How To Ease Money Stress

How to Ease Money Stress | Whisper & Howl

OMG have I been stressing out about money. Some unexpected expenses have come up this month on top of my new car payment. Long story short, always file your state taxes or they will take a major chunk out of your ass in oh, 6 years time. Like a surprise $1000 chunk out of your ass. Like, your entire savings. It might also happen on the day that the security deposit is due on the house you want to rent. I’m just saying, it could turn out that way. That would probably be pretty stressful. If that happened to you, you might find yourself spiraling into anxieties about having no Emergency Fund where mere days ago there was a nice $1000 balance, or how you were definitely going to have enough money saved to not use your credit card for the big trip you have planned for the fall, or how it might take years to pay off your credit debt. Your brain might jump ahead to next year, when the landlord of your new house will probably raise the rent because they “don’t do” 2-year leases, and you’ll have to move again or spend even more money on rent, money that won’t be saved up for a down payment on a house, and you won’t be able to afford to live anywhere you want anyway because gentrification. Also, you might hate all your clothes and want to buy new ones and also be thinking about needing new furniture and why didn’t you include moving expenses in your very optimistic savings plan in the first place?!

If this happens to you, there is one tactic I know of that can calm the financial fear monster. No, it’s not budgeting, because planning in this scenario sometimes leads to severely overthinking, nay, obsessing (although yes, you should be budgeting).

I’m talking about gratitude.

There’s something about making lists of things for which I am grateful that is very soothing. Maybe it’s the list-making. Maybe it’s the realization that I have everything I need at this moment, that I’m safe and comfortable and free and surrounded by good things. Maybe it’s the reassurance of the Law of Abundance, that the universe provides, that all will be well. Maybe it’s just a distraction.

I don’t know. It just works.

My recommendation, should you find yourself in this situation, is to find a quiet moment in a cozy place. Take deep breaths. Light a candle. Make it a ritual. Focus your energy on gratitude. Give thanks to the goddess, the universe, God, light, the source, your own wits and talents and strength–whatever makes you happy. Grab a beautiful journal if you’d like. I write on scraps of paper and stash the lists in my God box (a great idea from Tosha Silver).

Sometimes it’s a stretch. I start with easy things and move on from there. Sometimes they are simple things, sometimes complex. Often, they’re related to things I’m stressed about. I remember all that I have and forget all that I don’t have, or can’t see that I have; the things I think will make me happy, the things for which I’m grasping; the things I’m afraid of losing or am afraid I will never have. I keep listing things until I feel better. That’s it. It’s not a cure, but it helps.

  • I am grateful for my family.
  • I am grateful for Devo!
  • I am grateful that my hair is finally long, even though it was kind of greasy today. High ponytails make a great swish when I jog.
  • I’m grateful for the park where I jog. Or, let’s be honest, speed-walk. I’m grateful I can speed-walk.
  • I’m grateful for kombucha and to the friend who brought me SCOBYs from his restaurant even though he was studying and has a small child. That was extra generous.
  • I’m grateful that I have a job that I LOVE.
  • I’m grateful for my cute little car that doesn’t feel as though it will break down at any minute. Driving is fun again!
  • I’m grateful for the Maximum Fun podcast network, especially Jordan, Jesse, Go, which makes me laugh my ass off.
  • I am grateful that the manager at the GAP let me exchange those jeans with the broken zipper for a new pair, even though I bought them a year ago, and to the customer service person who emailed me back and told me to bring them in. The new ones are better than the old ones.
  • I am grateful for the bugs making sweet music outside my apartment.
  • I’m grateful for my teachers, even the ones who make shit really hard, like Saturn.
  • I’m grateful for this really fun book, The Name of the Wind, that I’m totally enjoying (and for the friends who lent it to me).
  • I am grateful that I am incredibly wealthy in love, friendship, and support.

See? Not so hard. I feel better already.

On Faith and the Blahs

Ask and you shall receive.

Jump, and the net will appear.

But how does one know what to ask for?  How do we know which way to jump?

Jump Off Cliff by Flickr user Steven | Alan

Photo by Flickr user Steven | Alan

Lately I feel like I’m being drawn down a really positive, dynamic path, moving in the direction of my dreams, but also it’s SLOW.  There are roadblocks.  There is unhappiness.  I am not a patient person.

This makes me moody.  I’m often grouchy during the day, when my energy is expended on activities that don’t fulfill me, in a space that drains me.  I want to focus on positive messaging: mantras, “thinking the opposite,” finding something nice to say about everyone.  I try to stay busy so I don’t fall into a hole of discontent.  This week I find myself with little work to do, feeling tired and grumpy, hot and unhappy.  I’m bummed.  I have major unexpected expenses but no increase in income. I have groceries but no time to cook.  I have homework but no time to read.  I have rituals of self-care but no energy to perform them.

I want answers.  I want to know with absolute certainty that another  opportunity is on its way, that the money to fix my car will fall into my lap, that my insurance will cancel my waiting period so I can get medically necessary dental care!  I want to know that through my pursuit of yoga, my creative explorations, the numberless incredible and uplifting conversations I have with friends and fellow yogis, that by actively pursuing a fulfilling and spiritual life my day-to-day will improve.  Sometimes I know what to do.  This week, I do not.

Yesterday when I started this post, I was feeling really distressed by the way my mood has changed regarding the situation I’m in.  The week before last I was strongly moved by a righteous anger, the slap-in-the-face realization that something must change IMMEDIATELY.  I got through that with positivity, a sense of gratefulness and hope and faith that as I create space for change, it has to happen.  Last week, I carried that feeling over to a sense of general well-being, taking good care of myself, with enough work to do that I could stay busy.

But this week, I am BUMMED.  I can’t get in touch with my guides.  I have a major case of the blahs and possibly a head-cold or a touch of the chronic respiratory symptoms I’ve developed since starting this job.  I’ve had very low energy.  I can’t seem to focus on anything, including affirmations, guidance, mantra.  I don’t know what to do.  All I can think is, I don’t know what to do.  And yet…

As I write this I am thinking about faith.  Can faith be enough?  Can the belief that all I have to do is keep walking and the road will rise up to meet me, be enough?  Even when I don’t know exactly where I’m headed?  Is it enough to have faith that I’m choosing the right path, or that the right path has chosen me, or that I’m being led down the best path regardless of whether I falter?  I hope so.

I wanted this post to be about requesting clarification when seeking guidance.  I have so many things to talk about that it’s difficult to choose a topic.  I’m new here.  I’ve decided it’s best to just sit down and write, and let the words shape themselves into a post.  I trust that they will find a path and flow from beginning to end on the best possible course to completion.

Can I believe that of myself?  Can that be enough?

the blahs

the blahs