Think about the relationships in your life that are truly important to you. Most likely you nurture these valued relationships and treat them with the care and attention they deserve.
Now, think about your relationship with money. And instead of thinking about this relationship as purely numbers and account balances, step back for a second and assess the state of your relationship with money as if describing a relationship with a friend.
If you had to choose one word to describe your relationship with money, what would that word be?
For those of you that have never conceived of describing your relationship with money or weren’t even aware you had a relationship with money, this exercise may at first feel odd. “How can a person have a relationship with money?” Putting on my holistic financial planning hat, I would respond to your question by suggesting; if you've had problems, hated or loved, feared, struggled with, enjoyed, cursed or worried about money, whether consciously or unconsciously, you are indeed in a relationship with money. The trick, as in all relationships, is for it to be a healthy, supportive, trusting and honest relationship.
Below are three essential tips for optimizing your relationship with money. The more you observe and are able to understand the dynamics of this complex relationship, the sooner financial freedom will become your personal reality.
1) Assumptions & Belief Systems Around Money
If you’ve read the seminal book on money, Your Money or Your Life, you know that one of the first steps towards transforming your relationship with money and achieving financial independence is to become conscious of all the assumptions and beliefs around money you’ve been dragging around since you were a kid.
Part of this crucial transformational work is letting go of outdated assumptions and beliefs that no longer are relevant in your world or worse, create dysfunction and chaos in your life.
- Take an inventory of all the assumptions you have regarding money, especially in these four areas: earning, saving, spending and investing.
Now, observe this list of assumptions with mindfulness and non-judgment. What patterns, if any, stand out to you? Do any of them remind you of your mother or father’s assumptions that you’ve unconsciously adopted as your own? What limiting beliefs, if any, are embedded in your assumptions?
Bring your full awareness onto the assumptions that are outdated and or hinder your personal and spiritual growth. In this garden of your mind, mindfully replace these outdated assumptions, these ‘weeds’ that have overrun your garden, and replace them with seeds of abundance. Be patient with yourself as these old beliefs and assumptions will not disappear easily.
Optimize your relationship with money by playing the observer next time you have or make a financial transaction. The more self-aware, the more you stay conscious when dealing with money, the more you recognize your patterns and demons that are never far away - the sooner you’ll feel in control of your money and your life.
2) Trust & Faith with Money
Think about a relationship you have with someone close to you that you do not trust. Think about how challenging that makes your relationship with this person. How difficult it is to let your guard down around this person and not feel suspicious of their motives.
Trust in any relationship is essential if the relationship is to grow and prosper and your relationship with money is no different. Consider the following tips which can help you gain back or strengthen the trust you need for a successful relationship with money.
- Flex your frugal muscle - Next month, promise yourself and then commit to it, that you will spend 20% less than you did the previous month. Then, take that 20% savings and apply 100% of it to your emergency cash fund.
There is no better way to strengthen or rebuild trust in your relationship with money than to make a promise to yourself and honor that promise. Think about it as making a deposit in your spiritual bank account. Nothing, and I mean nothing builds trust faster than knowing promises made around money are promises you can trust yourself to keep.
- Increase Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) - The next time you feel the need or desire to make an impulse purchase - stop yourself. Become conscious of your behavior, play the observer, understand your emotional triggers (stress, sadness, exhilaration, etc.) and take control.
When your emotions dictate your financial behavior, it’s often referred to as being ‘emotionally hijacked’. Take control of your emotions around money and you’ll feel what it’s like to experience authentic power.
3) Core Values, Your Money AND Your Life
The choices you make around how you spend, earn, save, and invest your money are all essential aspects of your relationship with money.
To feel empowered around money, to feel and see abundance all around you, to know that you’re able to manifest your deepest desires and turn those dreams into reality requires your core values be in alignment with how you spend, earn, save and invest. When those choices are in alignment with your core values, your relationship with money feels effortless.
- Dig deeper and discover what’s in alignment and what’s out of alignment in your spending, earning, saving and investing habits. If the gap is wide between these and your core values, that’s ok, but know you’ve got work to do.
Take baby steps toward reaching eventual full-on alignment. Start with one aspect at a time, set monthly and quarterly goals that are doable yet push you out of your comfort zone. Monitor progress, course correct when needed, do your personal best, accept setbacks and start again.
Bottom line- Just keep moving forward, as every positive step you take will get you that much closer to your ultimate goal: an effortless relationship with money that provides all the abundance and security you need and desire and the ultimate goal: financial freedom.
