Tag: money

Our Thoughts, Our Choice

Our Thoughts, Our Choice

Byron Katie - The Work“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” William James

It’s Monday, but it doesn’t feel like Monday. It feels like Tuesday or Wednesday. I lost a few days last week due to a stomach virus and worked over the weekend to catch up. I’m pretty sure it will take a few days and more than a few reminders to get me back on track. Although staying on track has never been my strong suit. Structure and pre-planned discipline are ever illusive. What discipline I have, and my husband tells me I have a ton of it, is deeply embedded in my subconscious.

Work is not really work for me. I love what I do, and mostly I don’t get paid so maybe I shouldn’t even call it work.  Or, at least what I do earn from doing what I do doesn’t cover the hours I spend doing it.  I keep trying to make enough to get by without compromising my beliefs and values and intent, also a never ending challenge. Money. It’s an issue for so many of us, as I discovered from the results of the survey I sent out yesterday. (If you haven’t taken it, and have the time, it’s not too late. I always appreciate any input you’re willing to share. I’m looking for feedback before I wander off in another direction. I want what I do here to work for you.) At any rate, I am going to get into the issues around money here, soon, in a big way. So if you’re interested, stay tuned.

Before I sat down to write this morning I impulsively pulled out our new vacuum cleaner, which actually was still poised for launch in the living room where I left it yesterday. In fact, since buying this new appliance I’ve vacuumed every room in the house, often more than once a day. My whole attitude toward vacuuming has changed in a flash. It’s not that I don’t like vacuuming before, it’s just that it seemed like a never ending process due to castoffs from the array of pets that too often rule the roost. Up until now, it’s been a very unsatisfactory endeavor. It’s not like the carpets sparkle and gleam like a freshly polished kitchen floor. They just look like they should, fur free. The carpet is too old to come back to life. However, our new vacuum has changed the whole experience for me….because…it has a little red light!

The little red light comes on when it finds dirt and turns to green when it’s all clean! The first time I used it I was instantaneously smitten. I vacuum with such focus and attention on that little red light that vacuuming is down right meditative. (Or, obsessive.) Either way, it works! I can’t wait to get back at it!

It got me thinking about the power of our thoughts to influence our feelings and behavior. As Byron Katie constantly reminds us, a thought arises. It just does.  When we can become aware of our thoughts, then we can choose what follows. When we are unaware of our thoughts, what follows are feelings and actions based upon beliefs we may no longer actually believe. They are based in past experiences.  When we take the time to stop and question our thoughts, we can begin to align our thinking with our true values and beliefs.

For instance, the thought arises “It’s not Monday”. Is that true? My thoughts tell me its probably Tuesday. An external source is telling me it’s Monday and so I double check my belief. Sure enough it’s Monday. Continuing to hold on to my belief that it’s Tuesday when the whole world, including my schedule, is operating as if it’s Monday can cause me major stress. 

How about the thought, “maybe I shouldn’t even call it work”? Is that true? Of course not, I can call it whatever I like. There’s no law against calling what I do work. Chances are good, however, there was a thought that preceded that thought that was totally unconscious; A thought that came from an archaic unquestioned belief that I still hold. You can probably see it. When I dig down I come up with a few belief-based thoughts that led to this statement: 1) anything pleasurable cannot be of monetary value; 2) work by its very nature is not enjoyable, work is hard and grueling and forced upon us, work is what we don’t want to do; 3) writing is fun and enjoyable, therefore it is not work, and therefore has no monetary value; 4) work is something that one takes seriously and requires physical and mental effort alone, not reflective, intuitive, feeling abilities. You get the picture?

When we take the time to go back and find the belief that led to a thought, we can begin to get straight with our true selves. I was raised by parents who believed all of the beliefs I still hold in my unconscious. They did not see value in the me I was born to be and they instilled in me their beliefs and desires as to who I should be. I have to work constantly to strengthened my own beliefs and put aside there’s. Here’s what is true for me: 1) I believe that if we do what we love, with the desire and the practiced intention of making money doing it, then we can make money doing it.  2) I believe that work can and should be enjoyable, and that when it is not, it is still only our thoughts that make us suffer. 3) I believe work is probably an antiquated word in this instance. a better choice would be “career” or “profession”, or used with another word such as “work on a project”, that takes the bite out of it for me. 4) I have come to appreciate and value “down” time that includes deep, reflective thought, meditation, research and quiet reading as an essential part of my profession.

