A few readers emailed comments to me about my last article, to the effect that losing one’s money is not as bad as losing one’s health,  and how about the REALLY terrible things that happento so many people, such as tragic accidents, children being born with deformities or fatal diseases, etc., etc.  Well, I totally agree with these sentiments,  and thank these readers for their comments. As stated, my hard times served me well, in some respects, the most important being a sharp turn towards gratitude. It is well said that people tend to not take the time to “smell the roses,” as they rush through their lives, taking everything for granted.
While in the depths of despair, and searching for answers, I came across an organization called The Release Method, which had been created by a guy named Lester Levenson, of Sedona, Arizona.  He stressed that “want is lack,”  and that “wanting things” was actually the enemy of “having things,” and is a huge source of disappointment and resentment in our lives.  Now, he did not mean that wanting to be successful and having nice things is negative; to the contrary, it is admirable. However, the trouble arises when one lets such desires dominate him/her, to the point where one cannot enjoy what they have. I wound up attending a few weekend retreats held by this group, which had been taken over by Larry Crane after Levenson’s passing.  The message was inspiring, but it was clear that these people were also in it for the money. Nevertheless, there was much to be gained from the philosophy they presented.  Crane spoke of the immense detriment to one’s well being- physically and mentally- caused by dwelling on endless negative attitudes.  The name “Release Method” comes from the process of working towards releasing yourself from such negativity.
Others, such as Norman Vincent Peale (“The Power of Positive Thinking”), and Rangeley’s own Wilhelm Reich, also dealt with the same subject, if from other angles.  Of course, learning about and understanding our negative traits is one thing; doing something about them is another, and much more difficult. Losing weight comes to mind.  Just about all of us know how to lose weight, on an intellectual level, yet we are thwarted in our efforts by the bundle of emotional urges that beckon us to eat and drink what we should not.
The concept that “want is lack” simply means that one cannot want something and have it at the same time.  A “close friend of mine” loved boating, but always wanted a bigger, better boat.  This wanting dramatically arose once when he was at a dealership, closing on his new boat.  The ink was hardly dry on the contract, when he looked out the window and lusted after a much nicer, more expensive model.  So he remained in the wanting, rather than the having mode.  How can one be satisfied with what they have, if they are constantly wanting something perceived as better?  This applies to just about everything- cars, real estate, clothes, jewelry, where we live, and even people!   When is enough enough?  Obviously never, with some people.
A fellow lumber dealer and friend of mine lived the epitome of the “more is better” mentality.  Pat O’Connor was a brilliant and fearless enterpreneur, who lived very large.  He made and lost a number of small fortunes, always bouncing back, never learning his lesson.  In the early 1980’s, he leveraged himself to the max to buy the former Brewster’s group of lumberyards.  His timing was impeccable. The economy blasted off under Reagan, and construction fueled it.  Pat paid off his debt in no time, and was making money by the barrelful.  At lunch with me one day, he announced that he wanted to create the largest home center in the United States.  I said, “Pat, you’re making a fortune;  why risk it to do this?”    He just said he wanted to, and that was that.  Well, he did it. He bought a gigantic 300,000 square foot warehouse in Saugus, MA, and turned it into the largest home center in the USA, maybe the world!   For a short time, it was astounding. I never saw so much money being spent in any retail store,
anywhere. He took the vast profits, and invested in prime Boston real estate, but always leveraged. Then the same Furies who came to wreak destruction upon me, knocked on Pat’s door as well, with even greater vengeance.  His formerly low debt empire had become a leveraged house of cards due to the home center, and he lost everything.  The list of his creditors was stunning, and they relentlessly investigated and hounded him for the money they figured he had squirreled away. He left an awful trail of destruction behind him, and “took the last train for the coast,” California.
Years later, Pat showed up unannounced at my office.  He wasn’t that old, but he looked it, his face wearing the emotional scars of his ordeal.  A lot of people hated him, but he was my friend, and he somehow managed to keep his sense of humor.  I took him and his girlfriend out to dinner, relaxing with drinks and cigars afterwards.  I’ll never forget his comment:   “Keevin, I really had it all.  When I made it big, I lived big.   I spent  money on boats, Ferraris, mansions, vacation homes, endless trips, women, you name it!    The rest I pissed away.”
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“The man who knows some thing, knows that
He knows nothing at all.”

                                                Erykah Badu

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