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“A person saving for retirement who chooses low-cost investments instead of higher-cost ones could have a standard of living throughout retirement that's more than 20 percent higher”, says Noble Prize winner William Sharpe.
In a recent interview published on the Stanford Graduate School of Business website, Sharpe, a professor emeritus at the school, clearly illustrates how much more money retirees would have if they saved for retirement using lower-cost index funds rather than higher-cost actively managed funds.
As a long time client of Vanguard, the pioneer of index fund investing and a huge fan of John Bogle, founder of Vanguard Mutual funds, and a self-described Boglehead, Sharpe’s insight into the many advantages of using low-cost, highly diversified index funds is music to my ears.
Mutual fund costs, especially high annual costs that many managed mutual funds charge, including funds being sold and distributed by some of our largest insurance companies, remain hidden, opaque and difficult to understand for most investors.
Performance matters, but as John Bogle often reminds us, costs matter even more in the long run. Using Vanguard index funds for your core portfolio holdings offer investors an opportunity to invest in the markets, both stock and bond, both domestic and international, at low costs. In my opinion, it’s the way smart and savvy investors win in the long run.
Check out this Vanguard link to learn more about the benefits of using index funds for your investment portfolio.
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A couple of weeks back, I received a call from a client couple, (who I’ll call ‘Z’) who have been happily retired for a few years. During our conversation, they let me know they needed to take out some extra money for a one-time expense that their regular retirement income won’t quite cover. However, this isn’t the first time; in fact, it seems for client couple Z there’s a different one-time request more years than not.
As couple Z has heard me say many times, a withdrawal is a withdrawal whether it goes for regular monthly income, income tax withholding, or a one-time want. And repeated additional withdrawals, even if they don’t occur every year, put added risk to any retirement plan. What the one-time expenses that become more regular risk doing is turning what was a safe and sustainable retirement income plan initially, into one considerably less so.
For these particular clients, it was quite tempting for me to assume that their spending pattern of the previous few years was not permanent, especially since client couple Z are in their most active years of retirement. This pattern will stop eventually, right? Well not only might it not stop, but it also could just as easily increase in magnitude.
The challenge any financial planner has when managing a client’s investment portfolio during retirement is helping them stick to their retirement income plan. Using conservative assumptions on investment returns and conservative assumptions on annual safe withdrawal rates, a plan is put in motion and monitored regularly.
What’s not usually planned for when designing a long-term strategy are additional withdrawals (one-time or otherwise) from the core portfolio. The core portfolio being the total investment assets responsible for sustaining a client’s income and lifestyle for as long as they live.
Think of your core portfolio as the foundation of your overall retirement plan. It’s built to sustain the ups and downs of stock market returns and create enough income to last the rest of your life. Making additional withdrawals from your core portfolio creates a chink in the armor of your long-term financial security.
So what’s a financial planner to do when helping clients in retirement understand these risks?
The Power of Establishing a Discretionary Account
One option we’ve started implementing for clients in retirement is establishing a separate and distinct discretionary account that stands apart from their separate and distinct core account. The money in the discretionary account is expressly designated for any and all additional expenses (one-time or otherwise) that clients may wish to make.
Instead of me needing to play bad cop by advising clients of the risk they’re taking with these additional withdrawals, with a discretionary account established, clients are empowered to create clear boundaries and define for themselves the amount of extra expenses they can afford, at least for the foreseeable future. But even more importantly, clients get to determine which purposes are worthy of tapping this account.
For couples especially, this choice can spark significant conversation about what they truly value and which ‘wants’ matter most. It’s also putting more power in the hands of clients to make choices of how they want to spend the money they’ve accumulated during their working years. Clients can decide:
- How much to set aside in this discretionary account (2-5% of your core portfolio for example)
- How to create withdrawal rules and strategies
- How to set up the investments in their discretionary portfolio.
These operational questions and many more need to be considered individually and holistically when developing a comprehensive retirement plan.
Take-away: Even the most beautifully designed and well executed retirement income plan is challenging for clients to follow when retired, especially during the first few years of retirement. One way around this challenge is by establishing what many of my clients now lovingly refer to as their ‘slush fund’. They feel more empowered and that sense of empowerment brings them joy, much less conflict and perhaps most importantly, it brings them, as well as their holistic financial planner, a whole lot of peace of mind.
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I've noticed that there is a sense of urgency as you get older, time speeds up, the questions of a good life lived haunt and nag. For some, that 'as you get older' point is approaching 60, for others it's turning 30, but at whatever the age the questions start, you might want to give them some attention.
