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On the morning of New Year’s Eve, I got the news that my husband had passed away. He left me and my eleven-month old son with $3,000,000 of debt.

Hearing the news I collapsed on the floor. That moment my 11 month old baby stood up on his feet for the first time, and used his tiny fingers to wipe away my tears.

He lost his father, and I just lost my best friend. One day I may find a new one, but no one can ever replace his father. But he didn’t think about himself, only about how to make his mother feel better. Learning from my son’s strength, I knew then that I had to stand strong for him and no matter what happens I knew that he is best thing that happened to me in my life.

I paid off my $3,000,000 debt in two years. People usually ask me how I paid off that much debt, and I always told them the story of the monkey and the peanuts:

When a farmer wants to catch a monkey, he hollows out a coconut and then fills that hollow space with peanuts. Eventually, a monkey comes along, wants the peanuts, and sticks its hand inside to get them. The hole in the coconut, however, isn’t large enough for the monkey to pull its enclosed fist back out. The monkey only has to let go of the peanuts to be free, but it doesn’t. The monkey becomes imprisoned by his desire for the peanuts, and the monkey’s inability to let go of the desire becomes its undoing.

How many times in our lives do we hold on to attachments that cause us to lose what we want most?

Finally, I was prepared to let go of everything just to pay off all my debt, to be debt free, and focus on making money instead of debt. I sold all my assets, land, companies, and shares at whatever price I was offered. You can always sell anything at any time, as long as you are prepared to accept what the buyers can afford.

The strange thing is that when you try to hold on, you tend to lose, but while your mind is carefree and prepared to let go, you gain. Things turn out to be on your side.

The secret is to keep observing your mind. Whenever you are attached to something too much, like the monkey was to his peanuts, just see your mind as if it belongs to someone else.

The moment you observe, you see your thoughts, feelings, and even the feeling of attachment as separate from you. In that moment you are free. And when you are free from inside, you can be free outside too.

Financial freedom and happiness is your birthright.  Start observing your mind and exercise your right now.

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Master DDnard is a renowned spiritual teacher and best-selling author of the Compass book series. She has given her insights on hundreds of TV shows, magazines, and organizations. Every month she teaches 3-day and 7-day classes on Compass Mind Management (CMM), which combines Eastern and Western healing methods for long-lasting happiness and success. DDNard also conducts her charitable Compass Meditation Retreats four times a year at a mountain resort in Thailand. Today she leads a quiet life on the beautiful river bank of Bangpakong, Thailand, meditating, gardening and playing with her son.

For more information, please visit

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. The problem is, most people don’t have these type of assets in the first place, so, this advice is practical for someone who has these assets, but does no good for someone who has little to no assets.

    1. It doesn’t have to be assets. It can be anything in life that keeps one in the comfort zone and not moving forward in life, i.e. a negative relationship with someone that one hold onto and won’t let it go. It could be due to the fear of not feeling worthy, or feeling lonely, or the conditional mindset of keeping up with one’s great image, and so on.

    2. I disagree Pat. This story is applicable to anyone. As soon as I read this, I thought of my daughter-in-law who wanted to sell her first car. Unfortunately this first car held more attachment to her than she was willing to admit – it was rusted out and had some mechanical issues but would not take less than a certain number. She has held onto this car for 8 months when she could have had the money from someone and not the hassles of storing it while she was driving another.

      Another story struck be as my Mother in law who was remarried with step children lived in her husband’s house. When he died there was a mortgage on the house but no will to say who it went to. She had a buyer for the house but the 4 stepkids felt it was too low even tho it was well within the fair market value. My MIL walked away from the house and now the house is in foreclosure when all of them could have had money – now they get nothing.

      These are not $3 million dollar assets but the monkey still applies. Being willing to take what people can afford or what it is worth is worth a bird in the hand than 2 in the bush.

      Great lesson for us all.

  2. Thank you for your interesting article. I love the monkey analogy.
    Like the monkey, I too tended to hold on to things. In my case it wasn’t peanuts but possessions, money, thoughts and feelings. I held on to things I inherited from my grandparents, parents, and husband-forever. The possessions owned me instead of me owning them. I was secretive and did not share my thoughts and feelings freely. I never let others get to know who I really was.
    It took a life altering chronic illness and the unique mind, body, spirit wellness work of Joy of Healing for me to let go of everything I was hoarding. Because of them I am happier and healthier than I have ever been.

  3. I understand the whole monkey thing. Done it all my life. Just like you said. Prepare my mind to let go, and be happy. I had my bills and collecting companies calling me. I wouldn’t answer the call. It wasn’t till I wanted some credit. That’s when I prepared my mind to let go, I answered. Now im working to get a house. Thank you for the inspirational hardship of your experience.

  4. The husband wasn’t so great to leave his loved ones with $3m of debt especially as there seemed to be sufficient assets to repay this in 2 years, i.e. @ $30k/week, way beyond most people’s means.

  5. A long time ago, I became a singe parent with two elementary kids to raise and a lot of debt. In order to get to the place where I could pay my debts, mortgage and utilities on time, I cut every thing I could think of. Some things were harder than others, like air conditioning. But I did it for 2 years and I have never been sorry. Anytime after that, whenever my kids and I wanted something we could not afford, we looked at what we would have to give up in order to get what we “wanted”. That’s what really helps you decide if it’s worth having. My earning at the time was $17/hr. It was hard, but it was worth it because of the financial freedom we gained.

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