What Madoff and Others Can Never Steal from You

“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

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3 comments on “What Madoff and Others Can Never Steal from You
  1. Hilary S. says:

    My greatest resources for any challenge are friends and family, people who listen without judgement and give unfiltered feedback. This also includes those who are no longer with us. The memory of people who have given support is often very comforting when dealing with present problems.

  2. The most important value that no one can ever take from me is peace.

    Since I know that peace is a choice and no matter what happens, I stay spiritually grounded in this value. I practice choosing peace daily in order to navigate the ebbs and flows of life.

    I can tap into peace absolutely any where at any time including while driving, in conversations and during business meetings.

    I consciously create an abundance of peaceful energy which gets stored up for stressful times and then I know to pull it up and draw from the well, the universal spirit energy that delivers to me, right to my front door, so that all I have to do is say, “Hi there, welcome, please come in and stay a while.”

  3. This morning I was reading the Center for Courage and Renewals recent newsletter and found that Parker Palmer’s thoughts were so inspiring. It is in times of great loss that we have an opportunity to look again and see what is truly important in our lives. We are challenged to show compassion and generosity not just to our friends and family but to strangers. We are brought closer to each other and closer to the divine source of all.
    Here is a Parker Palmer quote “Scarcity is the logic of the ego, while abundance is the logic of the soul.” and a poem that I find lovely and sustaining in these times.

    Ghanaian Poem…translater unknown
    Journeying god, pitch your tent with mine so that I may not become deterred by hardship, strangeness, doubt.
    Show me the movement I must make toward a wealth not dependent on possessions,
    toward a wisdom not based on books,
    toward a strength not bolstered by might,
    toward a god not confined to heaven.
    Help me to find myself as I walk in other’s shoes