Wow! I feel like mountains are moving inside me.
It's as if my DNA is changing.
This spending fast has led me down the rabbit hole into totally new and uncharted territory.
- I've been reading Sacred Success, by Barbara Stanny, following her recommended exercises, and I called into her Free Monthly Monday call.
- Meanwhile, I have been connecting two or three times each day to meet with my inner guides and ask for clarity, wisdom, and instruction.
- And all the time, I am keeping my larger focus on my bigger desire -- for that feeling of radiance and overflowing love.
On three separate occasions in the last week, Barbara has made a recommendation -- actually more of a challenge -- to me.
Well, actually, she wasn't really speaking directly to me, but it seemed like it. I first heard the challenge come forth when she spoke at the Mama Gena Mastery event last weekend, and then I read her pose the challenge in her book, and once again, she made the challenge to those who really want to see unbridled transformation on her Monthly Monday call this week. Her challenge was to go to..
Shockingly, my soul perked up all three times she suggested this. It was as if she were speaking directly to me all three times, nudging me to do it.
I heard the call, and I felt really clear she was speaking to me, but I was scratching my head a little bit.
The reason I was confused is because my husband and I have no unsecured debt, and Debtors Anonymous is supposed to be intended for those who struggle with unsecured debt.
But I felt this deep call in my bones to do it. So I have made the decision Monday night to go for it, and yesterday I participated in my first phone meeting, and this morning I participated in meeting #2.
And already I feel a deep certainty that I am exactly where I should be. I am on a rich and powerful course.
As part of Debtors Anonymous (DA), they recommend you do the following right away:
- Start keeping a detailed log of every penny you spend and every penny you earn
- Commit to being solvent, which in DA means not incurring any new unsecured debt
- Attend meetings regularly
Okay, so this is what I am committed to doing.
1 - logging spending & earnings
I have been keeping a detailed log of spending and earning for the past two days, and already I am seeing how it is bringing new light and awareness. Mind you, this is already in the midst of my "Spending Detox" where I am not actively buying anything "unnecessary" and I am not purchasing anything online, except those items which I would have to drive 1 hour or more to obtain (like the XL Wee Wee Pads I get for my dogs that I can't seem to find here at any of our local stores in NW CT).
Here's the thing... I've resisted doing this little logging-of-what-I-spend exercise in the past.
I have always told myself that I keep track of all our spending through my bookkeeping process where I account for every purchase and transaction from all of our many accounts through Quickbooks. And then I run fancy reports to see how we are doing on the month.
Oh I'm just too sophisticated to track our spending in such a simple way!
(Eyes rolling at the sound of my prideful ego!)
The trouble is that because there is SO much going on in our Quickbooks systems -- lots of accounts and what turns in to hundreds of transactions each month -- I feel a certain (safe) distance from the numbers. I sort of go through the rote process every two weeks of doing the bookkeeping and running the reports and seeing how much we are spending in each category and comparing it to our budget -- so in affect I am doing all this tracking through Quickbooks, BUT IT STILL FEELS ABSTRACT AND DISTANT.
I haven't been able to really see, okay, in the last three days I have so far spent $527.37, and that came from $59 in gas, $175 to pay for my daughter's birthday party, $139 for a 2 month supply of Wee Wee Pads, $25 at a meeting that included lunch, and $129.37 on groceries.
And because I'm keeping track moment to moment, I feel like I'm more steeped in the process of asking myself...
"Is this purchase a true need or is it an idle want?"
"Is there a creative way I can attain what I need or want without the use of money?"
The tracking has been really cool, actually. The practice of tracking what I am spending moment to moment, is truly affecting my choices.
Perfect example... My daughter is having a birthday party on Friday. In year's past I go way overboard with the goodie bag. I won't even admit to telling you what I might spend on creating a little bag of joy for my daughter and her friends. It always felt fun and exciting to do it this way, so I never questioned my approach. But in the midst of this process, I am asking myself...
Is there another way to do it that is less expensive?
Who am I trying to impress anyway?
What am I teaching my daughter about her worth and value by being the girl with the really great goodie bags?
I asked my inner guides for ideas and they showed me the picture of little potted flowers. Brilliant! The party itself is at a nature center with a fairy theme. Cute, right? :-) The girls will be going on a nature hike to find bits and pieces of twigs, stones, acorns, and moss for each of them to construct a fairy house. Thus each will already be leaving with their own self-made fairy house. To go with the little houses, I will provide each little girl a potted pansy that she can place next to her newly created fairy house, where fairies can come and leave fairy notes.
And my local market has these cute little pansies planted in tiny pots for $2.99 each. This feels really simple, wholesome, and at a price that feels in integrity.
So tracking my expenses has already been very helpful and revealing. I'm sure I'm just scratching the surface.
Okay, so onto item #2 of the DA program: Committing to being solvent and not incurring any additional debt.
