All Hail Forward Progress…. Financially, Relationally, Emotionally, Professionally

Even When It’s Hard.
Especially When It’s Hard.

I’ve gotta tell you…coming back to “real life” from the holidays has been massively challenging for me this year. Sometimes the spiritual path throws me for loops. Sure, I wouldn’t have it any other way, but still. HARD at times. Like the past 2 weeks. Including right now in this very moment.

I’m grateful that my money practices are in place from the sunnier days, proverbially, so that some degree of autopiloting can happen when the storms come.  Noticing how it’s difficult, even for me who does this for a living, to be clear around money while other stuff is giving me fits, is what I’d like to share with you in this Inspiragram.

Do you know how sometimes it’s just tougher than usual to think clearly? Especially when some sort of security is at risk (which is kind of all the time when money is involved), this can counterintuitively decrease my ability to take actions that would increase my security. In plainer English, why do I want to spend extra money so bad, when I’m worried about not having enough money to spend? Isn’t that kind of a strange self-generated kick in the pants? What is the compulsion to prove that I have something to worry about?!

Spirit sent me some messages the other night, in the midst of a snit. It went something like this:

Spirit: “Let’s tell them about having a clear mind when it comes to money.”

Me: “Go away. Haven’t you messed with me enough lately?! P.S. You want ME to tell them about having a clear mind?”

Spirit: “You know you know how to. Remember?”

Me: “What if it hurts them. I don’t want anyone to hurt more.”

Spirit: “Doesn’t it hurt not, to *not* have a clear mind? Doesn’t it feel better when it is clear?”

Me: “Curses. Foiled again.”

Or something like that. : )

I wrote in my notes from that Divine chat, “seems like the necessary ingredient is a clear-ish mind”. See? No perfection necessary. Seems like it helps to take micro actions that will lead me closer to clear rather than further away from it.

It’s a bit tricky, I know. If I’m already scared or mad or checked out or all of the above about my financial situation, how can I have a clear mind before I have total clarity in this black box area? Chicken and egg. You know you can still enjoy a delicious omelette even if you don’t know which one came first. It’s my experience that you can still get effective results, even if you can’t see all the way to the end of the process just yet. Watch out for those mental demons that tell you to not even bother because you’ll never tackle it all.

Here are some of my tools and conditions that support my mind being clear around my money situation:

  • I’ve done a spending plan for the month. I know, realistically, what I expect to come in and go out of my accounts. And I know what I’m saving for in the future, so I’m not spending everything in my account. Fixed annual occurrences (car registration, holidays with gifts) are no longer unpleasant financial surprises when they roll around.
  • I’m tracking my actual income and expenses as they correlate to my spending plan. A spending plan without tracking my actual spending, is just a plan. I need to put it in action.
  • When requests for money come my way, I’m relatively comfortable with what my priorities and available category amounts are, so that I can answer them with a mature – yes, no, or maybe. This counts for the whole range of things I reeeeeallly want to do, all the way down to, I probably should but, eh. I need to trust myself to make healthy decisions. That doesn’t always mean saying no…and, it probably also doesn’t always mean saying yes.
  • I have at least a general sense of timelines with my  next financial milestones. i.e. I plan to be debt free by March 2015. I plan to have my 2014 Roth fully funded by June 2014. Whatever is meaningful and doable for you.
  • I have some buffers in place when an impulse to spend arises. We all can benefit from release valves every now and then. I find that a clear mind helps me enjoy those releases in a way that doesn’t harm my bigger picture. I must know my plan in advance, because when the inner 10 year-old (the one who reeeeealllly wants something) gets going, my adult needs to be present and clear so we can make the best decision together.

And add your own flavor to this list based on what has been difficult for you in the past with money. Are you an overspender? An underspender? A workaholic who needs to take themself to a movie every now and then?

I love how personal these decisions are. I feel sad when people don’t have the support they could benefit from to develop their own clear mind around it. I’m grateful for those who helped me get here, and am honored to help others along the way.