Sunday, November 28, 2021

There's Always Going To Be Something

Have you ever noticed that just when life begins to appear to be smooth sailing that some ugly little something seems to stand up, walk across the room to you, and smack you in the face?  In the Law of Attraction space, there is a misconception that if we can just keep our thoughts and emotions clean enough, we will never have to endure the hardships of life.  We will simply bypass them and sail off into the sunset. Sounds pretty nuts, doesn't it?!  But seriously, all joking aside; there's always going to be something.  

Spiritual writer, Tosha Silver, who agrees that this line of thinking is lunacy, suggests that the key is in radical acceptance of the now.  In her words, this means "Saying yes to Reality in any given moment so what's needed can come next."  In her book, It's Not Your Money, she goes on to state that this "blasts open the door to being abundant."  I couldn't agree more about the need for radical acceptance of the now despite the discomforts associated with the accompanying growing pains.  I mean, we really cannot remain stagnant, can we?  The expansion of our being requires that we move beyond that which has historically been comfortable so that we might step into the whole of who we truly are.  I have referred to the Univeral Law of Resistance many times on this blog, but its wisdom is worth repeating.  It expresses to us that the things in life that we resist, we will continue to encounter over and over again until we are forced to deal with it by way of conscious detachment, a concept which we might simplify to meaning surrender.  If the nature of resistance is fear itself, this means we are tasking ourselves to embrace those little somethings that pop us and allow ourselves to simply move through them.  That's difficult, isn't it?

It's all fine and great to suggest that we simply surrender to the challenges as they arise but how do we best position ourselves to be able to do so?  First, there's the mental discomfort that we have to move beyond, and then there are logistical issues that make us feel incapable of even attempting to flow within the context of the challenge presented.  We often find ourselves presented with a challenge and seize up, quoting our bank account balance, paycheck, or debt level as a reason to white knuckle our reaction rather than open ourselves to our highest level of creativity, which almost always yields a better overall result.  So, it begs the question: What do you need in order to feel like the powerful creator of your own life that you are truly meant to be?

We've discussed some of the mental and emotional work around resistance and surrender, but what about our logistical, financial needs?  Oftentimes, the simplest of solutions yield the most powerful results.  When one of life's bizarre challenges is hurled into my experience I often find myself saying "I can't afford to deal with something this big!" First off, this is frequently scarcity mindset rearing its ugly head, and simply not true. Moreover, when I stop my mind and ask myself "What do I truly need in order to feel equipt to face this circumstance in the most aligned state possible?" I frequently find the same answers: a bigger liquid bank balance and a manageable set of monthly financial obligations.

Let's consider some examples of "there's always going to be something."  Perhaps something happens that places your living situation in rocky territory: issues with a roommate, your family, or a partner.  Likely, you attempt to resolve the interpersonal issue.  But what happens if the result that flows involves a change in living situation, and either you or the other party needs to move out? A sizeable emergency savings and manageable monthly obligations would empower you to be able to flow within that situation in the way that would best serve all parties.  Unfortunately, many people remain in unhealthy living situations for too long with financial issues being among the primary reasons for doing so, but that doesn't need to be your reality.

Perhaps you're unsatisfied with your 9-5 and have always wanted to start your own business.  The challenges at your 9-5 are mounting and you find yourself steadily more miserable.  There's always going to be something, right?  There are two common responses that might not necessarily be coming from a place of flow.  The first is "I can never afford to leave the security of my 9-5.  I'm just going to have to sit here and deal with it!"  This response comes from the egoic mind's desire to keep you safe and in doing so it is triggering your scarcity mindset and placing you in a state of resistance.  By operating from a place of fear and not dealing with it, you are literally setting yourself up to have to endure the same (or similar) hardships over and over again until you finally choose to deal with it.  Panning back to the logistical side of the situation, have you even done your homework yet?  What are your monthly expenses?  How much money do you need to bring in each month in order to afford your transition?  Do you have liquid savings or additional part-time income to rely upon in the midst of the transition?  The other common reaction is to leap full-on into entrepreneurship and take the dive!  While, I am all about taking inspired action, and clearly you're in the mental space to do it, have you done your homework?  What are your expenses?  How much income do you need in order to stay afloat while you build your business?  Can you start this business as a part-time side-gig while you work your 9-5 and build up some more liquid savings so that you can create for yourself a smooth transition?  If you just suddenly take the leap without having prepared your path so-to-speak, you might risk operating from a place of misalignment rather than flow because you could easily find yourself in a state of resistance from feeling too much of a financial crunch.  You owe it to yourself to work from a place of ultimate alignment so that your business can flow.  Failing to prepare your path could jeopardize that.

