To be reborn, I first needed to die

A very personal story about loss, life and finding back to oneself.
And the beauty of it all.

This piece was originally published on LinkedIn here.

“The two most important days in your life are the day you’re born and the day you find out why.” — Mark Twain

But this morning was also a beautiful morning. The business I’m building grew from just myself to the two of us. I did not plan to start another company but it feels there has never been a more important time to raise our awareness and our ability to navigate life beautifully and in an elevated way. The world is suffering: C19, the constraint of our freedoms, the information war, loneliness, depression, polarisation and separation, the opioid crises, the destruction of our natural habitat, and the list goes on.

We have forgotten to appreciate life and how to live well. Or maybe we never learnt it in the first place. And if we continue on this path, the future is dark and sooner rather than later we will self destruct as a species. I am less concerned about the destruction itself — because what’s the point of living in such a world anyway — but the suffering we are enduring on our way there. Every day that we wake up and we cannot be grateful is a day we did not live. It’s a day we suffered. It’s a day we lost.

Loosing this much money is a gift. And one that I seemingly needed to receive twice this year. In May, I even lost the majority of my wealth at that time (you can read about it here). The lesson is similar but this time it is louder and clearer. It is also less painful than last time (I guess repeat learning makes it easier). I am not here to be comfortable or even materially wealthy. I might become wealthy (or not) but it is not what I am meant to strive for. I am here to grow, to wake up and to serve others.

Since leaving my last company seven years ago, I have embarked on an incredible journey. One that has completely reframed my understanding of who I am and why I am here. December 4th, 2021 was just a reminder of what I already knew but clearly not had embodied yet to the extent I needed to. I’m a student after all and until I learnt what I’m here to learn, I will have to keep repeating the class. Because what I need to learn is the very thing I need to overcome to fully unfold into who I am meant to be.

I have been gifted with this wonderful journey of raising my awareness with the many teachers and lessons I have encountered on it. It’s a journey that I have not actively chosen but that has chosen me. It is who I am and who I have always been. I have been gifted and am challenged with this purpose. And my body is merely a vessel through which it manifests and expresses itself. Nothing is random and everything is divinely orchestrated. I am still in awe how it all works. It’s beyond the comprehension and senses of my thinking mind. Everything in life is a gift. Every. Single. Thing. Whether or not it feels like it.

Even after being wiped out in May, I believed I could cheat life. I believed I could play the money game while equally walking my awakening journey and helping others to do so. And I did but I was driving my car with the hand-break engaged. The money game is a distraction from what I could otherwise be doing more powerfully giving it my entire dedication and focus. But the little Vincent in me needed to be materially better off so he feels secure, safe, and doesn’t have to worry. It’s a misguided desire and a false sense of security. And as I was powerfully taught yet again, it is unsafe for me to live like that. It’s the very karma I am carrying with me and that I’m here to learn to let go.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — Pablo Picasso

If I can empower others to realise how powerful and beautiful they are then why would I distract my energy and attention with gambling the markets? That’s wasting my gift. It’s holding back what I was given to share. And every single one of us has such a gift. Yet most of us are not living it because we can’t quite believe how gifted and powerful we really are.

As Marianne Williamson beautifully says:

This profoundly touches me because it is a Truth to me, it deeply resonates within me. I am not here to choose the life I want. I am here to live the life I have been empowered to live. It’s choiceless choice. I can’t change who I am nor am I meant to. The Universe and my soul are conspiring to fully deliver on my gift. And when I get off my path, life — more or less gently — leads me back onto it. And if I don’t listen, I will be suffering. Everything that happens is a gift. It might not be what I want but it always is what I need.

It’s like having an affair while you are in a committed relationship. Life will have its way to remind you where you need to be. It’s not a moral judgement. It could be that you need to end the committed relationship or it could be that you need to rekindle it but you are not meant to dance on two weddings at the same time. And when we do, we know it. There’s only one of us inside us.

Deep down we always know who are and what we therefore need to do. And then we make a choice that is either in alignment with us — or not. And that’s when life flows — or not and we suffer. It is really that simple. But living in alignment with who we are is the hardest thing we will ever do. It requires us to move out of comfort and safety. It requires us to calm down our reptilian brain. And it requires us to take risks, to be daring and bold and go against what everybody else might be doing. That is what it takes to being one’s authentic self.

I am not meant to be like everyone else and neither are you nor anybody else. You are unique and you are meant to be you and therefore do you. And we don’t get to choose who we want to be. We are who we are. It’s our soul.

So I knew that what I was doing was not in alignment. And I thought I can get away with it. I was cheating myself. I had not learnt my lesson the first time. The lesson needed to be repeated. I needed to touch the stove again and, surprise, I got burnt again. Life is infinitely patient and generous in reminding me what I deep down already knew. And that learning comes with pain. Pain is part of life because that’s the only way we learn. Suffering, however, is optional.

I remember a seminar where the speaker opened with his story of having lost $200 million in a deal that went bad. When people would ask him how he lived with that he responded that it was the most expensive lesson he ever had received — and the most powerful and humbling one.

The quality of my life is a function of how I feel from moment to moment. And how I feel depends of who I am being. When I was on our startup call this morning I was full of excitement and in flow. I couldn’t wait for us to build what I’ve been seeing in my mind for quite a while. It’s been cooking for years and now it’s eager to meet the world. What happened during the night was not present in that moment. I felt exhilarated because I was being in my element. I was doing what I love together with someone that feels the same. I was in alignment. It was beautiful.

What my bank balance is doesn’t matter in that moment. And it never does. It only matters when I worry what my bank balance is. And I worry when I don’t trust in life. When I feel unsafe. When I want to control life and think I know better. When I act out of scarcity rather than abundance. When I live from fear rather than love and infinite potential. These are not empty words but — as I increasingly recognise — the essence of life.

My day unfolded exactly as it would have without the loss. Actually, that’s not true. It was more beautiful because it once again liberated me from the compulsive desire to have greater financial wealth. That was the young Vincent in me, the one that needed to grow up once again, that needed to feel safe by having more. It is the prison that I had unconsciously created when I was so young that I did not even know what money was. It’s the prison that has been holding me back to be the most beautiful and fully expressed version of who I am.

The quality of my life has never been a function of how much I had and it barely influenced my lifestyle. Yet my mind somehow was always worrying about money. I had been secretly believing otherwise but that was a false hope. It’s a hard one to let go of because it is so deeply engrained, on a subconscious level. It’s visceral, it’s in the body, it’s on autopilot and it has been informed by society and my ancestors who lost everything in the war.

There’s been an excessive craving for material security that has been making me stand in my own way. It has been distracting me from unleashing my greatest gift. And that is why today is a beautiful day. As I have lost something I gained something much more important. The renewed clarity of who I am.

To be reborn, I first needed to die. Today, once more, a younger, more anxious version of myself died so that I could get up and walk upright confidently fully being who I truly am.

And so I forgive my younger self and thank life for humbling me. I am deeply grateful.

I love you.

🙏

If you enjoyed this, you might also like my instagram stories and posts here. I’m always happy to hear your thoughts and comments.

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