2 - Being Solvent
I have decided to tweak this one a bit to match my own personal situation. While I don't have debt and have no plan, urge, or need to use debt, I could feel in my bones that there is something here for me.
I discovered that synonyms for the word "solvency" include...
Hmmnn... powerful words, aren't they. So I am asking myself...
How would I know I have spent with correctness?
What would make our financial situation feel durable, stable and strong?
What would make me feel in integrity with each and every penny I spend?
Here's what I'm noticing...
First, while we don't have unsecured debt, we still have debt. While we don't have debt, we do borrow from our savings whenever we overspend, which is something we do every year.
Every year, we create a budget for the year ahead, and put funds into a savings account for all our spending and tax payments that we will need to make that year. Every year, we get to the end of the year and find we have to pull money from one of our investment accounts, in order to keep paying the bills through the end of the year.
While this isn't unsecured debt, it is debt!
In essence we are borrowing from the 75-year old Frank and Coco.
This awareness -- this re-frame -- really strikes me!
I feel it is a form of self-abuse to not be preparing for the care of my elderly self. This awareness viscerally astonishes me!
It's feels like a lightening-bolt to my head re-wiring brain!
So this jolt of awareness helps me see that solvency for me, at least in part, means that I don't borrow from my elderly self ever again.
But there's more to solvency than just that.
My husband and I have been telling ourselves for years that we have the desire to live on his salary, and sock away the entirety of his annual bonus (which makes up for 50-75% of his annual compensation) after we pay taxes.
It feels like it's time to make this wish a reality. When I think of how I would feel knowing that we can completely sock away his bonus and live only on his salary, I feel in my bones that we would be solvent. Our financial situation would feel durable, stable, and strong.
I'm also noticing that part of my definition of solvency is honoring my husband's contribution to our family and our security through deeply stewardship.
My husband has a deep desire to be able to have the choice to leave his high-paying Wall Street job by 2020.
I have a deep desire to honor his dearest wish by being a responsible steward of our money. I want so much for him to be able to have this choice. And whether he chooses to exercise this choice or not, I want to know in my bones I have done everything possible to ensure this choice is available for him to make.
This would offer me a deep and satisfying feeling of solvency.
Our financial plan of getting him to 2020 with the door to exit wide open involves us doing three things:
- Saving every year at the level I described above
- Lowering our overall spending by about 30% and/or
- Frank and I finding new ways to generate new income (beyond our investments) to make up for any part of our spending that is not covered through interest income
3 - Attend Regular DA Meetings
Well, I'm committed to doing 90 meetings in 90 days. And it's actually not that difficult to do, I'm finding, given that they have a whole list of meetings you can do by phone. I did one last night after my daughter went to bed, and I did one this morning while I was getting ready for the day.
Attending the DA calls have helped me see how out of touch I am with my money. The people on the phone are at all stages and levels of challenge, mastery, and financial abundance.
I'm learning that having money in the bank does not mean you have a powerful relationship with money. This is big for me. I sort have been telling myself that I don't have issues with money because we have plenty of money to have a nice home, drive nice cars, send our children to private schools, and go on nice holidays.
I've been in a state of denial, not knowing how much we have, whether the shoes I'm about to buy are in or out of budget, and if we are really on track for Frank to retire in 2020.
I'm also becoming aware that the people on the calls make tough choices to ensure they are solvent.
It makes me ponder...
When was the last time I made a really tough, but empowering choice with spending?
They get creative in how they spend. They stop spending when they have reached their budget. And they aren't debting themselves in any way.
Kinda novel, eh?
This is not how I've been living. If I want something, I just buy it and assume we'll figure it out one way or another. We'll just transfer more money from that mystery savings account.
But what I'm getting is that this approach is not serving me. Not only is it going to leave 75-year-old Coco in poverty, but this kind of unconscious living is actually not okay with me on any level.
It is wearing on my self-esteem, self-worth, and self-perception.
My house is in perfect order all the time. I prepare healthy delicious meals for my family. I exercise regularly. I take great care in attending lovingly and consciously to my marriage. I am a conscious, aware person in all these other areas of my life.
Not being fully conscious with my money is simply NOT okay with me.
Being on these DA phone meetings, I am seeing the humility of those telling the truth of where they are. I am also seeing the peace, freedom, and strength of those who have committed to solvency in their lives. And I am becoming aware that I want that.
I want to feel the peace of living in humble, solvent truth, way more than I want another flashy pair of shoes.
I'm also learning that one can have far less money than another, but have far more freedom and peace because of their willingness to be conscious, truthful, and open to change.
While the awareness of my own unconsciousness is rather humbling, I find that I'm met with an equal amount of hope and inspiration knowing that as I continue down this path, awareness, integrity, and solvency are awaiting my arrival... and with that a deeper sense of peace and freedom....
Let's see where the ride takes me from here... More later...