Williams James said it very succinctly in his quote. When we slow things down, and break them down, to get to our truest, bottom line thought in a stressful situation, we can change our thought and remove the stress. The key is to tune in and to pay attention to what it is we are thinking. My thoughts around the little red light created a whole new feeling in me about vacuuming. I’m still thinking on that one!

What thoughts cause you stress? What beliefs are associated with those thoughts?

Byron Katie’s book, Loving What Is, especially in the audio version, is a valuable tool for practicing this process. I purchased all of her audios through Audible and listened to each multiple times. She does live sessions with real people as they work the process together, or “do the work” as she calls it, and it’s very instructive. Incidentally, I find my membership with Audible both immensely valuable and affordable. I only purchase items I know I will listen to again and again. I use Kindle and pre-owned physical books for fiction or impulse purchases.

THE MONEY CODE – Improve Your Entire Financial Life Right Now by John Duran

THE MONEY CODE – Improve Your Entire Financial Life Right Now by John Duran


Women of our generation have been struggling to find their “fiscal identity” for a long time. Launched into the job market at an early age, we carried the baggage Joe Duranof the benevolent caregiver we inherited from previous generations. Twenty and thirty years later, we still sometimes  find ourselves feeling uncomfortable with money and accurately calculating our value in the market place. This is why I chose to review The Money Code when asked by Joe Duran’s publicist.

The book is simplistic and a bit awkward at times, but when it comes to financial matters, simplistic goes a long way for me! I found it a quick and easy read but I walked away with some valuable insights on my own relationship with money, as well as a clearer understanding of what motivates my husband when it come to money.  We had several productive conversations, using Duran’s easy to understand concepts and visuals, that I wish we had thirty years ago!

If money is still “an elephant in your closet”, take this opportunity to get it out and have a look. You might just find you gain a whole new perspective when you do.

Joe John Duran is CEO and founding partner of United Capital, which consistently ranks as one of the nation’s fastest growing wealth counseling firms. He’s fueled by his passion to change the industry and improve lives by empowering people to make better, more informed financial decisions. From CNBC to CNN, Joe frequently provides commentary on TV. He has been profiled in numerous publications, including the New York Times and Smart Money.

The Money Code is Joe’s third book. His two previous titles are Start It, Sell It, and Make A Mint (Wiley and Sons, 2004) and The First Time Investor’s Workbook (McGraw Hill, 2001). Joe holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and earned MBA degrees from Columbia University and UC Berkeley. He lives in Laguna Beach, California, with his wife, Jennifer, and their three precious daughters.

Connect with Joe:

Visit the official website

Like The Money Code on Facebook

Follow on Twitter

 

MONEY – THE ELEPHANT IN THE CLOSET

MONEY – THE ELEPHANT IN THE CLOSET

money issues
Elephant In The Room Painting by Leah Saulnier

Women, particularly women over fifty, have an uneasy relationship with money. We experience guilt or shame whether we have more than enough or not enough. To make matters worse, we don’t like to talk about these feelings.

I am a perfect example of this dynamic. For as long as I can remember I have said “I don’t care about money. It’s not important. Higher values took precedence. I’ve since learned that this is a fine philosophy if you have enough to meet your needs, and if you understand what enough is.

My relationship with money has been volatile at best over the years.  My husband and I started life together with meager but sufficient means. We both worked good jobs and managed to purchase a starter home. We began our family in a place of self-sufficiency.

Like most newlyweds, we watched our pennies. We worked hard and we believed we would be successful. The America Dream would happen for our family. As a product of the 60’s, I deeply questioned this dream. Its subtle influences, however, were programmed into my thinking. As a result, I lived in a different sort of conflict.

