I’m excited about a new offering for my clients – the Numbers Lounge.

Several of us will meet tomorrow morning in my office to catch up our personal accounting. Like a study group where we can help each other stay focused, and then we’ll end it with an upcoming money challenge for us that week, as well as something that is working well in our money behavior that we intend to keep doing.

What I plan to do at the Numbers Lounge on my finances:

-update my spending plan categories with things I bought this week (ex, I got a massage for $110, so I will subtract that amount from my Personal Care category) (She used hot rocks! It was awesome on my tennis calves and computer neck!)
-call AT&T about a mysterious bill that I don’t recognize but they say I owe them money for (would have just paid it in the past without asking! or either ignored it and hoped it would go away.)
-call a different department at AT&T. They sent me a website address to “claim a reward” after I got DSL at my office. The website link doesn’t work. I will not be dissuaded that easily. I heart rewards!
-balance my checkbook so I know the ‘real’ balance in my account, not just what the bank website says
-get square with my roommate who pays 1 utility and I pay the other and whoever pays more gives the difference to the other
-update my business’ QuickBooks for the clients who paid, and send reminders to those who haven’t yet responded to the invoice I sent
-update my invoices with the notes I made this week about billable client work
-figure out another way to export my expense reports from the app to a place that isn’t tied to my phone. Tried emailing it but the email didn’t make it through. Depart from the current plan, which is just to not have my phone get lost or stolen.

I look at that list and know that an hour will fly by. It helps me a lot to carve out deliberate time each week to weed my money garden. I’ve experimented with it, and paying attention to my categories and accounts every day is too much and every month is too little.

There is no remote-control-type solution to this – I have 3 choices when it comes to awareness about my money. I can:

a) Do it myself. (For this I must trust myself to actually do it and not just say I know I need to or “should”.)
b) Get someone else to do it for me and tell me the results. (For this I must trust the other person to both do it, not cheat me, and tell me the whole truth.)
c) Not do it and constantly be aware that I am in vagueness. (For this I must tolerate weird chronic discomfort that I will probably eat or shop over.

What was your reaction when the subject line asked, are you a fan of you?

As you work on your regular-life financial items, what is the quality of the sounds that happen between your ears?
Do you tell yourself that you’re doing a good job?
Do you thank yourself for taking care of something so important and crucial to having a good, clear life?
Do you have little inside jokes with yourself as you review what you spent money on? Have you found how it can actually be fun to do?
If a friend were to sit next to you and talk to you the way you talk to yourself when you’re cultivating your money garden, would they be a nice friend or a mean friend?

I want to deeply encourage you to approach this process with as much kindness as you can stand. And when you can stand more kindness, crank it up even more! No limit to kindness!

Tennis is a great teacher for me about this practice. If I hit the ball in to the net (not a good thing, for you non-tennis folks), I can either think or say, “DAMMIT BETH, WHY CAN’T YOU DO ANYTHING RIGHT??”  OR, and I make this choice every time I can now, I can say, “Hey, nice try Beth! Better luck next time! Thanks for being out here on a nice day doing something you love to do!”

If I beat myself up internally, I will have the same reaction as I would if someone outside of me were beating me up. I would not want to spend time with them! So it’s not *just* doing your numbers work and knowing what’s going on with your earning and spending. It’s crucial that HOW you do it involves care and respect. Even if you don’t genuinely feel those things yet, that’s ok….they say, “Fake it til you make it.” It works! It’s like saying affirmations even when you’re saying affirmations because you don’t believe it’s true! Something has to change your mind if it’s not working at full capacity for you. It may as well be you who reaches in there and infuses your thoughts with love and tenderness and affection.

Something I appreciate about both money and food as spiritual practice is that they are SO RELEVANT all the time! I’m always in some sort of decision about either one of them, for the most part. Many, many opportunities to surrender to the kind of adulthood I choose.
Here is a specific suggestion to get started (or re-started).

Picture the benefit of your doing something like balancing your checkbook. Before you even do it, think about WHY you might want to do it. Even if the process doesn’t excite you, how about the outcome of taking care of it?

I anticipate tomorrow feeling cleaner on the inside, once I get these things taken care of. It bugged me a bit this week that I didn’t immediately do them. But it helps a lot knowing I have this time tomorrow morning set aside specifically for this!