Bad, bad luck

How do you get rid of bad luck? Six months ago, my boyfriend of nine years and I broke up. Shortly thereafter, I fell down a flight of stairs and fractured my ankle. Then, I got pink eye. A few weeks after that, I tripped and fell over a desk and fractured my ankle again. Next, my house burned down, and I lost everything I owned. I moved into an apartment. A few weeks later, I was in a car accident and fractured my ankle again. I caught the flu, got depressed and tried to commit suicide. How do I stop hurting myself? Friends tell me to just get over it. How do I deal with losing everything I own?

Grieve the loss. Sob, shake a fist at the world and feel sorry for yourself. You’ve endured a lot, and it’s natural to feel as you do. Reaching out to friends is healthy. If they cannot accompany you on your journey, find someone who can. Seek the guidance of a qualified psychotherapist. Be open to wisdom offered by caring strangers. As the Old Testament says, “Take care when entertaining strangers. You may be entertaining angels, unaware.”

As you grieve the loss of items that may have inspired and comforted you, remember that what is lost does not define you. Bad luck implies that the universe has you on target. I don’t believe that, but I do wonder whether you are struggling with fears that are related to the breakup. For example, beliefs such as “I don’t do anything right” or “No one cares if I live or die” can trigger traumas. Try to determine what you were thinking in the moment that each trauma occurred. Perhaps you were tripping—mentally, emotionally and then physically—on the past, instead of being fully present. The pain of injuring yourself forced you back to reality.

Imagine that some of these situations were pure accidents, others were coincidences, and the rest were self-fulfilling prophecies. With that simple balance, you are no longer a victim. Now, rise from the ashes of your past and dare to create the life you desire.

My brother and his wife have always lived beyond their means, and now it’s catching up to them. My sister-in-law was laid off, and my brother expects to receive a pink slip himself very soon. When my sister-in-law lost her job, my brother hinted that he wanted to borrow money. Lately, he has been making really sick jokes about being homeless. My partner and I have established a financially comfortable life because we live within our budget. I love my brother and want to help him, but I don’t want to interfere with the lesson the universe might be trying to teach him. He has always had a comfortable, middle-class lifestyle, but he lives paycheck to paycheck. My partner does not want to lend him money because she doesn’t think he’ll pay it back. What should I do?

Lend large amounts of money only if you have arranged a repayment schedule that is signed and notarized by all appropriate parties. After all, if you loan money that is not repaid as agreed, and you do nothing, you are out of integrity and are supporting the borrower in his or her unhealthy behavior. The other option, of course, is to give cash with no strings attached. If it is repaid to you, it’s a bonus. If it remains a gift, you’re not in debt, emotionally or financially. By the way, author and activist Michael Parenti said, “If you are two paychecks away from homelessness, you’re not middle class.”

Meditation of the Week

“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world is my own government,” said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “On behalf of humanity, I cannot be silent.” National Public Radio recently reported that this is one of his least-known quotes. Big surprise. What vow do you take? Silence, or fairness for all?