There are so many more examples about how "there's always going to be something" as a challenge to face in life, but it seems as though many of them require similar responses from us.  In terms of our mental, emotional, and spiritual selves, we need to be prepared to drop our resistance, surrender, and allowed ourselves to operate from a place of flow.  Logistically, in order to create a mentally, emotionally, and spiritually safe place to be able to do so, we would benefit greatly from working to align our finances to allow us to manage the unknown with grace.  Ultimately two of the most simple financial strategies that pack the most punch are in keeping our finances manageable and having a substantial liquid savings.  

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    Money After Moving

    I've been on a temporary hiatus for about the past month or so.  I've still been coaching clients, but my
    writing has been paused while my partner and I have been in the process of moving.  Why did moving seem so much easier in my younger years? When I was in my 20's, it involved pizza, beer, and one really long day.  Now, we even hired movers, but somehow it all seems so much more involved...  Funny how life shifts... 

    During the chaos associated with moving, learning a new commute, officially exiting the NYC rental we'd been in for seven years, we've managed to keep one foot in front of the other getting the basics done.  That being said, there is a lot to reorganize, and I don't just mean possessions and decor in the new home.

    Revisiting the Budget

    The first thing that needs to be done is to revisit the budget.  We anticipated what this would look like before the move, but it needs to be updated with real numbers, as the data rolls in.  I like the 50/30/20 budgeting system, popularized by Elizabeth Warren because it's pretty easy to use in order to evaluate the different areas of life and whether or not your spending is in balance.  It suggests that 50% of your after-tax income goes to fixed expenses, 30% to flexible (or lifestyle), and 20% to goals.  Most months, the fixed expenses and goals category remain the same as the month prior because our plan hasn't changed much.  This leaves most of the closer monitoring to be in the flexible (or lifestyle) category.  In my household, this involves, keeping the grocery budget on track, accounting for events that come up, entertainment, etc.  In all honestly, we've been spending in precisely the same way for so many years, that we haven't had to do much with our budget in a very long time.  But now, we need to revisit it.  We need to make certain that we've accounted for all of our fixed expenses and calculate the percentage of our income that is being absorbed by it.  Prior to the move, we knew it would still be under 50%.  That was a part of evaluating the affordability of the new home prior to purchase; however, we still need to update and fine-tune those numbers on our official budget...and when I say "official budget," know that I'm literally making a chart in excel or word.  You are welcome to use whatever software feels good to you; just use what works for you, and try to be consistent.  Anyhow, the fixed portion of the budget oftentimes feels to me like the baseline.  Those expenses aren't going away any time soon and don't change very easily.   So, being clear about what that is and keeping it to a manageable percentage of income is key.  We will also need to re-evaluate the goals category.  We had been saving quite a lot between retirement and downpayment accounts, and now it's time to decide how to refocus our attention in that category.  Is there a new goal that wasn't being addressed before?  A new car?  Pay down the mortgage or another debt?  Beef up retirement savings?  Increase liquid savings?  Once this has been addressed, we will look at the flexible spending section and see if there are any subcategories that have changed due to the change in living circumstances.  

    Revisiting the Emergency Fund

    It probably goes without saying that if our monthly expenses change, the amount we need for emergencies might as well.  Experts vary on their recommendations for what constitutes a fully-funded emergency savings.  While some suggest 3-6 months of expenses, others prefer a solid 12 months.  Honestly, I feel the most powerful when I'm holding more liquid savings rather than less, and prefer to be closer to that year mark.  That being said, I also look at it as a bare-bones budget rather than my regular one.  If things really went sideways, I'd absolutely switch into "conserve funds mode."  Regardless of which target we're aiming for, once we've revisit our budget we will also recalculate our desired Emergency  Fund dollar amount.  If we feel the need to beef it up, that will become the most immediate item for the goals category; otherwise, we'll set that amount to the side and move on.

    Insurance Review

    A property purchase is a big change.  If there are people dependent on you; they need to have access to capital if something should happen to you.  While you might already have a term life insurance policy; it might be worth reviewing it again.  Do you need more?  Also, make sure you have homeowners insurance and that your coverage levels are appropriate.


    Much like checking up on your insurance, how are you holding title to things like your home?  Do you have a will in place?  While you're at it, do you have the correct beneficiaries on your various accounts?  These are all things that need to be checked upon when a major event happens (like a home purchase).  We worked with our real estate lawyer to ensure that we were holding title in a manner that made the other person the default owner in the event that one of us was to pass.  I only bring this up because for those of you that are unmarried, you may not want to accidentally own property with someone's mother.  On the other fronts, we are all updated on beneficiaries but need to do will updates.

