Optimism: not buying into any “I can’t”.

optimism

Isn’t this picture awesome? I love the expression on the duck’s face… which is entirely my own interpretation, as ducks don’t really “make faces” or have expressions. But I like to imagine that from the gesture you can actually feel the “energy” of the feeling that animates it – it’s fun, it’s playful, it’s pure optimism that doesn’t give a rip about “But what if I can’t do it?” or “What if I fail?”. Go duck! I need to put this picture over my writing table… and my teaching table… and my cooking table… and… and…

Here’s one good feelings exercise to try:

Go to Google or any other search engine and type in “bird”. Look at the pictures that show up – and try to name the feelings that those images evoke in you. You will be flooded with freedom, joy, fun, playfulness…

Sunny skies,

Christine

What do you do with all that cardboard from Amazon?

cardboard farm dog house

‘t is that time of the year – the time to be jolly, to be happy and to be looking for presents. Lots and lots and lots of presents.

With lots and lots and lots of presents come lots and lots and lots of cardboard boxes. Especially if you do your holiday shopping on Amazon.

It can be a problem! The space in the garage is already taken by the two cars, the wheelbarrow, the tractor and my husband’s motorcycle. The pile of plastic bottles is already pushed in a corner.

Really, there isn’t much room for all that cardboard.

The other day I had an idea though. I took a couple of boxes, a pair of scissors and a tape gun. I asked my son if he wanted to make a farm. He looked at the cardboard, then at the supplies, then at me and he said… nothing. He is three. He did not understand.

I set to work. The moment I sunk the scissors in the cardboard, his eyes lit up. He loved that “scrush-scrush-scrush” sound so that was joy reason #1. With squeals on top.

Then, I made shapes. Two rectangles, a triangle, a circle…. Joy reason #2. Who knew cardboard could be so interesting?!

I set out to make the building of a railway station. He loves trains and we have some wooden tracks that could have gone very well in front of it. Thomas the Tank Engine included.

But when I got done with the “railway station” my son squealed (joy reason #3): “Farm! Farm, mama! Farm!”

Okay. So it turned out to be a farm.

After the farm house came the dog’s house. Oh, the screams of joy for that… you can not imagine! (joy reason #4)

IMG_3344After the dog house came the shed for the tractor (joy reason #5).

We had so much fun the whole afternoon that I wondered why we bothered buying him toys at all!

I’m joking, of course. Toys are good. But joy out of “nothing” is part of the miracle and wonder. Blessed be.

Sunny skies and good feelings,

Christine

Happy money and other anomalies (with 10 book recommendations)

money tree

money treeIf you are happy with your financial situation and money is your friend… first of all, congratulations. Secondly, this article is not for you.

This post is for those of us who are still working through “money issues”.

I don’t know about you, but the mere thought of “money” makes me cringe a little. It used to be a lot and it’s gotten better but there’s still something stuck in there…

How it all started

I’ve been trying to remember the first time I became aware of money, when I was a child. I can’t really remember the very first time, but I remember getting money for my fifth birthday and everybody making a really big deal about it.

“Wow, say thank you to your auntie!” my parents said and nodded their heads with wide grins, like I had received the Eiffel Tower.

What they meant, of course, was say thank you to your auntie for her kind gesture.

What I understood, at that young age, was: “Why is everyone making such a big deal out of these pieces of paper? I don’t get it but okay… they ARE a big deal. If you say so…”

I understood then that money WAS a really big deal for everyone. And, from the way they were talking about it, I also gathered that nobody had enough.

As fate would have it, a little while later around the age of 7, my father got really sick. Money did play a part in this because there was a running belief in the family that, had we had more money, we would have been able to save him. Ka-BOOM! Money was officially THE BAD GUY.

It only went downhill from there. After my father’s passing, my mother (understandably) lost it for a while. Which meant, among other things, that we almost had no money at all. As in, for food.

(Sidenote: I’m just trying to describe the origins and evolution of my money beliefs here, not club you with a sad life story so hang in there.)

I added the following beliefs to the money folder:

  • women can’t make money
  • money is really, really, really hard to come by
  • people struggle for their basic needs. We call this “survival” and it’s horrible.
  • who came up with this “life” game and made us suffer so??
  • loving money is a terrible, terrible thing because money is evil
  • money is a necessary evil

You can imagine the joy I felt when I went to work at the age of twenty one.

In fact, I did have a lot of joy but that was because I loved the people I was working with. Money, I told myself, didn’t matter.

