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I contend that we need four supports in our life in order to feel balanced and keep ourselves in good shape. Balance is so important in life. It is how we maintain and persevere.

Time
We need time to tend to our own care: to eat well, take exercise and nurture our spirit (Whatever that may mean for you – attending church, visiting art galleries, reading good books . . .) What is a good life without time with loved ones? Hearth and Home provide the heart of a balanced life. Time to ourselves for quiet thought, is equally essential.

Money
It is a fact of the life we live, that most of us need money. We must have it for our very survival in this hurry up-keep up world. No hearth, no home without it. Money fuels us. It makes things happen. It creates a comfortable life around us. Money can be very handy for generosity, too. We give more when we have more to give.

Connection
We are all passionate beings at our core. And we crave connection to fully express our love. We truly need each other. Susan Jeffers, PhD. said, “I believe our craving in life is not to be loved, but to love…ourselves and others.” I’m calling this the gravity that holds it all together. Without it life is flimsy and can more easily topple (or turn upside down).

Purpose
There is no more stable ground than purpose. To be of service is what we are all meant to do. Purpose drives us and without it we feel lost. Purpose runs on faith. With faith, belief in something, our lives make sense.

 

Giving presents is what everyone does – especially at this time of year.  Can we be more creative and find other ways to give?

What may come to mind first is giving money.  That’s an easy one to do, if you have it. You don’t have to have a fortune to give money, though.  In some spiritual circles, you’re encouraged to give, even when you don’t think you have it. Giving money can make you feel abundant.

Another one that comes readily to mind is giving time.  This kind of giving can manifest in many different ways.  You could, of course, give your time to help someone with a chore.  Sometimes just showing up and spending time with someone can be a gift.  It might only be your company that makes someone feel less alone.  Other times your presence might support what someone is doing.

Giving time, of course, can be about volunteering.  So often our time is taken up in self-centric activities, such as earning our wages or tending to our surroundings. Volunteering your time, giving it freely for the good of someone else can be very freeing.

Giving can mean handing over some of your possessions to those with less.  Maybe it is a gift you’ve purchased just for someone special. A phone call or letter might touch someone’s heart at just the right time and be a gift.  As I’ve found recently, giving my attention to a project can make a real difference.

An area of giving that doesn’t get talked about much is giving to yourself.  Maybe there’s something you’ve really been needing lately.  If you take the time and the money to go out and get it for yourself, that can be considered giving.  You might just decide to give yourself permission to go after what you want or to be sad because you didn’t get something you wanted.

Giving can happen spontaneously.  It can be so fast you could miss it, if you’re not watching. You could be walking along the street and come across someone who’s dropped their packages, stoop over and help them gather their things. Opening the door for someone who’s struggling. Giving someone space to express their opinions without interrupting or arguing could be a generous gift at times. Others may just need you to give them permission to be who they are or your acceptance for what they’re trying to do.

Perhaps you could give of yourself – something you know, what you’ve learned or what you think.  You could give a recommendation, a referral or a kidney.  I often like to give compliments. Giving encouragement can also be very helpful.  You could give a day off, a free pass, or a leg up.

Whenever you can give something to yourself or someone else, most particularly something of your own, it warms and expands your heart. And strengthens your giving muscle.

It’s easy to take money for granted.  When you don’t have it, of course, it’s all you think about.  But once you do, it’s sometimes easy to forget all the good it can do.  We know it’s great for paying bills, buying gifts and goodies, but what about all the other things it can do for you?

When you have money, you get to decide where to put this powerful energy.  When you don’t have much the only question to ask is: Can I afford this?  But when you have some breathing room you can ask further questions like: Is this really what I want?  Will it fulfill all my needs?  Is it good for the planet?  For other purposes?

One of my favorite things about money is that it softens landings.  What I mean by that is that when you have money you can pad whatever happens.

Say, for instance, you get stuck somewhere.  They’ve grounded your flight or there’s a massive traffic jam or you have to work late and home is a long drive away.  Maybe the weather turns foul.  No matter what the cause, you can get a place to stay, food to eat, or a sweater if you get cold.

Last Friday there was an accident on the major highway in our area.  It snarled up all the connecting roads.  We wound around the back roads but eventually were faced again with the same log jam.  So, we turned around and went to one of our favorite restaurants to hide out until the traffic cleared.  We had a delightful meal instead of sitting in traffic.  When we finished, it was smooth sailing all the way home!  Without money in our pockets, that would not have been possible.

