The Illusion of ownership

”You can only lose what you cling to.” -Buddha

The sixth of life’s great illusions states that you can own things. Understanding that you can truly only nothing, not your body, house, car, land, this earth, its water, or the air you breath, will change everything. When Native American Chief Sealth was asked about property ownership his reply was, “We do not own the freshness of the air or the sparkle of the water. How can you buy them from us?” We’ve become spoiled, to the point that we think we own our ideas and dreams. We think we own the plan. And when things don’t go as we visualized we become upset. Understanding that you truly do own nothing will help you release your dreams into the world without any expectations of them, letting them grow and bloom in their own divine timing and unique way.

“50 pounds or less” is mine and Ingrid’s running joke because that was the extent of our belongings until very recently—50 pounds each. If we went over, we were punished by the airlines with a baggage penalty. Keeping us (and the bags) in check. While our six years on the road owning 50 pounds or less is extreme, it does point to a way to overcome the illusion of ownership. There’s a great quote in the movie The Fight Club where Tyler Durden says “The things you own end up owning you.” Something I believe is very true for most people unless you make it a habit to purge your belongings once in a while.

Give away your attachments

One of the most powerful ways to do this is that whenever you become very attached to an object, give it away. Yes, this likely means giving away the thing you value the most. Which isn’t going to agree with your personality. You’ll come up with all sorts or reasons why you shouldn’t give away your favourite shirt, pair of shoes, jacket, or whatever. Do it anyway. The goal here is to help with the understanding that you aren’t what you own. You’re much bigger than that.

Accept life as it is

“Ride the wave of life.” My email response for Gabby Bernstein when it looked like a snow storm would surely cancel her flight to St. John’s Newfoundland for an I Am Genie event. Her reply “You rock.”

Outside, huge beautiful snowflakes fell before collecting on the windowsill. Within the muffled sound of snow, a peace settled in me. My ego screamed at me to get upset. No answer. Forecasted ticket refunds, rescheduling issues and upset customers were likely on the horizon if Gabby didn’t arrive. But instead of cursing the snow, mesmerization set in. Everything was right on time.

Did reacting this way mean I didn’t care? One of the world’s great spiritual teachers, Jiddu Krishnamurti, was giving a lecture when he abruptly stopped, saying “Do you know what my secret is?” looking easily about the audience. Everyone shifts forward to hear what this great man has to say. In lowered voice, almost a whisper, he says “You see. I don’t mind what happens.” Not caring of outcomes doesn’t mean you don’t care about life.  The opposite is true. “Not minding” points to acceptance. Freeing us to act based on faith instead of fear.

Moments before emailing “ride the wave” Gabby and I were contemplating whether or not it made sense for her to travel to the Newark airport from New York City. According to the St. John’s airport, the probability of the flight being cancelled was close to 100%. Instead of going with probabilities and staying home, Gabby made her way to Newark expecting nothing, having faith in a miracle. She arrived in St John’s 20 minutes early that night. The only flight not cancelled.  The next day’s event was spectacular with the topic being “go with the flow.”

Here’s a magic pic of the very night she arrived and posted on instagram.

I’d urge you to do the same when the waves of life come your way. Quiet yourself, accept what’s happening. Watch it. Deal with it. Don’t tie yourself up with “Poor me! Why is this happening? My life is ruined!” defeatist crap. Stop minding what happens. In a lovely way, free yourself to see the perfect, chaotic beauty surrounding you. Descending and ascending within you. Jump on board, go with the flow, trust your inner guide. Do what it tells you. Whatever happens, happens. C’est la vie.

Unmask your light

The final way to see through the illusion of limitations is to unmask your light. I was reminded of this by spiritual medium James Van Praagh that the purpose of our spiritual journey is to unmask our light. Having the faith to throw away our crutches. For me, it was my Genie mask. After a while, I began to rely on it to grant wishes and assume the persona. But, for some reason, something clicked when James said “You’re such a beautiful soul you don’t need to hide behind anything.” I instantly understood and believed. The time had come.

Today while I still wear the mask from time to time for wish grants, it’s not something I use as a crutch anymore. And I’ll implore you to do the same. What titles have you become attached to? Is it the businessman? Construction worker? Homemaker? We all have them. Instead, look past that mask. Look into your eyes next time you’re in front to the mirror. Look for that light, it’s there. Let the rest melt away.

How to see through the illusion of ownership:

  • Whenever you become attached to something, give it away
  • Accept reality
  • Unmask your light

With love,


PS. If you have a moment, I would love to know how you feel about the emails you’ve been receiving up to now. What’s helping, what’s not? I’d love to know! Thanks so much.

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