The Ever-Present Voice

A wedding anniversary is a good way of measuring how much we’ve grown…as a couple or as individuals. One area we’ve been particularly focused on improving together is how we manage our finances and resolve our beliefs about money.

While I don’t think of myself as being ignorant about money, it seems to have taken me a long time to handle my financial affairs with the same concern and respect I’ve had when working for others, such as conserving an employer’s resources or maintaining records. I am ever so diligent in those matters. However, I’ve struggled to find a money system that works for me for more than a couple of pay periods. And now that I have, “that voice” is starting to whisper again. But let me back up a bit.

I recognize that my early money management training consisted of little more than properly filling out tax withholding forms when I started a new job, opening a checking account, or trying not to spend more than I made between paychecks. When I first started working (at 14), I may have been advised to “save something” along the way, but the message did not take hold for a few decades … and then some major life experience always seemed to wipe out everything I had accumulated to that point.

Without going into the boring details of life, it’s only been in the past couple of years that I’ve really gotten honest with myself about the way I deal with, handle or think about money and debts. The first real eye-opener came after reading “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.” I had collected and read numerous books from other financial gurus, designed to change my perception and financial standing, but nothing was as impactful as the questions and exercises posed in that book. Together with my husband, we began to explore our deep-rooted beliefs about money.

I was forced to notice the negative patterns I was repeating and imitating, creating a cycle of financial failure over and over again, whether in relationship or all by myself. Going through the exercises and questions together, forced us to get honest with each other. There was no one to blame; we were responsible for our situation. I was tired of failing at this. I was done with the arguments about money every time the bills had to be paid. There had to be a better way – some way to be successful in how we managed our money. And there was!

Through forgiveness of self for past mistakes, a pledge of rigorous honesty about finances, and a willingness to face my fears while making a serious effort to turn things around, I started educating myself with renewed fervor. I reviewed books about different debt-reduction systems. I shared the information with my husband. We visited financial planners, CPAs and prosperity classes. I’ve been introduced to new mentors. I also created spreadsheets that were more realistic than any previous plans…until we found a formula that worked for where we are, but could evolve with us. We opened our hearts and minds – no more secret stashes or resentment spending. It was time to trust the numbers, each other, and God.

Our consciousness about money has matured – finally! We’re making better decisions about our long-term financial future. After just a few months, man_w_moneybagwe’re seeing significant progress. It feels like we’re getting ahead of the debt without feeling a constant struggle. We’re creatively reducing costs. The money arguments have ended; the fear is gone. I’ve been consistent with my record-keeping efforts, too. And then, today, that old voice came back.

As I was balancing checkbooks, paying bills, and distributing funds amongst accounts, that ever-present voice started whispering. It was bored with saving money…of paying extra funds toward mortgages or credit cards…of cooking meals at home when we could go out. Progress wasn’t happening fast enough, it said. This process was easy, but boring. It wanted the familiar chaos, complication, uncertainty and over-spending of the past.

Frankly, I had forgotten about this scared and doubting part of me. That voice had become so silent during recent success, that it startled me, at first. Once I recognized it as an old way of thinking that no longer worked in this new paradigm of conscious money management, I thanked it for being a clear reminder of how far I’d come in such a short time. I also know I have a long way to go.

I see the potential for significant advancement in my financial understanding and undertakings. It’s not too late to learn…and I know how to learn! The blended system we’re using is working wonderfully; it’s become a routine. There’s no reason to change it. I’m sure part of my past money-handling mistakes was because I didn’t stay with a system long enough to be successful. No more. As long as I can see increased savings and reduced debt on a monthly basis, I’ll continue on this path with great vigor and dedication. More than ever before, I respect and value the money we earn and where it goes.

Someday, I might be a voice of wisdom for my children and grandchildren. But first, I must earn the right to speak.

Inspired to Co-Create

A seed of an idea sprouted in my mind several years ago and finally grew into form earlier this week: the creation of a spiritually-based women’s group that supports one another in their pursuit to be successful in whatever endeavor they wish to pursue…especially financial success. That group met for the first time a few days ago.

I’m grateful to see this initial meeting take place. I was inspired not only by the positive energy and the number of women present, but also by their high level of interest and active participation in the meeting’s activities. I look forward to our supporting each other, learning and growing together.