I think it’s important to give thanks for all the ways that money can help us.

From the book and workbook, “Living In the Light,” by Shakti Gawain.

The next section of the workbook is entitled, “Daily Life.”  For intuition to really work for us, we need to be an open channel for it to flow into our everyday lives.  Shakti says, when you do that, “ . . .  you will move toward aliveness, health, prosperity and creativity.”

For most of us money is a Big part of our lives.  And often a sore spot.  Money is, in fact, an energy, bestowed by our culture.  Whatever we choose to exchange for it is only a representation of that energy.  Shakti tells us that money is a creative energy.  And creative energy is in limitless supply. Therefore, money should be too.  “A lack of money,” she says, “reflects the energy blockages within ourselves.”

Shakti tells us that this energy is blocked when we’re not doing what we love or not open to receive.  Not following our inner guidance. We need to find the balance and harmony of the male and female energies within us.  To give and receive. Shakti says that when we open to this flow of guidance, life become effortless.  We’re no longer attached to money and therefore it can flow more freely.  What we’re up to is experiencing “the joy of learning how to flow the energy of the universe.  Money is just an extra bonus in the process.”

Also, remember that where you put your energy and thoughts is where that money will flow.  If you have a thought you can only have what you need, that’s what you will get. Shakti describes a budget as a blueprint.  So you make a budget for what you want. and then you keep expanding that.

Exercise 23 is a meditation for feeling the energy of money and abundance.
Sit comfortably and breathe deeply a few times, relaxing your body and clearing your mind.  Then imagine there is a golden light under your feet.  As you inhale, imagine that light coming up through your body lighting up every cell.  Imagine it spilling form the top of your head and surrounding your body with its energy.  Stay with that for awhile, breathing in and out.  See the light filling you with joy and creating inner knowing and limitless opportunity, as it washes away all your thoughts of lack and negatively – clearing the blockages.

Then, see this light in you reflecting into the world and visualize how that will play out in your life.  When you are full and open to abundance, what will your life look like?  See how many details you can come up with for how you live, move, work. Your friends, your creativity.  Just feeling what it would be like.

When you’re done, come back to where you are now and write about what you saw.  Shakti suggests writing to a friend about it.

Exercise 24 is a practice of seeing the answers within.  We’re going to ask our inner guidance where we’re blocking ourselves. We start by getting quiet and relaxed and then putting our attention inside ourselves.  Ask, “How am I blocking the flow of energy and wealth into my life now?”  Shakti asks that we be open to when and what that answer may be.  It may happen right away, may take a few days.  It could be a picture or a thought or a feeling.  When you feel you’ve gotten all you can from this session, pull out of it.  Set up 2 columns and in the first one write, “How I am blocking myself.”  Fill that in with what you realized.  Leave it open to add more later.  In the second column write some ideas for what you could do about it.

I had a feeling in my body that I need to move more.  My legs were twitching.  And I had a sense that I want more playful energy in my life.  Something said inside of me to release the tension and worry.  My new plans include a lot more getting out and about.  And I hope, with what I will manifest from that, there will be more space for play.  I’m practicing these days, releasing whenever I feel that tension or worry.  And it’s working.

Exercise 25 is an arts and crafts project.  I love those!  Shakti want us to draw or make a collage with clipped pictures from a magazine of the abundant life we saw in Exercise 23.  Include pictures, symbols and words.  These “focus boards” as they’re sometimes called are not only fun to create, they’re an inspiration to have around.  I’ve found that if I remain open as I search for the pictures (or draw, I suppose), I’m not always sure why I’ve chosen a particular thing. Later, after I’ve had a chance to look at it and ponder it, I am always surprised to find how right on my choices were.  Have fun.  It’s a good chance to play!

I did a review of this book back in June of 2009. “The Energy of Money,” by Maria Nemeth, Ph.D., is a extraordinarily good book on the subject of money and how your attitudes about it affect other areas of your life. Here is Exercise One: Your Money Autobiography.

In that review I said this is a powerful exercise which reveals much. Dr. Nemeth says, “The more you operate from being willing, rather than from the surface complaints and nattering of Monkey Mind, the more conscious you become, the greater the transformations you’ll have in your relationship with money and in your life.”

The things that are revealed in this exercise show us some of that nattering and where those surface complaints come from.  In following the programs in this book, you are asked to start a journal.  It helps to keep all the thinking and exercises in one place. Maria says this will take about 40 minutes, but you can do it in 10 minutes stints if you prefer.

