money.jpgMoney is such a big deal in this material world. And we make an even bigger deal of it than it needs to be. Either it’s the be-all/end-all: “Stop this foolishness about being an artist and go out and get a real job!”; or it’s some evil, awful thing: “What does she know about the real world? She has money” (as if that’s bad); or it’s just elusive and unattainable: “I have a degree magna cum laude and still I’m making coffee/making copies/making myself miserable (or add your own phrase here) for a living.”

It is with great humility that I write to you on this subject, because it’s definitely something that I’m not finished with yet in this life. My first big struggle was compulsive overeating; I feel safely in recovery on that one for many, many years now. Then it was relationships, romance, marriage, being “chosen” and loved and adored and comfortable enough in myself that I could have a good life even if that never happened. (It did, but I needed to get to the “comfortable enough in myself” place before it could happen.) You’ve got to know that all these big overcomings, at least in my case, took years — 30 for the food, ten for the relationship stuff. With money, I’m a work in progress. I’ve been on this consciously for about 14 years. There are strides forward and steps back. My process is a combination of spiritual prosperity principles, keeping the day-to-day stuff clear and simple, and being open to a bigger life. It’s working. I wish it were faster. I wish it were easier. But it’s slow and it’s tough. And that has to be okay.
Here’s what I know that’s working. Help yourself to what fits. And send me your comments on what’s working for you. How is your money? Are you okay? And if you’re not, are you free from fear? I hope so, because if you’re not afraid, the world opens up to you.
  • Get very clear about your money. Know how much you have, how much you spend, and what it takes to keep you afloat. Once you know this, you’ll know what you have to work with.
  • Stop using other people’s money. In other words, pay as you go. If you don’t have trouble with credit and can use a card and pay it off every month, fine. If you’re in over your head and paying off your MasterCard with your Visa, read Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously and do what the author, Jerrold Mundis, tells you.
  • Develop a spending plan and use it. This is not a rigid budget that doesn’t allow for life’s exigencies, but it is a way to live within your means. If it is not possible to live within your means, you need to make more money. Sad but true.
  • Learn your “enough point” so you know what you’re working toward. A classic book that helps with this is Your Money or Your Life, by Vicki Robin and the late Joe Dominguez. Vicki Robin totally practices what she preaches — i.e., financial independence in your personal life and a more humane world all ’round — and she’s offering a free introductory workshop to help you find your enough point. It’s happening October 22. Here’s the link.
  • Earn What You Deserve. That’s the title of another Jerrold Mundis book that I highly recommend. It’s also an admonition: if you’re going to work for money, strive to make as much as you want to make. Sometimes, just making any money is good enough, and in these times a lot of people are in a situation of working for less than they recently did and knowing that that’s better than not working at all. It is. But as soon as you see a way to grow past this, enlarge your scope, and enrich your life, do it. And be on guard about working for free. People will tell you, “It’s exposure,” “It’s marketing,” “It’s a step in the right direction.” It’s also working for nothing. Before you do it, be absolutely certain that the exposure, the marketing, and the step are worth the time and effort you’re putting into the task. More often than not, when you work for free you’re just helping somebody else make money.
  • Tithe. I’ve talked about this before and don’t mean to belabor the issue, but this one spiritual/practical action has probably done more to prosper my life than any other single effort. It means giving 10% of your income to what you see as God’s work in the world. I can only tell you that when I do it, money comes in. When I don’t, it dries up. Here’s a good book on the subject, Giving Thanks: The Art of Tithing, by Paula Langguth Ryan.
  • Accept life today, be open to a bigger tomorrow. This is trickier than it sounds. You won’t have peace today without accepting the circumstances of this day — your job (or lack of one), your net worth, your prospects — AND being open to a better job, more money, and more possibilities tomorrow.
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