Adam Shepard was a 30 year old with more than a mild case of wanderlust - he wanted to fully live every single moment, not to miss a single opportunity presented to him, to really experience life in every way possible. So he sold everything, took off for a year and then wrote a book about his experiences called 'One Year Lived'. But before he did any of that - he carefully developed a plan on how to accomplish his dream. Adam is not a Spiritus client, but someone who sets goals and achieves them, he’s a follower of his dreams, a thoughtful and careful life-planner, a risk-taker and an incredibly enthusiastic and over all friendly guy. And his book is not just interesting in terms of experiencing other cultures and countries through his eyes, but he’s crazy funny in his descriptions and in the situations he gets himself into.
Of his one-year-long sojourn, Adam boldly declared, "I made the assertion early—perhaps to convince myself to go, and perhaps because I actually believed it—that this would be the best year of my life. I promised myself I wouldn’t leave any presented experience on the table.
Don’t. Leave. Anything. On. The. Table."
If you want to go on an adventure with Adam to Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, Spain & Slovakia - check out his book One Year Lived on Amazon. If you would be willing to repost this article, contact us and we'lll send you the link where you can download the book for free.
Most of us have a dream list. Whether it's in our heads or actually written down, started in adolescence and updated through adulthood, memorized, talked about, bragged about - but how close do we come in realizing those things we absolutely feel we must do in our lifetimes?
If not now, when?
Here in the wealthy enclave of the San Francisco Bay Area, it seems and feels like ground zero for the everlasting internal debate between quality of life vs. standard of living.
Not a week goes by where I’m not talking with a potential client about their burning desire to live more simply. Most are boomers that have been in the corporate world or in business for themselves and want out - while they’re still in their prime years.
Many have squelched their dreams and desires for so long that they’re very often scared to let themselves fully dream of a day when they are doing what they love and loving what they do. Yet fortunately for me, they’re willing to open up and share their dreams and deep desires of living a life with intention and purpose and filled with passion.
And this is where the fun begins. It’s about dwelling in possibilities. It’s using your intuition and imagination as your source of guidance while mapping out a financial road map that merges your money with your life. It’s applying the basic theme of holistic financial planning which is that money makes a poor master but a wonderful servant.
To reinvent yourself, to voluntarily leave a well paying corporate gig, to sell your business or practice and put your full attention and intention to something brand new that makes you feel young, vibrant and alive again - to do this takes courage, persistence, faith, resilience, self-confidence, and a holistic financial planner who will design a financial life plan that inspires you and ignites your passions.
Financial Success vs. Life Success
How many of us grew up believing that when it came to work and earning money, we had two choices in life. We could choose financial success or we could choose life success, but you couldn’t have both.
And when it came to setting goals, enjoying life as your number one goal was looked upon as too esoteric and lacking ambition, whereas setting a goal to be a millionaire by the age of 30, regardless of how happy or unhappy your life is when reaching that goal was seen as ambitious and worthwhile.
Fortunately we’re now seeing a trend towards living a more balanced life. We’re also seeing the phrase financial success redefined like never before. What we considered financial success in our twenties is way different than how we define financial success in our fifties.
And it’s the attempt to live a balanced life where the tension between quality of life and standard of living comes sharply into focus. For its one thing to proclaim your desire for living a more balanced and simpler life, but it’s an entirely different thing to actually give up many of the comforts and pleasures that accrue to someone with a high standard of living.
And therein lies the challenge of getting from where you are today, perhaps living large and dealing with high levels of stress and anxiety to the desire/dream/fantasy of living simply. To think you can make this leap of faith overnight or even over a few months is to set yourself up for failure. Time is your friend when thinking about this change. Laying the groundwork for the move, preparing yourself emotionally and spiritually takes time as does doing the proper due diligence and the appropriate strategic financial planning, if you want this lifestyle transition to be a success.
More Things or More Life
Like with any major endeavor worth pursuing in life, quiet time, meditation, seeking guidance from above - these tools and more need to factor into the equation when contemplating a major life change. Yet the most vital ingredient for a successful transition to a life of voluntary simplicity is a burning desire for change.
That’s because many forces will come together to conspire against your desire for change. Peers, colleagues, friends, family members, anyone on the fast track of life that secretly dreams of doing what you’re contemplating, but knows there’s strength in numbers, will do everything in their power to persuade you that you just need some time off, that a nice vacation will do you right and set you straight.
