A Money Coach in Canada

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What kind of relationship do you have with your money?

Is it healthy? Unhealthy? Toxic?

Are you intimately in touch with your money, or woefully out of touch — and headed for trouble?

Are you in control of your money, or is it in control of you?

Does it support you and serve you, or does it cause you anxiety and sleepless nights?

Listen to my recommendations about how to start developing a healthy relationship with your money on this CBC interview:

Relationship with Money CBC Interview

Want further support?
1. My simply $25 online program will get you in better touch with your money, and help you gain control of problem areas.
2. This book has some thoughtful research and great ideas. I’m not thrilled with the look and feel and tone of the advertising but it’s full of great stuff.

Photo Credit: Hipponotized

This shouldn’t have to be said, really, what the elderly voice says, at about the 5 minute mark. It shouldn’t have to be said. But it does need to be said to me, and probably to you too. Our little busynesses, our self-absorbed attention devoted to our various hurts and holes in our hearts that we all carry, our blinkeredness –we need reminding. And then, reminded, we rediscover time, we feel a little more whole and our vision expands, if only our peripheral vision, and if only for a day.

BTW, I’m pretty certain the voice is that of Jean Vanier.

Some things you can’t undo.

Here’s such a story. Judas was one of Jesus’ innermost circle. The gentle teachings of Jesus blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth, let the little children come to me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven; the healing of paralytics, women with severe menstrual problems, lepers; the miraculous feeding of thousands with loaves and fishes; and oh yes, the gutsy confrontations, calling out the BS of kings and priests alike — all these, all these and more, Judas had heard, seen, tasted. And presumably he believed.

What inner demons drove Judas to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver (about a quarter $Million in today’s terms) remains a mystery. But betray he did and both he and Jesus ended up dead; Jesus by the hands of the authorities, Judas by hanging himself, overcome by remorse. Some things you can’t undo.

Who do we betray for money?

Are we betraying our employer’s bottom line every time we advance our own interests on the workplace at the expense of a coworker?

Are we betraying animals every time we purchase the less expensive non free-range, non organic meat?

Are we betraying ourselves every time we gamble (play with) our money?

Are we betraying our partner when we browbeat him or her into a particular course of financial action?

Are we betraying Jesus all over again (for those to whom that matters) by acquiescing to Mammon (monetary systems that are unjust, that perpetuate economic power imbalances, or that hurt Creation) instead of overthrowing it?

Photo Credit: Muffet

Are you a go-getter, someone who sets goals and works passionately, or doggedly, or step-after-step towards them?
Or are you a go-with-the-flow, “what’s meant to be, will be” person?

This 2012, in my middle-age, I’m attempting to shift from the former to the latter. And I invite you to consider if you perhaps should, too.

It ain’t easy.

Not at all.

If done deeply and well, the latter isn’t simply about being easy-going. It’s certainly not about being blase. Rather, it requires an inner restraint and a holding back from engineering circumstances, or attempting to, frankly put, impose our ideas and desires on life…or people… or our finances. It requires a capacity to carry tension over an extended period.

It ain’t easy.

Not at all.

But I am certain that I need to adopt this stance, and root myself deeply in this stance, and I’m also certain we’d be better off as a culture if more of us did the same. The pay-off? We situate ourselves more appropriately in the bigger scheme of things. We are more aligned with reality. And while that may contain no greater guarantees of obtaining the life we want, surely it is a step away from delusion, and distracting ourselves from reality, and a step towards truly engaging with the circumstances, or people, or financial situations in which we find ourselves.

But we have our hopes and our desires don’t we?

So what to do, what to do, when there’s a gap between reality squarely faced, and our tender heart’s longings?

Downton Abbey (the smash hit series by BBC) demonstrates how to handle this gap, this tension, very well.

There are two particular story arcs, that of Mary and Matthew and another of Mr. Bates, which require a great tension to be carried for well beyond what we think can be borne. All of the characters have a deep need for something, or someone … but they have a clear understanding of their very real environments and circumstances, and what is possible and what is not possible to grasp for themselves without doing harm to other parties or simply the greater good. So they courageously and calmly and resolutely hold themselves to account to a bigger vision, one which respects and acknowledges the bigger picture and they restrain themselves from grasping.

We do not know how those story arcs will end, but we do know that the characters, by their restraint, are likely avoiding disaster for themselves and people they care about even as they hold out hope. And hold out hope.

It ain’t easy.

So. You and me and our money – the topic of my blog, after all. Here’s what I’m pondering. So often, our money goes towards that which will give immediate release or relief to us (sometimes even under the guise of responsible behaviour, like un-sustainable approaches to debt reduction). What might happen if all of us instead learned to hold out hope for our financial desires, but only within a context of clearly understanding and accounting for the circumstances in which we, or our neighbours, or women in Africa, find ourselves? What if we developed capacity to carry the tension, the gap between what we need and what reality can offer, for extended periods of time? How would that affect our wallets? How would that affect our inner sense of well-being? How would that affect the world around us?

Every flippin’ corner in my dtes Vancouver hood I’d be asked, “spare some change?” or worse, told some drawn-out bs story first before being asked.

It’s a dilemma for anyone with half a heart (if you simply don’t give a damn when the destitute on the street corners ask you for your change, you need to puzzle for a while then grow your heart two more sizes).

“They have soup kitchens and social assistance programs, and giving them change is just going to enable their dependency and probably will go straight to drugs”. That’s what I said to my softer-hearted cousin when she visited.

But over time I learned that it wasn’t that straightforward. Sometimes my change really did go to a slice of pizza that may have been the only protein or hot food they’d get that day. Sometimes the soup kitchens weren’t open (like Sunday mornings, because all the faith-based places weren’t open!). Sometimes the access to social assistance was so freaking complicated what little energy the individual could muster was sucked dry during the first (crappy pay phone) call to the 1-800#.

So then. I started giving out change if I had it, and dignify the exchange (somewhat) by leaving it entirely to the individual to use as they saw fit. Sorta like the rest of us do.

But I think I just heard a better answer.

What we can say with confidence is that we are to give something to everyone who asks – dignity, attention, time, a listening ear. Sometimes we may give money, sometimes not.

Sounds like a pretty Christ-massy sort of response to “can you spare some change” to me.

I’ll start, minimally, by not being pouty when some of Yellowknife’s folks (often inebriated to avoid hells I don’t know about) crowd in the local post office entrance or bank machine areas.

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