It’s a story about your history with money.  “I first learned about money when I was . . . “ can start you off. The questions listed below are offered to guide you.  You don’t have to answer them all.  But Dr. Nemeth (like most teachers) advises that the questions which repel you the most are the ones you most need to delve into. To those who are reluctant to do this exercise she adds, “If you are willing, you will create real breathing room for yourself – space for miracles in your life regarding money.”  Sounds good to me.  As a practitioner of creating space these days, I can attest to the miracles that can come.  Marvelous things will flow in easily to those spaces you create.  I say, take a pen, sit down and do it.  It will be worth the time.

Here are the questions to help:

1.  What were your family’s financial circumstances when you were born?

2.  When did you first learn about money?  Was it from your father or your mother?  How old were you?  What were the circumstances?

3.  Did you have an allowance?  Did you have to work for it, or was it given to you even if you didn’t do chores to earn it? If you have children, does this affect how you handle allowances with them?

4.  When was the first time you bought something with money you had saved? Where were you? What did you buy?  Was it money you earned or money someone gave you?

5.  Do you remember your first paycheck?  How did you earn it?  How much was in it? What did you do with it?

6.  Do you remember ever losing money?  When was the earliest time?  What happened? Has this happened to your children?  How did you handle it?

7.  Did you dream of one day having a particular job or career?  Have you achieved this? Why or why not?  Was the amount of money you could earn a factor in your choice of careers?

8.  If your relationship with money were a personal relationship, how would you describe it?  Do you fear, love, hate, depend upon, feel possessive of, or feel generous with money?  Just write whatever comes to mind in this area.

9.  How do you relate to people who have more money than you? Less money?

10.  Do you recall your mother’s or fathers relationship with money? If you didn’t live with them, then pick people who were your primary care givers for this question.

11.  How did the above people’s relationship with money affect you?  Did they have expectations of you?  What were they?  Were there some aspects of money that were not discussed? Even though they were not discussed, you may have known what they were.  If you have children, do you have similar expectations of them? Do you treat them the same way you were treated? If you are a married or in a committed relationship, do these expectations affect your partner?

12.  Have you ever accomplished an important task or project regarding money? What was it?  What did you do that made you successful?

13.  Was there a time when you tried but did not accomplish a task or project regarding money? What was it?  What did you do that made you unsuccessful?

14.  Have you ever given or received gifts of money? If yes, how much? For what reason(s)? How did you feel about this?

15.  If you were to characterize your own brand of “money craziness” how would you describe it?

16.  Where do you want to see yourself ten years from now regarding money? How much in savings?  How much in investments? How much do you see yourself making ten years from now?

17.  Regarding money, for what do you want to be known? If people were to talk about you and your relationship with money. What would you want them to say?

18.  Are you afraid that money is not spiritual enough for you or that your spiritual path isn’t compatible with financial success?

19.  What do you spend money on?

20.  What do you not spend money on?

When you’re done, Dr. Nemeth suggests giving it a title that might sum it up.  Review it and see if there are any parallels with other parts of your life. Any repeating themes?  That’s always significant.  Were there things you’d like to tell everyone about?  Things you’d rather no one know? Think about which questions gave you trouble and see if you can figure out why.

This may reveal some stuff you’d rather not see. Have some compassion: we all have made mistakes with money.  Big, costly ones, too.  And most of us have a shaky, at best, history with money. But know that whatever you’re feeling it is a step toward healing and making space for more abundance in all areas of your life!

Review of SARK’s “Prosperity Pie: How to Relax about Money and Everything Else”

SARK is always so fun and easy to read.  Fun and Easy? That’s my theme for the year.  I would just love to do nothing but read SARK all year.  That would certainly be a fun and easy year! But for right now, it’s one at a time and Prosperity Pie is a good one.  Aren’t they all?

“Relief,” SARK says, “is not found in not working.  True relief is found in surrendering into work, whatever it is.”

Of course, SARK doesn’t want us to be unhappy in our work, unfulfilled. She talks about finding your True Work.  “True Work glows.”  I just love that.  My friend Lauren uses the term “hum.”  Works just as well.

SARK quotes liberally from Shakti Gawain’s seminal work, “Creative Visualization” to help us find our True Work.  SARK says, if you’re complaining about your work now, ask yourself, “What else could I do with that energy?” SARK has these things called micromovements.  Sort of like the small steps talked of elsewhere.  But she defines them as things that take five minutes or less. That’s really small!  She suggests we take one micromovement to locate or explore our True Work.  Put a date on it to create that heat.  There are other great ideas, like asking a friend to describe your True Work.  Fun and doable.  Another one is to describe what it feels like when you say, “I’ve found my True Work and I’m utterly happy!”

