First Friday Free Open Inquiry Call. Connect here at 7:45 am Pacific Time. We meet for 90 minutes. Come do The work. All you need is pen, paper and open mind.
If you’ve ever thought of coming to a four day retreat in The Work, this is one of the best times this spring (in only 2 weeks).
It’s not the glorious flowers or the beauty of the sun and rain and lush grass in the northwest, or the joy I know that can occur with the amount of time we have connecting to our inner world and inquiring into our stress.
The reason this may be a particularly special time is because this is the last time most likely that I’m going to be in the retreat house I’ve been renting for several years….and because we have spots I also want to remind you that partial scholarship space is available.
I’m always open to requests for scholarship, but sometimes there’s hardly any room and the retreat is full before I can turn my attention to scholarship help.
That’s not true this spring.
So if money and finances are the thing holding you back from jumping in to retreat starting May 15th….send me a note.
And believe me, I know the stressful thoughts kicking in when you consider yourself asking for scholarship.
I’ve been there.
My thinking went like this:
- this so embarrassing that I don’t have the money to pay
- I’m a loser
- I can’t pull it together with money
- I have to be extra special appreciative or a really good ‘student’ if I ask for a cut in the fee
- I better get this work and SHOW somehow that I got it
- I better be grateful, I must show it was worth it to allow me to come at a lower fee
- I’m a mess with money
- I’ll never have enough
- my lack of finances shows how screwed up I am
- I will owe for this later
- I need to pay it back, whatever it takes
- I’m so dependent on others for money, jeez–what’s wrong with me
- I must need to fix my thinking about money and supply
- I’m so needy
I had every single one of those thoughts.
And here’s the thing. I had these thoughts, and then my financial situation tanked even further and I had them even more, like the volume turned up on all of them–the orchestra was playing very loudly.
So much shame.
I really felt having no money meant I was lazy, unwilling or wrong.
My confidence was terrible and I had no trust in the process of life when it came to money.
It’s still a shaky process. I admit, I don’t always like to talk about money, I don’t always like to tell people what I charge (depending on what’s i my head that I’m projecting), and I’m frightened of appearing greedy or indulgent.
It’s like I have this deep belief that discussing money matters is very private and shameful, and kind of like I shouldn’t even mention it.
If you trust life, God, the universe, being here….then no you shouldn’t be concerned about money. Right?
Well, let’s question that thought. Because it’s very stressful.
You shouldn’t be concerned about your financial wellbeing, money coming in, money going out, having enough supply.
Is that true that you shouldn’t worry about it?
I notice my first impulse sometimes is to worry. It’s too late, I worried. I notice there are brilliant reasons to be concerned. I don’t like not paying bills. I don’t like being late on rent. I don’t like not having enough food. I don’t like being unable to do something, go somewhere (sign up for a retreat) because of money AND I don’t like yelling at myself that I shouldn’t worry, when I do.
Can I absolutely know it’s true I shouldn’t be worrying about money?
No. The worry is present. My mind is imagining, sure, and that’s what it does.
How do you react when you believe you shouldn’t worry about money, be concerned with money, believe you don’t have enough money?
I hide my fears. I don’t ask for assistance. I pretend I’m fine.
My sweet husband says when we first started getting to know each other and spending time together, he had no idea that my bank account had plummeted and how much fear and terror I was in.
I don’t know if I was consciously trying to hide it, but I was. I’d think it was none of his business, and also that I didn’t want him to believe I was seeking financial help, or needy.
I admit I was in his business, and everyone else’s business. They shouldn’t know I was worried about money. NO ONE should know. Shameful!
It meant I was a failure and a loser.
So who would you be without the belief you shouldn’t worry about money, or let money stop you from doing something important, or have money be the reason you don’t move forward in your life, or try something different, or ask for help (like a partial scholarship)?
Without the belief, I noticed I asked for help. I told people I needed it. I asked what they would do in my situation.
When I did, people donated furniture, dishes, silverware, blue drinking glasses. My mother helped me, gave me support, said I could live in her basement (I never needed to). My kids went on free lunch at school and got two meals a day. (I still didn’t apply for food stamps which I would have qualified for).
One of my sisters gave me an interest-free loan for an entire year. Things looked dire for me, she took a risk in not being repaid.
A good friend sent me a newspaper article for low income families, because she knew my plight. It was about a special private fund created for kids in middle school that if they kept their grades up through their entire high school career, then they’d get free in-state tuition at any college. My son qualified and his entire freshman year was paid for by that fund.
And then there was all the generosity from workshop leaders and people giving me tuition reduction or trades for important activities and learning events. My new friend who ran a dance in Seattle gave me a set-up job so I could attend every week without paying since even $10 was hard (and that’s where I met my husband).
I took workshops in mindset, inquiry, meditation, small business growth, private practice, life coaching, leadership training, behavior science, psychology, stress reduction….things that build confidence and helped me find a way back to solid ground with money.
Every workshop I actually took, I received partial funding for, and I worked behind the scenes to help with tasks and do what they needed.
I asked people for help with job hunting and looked and looked and would feel like giving up and then look again. I became willing to work anywhere. (I loved the book How Starbucks Saved My Life by a midlife man, Michael Gates Gill, who lost everything in his privileged life and starting working for Starbucks).
Without the story of shame or fear about money, or about worrying about money….I notice I can talk about it much more easily (and that doesn’t mean it’s always and entirely easy. I still notice stressful thoughts arise).
I’ve also noticed how OK I am without money. Even feeling freedom in fact.
Money comes, goes, and I do not have the gripping fear I once had about it.
Wow. Sometimes, there’s nothing like not having money (or anything) to teach you how OK it is to not have it.
What freedom to be beyond the belief “I need it in order to be happy”.
Without the belief that I shouldn’t worry, ask, get concerned, wonder, talk about money….I catch myself and I question my thinking and notice what is OK in this moment now and also that I’m thirsty, so I go get some water.
There’s no shame in drinking water, I notice. There’s no shame in finding supply in the world for what’s needed.
Water…..yummy. So delicious.
Money…..so fun to trade for things like retreats and workshops and raincoats. So delicious.
I do notice that almost nothing is needed, (which is a powerful inquiry in itself about needs) and all the fun on this playground of life, with money coming and going and no need to go nuts about it.
I notice the benefits of having none, how exciting and impractical and adventurous and fascinating. I notice the benefits of having money too, and how I’ve believed it protects me from having to ask for assistance (which I used to believe was failing).
“Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning long enough. From now on I’ll be mad.” ~ Rumi
I destroyed my reputation as a person who had it all together with money in my life. I asked for help. I became a true student.
Reads the same.
In the Beloved’s divine
Who would you be without your story about worry and money and needs?
I notice without my story, I send out this message that I have space in the spring retreat and if your concern about attending is money, why not ask for some assistance?
I’ll be honest about what works. The retreat house does cost a lot so you contributing something seems right, and maybe that’s not even true without my story (haha).
Without my money story, I notice I need to write a big fat check today for this building project happening in my back yard, and that I’m not sure where all the funds are coming from that will pay for this project since the bid has gone over what was originally planned….and I seem to still write the check.
I’m amazed I can even write a check like this, considering my poverty ten years ago.
“The only place we can be happy is right here, right now–not tomorrow, not in ten minutes. Happiness can’t be achieved. We can’t get it from money or sex or fame or approval or anything on the outside. We can only find happiness within us: unchanging, immovable, ever-present, ever-waiting. If we pursue it, it runs away. If we stop pursuing it and question our minds instead, the source of all stress disappears.” ~ Byron Katie