OUR FIRST FINANCIAL CRISIS

Our first serious financial stress began when I decided I wanted to be a stay-at-home Mom. I did not doubt for a minute that this was what I was to do, for the sake of my children. Willing to sacrifice my career and monetary gain to spend these precious years with my children, I would give them something money can never buy. I remember being embarrassed to say I was a stay at home Mom. Even as I was committed to the process, I felt out-of-place and out of step with the world at large. I was what you might call a conflicted idealist, but my actions followed my heart.

My husband made the appropriate decisions to advance his career and he accepted a job that plunked our family of four into a military region of the country at the time of Desert Storm. Before we had even seeded the front yard of our newly built home, he lost his job. When the troops left, so did the need for employees. There was no work in the area, for either of us except low paying jobs. I worked three retail jobs and he took over the care of the children while he searched for employment. We hung on in this way as long as we could. A week away from foreclosure, we put our house on the market and sold it at a loss. We walked away empty-handed and brokenhearted. Somehow things had gone terribly wrong.

SHAME AND HOPELESSNESS SETTLE IN

I know what it’s like to go from having a sense of financial control over one’s life to overwhelming debt. I know the feelings of shame and hopelessness that flourishes in a person who has to stand in line for food stamps and then hand them over to the clerk at the checkout counter. It was mortifying. We were educated, capable people, but the wound to our self-esteem made it harder and harder to see ourselves as redeemable.

As individuals, our struggles with our “fiscal identity” is unique and multi-faceted.  Exploring this issue, in order to remedy it, requires that we go deeper than we like to go. It’s not comfortable, but it’s worth it. Taking the risk to talk about our relationship with money, whether it be with a friend, mentor, or therapist, is the first step in coming out from the shadows of shame.

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Brené Brown

OWNING OUR STORY ABOUT MONEY

As we begin to tell our story, letting out the hurt, the shame, the fear, we will begin to recognize our hidden beliefs, the ones that keep us locked in our suffering. We will see more clearly how we sabotage our efforts to reach a place of financial comfort internally and externally. Separating what’s true for us from what’s true for our culture will enable us to align our actions with our deepest beliefs and do so without fear of judgement.

The economic pressures that have become more common in recent years is no lightweight matter. It may just be the pressure we need to begin a thorough self-examination of our attitudes and underlying beliefs. My experience described above did that for me.

I have deep compassion for those experiencing financial misfortune for the first time. It took me years to come to terms with the humiliation I felt during those years and long after. My husband and I did not talk about our plight. We did not ask for help. At that time, financial misfortune was tied to irresponsibility, laziness, and stupidity.  Only the lowest of the low declared bankruptcy.  Culturally, it’s more acceptable now, but personally it is often still a nightmare.

LESSONS LEARNED

I learned many valuable lessons during that time in my life. For instance, I learned that using cloth napkins, emptying and reusing vacuum bags, shopping yard sales for everything from clothes to household necessities made it possible for us to pay the bills and put food on the table for $300 a week. I learned about the pain of not being able to give my children even the simplest gift on their Christmas List and how to make it exciting and happy for them anyway. We all learned, our children included, to make do with the barest necessities. I learned to live without waste and to enjoy the simplest things in life. It took me much longer to learn to live without want in a world of abundance.

Many women now entering their fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties are facing a financial future without retirement, without health insurance, without savings, without a sense of confidence in Social Security or our financial and political institutions, and without confidence in their ability to improve the monetary status. From the very beginning, I have used this website and my social media connections to support small businesses owned by women. Authors, artists, crafters, coaches, and all who make the world a better place deserve our support.

Many women sell products and services online to help make ends meet. All are artists, of one sort or another, committed to their craft and committed to following their purpose in life whether it be to paint a canvas or teach about doing taxes when you are self-employed. The world needs what we have to offer. Let’s open our arms, our minds and our pocket books to one another and support each other financially as well as emotionally. Let’s not assume that everyone else has more than we do. They do not. Let’s also accept that there is enough for everyone and everyone deserves enough. Above all else, let’s open our hearts to one another, and most especially ourselves, without judgement.