The challenge most of us face, according to SARK is “our reaction to work or no work” and “resistance to feeling what we feel.”  She asks us to welcome and allow our feelings.  They are the energy of motion.  E-motion.  SARK also wants us to relax about things.  Even if we can’t find work, she claims, “Work always surfaces.”  I am a testament to that!  What you need to find work is “Tall Courage, Deep Faith and Unshakable Certainty.”  Not so micro, that one.  But SARK says we can borrow hers.

The exercises throughout the book are part of a Discovery System. Discovery Systems for Work, Money and Teachers, among others.  These Discovery Systems give you a few thought-provoking questions to answer.  Some Reminders and a few Resources.

SARK is so utterly quotable.  Here’s one that struck me: “Divine Agitation is a good thing.”  What a wonderful way to look at life!  “Procrastination” she expounds, “gives us more time.”  Why, you know, it does.  “Perfectionism keeps you from being wrong.”  A shelter she calls it.  I have never thought if it that way!  Here’s one more: “See Time as a Choice.”  I love that!  Barbara Sher teaches that as well.  When you bust up time into small pieces you can make choices about what you want to do with it.

In the Money section, SARK talks about how everything we believe about money was learned, so we can change those beliefs.  “We’re so afraid of lack,” she says,” we turn away from learning systems and methods that could change that. Because we’re afraid they won’t work, we grasp tightly to previous systems.”  Even if they don’t work.  We need a new vision of money.  She asks us to identify areas around money that are “stuck, parched, unexplored, rigid and unclear.”  Also, areas that are “juicy, alive, supportive, unusual, creative and nourishing.” That’s one of the prettiest pictures of money I’ve ever seen.  SARK wants us to find new ways to play with money, as she teaches us to find ways to play with all of life!

In the Time section, SARK teaches us that time can shrink and expand.  “The Miracle of Time Stretcher.”  One of the questions she poses is “If time wasn’t a factor, what would you do/not do?”  Intriguing thought.

We are also asked to look at and seek out that which inspires us.  SARK, of course, has lots of inspiring moments.  “The more you welcome inspiriting people,” she says, “The more they will appear.” She also gets us to look at the other side.  Where are we inspiring others?  “Sharing inspiration multiplies it.”

All in all, another delightful and inspiring book from SARK.  For more, be sure to check out her web site at www.planetsark.com.  And remember to use colors liberally and always have fun!!

Many people think these two concepts are mutually exclusive. That if you were really “spiritual” than you’d have no need for money. The truth is, the more you evolve, the more conscious you become, the easier it is to attract and work with money. Harnessing its power, there is much good you can do.

Money is just another energy in the world. It’s a neutral energy, like electricity. Like electricity, if you misuse it, its power can hurt you. Maria Nemeth wrote a splendid book called “The Energy of Money” where she tells us that how we think and feel in other areas of our lives effects how we use this powerful energy of money. For it to work well for us, we need to have more than just a healthy Balance Sheet.

There happen to be lots of books offering ways to use spiritual principles in dealing with money. Here are just a sampling: “Zenvesting, The Art of Abundance and Managing Money” by Paul Sutherland; “The Tao of Abundance, Eight Ancient Principles for Abundant Living” by Laurence Boldt; “Creating Money” by Sanaya Roman, the classic, “Do What you Love and the Money Will Follow” by Marsha Sinetar; “Seven Stages of Money Maturity, Understanding the Spirit and Value of Money in Your Life” by George Kinder. The list goes on.

With all these people writing about it, you get the idea that Money and Spirituality can rest quite easily together. No one says that it’s “bad” to be poor. But being poor can keep you stuck in feelings of lack, worry, and despair. None of which are good for you.

Now, no amount of money will heal all your wounds. There’s a whole lot money can’t do. Money can corrupt. That much power in the wrong hands can certainly be anything but spiritual. But having money is not the problem. It’s how you use it.. Money can be a great blessing and allow for an overflowing of generosity. It can show you a lot about yourself. It can feed where there is hunger, it can heal where this is sickness, it can make things whole again. It takes money to heal the planet. That sounds like the essence of spirituality to me.

Sex and spirituality can also work intimately together, but that’s for another day.

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