The visible success of our initial meeting validated that the timing was right for a group like this. Apparently, I was not the only one seeking ideas on the professional path, starting a business, handling personal finances at a higher level of expertise, or in need of a “sisterhood.” We were, are, able to connect at a spiritual and intellectual level that will support our adventures in life’s realm. We’re up and running!

The inspiration I felt during that meeting followed me home, kept me awake most of the night, and got me up with renewed enthusiasm to meet the morning. It has been filling me with confidence and determination to focus on a bright and growing financial future. My brain has been going non-stop as I consider the possibilities before me. The insights and honest suggestions shared at the meeting, and with friends since then, give me courage to make adjustments in my daily work schedule right now that will offer me greater life balance overall in a short time as well as long-term.

One of the aspects of making immediate and significant changes in my professional and financial directions, and sharing my commitments with the group, is how I must become accountable for my plans and actions. In fact, being more accountable is one of the key components and appeal for creating this women’s group. No more wiggling out of something you said you were going to do. When you share your intentions with someone(s) who writes it down, and follows up to see if you did what you said you were going to do, you’re more likely to actually do it. It’s the step beyond just saying it or writing down your goals. Yes, it’s important to do those tasks, too. Do whatever it takes to keep yourself on-track, motivated, and focused.

Did I mention I was excited about this process? Can you tell I’m inspired by the new mutual support that’s developing? I also am excited and inspired to see what I can co-create with God as my partner…and what Spirit will unfold in each area of my life to which I bring focus. I’m inspired to support the dreams of the other women in whatever way I can. Life is going to a whole new height!  

Did I mention I was excited?

Right-Sized Living

My mind is filled with the anticipation and excitement of an upcoming major life event. It can’t seem to stop the planning so I can sleep. Thus, I am awake once more in the middle of the night. We will soon be moving again – back to a house, a home, where we lived for many years.

We had left the house after extensive remodeling, turning it over to tenants who cared little for its history of projects, care and memories. After only a couple of years’ absence, and not being all that far away, we’ve decided to move back into our family home. It means selling a newer, larger, contemporary living space. It means sorting through boxes that were never unpacked; do we really need this stuff? It means doing all those things that are done when a house is to be prepared for sale at one location and another house is readied for inhabitants that have more possessions now than when they left. The clearing begins.

As the real estate participants and planners get involved in preparing this newer house for sale, my mind is focused on returning to our old home. We’re grateful not to have sold it when we first tried. There was a higher plan for us. We envisioned and discussed many times about moving at least one more time, preparing for those retirement years (should they ever come). Our plan included certain elements for our comfort and safety, size and location. Though about a third smaller in square footage than what we’ve been experiencing recently, there are definite features in the old home that can’t be matched.

Besides practical considerations (cheaper living costs, closer to work), our old home offers an intimacy and coziness that’s recognized by all who enter. It’s like putting on a pair of comfortable slippers after a long day. This home is filled with love and memories of our wedding, anniversaries, birthdays and innumerable holiday celebrations with family and friends. Every room bears signs of artistic effort or the marks of children now grown. The passing of time left its fingerprints on every wall. The gardens are developed and mature. Treasured possessions will find their place once again; the rest will find new homes. While our culture often uses the term “down-sizing” to describe this process, I prefer “right-sized” living.

I once heard the comment (presumably from a Scandinavian source): “Small house, big life.”  The intended meaning was that the smaller the space for collecting possessions or hiding away, the greater the possibility for getting out and experiencing Life!

A new era of “right-sized” living has begun. While the big, modern house is nice and I’m glad I experienced it, I’m ready to go home. I’m excited to get moved in, set up, and re-acquainted with the “old place” once more, feeling confident I won’t be moving again in the foreseeable future. I look forward to releasing what’s no longer needed to create an uncluttered and right-sized living environment. And, I anticipate with great joy the freedom to relax into Life…to know I can travel to foreign countries, have great adventures, meet people around the world…then settle down on my chaise in the silence of the night, and feel the home’s aliveness embrace this happy, sleepy soul. It’s just right!


Many of the prayers Jesus spoke (according to the Bible) began with “thank you.” A prayer of thanks or gratitude is a good practice to follow, especially when life is not manifesting according to plan.