So for years I sabotaged my financial situation in a million subtle – and not so subtle – ways.

I gave money away to people simply because they asked.

I worked for pennies when others in my field were making thousands.

I stayed stuck in jobs I should have long quit.

I never saved or invested.

I stayed away from people who had money because they were… well, weird.

All in all, this love-hate relationship with money permeated pretty much all aspects of my life and it wasn’t exactly pretty.

With time and experience, things started to change. I began to re-examine my beliefs and my thoughts, because I was fed up with living a sucky life. Not having (enough) money, let’s be honest, sucks.

I had to confront, first of all, my belief that money is “the bad guy”. When this began to change, things started to change.

It is still a work in progress for me, as I can’t quite say I am 100% happy with my finances, but I am okay.

I have even managed to look at money and think of it as “happy”. For the little girl who still lives inside my head, this is an anomaly.

Here is a list of my re-structured beliefs:

  • Money is a tool.

It is neither good, nor bad, any more than a broom or a fork. It is what we do with it that matters.

  • Money responds to emotions.

I noticed a funny thing over the years: whenever I went through periods of intense happiness (falling in love, travelling, making new friends), the money thing seemed to take care of itself. The better I feel in general, the better my finances are.

  • Money is a form of “congealed energy”.

Money flows between people just like an electrical current flowing through a piece of wire. We are actually the generators of that current – with our thoughts and emotions that then translate into actions, products and services that we “direct” towards other people.

In conclusion: finances need to be looked at and tended to with kindness and patience, like any living thing.

These days I make it a point to cultivate good feelings when it comes to money:

  • ease
  • comfort
  • fun
  • excitement
  • relief

I also discovered that I don’t need to specifically apply these emotions to the subject of money. It is enough to look for them in other places: ease in the connection with my husband; fun in going to the movies; comfort in my favorite pillow; relief in finding a babysitter for my son.

Does this bring more money in?

It actually does. After about a week of doing this on purpose, money started to come in in strange and fun ways: a friend of mine asked me to go into business together making toys (I LOVED the idea), so we did; the electricity company refunded us about 300 (they said we overpaid); my in-laws gave me cash for my birthday (it was a belated present so I wasn’t expecting it); clients from my freelancing business started to pay their bills, after months of me chasing after them.

I can’t explain exactly how this works. My thinking is that is has to do with the fact that this physical world, “material” though it seems, is actually energy. Energy connected and flowing. So any change in one place is bound to affect changes in other places.

The other way I think of it is this: it’s like playing music on the piano. One note played on one piano will resonate with another note played on a second piano. The harmony is the same. So I can “play”, for example, the note of “joy” on my “playing with my son” piano and it will resonate with the “finances” piano. I know it’s a bit strange, but it sort of makes sense. Doesn’t it?

Any thoughts?

10 Good books about money (or getting what you want – money included):

  1. 1. MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom

 

 

2. Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller – Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century

 

3. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!

 

4. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated)

 

5. The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level

 

 

6. The Science of Getting Rich (A Thrifty Book)

 

 

7. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

 

 

8. As a Man Thinketh

 

 

9. Money, and the Law of Attraction: Learning to Attract Wealth, Health, and Happiness

 

 

10. The Astonishing Power of Emotions: Let Your Feelings Be Your Guide

The pot of good feelings at the end of the rainbow

It is not simply moneyluck that I want, it is money AND good feelings, like pride, satisfaction, growth and contentment. I could have “money” (or anything else) but not feel good about it so in the end… the pot must be filled with good feelings or it’s worthless. The great news is that the good feelings are here for the taking, right now. The pot is there, already full and accessible at any moment. Perhaps not when connected to a particular subject (like money) but from and about the world in general.

Simply contemplating those good feelings, in any way you want, somehow generates an electrical current of emotion that, in turn, attracts real-world… stuff to match. Good stuff. Even stuff you weren’t specifically thinking about – like money, sunny days and clean public swimming pools. (Well, yes, that’s a random list but the Universe, as we all know, has a great sense of humor)

So it goes like this:

Ease. The jump of a dolphin.
Joy. The screaming of children at a birthday party.
Satisfaction. The sigh at the end of a very good meal.
Contentment. The clean living-room.
Growth. A young tree reaching for the sky.
Pride. The feeling you get after turning an “impossible” into a “possible”.

What does all that have to do with… money? EVERYTHING. You try and contemplate these good feelings “in general” for a little while and then watch what happens “in particular” (yes, with money).

C.M.