Making Peace with Money – Day 59 of 365 Days to a Better You

Money, money, money

Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.

~Khalil Gibran

You may not have heard. There IS enough for everyone on this planet. I love the Jessie J song titled Price Tag (embedded below). We live in a culture obsessed with money and the things money can buy. Many of us define ourselves by our economic status in relation to others. It’s created massive dysfunction around money. Let’s see if we can find some ways to improve our relationship with it.

Money and things aren’t inherently bad. There’s nothing wrong with having them and living a comfortable life. Money buys choices. Money buys security. Money, as the Beatles pointed out, “Can’t buy me love.” Ha!

We can debate whether our culture ought to be set up the way it is. It’s a completely fair, and I’d argue, needed debate. Yet, when we wake up tomorrow morning, we’re still living in this world. not the better one we might create one day. How do we cope and thrive without becoming greedy b@st@rds?

Here are a few thoughts and myths about healthy and unhealthy money mindsets. I’ll admit. I’m struggling with some of these as much as the anyone else, but that’s what 365 Days to a Better You (and me) is all about.

  1. Be at peace with money. You can’t expect money to flow into your life and be at peace with you, while you’re at war with it. It’s nothing more than a resource, an exchange of value. Making it more than that is a big mistake. Oh, and you’re worth it and deserve to have an abundant life.
  2. There IS enough for everyone. Despite what you hear all day, every day in the media. There is enough to go around. We don’t have a resource shortage. What we really have is a shortage of sharing.
  3. Scarcity is a mindset not reality. This one flows from the first one. The conditioned belief that there’s not enough creates a scarcity mindset. Scarcity scares us and it’s constantly used against. We live in an abundant world and an abundant universe fully capable of meeting any need any of us could ever have.
  4. I can’t make money doing what I love. Myth, myth, myth. It’s nothing more than a conditioned belief that the only way to earn a living is working for someone else. Doing what you love can pay the bills just as well as a job. Figure out how.
  5. Wealth is evil. Wealth is not inherently evil. It can become evil without awareness. There is nothing more noble about being poor. Conscious wealth is a worthy goal. Conscious poverty or unconscious wealth benefit no one, but wealth created and consciously used benefits the world.
  6. When you have, give. When you attain a level of wealth and comfort, share it liberally. None of us really owns anything. We just possess it for a moment in cosmic terms. Why not spread the wealth?
  7. The really important things don’t have a price. This brings us to the Jessie J song. We live in a culture where it sometimes feels like everything has a price. Birth, death, healthcare, education, love, integrity. Be the kind of person who puts principle before money. Live without a price tag.

Power hack: Have things, yes, but don’t let things have you. Give up the notion that you have to nobly poor and struggling. Give up the notion that money means you’ve made it, if you haven’t learned the lessons of gratitude and generosity.

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray

Please checkout the growing quotes library on the TAS website.

Why Me Syndrome – Day 58 – 365 Days to a Better You

“In times like these,” the late Paul Harvey once observed, “it helps to recall there have always been times like these.”

Have you ever been standing nearby when someone says, “Why does this always happen to me?” Have you ever said it yourself? I certainly have from time-to-time. It normally leaves our mouths in a moment of unconscious exasperation when we’d readily believe the entire universe had aligned for the specific purpose of cheating us.

Truth is that proverbial “this,” whatever it may be, doesn’t happen to us alone. These sorts of things happen to all of us. The light turns red just as you approach the intersection. The grocery line moves particularly slowly. Someone else gets the last ticket to the sold out concert.

The difference in your perspective is that you are present every single time something like that does happen to you. You’re not present when it happens to your brother, mother, friend, spouse, child or enemy. Thus, it feels like it only happens to you.

I’ve always loved the above Paul Harvey quote. When you face one of those moments when the formation of the solar system seems like a vast plot to stick it to you, think about this quote. Replace the phrase, “times like these,” with the phrase, “moments like these.”

It’s true. There have always been moments like these and they happen to everyone all the time. It’s part of the human experience.

Power hack: If the gentle reminder of this quote doesn’t achieve the desired shift in perspective, consider this. Call to mind three or four moments when it felt like the universe bent over backwards to see your dreams to fruition. Recall moments when it felt like the clouds parted and the sun shone just for you.

As surely as we’ve all had the “Why Me” moments, we’ve had a bundle of moments that fill us with gratitude. In the big scheme of things, the universe really does rain blessings and setbacks on everyone in a relatively equal way.

I always like to say that roadblocks are simply shortcuts to something better than you had planned.

Your decision is which kinds of moments rule your mindset.

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray

Stop and Smell the Flowers – Day 57 of 365 Days to a Better You

Stop and smell the flowers.

Sometimes the trite is trite because it’s true. Stop and smell the flowers is one of many aphorisms that remind us that we need to slow down, take a breath, and enjoy the ride.

I’m not sure how valid the notion of a Type-A personality is in the 21st century. We’ve become a culture of Type-A personalities. We’re always in a rush, always pushing, pushing, pushing.

According to a 2014 study by the American Institute of Stress, 77 percent of Americans experience regular physical effects from being too stressed and 73 percent experience regular psychological effects of stress. According to a 2017 American Psychological Association survey, the following were our top stressors are:

  1. The future of our nation 63 percent.
  2. Money 62 percent.
  3. Work 61 percent.
  4. Current political climate 57 percent.
  5. Violence and crime 51 percent.

