the vast ocean of possibilities. And day by day I’m learning that I’m not drowning in that vast ocean. I’m floating in a raft, and all I need to do is feel for a breeze and sail towards the horizon.