Then there will be your ego putting up the strongest resistance of all. For being on the fast track of life comes with many perks you will not avail yourself to when choosing the road less traveled. For most of the time a simpler life means fewer material things and that will not please your ego one bit. Yet with this lifestyle choice comes less stress, less worry, less anxiety and less unhappiness.
On the flipside, what you’ll potentially receive when choosing to put your life first and your money second is more joy, more inspiration, more fulfillment and more happiness.
Is it easy to make this major life move when you’ve worked so hard to achieve the level of financial success you’re rightly proud of? Absolutely not. But when you ask yourself the eternal question from Thoreau: Are you leading a life of quiet desperation?, and you answer honestly with a yes, than what do you have to lose?
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The Roth IRA has been one of the best tax planning techniques to come out of Washington, DC in a very long time. But because the Roth comes with income limit eligibility limitations; (maximum income for singles in 2013-$127,000) and (maximum income for married couples-$188,000), lots of high income earners have been unable to take advantage of this option.
Like many of you, including yours truly, that have already received loads of info about the ‘backdoor Roth IRA’ from tax planning firms or your CPA, below is a consolidation of the best of the best that I have received recently on this topic. All due credit belongs to the numerous sources that kindly sent me info about the new ‘tax kid’ on the block - the backdoor Roth IRA - thank you!
The Advantages of a Roth IRA
The beauty of the Roth IRA, even with the restrictions, means contributions to a Roth IRA can be withdrawn, along with growth, tax free. Compare that to a traditional IRA, where you can begin withdrawals without penalty post 59½, yet any money you withdraw from your traditional IRA will be 100% taxable.
Even though the contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax deductible, the ability of those contributions to grow tax free is very significant.
Although your income may be too high to contribute either to a deductible IRA or a Roth IRA, you can still contribute to a non-deductible IRA. That’s where the backdoor IRA becomes a tax planning technique.
Simply open a nondeductible IRA (even if you don’t already have one) and make a contribution before April 15, 2013 (for 2012). After you have made the contribution to the nondeductible IRA, you can convert the nondeductible IRA to a Roth IRA.
The maximum contribution for 2012 is $5,000($6,000 if you’re 50 or older). For 2013, the maximum contribution is $5,500($6,500 if you’re 50 or older).
One very important aspect to understand prior to deploying this tax planning technique is to realize that this technique only works for those who do not have other deductible IRA accounts (i.e. IRA accounts with pretax contributed money) at the time of converting your non-deductible IRA to a Roth IRA. If you have other deductible IRA accounts at the time of conversion, a portion of the conversion will be taxable. Please click on the links below for possible solutions to dealing with this situation.
As with all tax planning techniques, it is important that you review this technique with your tax advisor. The above is a summary and condensed version from the many emails that I have received from various CPA’s and a few clients as well as the website links below. Your tax advisor can provide you the expanded version; it may or may not be right for you. Before taking any action, please fully understand that it may result in unexpected taxable income.
Income Too High for a Roth IRA? Try sneaking in the backdoor by , NerdWallet
The Backdoor Roth IRA, Advanced Version by Ashlea Ebeling, Forbes
Using Non Deductible IRAs to Get Money Into a ROTH-Non Deductible IRA Rules You Can Use by Dana Anspach, About.com
The other way to invest in a Roth IRA b @Money
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We are currently in the midst of one of the largest transfers of wealth from one generation to the next that our country has ever witnessed. That’s because as parents of baby boomers start to pass, the legacies they are leaving behind in the form of inheritances are in the trillions of dollars.
Last year alone in our financial planning practice, one out of three new clients contacted our practice as a result of receiving an inheritance. And in many cases, the inheritance they received was a game changer - meaning the amount received was large enough to create financial independence.
At the same time, many of these new clients were totally unprepared emotionally and spiritually for the sudden wealth they were now dealing with. When you go from living and adjusting to a relatively tight family budget for most of your adult life, and suddenly your net worth increases, perhaps even high enough to never have to work another day in your life; it will change your life in unexpected ways.
Based on my observations over ten years of working with clients from all walks of life, some that have received small inheritances and some that have received very large inheritances, below are my 5 tips to help you prepare for this solemn and potentially transformational moment in life.
1) Get the Facts
As part of the process of developing a comprehensive financial plan, I ask all clients if they are aware of their parents’ estate plans and if yes, approximately how much their inheritance will be. If you never broached this subject with your parents, that’s understandable. But if you’re a boomer, it’s better to know the facts, as delicate a topic to discuss as it is, instead of guessing.
