Friday, January 30, 2015

Breaking Free of the Money Trap

Responsibility & Fantasy Land

Getting our money aligned with our values is possibly one of the most powerful actions of sufficiency we have available. Declaring money as an extension of our life force, a form of communication and energy flow, we can direct this flow towards that which continually generates healing, love and wholeness for ourselves and communities beyond ourselves. When we look at our relationship to money we can clearly see our more is better story and we get to confront what it would really mean to take a recess from excess. Given the power money has in our world both personally and collectively, let us use it to explore how we can dive deeply into exquisite sufficiency.

Most of us are in a suspended state of waiting until we feel like we have enough before we "give back." We may also allocate other resources we have to offer such as time, expertise and material items in lieu of a financial contribution. No matter our income level, living in exquisite sufficiency calls us to be in the flow of currency, of resources. The systems and structures (corporations and projects) we feed with our energy - money, time, and resources - directly corresponds to the world we are aspiring to create.

We have discerned three steps to breaking free of the trappings we might have about money itself, since the money conversation is often so loaded we thought this would be a great place to begin.

Step 1: Tell the Truth

To break free of the money trap we begin by ceasing to define ourselves, and others, by the amount in our, or their, bank accounts. We stop keeping secrets about our financial situation. We tell the truth about it, shine some light into the darkness. Here are some places to look:

• How much we earn

• How much we owe in taxes

• How much debt we carry

• If we missed a major payment for the car loan, rent or mortgage

• How close to the edge we really are

• How easy we have it because of hard work, a relative's gift or just plain old luck

• How much wealth we have in trust

What secret about money are you willing to admit to yourself, and to one other person?

Are you willing to stop letting the amount of money you have or don't have define you?

Step 2: Find Flow

We then understand when we are being responsible and when we are in Fantasy Land while keeping ourselves grounded in sufficiency. While responsibility can seem boring to some of us, Fantasy Land is exciting - there is drama and the stimulation of buying things that we haven't allocated the money for. When we use credit cards with no thought of the next bill, when we buy the next thing and the next thing and we have not opened, read or completed the last thing. The opposite extreme is also true, if we are stingy with our money, uncertain of what we have, we may hoard to protect ourselves. Either way, the symptoms of Fantasy Land are the same: we lose focus, don't know what is in the bank, how much we have spent, what we owe or what is owed to us. When we are deep in Fantasy Land, we may feel trapped and breathless by money.

We also know we are in scarcity when we don't believe we have enough, when we define ourselves by what we have in the bank. When we feel failure, fear, resentment, doubt, impatience, vulnerability, shame or when we are hoarding or comparing our money to someone or something else are some indicators that scarcity is present in our lives. We know we are in sufficiency when we feel fulfillment, flow, gratitude, ease and appreciation about money. We feel sufficient when we honor and trust ourselves and allow for anything to happen.

Often we are more familiar with the experience of scarcity - not enough and the landscape of Fantasy Land. What would it look like, feel like, taste like, to live inside of responsibility? How do we know we've had enough? This is one of the gifts of exquisite sufficiency: that we allow ourselves to live by present moment inquiry while honoring our commitments, which is a much less boring version of responsibility!

What is enough money for you?

Step 3: Align Resources

The final step is to reallocate the flow of our money toward the people, causes and organizations that speak to us, that honor what we think is important. This will allow us to be stewards of the planet in our own way.

For some of us, reallocating our money may be an internal focusing on debt reduction or being responsible about paying off a loan from a relative, buying long term care insurance or saving for a child's future education. Or, reallocation could look like an investment in ourselves or to develop and expand our business to the next level. Whatever you declare, do it. This is you aligning yourself, your thinking and your actions, with you values and what you care deeply about.

What do you care about? And, where does your money go?

Reflection & Inquiry: Resource Allocation

Use your journal to reflect on the following:

• Step 1: What stories and assumptions do you have about your financial situations? About others? What do you notice about how those stories influence you, your relationships, your sense of possibility in the world?

• Step 2: Where are you in Fantasy Land about your money situation? Where are you willing to open up to "being responsible"? What does responsibility mean to you?

• Step 3: Where are your resources going here and now? Quickly scan your bank account statement, your credit card bill and you calendar. What individuals, companies and organizations are getting your energy flow? What declarations will you make about reallocating your money and time?

Seven Stones Leadership

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