Changing Money Strategies

It’s difficult to share that while my income has grown over the past 3 years, I’ve still managed to spend more than I’ve made to the point of being in more debt after 3 years than I was in the prior decade (student loans aside). This was a recent wake up call for me that something needed to change and now!

First, I began to look into the feelings I had surrounding money. It was then that I saw a pattern emerge: I had a healthy fear of money, both of having it and not having it.

As ironic as that may sound, yes, I feared having money. I saw this in how as soon as I received a windfall (or knew one was coming), I immediately made plans to get the money “back out the door.”

The Universe also brought a spotlight to shine on the areas in my life where I did not appreciate nor value myself. It was easy at first to blame the “others” involved, however, if I truly valued myself I would not have put myself in the position to be devalued by others. I knew something needed to change within. And again: Now!

Next, I began to track my spending with a free app called “Spending.” After using it for a month, I saw how I had more money than I thought and I also saw how I misused it in some areas.

From this tracking, I created a budget I could stick to, though it is quite strict. I’ve even created a grocery list that gives a break down of what I can spend in different areas of the store (I created about 5 areas) and gave 2 numbers, each based on if I’m shopping for 1 or 2 weeks at a time.

Since then, I have sought personal loan offers on Lending Tree to help lower my interest rates and to get out of the revolving credit door. This loan has since been applied to my credit card with the highest interest rate being paid off first.

Part of my budget also includes plans for windfalls. 1/2 of any extra money goes into savings and the other 1/2 goes to my highest interest rate loan and my student loan- as extra payments.

On New Year’s Day, I saw and signed up for a 365-day course on healing my relationship with money, with a spiritual focus through Daily Om. It is helping me to see how my relationship with money is a reflection of my relationship with myself. Money is no longer a charged word for me!

It is my hope that in sharing this that one of you will gain a foothold into healing your own relationship with yourself, your self-value and your finances. Until we look within, we cannot heal what is without.

Namaste 🙏

P.S. An integral part of this, which is now a habit for me, is to feel gratitude for what I do have. This has been a tremendous help, as have daily meditations on shame, guilt, forgiveness and healing my inner child (The Insight Timer App has MANY awesome meditations).

Insomnia: The Pot of Guilt at The End of My Sleepless Rainbow

For the past few weeks my ability to stay asleep at night has been very much hit-or-miss. I have played with varying bedtimes, reducing my overall caffeine intake and screen/TV times at night, while increasing my night time meditation. I’ve also tried dietary changes including increased magnesium intake (through oil and citrate), and even taking Valerian some nights. All with varying effects that were inconsistent, at best as I was still awake most nights at 0300 and unable to shut off my mind even with use of guided meditations. Well, I discovered a connection that has helped to completely change my nighttime waking.

For just over a month, I have been using The Insight Timer App for timed and guided meditations. This week, I stumbled upon a meditation theme of healing guilt & shame that really resonated with me. It was a long meditation, and I identified with many things discussed during it. Afterwards, I felt refreshed and as if a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.

Feeling this relief, I began to notice more feelings of guilt bubbling up. Wanting a shorter meditation, I did a search for “guilt” and about 4 out of 10-12 search results referred to insomnia or sleeplessness in the title, but not guilt. Curious, I listened to several and found that guilt has been the thief in the night, stealing my restful sleep. Honestly, I am still a little surprised by this and yet so grateful to now have this piece of the sleeplessness puzzle solved or at least knowing where to focus my efforts!

Following several meditations, I have been having some of the best sleep I’ve had in several months. If I wake up at 0300-something, I have been playing one of the (many) guided meditations on guilt (sleep specific or not) and find I fall back to sleep before the meditation ends and I stay there until my alarm sounds off in the morning. This is an A-M-A-Z-I-N-G improvement for me!

Over this week, I worked through guilt that I’ve been carrying about my divorce, children, work, finances, relationships, personal needs and life in general. This has also had physical benefits, as I am able to more freely move my head and neck, probably from having many emotional burdens lifted from my shoulders.

I am absolutely astounded as to how much guilt there was and still is. In another meditation about guilt, the speaker talked to how feeling bad (aka guilt) is an expectation. WOW! So guilt is so ingrained that we do not seem to know what it even looks like?! She also spoke to letting go of statements such as “I could have done better at ….” While this statement CAN help us to improve ourselves and our condition, if we perseverate on it (which I find I do, a LOT), it can lead us straight down the halls of guilt.

These meditations have been life changing for me. I feel as if I have unlocked more rooms in my secret vaults; able to see the unconscious drive. For instance, I have noticed how many of my decisions I make based on guilt avoidance instead of doing something because it is the right thing to do in my heart.

Intention sets the tone for our outcomes, with intentions based on fear instead of love, we are setting the stage for more problems than solutions. I’m changing that. This includes feeling bad for how I’m feeling; this just compounds the guilt!

