Hello! I hope your summer is going well, wherever in the world you are.
The topic of Freedom has been really up for me. I started playing tennis in the program in San Quentin prison (http://bit.ly/SanQuentinTennis). Talking to one of the guys who is in coding classes, he said his dream is to just take a laptop to Muir Woods and have time and space to code and enjoy the redwoods.
Freedom awareness = I get to do that pretty much whenever I want.
Then Bae started watching Orange is the New Black. I watched a couple of episodes, it made me a nervous wreck, but I did remember hearing Piper Kermin and Jenji Kohan being interviewed. So I got the original audiobook from the library and LOVED it. Part of it that really affected me was hearing about being engaged and having their visits so closely monitored. He grabbed her hand out of enthusiastic care once during a visit, and a guard yelled at them to stop!
Freedom awareness = I get to hug and be affectionate with people that I love!
Tim Ferriss did an excellent podcast on having visited a prison program which trains aspiring entrepreneurs. (https://tim.blog/2018/06/25/tim-ferriss-goes-to-maximum-security-prison/) Something that really stood out to me is the exercise of people (volunteer or inmate) stepping forward who, for example, have driven drunk, or shoplifted, or a bunch of things that seem small potatoes until one gets caught and punished. And of course, the dynamics are all skewed against those with darker skin, and in favor of those with lighter skin, for the most part. This is complicated, of course, and there are many sides. However…
Freedom awareness = I’ve gotten some lucky breaks when making poor decisions. And, not everyone has been as lucky for a variety of reasons.
The things about freedom that I offer as food for thought…
Sometimes it costs money to experience freedom.
And sometimes I’m fooling myself if I think money will get me there.
It’s often “easier” to accept without review, what others consider freedom, and follow that for myself. Not rocking the boat can lead to freedom from waves. But that relative ease (as compared to discovering my own freedom by trying and experiencing) can sometimes bind and suffocate. The polar opposite of freedom, for many of us.
Sometimes I have the mistaken belief that I can’t experience freedom until certain conditions are met. Is it still freedom in the end, if I’m harming myself along the way? Notice the crappy deals you might make with yourself, that prolong your own experience of freedom. Right now. Without condition. (i.e. sometimes I don’t let myself go tinkle until I’ve done a certain amount of work. Free the bladder!! My physical health is a necessary ground on which work gets done, sustainably.)
If I am harming someone else in order to experience my own freedom, is the freedom real and lasting? (I’m still noodling on this one. Like yesterday I worried I was harming the young Asian man who did my pedicure. I was sitting above him in my white skin and “extra” money. However, he is there offering a service, and maybe it’s for the best that I sit in that chair and support the business? Dunno yet, still searching for resolution on ones like that, for myself.) (Oh, and you get to agree and disagree and find your own freedom around the topic!)
The AA Big Book has a phrase that is foundational for my working understanding of freedom.
“happy, joyous, and free”
I’ve experienced times where I was expressing myself freely, and verbally battering others around me (sometimes unconsciously, sometimes not). I may have been free in my expression, and I lorded my intelligence and wit over others, but I missed the happy and joyous part.
I’ve had lotttts of time on my hands at a couple of times in life. Seemed like freedom from the outside, and, without being plugged into something constructive, neither the happy nor joyous were there.
Other times I’ve explored substances and behaviors without limits. I loved saying yes to myself that much. And, it was out of balance and therefore unsustainable. There was always a sense of time running out on it. I was happy and joyous for a lot of it, but then the regret or negative consequences would come eventually. I was not free.
Oh, what the heck does all this have to do with financial wellness?!
Kind of everything.
Our money does what we ask it to do. The values and decisions, conscious or not, lead to financial results, amounts, patterns, and consequences.
I wish you all the chance to be happy, joyous, and free!
And if you would like support with the journey, I am glad to help.
For those of you who would like someone to update your YNAB.com transactions for you, I have a great resource available! I’m still available to teach people how YNAB (You Need A Budget) works, and collaborate on a coaching plan. But if time is limited for you, it can be handy to hire someone, at least for a while, to do the data updates. Email me if you’d like to learn more about that option~ email@example.com
Financial Wellness Coaching Curriculum
~ Budgeting/Tracking/Goal Setting and Reaching
~ Mindfulness with Money: With Self and Other(s) (meditation, acceptance, intuition)
~ Boundaries with Money: Beliefs, Resolving Past Hurts and Fears, Communication Skills, Valuing Your Time As Invaluable
~ Cashflow organization and planning for small business owners: 10% organizing the cash management system, and 90% behavior and follow-through