If you’re looking for an appropriate time or opportunity to broach this subject, informing your parent’s that you’ve hired a holistic financial planner and as part of the planning process you’re seeking a rough ball park figure of how they plan to distribute their estate is one option to consider. Most clients tell me how surprised they were to discover their parents were not only willing but eager to discuss this emotionally charged subject with them.
2) Beware of the Internal Saboteur
There are two common patterns that I’ve observed working with clients that have received large inheritances. One, perhaps the most familiar, is putting your entire inheritance into a savings or money market account earning 0.5%. That’s usually caused by a lack of self-confidence around money. The story you are telling yourself is you’re not capable of handling this. Please realize that’s the saboteur talking. Change the story in your head and tell yourself - yes you can!
The second, although less prevalent, is doing everything possible to sabotage yourself and eventually lose the money through risky or reckless investment choices. The reasons for this sabotage behavior are complex and much has to do with an unhealthy relationship with money to begin with.
Like a magnet strongly pulling you to the darkness, your unconscious money behavior manifests itself in ways that are very self-destructive. It’s crucial to know and understand your money patterns and habits before your inheritance is received. If you know for sure your inheritance will be large enough to change your life completely, lay the groundwork and inner foundation by seeking out a therapist or financial coach that can help you stay conscious when the time comes.
3) Make No Major Decisions the First Year
For many people receiving an inheritance, especially a large inheritance, it’s common to want to make a big and bold move with the money. That could take the shape of a new home, a second home, starting a new and costly business, etc.
The guidance that my clients find the most difficult to follow is when I ask them not to do anything major or bold the first year except invest their inheritance wisely. To make any major life decision in the first year of losing your parent is fraught with danger.
That’s because the urge you feel to do something big with the money is usually an emotional reaction to the pain you feel from the loss. To let your emotions guide major financial decisions in this first year is a risky proposition at best.
4) Talk with Your Partner about Your Intentions
Once you discover more information about your future inheritance, remember to include your partner and bring them into the conversation on how you would like to use this money. Yes it’s your inheritance and you have the right to do whatever you please with the money. That said, shutting your partner out of any discussion, which happens quite frequently, will lead to conflict down the road.
Better to think, dream and imagine the possibilities together, find common ground if there is disagreement and work together, mapping out your new life plan as a team instead of flying solo.
5) Feeling Grateful
When I ask my clients how they feel upon receiving their inheritance, the one word most often used to describe their feelings is gratitude. They feel extremely grateful for their inheritance, large or small, and they stay and nurture that feeling for a long time.
It’s easy to get tripped up emotionally when receiving an inheritance as there are so many conflicting thoughts and feelings running through your mind and body that often it’s difficult to remain grounded and centered. If you had a difficult relationship with your parents, then your emotional challenges are even greater once they do pass and you receive your inheritance.
Whatever your spiritual practice is, practicing gratitude is the way forward. It will help soothe the pain of your loss and is a powerful way to honor the memory of your parents.
Photo credit Pat Chiappa
You may have heard me say this but I'll say it again - in the U.S., there are 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day, and the other half of this mind boggling fact is the even more amazing truth that those boomers heading into retirement do not have enough money saved to enjoy a secure retirement. In my financial planning practice I'm seeing this serious dilemma more and more and so I am always on the watch for some help, some answers to help people earn a little extra money once they have retired.
Again, money expert Jean Chatzky writes a timely article on how to supplement your income, whether you are retired, a stay at home mom or dad with some extra time or if you want to supplement your income to provide yourself with a little extra cushion. With over 775,000 mobile apps to date, four of which she shares in this article, Jean gives some examples of how if you are flexible and willing, you can use mobile apps to make between $20-$30 per hour, often doing some interesting things, like delivering cupcakes or checking coats at a nightclub.
Recent stats from the AARP Public Policy Institute reveal more and more people over the age of 65 are working; 18% last year as opposed to 10.8% twenty-five years ago. They also found that the percentage of those working part-time instead of full-time increased in recent years, although they don't know if it's personal choice, the slow economy or other reasons.
In any case, as the numbers of boomers retiring (whether by choice or forced) from their full-time jobs and looking to work part-time increases, I see a trend where if you need the extra income, you'll have to get a little creative.
Belize or Thailand anyone? Ecuador?
You may want to check out Jean Chatskzy's story of of her own personal money journey. With her basic beliefs around earning a good living, spending less than you earn, investing money you don’t spend and protecting everything that you’ve built, her story is quite compelling.
