I am not a rich man

I have multiple diplomas and certifications in the mental health field, I am a well-established artist, I am a multi-time published author, I am a master instructor and founder in the martial arts, I am a musician with five albums of music out… many people mistake these things for my being wealthy. The truth is, I am far from wealthy!

I get by; my wife, our four kids, and I have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and bills paid, but that just about takes up our monthly budget. So, why with all of my qualifications and such, am I not wealthy? Firstly, it is not due to overspending and living an extravagant life, we couldn’t afford that if I sold everything I owned lol

It is because I started teaching martial arts to be a teacher to others, I became involved in the mental health field to help others, I got involved in music, writing, poetry, and art to share my personal expression with others. From a very young age, I was an artist, musician, writer, and loved all things martial arts with a dream of someday teaching. I studied all things mental health after having a close friend of mine commit suicide, which spurred me on to want to help fill in the gaps in the mental health industry. 

When I was teaching, if a student couldn’t afford lessons, I overlooked it until they could pay; at one point I was teaching thirty at-risk youth in a program sponsored by the state and when the state pulled funding due to a budget overhaul, I continued teaching them. This caused my school to close down and me to teach privately instead of in a class setting, but I still teach. There were plenty of commercial endeavors I could have explored teaching martial arts, but I continued teaching those who needed it most and lost my business. 

In mental health, I often see clients regardless of their ability to pay me or not, due to the nearly nonexistent mental health care system in America. Those who pay, I am eternally grateful, those who cannot pay who might be reading this, please keep getting seen, money should not be an obstacle to helping you get better. I didn’t get into this field to make a ton of money, I became a therapist to help where it is needed… period!

As for my creative exploits, as I said, I make enough to survive from them, especially in writing and art. Music, I have always been an underground artist in genres not considered fit for mainstream consumption. I love music, writing and performing, and recording it, but I make little from it albeit personal gratification and personal expression. 

Long before I found Judaism, I operated in this way, giving far more than I receive in the spirit of human kindness and helping the human condition to better. In fact, this is one of the reasons why Judaism called to me so much, the humanitarian work and the spirit of giving. So, I am not wealthy by conventional means, but I am full of spirit, surrounded by love, and every person I help fills me with great joy.