What can you do to eliminate or reduce stress? There are a few obvious things.

  1. If possible, remove yourself or limit exposure to your sources of the stress.
  2. Use affirmations to keep your mindset strong.
  3. Exercise, eat well, and sleep well to keep your body strong enough to handle stress.
  4. Get quiet – pray, meditate, or just be.
  5. Get out into nature. Nature is the natural antidote to the stresses of the modern world.

Power hack: I’m betting none of those recommendations for dealing with stress surprised you. Here’s the thing. You have to do them for them to work. The intention to strengthen your mindset, get out into nature more, or mediate does not help you. You have to do it. That takes intention and discipline.

I can’t leave you today without giving you a chance to just be. So, set whatever else you’re doing aside and take a three-minute relaxation vacation with me to Havasupai Waterfall in India. Watch it or close your eyes and listen. Get got up

Few words today. I found this beautiful video on YouTube. Just sit back, relax, and take a three-minute vacation. This is the Havasupai waterfall in India. Absolutely beautiful. Relax and be at peace as you move through your day today. Let the sights and sounds of the waterfall and the peaceful music wash your stress away.

Your Achilles Heal – Day 56 of 365 Days to a Better You

Achilles was a Greek hero. When he was a baby, his mother was warned that he would die young. To protect him, she dipped him in the River Styx because it was said to provide strength and invulnerability. However, she held him by his heel, leaving him unprotected there.

As an adult, he became a great warrior. Despite his strength and power, the prophecy was fulfilled when he was struck in the vulnerable heel with a poison arrow.

In our time, we know this story through the phrase Achilles heel, which refers to a weak spot or vulnerability.

All of us have one. There’s some physical condition or circumstance in your life, that despite your best efforts, you can’t defeat it. All the prayer, affirmations, counseling, and meditation hasn’t changed it. What do you do?

I have two such circumstances in my life. One is an auto-immune disease called Addison’s Disease. It’s one of those 1 in a 100,000 diseases. JFK had it too, but it’s very rare. Even treating it, I often find myself short on energy or needing a nap in the middle of the day, particularly as I get older. I live with this every day. I’m fortunate that my condition is not as severe as some with the disease. Still, it takes a toll and gives me a mountain to climb each day.

My second Achilles Heel is a profound difficulty in swallowing many foods. This began when I was 15. I nearly choked to death and became very afraid of eating many foods. This led to massive and regular panic attacks throughout my teens and 20s. I had no life, no confidence. I was going nowhere fast.

Imagine having a fear like this that you have to face three times a day every day. Not only that, it’s a fear that the people around you don’t understand because eating is a source of joy and togetherness for them. It really isolated me from the experiences of other people.

These two issues came together when I was 25. I became extremely ill and weak. I was not able to eat or drink. I could not walk across a room. When I would receive change back at a store, I had to count it several times to make sure none of the coins had become lodged in my throat. That’s how bad it was.

I wound up spending two stints in the hospital totaling about three months. This is when the phobia and the Addison’s crossed paths. I was diagnosed with Addison’s and had to face my fear of eating. Early in my stay, I couldn’t even swallow a sip of apple juice.

Everything about my life changed during that time. I often say that my life started over. I emerged from that situation as a seeker of the meaning of life. That was a passion of mine at an early age, but the years of phobia had stolen it from me.

Today, I still struggle with this phobia, as do hundreds of thousands of others. A trip to a restaurant is always a balance of enjoyment and terror. I have managed to mitigate it and make peace with it over the years. The panic attacks are fewer and farther between than they used to be, and not as severe or long-lasting. I’ve learned techniques to get them under control or even hide them from others.

I’m proud of how far I’ve come. 30 years ago it looked like this would dominate my life. I thought I’d never have a career or a family. After years of hard struggle, I decided I didn’t want my life to be a constant battle over this issue. Defeating it might have been possible. It also might have consumed my life.

I didn’t want that and so I made peace with it. I learned to mitigate it and live with it. Even people close to me don’t always understand it. It’s just so foreign to their experience. I have learned to understand that and mitigate this discomfort in others. I often will fix my own food. I can do restaurants (some with this condition literally cannot), but it’s never easy.

There, I’ve laid myself bare. I have shared this issue with people close to me, but I’ve never written about it publicly. The affirmations, meditation, and prayer became tools of mitigation and co-existence.

I’ve accomplished and overcome much in my life. It’s not that I don’t know how to beat a challenge. However, some things are just our Achilles Heel in this life. The best we can do with it is to refuse to allow it to stop us from living our lives. That’s been my victory over this.

What’s your Achilles Heel? Have you defeated it, mitigated it, or are you still in battle with it? I’d love to hear your experiences below.

Power hack: Today’s power hack is that victory over your deepest challenges does not mean you have to completely banish them. That would be nice and I hope you will. Don’t beat yourself up if some things are just meant to be your challenges. You can still grow from them and most of all, while they cause you angst, you don’t have to let them bring your life to a halt. Find ways to live your life despite them.

Most of all, your Achilles Heel does not define you. You are a one-in-a-trillion miracle. Don’t let your challenges steal your light. Shine on!

Ray

Evening Motivation – Never Say Die

Make never giving up a part of your DNA. Here’s the to-do list of the never-say-die mindset. It’s not the number of plans it takes. It’s the number of plans it takes to find the one that works. Dream on!

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