Before I even rise from the bed, I begin my day with the acknowledgement and gratitude of waking up to another day. I breathe. I am alive. There are mornings when I awake in time to see the pink of sunrise or the afterglow of the full moon before the dawn. The exhaustion I felt the night before has been erased and my energy is restored; for that alone I am thankful. Shortly thereafter, I am lovingly served a cup of coffee by my husband and together we share a spiritual reading that gives us a common focus and consideration. I often find it difficult to leave this morning space of sharing, appreciation, and loving companionship.

Whether the day is filled with special tasks, heavy chores, professional responsibilities, or fun activities, you and I get to choose how we will attend to such matters and with what frame of mind. An “attitude of gratitude” can make any situation lighter and your awareness more positive.

The stress of a hard day at the office can be replaced with gratitude for employment. Disgruntled thoughts about a long commute home in the snow quickly disappear when you see a homeless person sleeping on a sidewalk in the midst of winter. The pressure of bills to pay can subside when a paycheck is automatically deposited into your bank account. Feelings of loneliness quickly disappear in the hugs of a grandchild. Even if the starting point of gratitude is being thankful for your breath, for life, for the food you’ve just eaten or the shelter in which you live, it can be enough to change thoughts of lack into appreciation for what exists. Once gratitude is felt and embodied, that feeling of abundance, in its smallest form, can magnify what is present and attract even more Good into your life.

Meister Eckhart is credited with saying that, if the only prayer we ever said was “thank you” – that would be enough. I say, he’s right. There’s far too much complaining going on. I know I must be constantly vigilant in this matter. It’s time to appreciate all we have in our lives – past, present, and future possibilities. Every moment is the right time to express sincere gratitude. And in so doing, watch and experience our worlds attract greater good and expand beyond our wildest imaginings!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

A Spiritual Practice of Release

I was recently introduced to a spiritual practice that was somewhat familiar, but came with a new name…new to me. This practice has now become a mental obsession! I think about it all the time. I want to implement it, follow through with it, succeed with it. It’s called…clearing.

Clearing can take the form of a variety of release methods. I started by applying this practice to my dining area. For weeks I had been gradually accumulating stuff on or around my dining table. Nothing major and certainly no item that I couldn’t just push aside or lay on the floor if we wanted to use the table for a meal. However, the stuff was building up; it was looking cluttered. I made a commitment to myself that on a certain day I would finally take all that stuff and put it where it belonged and reclaim my dining area.

That day came…and went. The shopping bags containing recent fabric purchases remained in view. The piles of papers were still neatly stacked by subject matter on the table’s surface for quick retrieval, later. Every time I came into the kitchen and looked in the direction of this beautiful but buried table and hutch, my energy diminished. I had broken a commitment with myself and I was reminded of that each day. I couldn’t take it any longer! I prayed for time.

Unexpectedly, but happily, a two-hour block of time and no one around to distract me finally came into my schedule. I quickly moved the fabric purchases in their store bags to where they needed to be. The piles of papers found their way to my office. Knick knacks were put back into position. Art projects and supplies got returned to the hobby storage area. The hutch was dusted. The table was honored with a new centerpiece and decorative runner that replaced the piles of stuff. The entire room was transformed. Not only did I regain use of this inviting space, but my energy returned and I was calm being here. My commitment to myself – to my soul’s need – was fulfilled.

I started using this clearing and release method in other areas of my life. To improve my health and stamina, I’ve managed to release several pounds of weight from my body. My computer files are being reviewed and consolidated; I can find data faster. By gathering similar household items together, I’ve discovered how abundant our life is. We are blessed with numerous and duplicate items, such as cleaning supplies, bath soap, toothpaste, and toilet paper. And how many packs of batteries do we really need for two small flashlights? I’m amazed by our CD music library and DVD movie collection.

I see this clearing practice as a way to let go of what no longer serves me. You can call it downsizing, cleaning or releasing. Once you find, sort or group together possessions in your home, office, garage, basement or car, you will feel gratitude for your material life and/or gain a sense of calm, even abundance, as you sell or give away the excess. The Law of Circulation must occur. The Universe loves a void. The sooner you clear away what no longer serves you, greater Good can come into your life. Get going, start clearing, and be ready to receive!