Swim in your own mindful money sea
Many of you have probably given thought to the culture we are in today. A culture of wanting, getting, and having things—most of which take money. A culture of the newest phone, a bigger TV, and amazing restaurants. We’re all immersed in this culture, to varying degrees. It’s so easy to find ourselves pulled into wanting things … to feel better, be better, or to present ourselves better in the world.
This energy of wanting is all around us. We are fish, and the water is our culture. Most of the time we’re likely to be swimming in our wants and desires unconsciously. As I work with my clients on their mindful money paths, and while working on my own, I’ve found that two key steps can be powerful in shifting into a new space, creating a more healthy culture around oneself.
The first step is ELIMINATION. The second is INVITING IN.
Elimination begins with developing awareness. The fish must first be aware that they are surrounded by water. How subtle the culture can be—the allurement built around these desires to have things, to get things, reinforced by the media we take in (online, magazines, TV) and by the conversations that come in and out of our days. Though I don’t consider myself to be deeply immersed in our consumer culture, I still notice the ways it calls to me a daily basis, telling me my life can be—should be—different, better, more.
This Elimination step is not about living an ascetic life of self-denial. It is about consciously creating a life that is authentic and meaningful to you. What are your true priorities and values, and how does this guide your money choices? It’s an ebb and flow—a continual upward spiral of awareness. Sometimes I’m better at this than other times.
Once you develop this awareness, then it’s time for some good ol’ action. So what are some simple steps to eliminate some of the consumer culture that surrounds you? Check in with your experience. How do you feel when you read or watch a certain thing, or walk through a given store? How do you feel when you’re around each of the people in your life? Are you left feeling like you’re coming up short or pulled in a direction that doesn’t really feel meaningful and authentic to you? Or, does the experience speak to a part of you that you’d really like to see more of?
Now, step-by-step, you can begin to eliminate some of the things that create this pressure, this unconscious drive, that leaves you feeling less than, wanting, lacking, insecure, fearful. How will you spend your Saturday? Will it be nourishing, or mindless and impulsive consuming—of things or media? Admittedly, the “off track” stuff can feel therapeutic at times, a quick high when we’ve had a stressful day or week. But will it reflect what is truly important to you?
The second big step is to Invite In. Here, you begin to create your own culture, your own expansive ocean to swim in, if you will, surrounding yourself with things that support you in your goals and priorities, currents and schools of fellow fish that help shape your meaningful and authentic life.
I’ve done some simple but very helpful things to filter my mindful money sea, like honing my Facebook feed to better serve me (DailyWorth and LearnVest are positive new follows), and subscribing to nourishing email lists from Marie Forleo and Barbara Stanny. I read or listen to books, like Lynne Twist’s the Soul of Money, Kate Northrup’s Money: A Love Story, and the always-inspiring Your Money or Your Life (I love the audio version of this one, which I could revisit every few months, it’s that great).
Choose thoughtfully, creating a nourishing culture, surrounding yourself with inspiration and support. Decide how you want to be in the world with the money culture you are creating for yourself. This is one way that we can create our life, rather than be reactive. It’s an ongoing practice—Elimination and Inviting In. A practice that can help us create a life experience with more fulfillment, more meaning, more contentment, and an experience of joyful abundance.