I highly encourage you to take a peek inside at the guilt you may be carrying. If you’ve had a strong emotional response, including resistance, this may be a sign that you need this more than you think.

Namaste & May you Return to a Greater Sense of Peace and Restful Sleep

Handling Regret Using Empathy (Guided meditation)

P.S. The Insight Timer app is free and filled with many amazing meditations to suit your time, and your goals. There are zero agreements between myself and the developers to say these things. Happy Growing!

What is your self-worth?

Ultimately, I believe our self-worth is immeasurable. Yet, I also believe that each of us has a set of measuring sticks against which we see our own value; whether we are aware of it or not. Easy to choose examples are based on what we do, what we have or how we look. Well, what about the things we do for ourselves?

Do we allow the important things in our lives to take precedence or do we focus, instead, on the things that don’t? Maybe we don’t even know what our true priorities are in life. A great way to find out is to imagine ourselves on our deathbeds; what are the things we wish we had done more of, or paid more attention to?

Do we take care of ourselves more when the demands in our life increase, or do we cease all self-care to run to the rescue of others? When our stress levels increase, our need for self-care also increases. I liken this to Racecars who get more maintenance for one race than many of our family cars receive in a year. The harder we run ourselves, the more TLC we require to keep from breaking down somewhere.

How we allow others to treat us is another area in which our true self-value can be revealed. Do we find that we give and give while our expectations of others diminishes?

Or how much time passes before we pay attention to the things in our lives that need it? Do we keep walking by the pile of unpaid bills, unwashed dishes or unopened mail. Is it time to undo this habit of neglecting our own self-care?

I believe this world would be a much happier place if each of us took just 10% better care of ourselves. For if each of us could love ourselves enough to give ourselves the very best, or at least better, we’d not continue to sell ourselves short in life and we’d each be better stewards, teaching others a better path.

So how, today, right now, can you take action on something that has been nagging at your mind, your soul, to help take care of yourself and make yourself a happier traveler?

Namaste

REleasing during Mercury REtrograde

People have learned to fear Mercury REtrograde. This is a time when all things with communication and technology can go haywire. Recently, I even read an article about how explosive the topic has been this go ‘round on Twitter. I once feared Mercury REtrogrades myself and now I see them as an opportunity for growth and REnewal.

REtrogrades are a time of REflection, RElease and when the first two parts are allowed, REnewal. During this time, we are being pushed to look inwards and backwards at the things that no longer serve us. Our beliefs, thoughts, actions and habits are all on the witness stand, being thoroughly cross-examined. This can feel like death as it can wreak havoc in our lives, particularly when we fight the flow, as we are questioning many aspects of our lives.

When we understand that this is a time to throw away the rubbish that has been stinking up our lives and our minds, then we can see this as what it is: time to take out the trash! This can be literal, figurative or both. It is our choice.

Personally, I find that when I give permission for the things in my mind (particularly those parts that no longer serve me) to exist that they quickly dissolve. Then my physical life demands that I do the same. In the past 2 weeks I have deeply cleaned and cleared the clutter in my kitchen and living room. It feels truly REfreshing now to be at home in my own home.

I encourage each of us to embrace this time of REview/REflection, RElease and REnewal, instead of focusing on the havoc it seems to create. REtrograde CAN be an awesome opportunity, if we allow it.

Namaste

This morning, I burned a card that detailed the child support that my ex owes me. I release the need to worry about it. This or something better will come my way. Mercury REtrograde, for me today, equals RElease.

Is anger easier to feel than love?

As I drove to work this morning, I noticed my thoughts were honed in on the areas in which I have felt wronged. In fact, looking back further, I see this has been the primary pattern I have held this past week – and beyond. My fist and jaw muscles were clenched while I seemed to hover slightly out of my body. The still, quiet voice within softly whispered, “focus on your heart.” Immediately, I let out a slow, long breath that, before that very moment, I didn’t realize I had been holding onto. I felt the back of my body again, no longer hovering. My muscles softened, appropriately (afterall, I was still driving). In the same moment, I felt the healing glow of my heart light open and warm the restrictions in my throat and stomach.

Within seconds, I saw where I felt so much better just by changing my focus from my grievances to my heart. One of my next thoughts was, “why didn’t I just do this sooner?” I did see where, overnight, I would turn the focus onto myself to see where I was contributing to the problem, AND by doing this, I was still focusing on the problem. Now, my focus was fully on my heart and I felt complete and whole again, where once I had felt completely broken.

After recognizing the internal battle that ensued overnight, I began to ask myself: “is it easier to be angry than it is to love?” Immediately, I began to see where, indeed, our anger helps us to feel justified, gives us the feeling of power and protection. We feel armored, and it also separates and disconnects us from others. In other words, anger keeps us stuck in our own thoughts, actions and habits.