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Mistakes, lies, omissions, inflating the truth - these can all amount to the same end. Major problems with the IRS and a possible audit.
The most honest people, those who would never consider lying, often do just that when they make mistakes on preparing their taxes - even when they use a too-aggressive tax preparer or CPA. There are tax items that are fairly black and white, and then there are those gray area tax deductions. Common areas where you see these white lies bubble up on tax returns are business expenses, real estate, donations and home office deductions.
LearnVest writer Laura Shin wrote an article based on the experiences of CPA Gary Craig from Orange County, CA. Shin's excellent article reveals what Craig sees most often in his practice, common tax mistakes folks make again and again. From those little white lies, to honest omissions, to finding the right tax preparer, his article is well worth your time to read thoroughly. He plainly reveals the top 10 tax mistakes he sees in his practice, so grab a seat, take good notes and ensure your tax return filing goes smoothly.
Granted, the tax code is confusing and many mistakes that are made are completely innocent, but rather than find yourself in a position of entertaining the IRS in your home for the afternoon – why not get ahead of the problem and find out where you need to pay special attention so you don’t find yourself caught in a little white lie.
If Craig's article wasn't enough for you, you may want to check out Kiplingers, Audit Red Flags: The Dirty Dozen and for overall info on taxes, Kiplingers 'Taxes' section has a slew of good articles.
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This is a guest post from one of my dear clients Stacie, who I wrote about in an earlier blogpost about her budding journey toward living her own dream.
For those unfamiliar with the term, to say that someone is ‘off her rocker’ is to imply that she has lost her mind. In other words, she’s crazy. And that’s exactly what a few of my family and friends have been whispering about me since I resigned from a well-paying position in the midst of a devastatingly sharp economic downturn with effects being felt not just across the US but around the world.
Thankfully, I was prepared for those whispers and the other not so softly-spoken words of concern. I’m not sure when my preparation began, but it definitely accelerated once I stumbled upon a book entitled, “Your Money Or Your Life” (YMOYL).
My version of crib notes for YMOYL would look like this:
Everything is energy, including money.
When I engage in paid employment, I am choosing to exchange my life energy for money energy in the form of a salary.
I can make the best choices for myself, only when I have the complete picture of what the income I am earning is costing me in terms of life energy (i.e., time).
Not only did YMOYL cause me to reconsider my definition of ‘work’, but it offered me my first introduction to the person who would become my friend and financial advisor – Mark Zaifman. It was Mark who first reacted with excitement to my decision to resign, and then cautioned that I may receive some less than encouraging feedback from others.
A few times each day, I stood in front of the bathroom mirror to rehearse possible responses to that feedback. “Thank you for your concern, but it is not necessary.” “It’s wonderful to know how much you care about me, but please don’t worry”. “I understand that you think it is irresponsible of me to not have a job, and to not be looking for one either. However, this is the most responsible decision I could have made for myself.”
In the midst of my play acting, something wonderful started to happen. I noticed a relaxing of the lines that had long ago formed around my mouth, and a softening and brightening of my eyes. Then, I remembered a quote from Deepak Chopra about looking for the shine in our eyes as a sign of our truth. I thought I was just rehearsing responses to offer others, but in fact I was renewing my mind and reaffirming my truth. And my eyes were shining in agreement.
Off My Rocker…And Loving It!
Even as my inner sensing that I had made the best decision for myself grew stronger, those “off her rocker” comments stayed with me. I couldn’t understand why, but something about that term rang true for me and I didn’t like that feeling. Then, as I am learning will happen when I trust that life is for me, I had a moment of clarity.
The television was on mute, but I looked up just in time to see a little girl rocking back and forth on one of those hand-carved wooden horses. She was blissfully rocking away, surrounded by smiling and satisfied faces - but she wasn’t going anywhere. That 10-second clip was a summation of what had become of my life, because I had allowed it to be eclipsed by my unconscious pursuit of ‘enough’ money. I had been moving from position to position, from company to company, from country to country. I had been rocking for so long that I mistook movement for progress, and my life had become miserable.
Fast forward six months since my last paycheck and I, admittedly, have less money. However, I am and have so much more than I ever imagined possible. I am more healthy, joyful, and aware of what ‘enough’ looks like for me. I am more grateful for what I do have, especially time to spend both with those who mean the most to me and by myself. I am clearer about what ignites me, what excites and how I want to contribute even if I don’t get paid. I am off my rocker – that old “movement without moving forward” rocking horse of my own creation – and I love it!
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