“No-Fail” Friday: Paper trail


(Real quick sidebar before we get started: did you know I’m doing one-on-one sessions now? Check it out, if that’s your speed…)

We took a little detour into new terrain this week, didn’t we? Wasn’t sure that was possible after more than two years of posting three times a week, but you know, that’s how we keep the spark alive between us, right? You know I always have something up my sleeve – or in this week’s case, in my coin purse. 

On Wednesday, we dove right into one of the three topics you never, ever, never talk about – MONEY (we’ve done politics before, and we’ll place religion on hold for now). Talk about a “mindfulness challenge” even before we got to Friday. It’s perhaps one of the most complex subjects because it’s loaded, no pun intended. The topic of money is fraught with emotional baggage such as fear, anxiety, scarcity, indecisiveness, and, of course, control and power. We don’t talk about salaries, account balances, or debt unless we absolutely have to. We spend quietly, or freely, and sometimes, mindlessly. We make both purchases and sacrifices that we later regret, because – at times – a disconnection from our emotions around money makes it hard to make good choices about it.

You know what would help? Yeah, you do…

A deep breath. Even just one. A “moment between stimulus and response” (V. Frankl), between “I want,” and the choice of whether you will have, or not.

You don’t have to be psychic to guess where this weekend’s “no-fail” mindfulness challenge is going. In a nutshell, look before you swipe, sign, or peel off the paper. It sounds simple, and it kind of is, but challenges in the mirror may be larger than they appear. So, here’s the deal:

  • Commit to the challenge. In other words, make the decision that this weekend, you are going to bring awareness to your interactions with money. Actual money, conversations about money, and even thoughts about it. I’m not asking you to spend more or less, per se, but just to become aware.
  • Find your breath. Even when these challenges aren’t precisely guided meditations, you know that you are more likely to fully engage in them if you’ve set yourself up for success with a little mindfulness. I’d recommend starting each day with a few mindful breaths, or a more extended meditation – maybe even with an app or a recording. Bring your attention, intention and breath together for a few minutes, and you will feel it through the rest of your day.
  • Take a beat before you ball. As you move throughout the weekend, check in with yourself as you spend (if you do), or as you work on your budget, or pay your bills, or even consider your goals for the future. Find a moment to just observe what’s happening within you.
  • Take notes. What are some of the thoughts and emotions you experience when money is on the table – literally or figuratively? Just observe; don’t judge. You’re noticing, not analyzing. What is your impulse in response to those emotions? How do you talk to yourself about them (internally, I assume) when they arise?
  • Make moves intentionally. Whether you spend or don’t, save or don’t, finish your budget realistically or don’t, isn’t the point of this exercise. However, if even once this weekend you make a choice about money that is fully conscious, and intentional, you have done your work. You have made a mindful move. One last check-in: how’s the feel? I daresay, pretty darn good.

Money doesn’t have to be scary, or complicated, or even exhilarating, unless you let it be so. We know from previous conversations that the more we run from negative emotions, the more they’re likely to stick around, and even grow.

People say money is power, and that’s not necessarily true. Clarity about money is power. Presence in your ability to use it intentionally is power. You are the power. That is, if you can find that “space between” to catch your breath, and unleash that potential.

Photo credit: Jeff Sheldon

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