I hate managing money and trying to earn more money and spending money and saving money. When I am in times of prosperity and abundance I overspend, in times of scarcity and lack I scrimp, clip coupons, and stress. I have not been able to find a happy medium.
This morning was spent paying bills and balancing checkbooks and credit card statements. As is typical for me, I now want to spend NO money for the next…forever.
We’ve all heard it said that money is a huge source of marital discord and I will agree. No two people have identical ideas on what is worthwhile spending of money. As I went through the bank statements I will confess I was much harder on my husbands spending habits than on my own. I always seem to have justification for my purchases, or see them as necessities (because who doesn’t NEED another throw pillow, or workout top, right?!), but when I look at his purchases I disregard them as valid and even wasteful.
In our early years we lived on only $500 a month! For everything. Now that seems almost laughable..we have a mortgage, 4 busy active kids, and many interests that seem to spend the money as fast as it comes in.
But does all of this really need to be a source of stress? And is money the root of all evil? I would tend to say that yes, money is very stressful. Whether you have a lot or very little. But digging deeper I think it has more to do with what the money represents. It is simply a symbol we have given value.
Growing up my family always had enough, but never anything extra. We shopped thrift stores for school clothes-way before that was cool-put new shoelaces into old sneakers, and never ever threw away leftover food. My mom was the queen of making things stretch and so we learned the value of money. But in a way I think it also created within me a tendency to stress over purchases and agonize over parting with even one penny. My husband on the other hand wasn’t raised with wealth but was spoiled with physical purchases as a way to show love and affection. So, you bring two very different points of view together-the miser and the rewarder and what do you get? Discord!
Money symbolizes to me the need to be prudent, safe, secure. Money symbolizes to my husband love, affection and reward. I don’t think either view is right or wrong, just a reflection of our financial experiences.
So how do we reconcile our differing money view points? By letting go of our attachment to money. Only by surrendering and practicing non-attachment can we come to an agreement and a place of peace with money.
‘Knowledge is better than practice; meditation is better than knowledge; and best of all is surrender, which soon brings peace.’ Bhagavad Gita
I would like to be able to consistently stay unattached to money and see it as a tool that flows through me in exchange for creating or receiving value. By recognizing where I am at and not making myself wrong for feeling a particular way but just acknowledging this attachment is the first step to releasing the hold that money has over me. Ultimately money is a vehicle to create a life of joy and happiness for ourselves and those around us, nothing more, nothing less.
Here are 4 steps I commit to practicing money surrender:
- Practice being aware: Notice when I am making a purchase how I am feeling. Do I feel happy, worried, justifying? Just notice and possibly jot it down in a journal.
- Practice being generous: This could be through a financial or physical donation, or even a donation of time.
- Practice being grateful: Recognize verbally the value I am receiving for my money. For example: I am so glad we are able to have electricity and that I am able to pay for such an amazing modern miracle. (I know, that is cheesy but you get the idea) Also, express gratitude to God for blessings and gratitude to others who choose to spend their money for my benefit.
- Practice living simply: Have a scheduled day of no spending to enjoy what I actually have rather than always wanting more.
Every time I come to my mat I practice surrender and non-attachment with the hopes that it will become such a part of me to extend into all of my life practices including my view of money.
To the mat.