    Moving is so much more than shlepping boxes, it's marks a number of financial shifts as well.  In addition to changing your address with a zillion places, it also requires that we revisit a number of our core financial documents.

    Wednesday, November 17, 2021

    Uncuffed: Belief and Abundance

    There are moments in life where you glance around you and realize that everything you see in your life has been placed there by your own design.  Everything that is there is a manifestation of your own energetic outputs.  Although, arguably, you may have been co-creating your reality with a little help from someone else. Nonetheless, it was you at work, and everything you see in your surroundings is the physical manifestation of the level of consciousness you were in at the moment of each particular creation.  

    What happens if you don't like some of that which you've created?  

    It's never a problem.  You can simply go ahead and create again.  It's really no harder than changing the sheets on your bed, and yet the human experience gets so stuck in the mind, choosing to tie each life circumstance to the identity or sense of self which is entirely misguided.  You are your internal self, not the egoic mind which likes to mislead you into thinking it is the essence of who you are and very much in control, but that couldn't be further from the truth.  You are pure, positive energy and capable of manifesting whatever it is you want.  I mean, you have thus far.  Perhaps it's just time to make our choices more deliberately.  The Universal Law of Belief is so simple.  It states that we can have whatsoever we want to long as we can give up the belief that we can't have it.  Doesn't that sound easy?  It is easy, but that should be taken with a warning, as it works equally well with negative beliefs.  If someone spends their energy believing in something that inevitably will not serve them well, they will also attract that into their experience.

    We have many dangerous beliefs that serve to separate us from the abundance we seek.  One such example may be the belief in debt.  I've heard it said by many that "debt is simply a way of life."  The very nature of debt is a negative currency.  It creates a moment in time that we were not living in the now, but rather selecting an experience in the now that wasn't in alignment with what we actually had.  So, we brokered a deal to have this slightly misaligned experience rather than wait for it and as a direct result, we saddle ourselves in the present moment with sandbags of the past holding us down.  Ironically, again, we designed this for ourselves.  We sentenced ourselves to continue about lives we don't absolutely love because of obligations we wish we didn't have because of that one misaligned moment in the past.  

    Why did that misaligned moment happen anyway?

    Again, part of it goes back to a belief in lack.  If we believe that we don't have enough and that we can only have that which we want if we mortgage our future in order to have it, we create a cycle of scarcity and lack.  When the facts are that we have everything we need at our disposal.  There is also a part of the human experience that is craving completeness, and when dissatisfaction comes, the egoic mind sends us spiraling into the physical, grasping at new belongings, vacations, cars, and other things that excite us, giving us a temporary high, a feeling of completeness that can never possibly last because it comes from a place that is temporary.  The journey is harder and longer when you turn toward your inner self and put the time into understanding the emptiness that you are trying to fill.  But only by turning to that inward place can you find true alignment and the peace that comes from realizing the true self.  From that position, there is no amount of "stuff" that will satisfy you more than your own alignment and those moments of spending more than will fall to the wayside, being replaced by a deeper satisfaction in the current moment and sense of self.

    There is something incredibly freeing about liberating the self from the constraints of our modern belief in debt, working too much, scarcity, arbitrary societal rules to which we have handcuffed ourselves.  Amazingly, when we unlock our own shackles, we find ourselves unwilling to lock ourselves back up again.  It really does make a lot of sense, doesn't it?  Why choose to live in debt if you can simply clear it away and be released of your chains?  Why choose to work more than makes you happy just so that you can choose to continue maintaining obligations you don't even care about.  By these "obligations," we simply mean not to maintain a life of excess.  More stuff needs more space, more energy, and more of your precious resources of time and money.  You may be working very hard to maintain stuff that you don't really care much about when in all actuality you care much more deeply about your time, relationships, and sense of inner peace.  And yet you filled a void with extra stuff and obligations that have shackled you to working more than the share you care to, and it begs the question: Is the tradeoff worth it?  No one can answer the question except you.  Although, I can tell you from my perspective that any regret I fear having in life relates to the quality I've lived and loved rather than the car I drove, shoes I wore or furnishings in my home.  If I choose to place my priorities in the latter at the expense of my time, I very well might be creating a life of regret.  Thanks, but no thanks.

    I suppose I haven't told you to do anything with your money in this post.  Rather, I've asked you to step back and ask yourself what you believe; what you value; what you prioritize; what you long never to regret.  I believe you'll have an inner knowing about this and you'll know what you need to do if only you're willing to turn inside and do the work.