On the other hand, literally, the open hand of love versus the closed fist of anger makes us feel incredibly vulnerable. Love means we are open, to some degree, to whatever is to come.

Anger disconnects and love connects. To feel love and compassion is to see life from someone else’s perspective. Love is scary because it means we need to change how we view the world, ourselves and how we relate to others. Now love doesn’t seem so great now, does it? (just kidding).

Here are some heart meditations that I have practiced this week while working through the muck that a few times threatened to keep me forever stuck. Trust me when I say that pushing away the anger and frustration is like building a bulkhead along the ocean, the waves dig out the sand in front of it and the waves just return bigger and angrier. Here are some strategies to side-step the building up of anger, by opening up the heart light.

Gratitude

Gratitude is such a powerful tool for opening the heart and seeing life from a different perspective. Sometimes the greatest challenge is just beginning. It may be best to start with the basics. The other day I began my list with being grateful for being warm (I don’t like being cold), for my cozy bed (that I was still in at the time), then my home, running water, water heater, my kids, my Jeep, my Job….

Write the list if this helps to solidify things for you. When we focus on the things that ARE going well, it helps us to gain perspective a higher perspective and rise above the things that close our hearts. Gratitude is infectious, be careful! (wink)

Heart Meditations

Imagine the parts of yourself that are hurting, for whatever reason, in bubbles in front of your heart. Remember a time when you felt love, or ask Your Higher Power to give love to these parts of you (in the bubbles). See the bubbles filling with love and see the various part of yourself, within their individual bubbles, transformed. When ready, allow these bubbles to rise up to the heavens, or see them reintegrate with you. Or follow what your heart tells you to do.

This same technique can be used to help someone else who is suffering in some way.

Digging Deeper

What are some ways in which you can each open your heart to a greater depth of love?

How can you tell when you are being closed to others? I personally find that my muscles go into hyperdrive

Where has your focus been this week or what thoughts are you running away from?

The Lessons within The Pain

The pains that we feel are cries for help, attention, and love. These pains are all messengers that something needs to change. While the form may change in that the pain can physical, emotional, mental or spiritual, each form is a lesson left unlocked. What is this pain trying to tell us?

Instead of pushing it away, fighting it, anesthetizing it, can we take a moment to lean into it? Feel it, walk into the fire; the contraction. Feeling into the middle of the source of our pain, we can begin to relax, almost as if we stood in the eye of the storm. Being fully present with this, we begin to feel the grip of the pain begin to loosen. We can then only be transformed. Sometimes the pain needs to be taken in smaller bites. Sometimes it can be taken in all at once.

Our pain has something to teach us. What are we not learning? Rarely does change occur when we are comfortable….

Believer – Imagine Dragons

The Freedom in Breaking Down

Kneeling on the hard concrete patio, there was a chill to the air as dusk began to fall and I quickly scribbled my feelings on dishes using permanent markers. With safety glasses in place, I placed a plate gently inside a small banker’s box. My adrenalin rushed as I tightly gripped the hammer and brought it down, angrily and repeatedly on the fragile dish ware. At first my hits were staccato-like, trying to pulverize the plate into oblivion.

As I moved through the scribbled set of spare plates, at times large chunks of ceramic shrapnel would land on the patio. One large piece jumped up and scraped along my right middle finger where dark red blood soon followed. This did not stop me; using alternate grips with the hammer to avoid more scrapes, as I was beyond the point of stopping to find gloves.

The power I felt was AMAZING. I then began to revel in the amount of destruction I could do with one smooth hit. Soon the weight that I had been carrying around my chest was lifted, the weight on my shoulders soon followed. My prevailing emotions moved from anger and sadness to empowerment.

Originally, I had planned to throw the plates into a dumpster. Yet I wanted to feel the action of the breaking at my own hands. I now see the benefit of really feeling it. Maybe next time I’ll wear gloves… maybe.

There was such a sense of peace after everything was adequately broken. In fact, I was proud of my destruction. There was also beauty in the melodious way the broken pieces chimed as they collided with one another while I cleaned up.

Looking back, I see how I was able to break some of the habits of my thinking patterns just by breaking plates. That night, I broke up with some of my anger. Afterwards, I felt enlivened and relieved of many blockages. Over a week later, I still do. Since then, I’ve learned a few things, too.

Several people have shared with me the Greek tradition of breaking plates as a form of celebration. One Greek friend even gave me pointers on buying the plates from the Dollar Store instead of the thrift store for ease of breakability. She also spoke to the exhilaration felt with breaking plates while shouting “Opa!”

I have also read of how some Buddhist monks break green glass in pillowcases to help relieve the feelings of anger. What’s interesting about this is that my next calling is to nicely decorate a plate before I smash it, which seems akin to the sand mandalas created and then destroyed by Tibetan Monks.

Since following my calling to break stuff, I now realize how ceremonial and freeing this very act can be. If you plan to follow, please do so safely.

Namaste