Last night the current Money telecourse gathered.
We’ve been looking for seven weeks now at money.
What money is, what money does, what money would give us, what money offers, and checking the very common belief that so many people share that More Money Is Better.
Isn’t it funny how true that can appear to be?
Nothing inherently wrong with loving money….but so dang stressful when wanting money becomes intense, demanding, full of despair, or confusing.
It’s like unrequited love.
As we looked last night, I love how participants in the class noticed their childish feelings, demanding that their money level be different, at least hoping that it would be higher later, if not now.
Many years ago (but not all that long–it was December 2008) I remember well. I had $10.81 left in my bank account.
It was Christmas time.
I could afford almost nothing for my children. I could hardly believe this was happening. I was a single mom.
If I didn’t come up with almost $2000 within 2 weeks, I would begin the foreclosure process with our little cottage, my one asset besides my old clunker car.
I had pictures of the Titanic sinking, full of money. Everything pouring out, going down. Or me riding an airplane dive bombing towards the earth careening out of control.
But who would I be in that moment, without the belief that I needed more money?
I could be without that thought?
Wouldn’t that be dangerous, or stupid, or in denial, or retarded of me? I mean, it was OBVIOUS I needed more money.
I needed it to “save” my house. I needed my car. I needed to live in that cottage. I needed to keep my kids in that school. I needed to remain in that neighborhood. I needed to buy Christmas presents.
Are you sure? Are you entirely positive? Would life be so ruined without these items, this plan….that is MY plan?
Who would I really be without the belief that it has to go MY way?
As I became willing to open my mind to alternative possibilities, the turnarounds started tumbling forward, shockingly, without too much effort.
How could this be….interesting? Advantageous? Exciting? Full of potential? Curious?
I remembered when I was 22 having a major existential crisis and I gave away or threw away all my possessions. Even my highschool year books. Most of my clothes, gone. All trinkets, photo albums, posters, material possessions….gone.
Everything I owned fit into my car.
There was a freedom and lightness I had never known, in having nothing. Nothing to worry about, nothing to protect, nothing to take care of, nothing to repair or fix or get upset about.
Ha ha! Maybe this could be the same.
Could I have Christmas and have the genuine experience of the Grinch story?
Yes. I could.
I borrowed about $60 and went to Goodwill and bought used thrift store items for my two kids. It looked like nothing under the tree.
On Christmas morning, it didn’t matter.
There was almost nothing to wrap. It made things pretty easy. I thought of Laura Ingalls Wilder like I imagined when I was little, who received an orange and a stick of candy in the Kansas blizzards, and how amazing she thought it was.
I noticed the awareness of knowing nothing is required.
Nothing Is Required.
The absolute freedom of pure nothing. Knowing nothing, having nothing, be wild and undomesticated and open to the unknown.
Who would I be without the belief that more money would be better?
Free to start right now living in the joyful present moment, where we were breathing, warm, laughing, alive….with zero expectations for the future.
“I have helped people do The Work on rape, war in Vietnam and Bosnia, torture, internment in Nazi concentration camps, the death of a child, and the prolonged pain of illnesses like cancer. Many of us think that it’s not humanly possible to accept extreme experiences like these, much less meet them with unconditional love. But not only is that possible, it’s our true nature. Nothing terrible has ever happened except in our thinking. Reality is always good, even in situations that seem like nightmares. The story we tell is the only nightmare that we have lived. When I say that the worst that can happen is a belief, I am being literal. The worst that can happen to you is your uninvestigated belief system.” Byron Katie in Loving What Is
I noticed that day, the birds flew, there was enough gas in my car to drive to my mother’s house for celebration, there was a feast to eat with family, everyone was alive, happy, breathing.
Except in my head, nothing terrible was happening.
And then, not even in my head.
Having so little gave me awareness of what it was really like, instead of imagining what it would be like.
It was wonderful.
How lucky could I be?