Money is a representation of our life energy. It is really nothing more than an idea, but it is an idea that has shaped the world for centuries. To be happy in this kind of world, we need to figure out both sides of the equation: supply and demand. That is what we’ve been trying to do for the past four months. Today we bring this series to a close.
This week we bring to a close our series on The Meaning and Management of Money. Some readers have said it’s about time. After four months on the subject, our longest series yet, some people are ready to think about something else. “There is more to life than money!” summarizes the feeling, on multiple levels.
These people are certainly right. There is more to life than money. But there is no dimension of life that has not been impacted by money. Money is an idea and a social construct that, for better or for worse, shapes the world in which we live, a world in which far too many have far too little. Small wonder that utopian visions and communities, from Star Trek to the Hutterites, have eschewed the idea of money as unnecessary, unhelpful, and unholy.
But as George Bailey said to his guardian angel in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, “Money comes in pretty handy around here.” It may not have a place in heaven, but it certainly has a predominant place on earth. As such, it behooves us to get it right.
At the beginning of our series we went from the adage “time is money” to the wisdom “life energy is money.” They really are one in the same. After all, it’s our time. Each of us is given a limited amount of time on earth. What we do with that time is up to us. When we spend money, we are transferring our energy from one arena to another arena.
This recognition prompted several Provisions in this series on the concept of enough. No amount of progress on the supply side of the equation can be sufficient if there is limitless demand. A bottomless pit can never be filled. The first secret to successful money management is getting demand under control. Becoming mindful of what we truly want in life enables us to seek and be content with just enough, no more and no less. That is our first wish for anyone concerned about money. Know your limits. They’re easier to satisfy than you may suspect.
Of course satisfying your limits may require some radical surgery, such as cutting your expenses at the same time as you cut up your credit cards, but even radical surgery can be relatively painless when it comes with the anesthesia of mindful sufficiency. Know your limits and you will happily find a way to meet them.
After working the demand side of the equation for several weeks, and even with the tonic of mindful sufficiency, it became necessary to switch to the supply side in order to complete our series. It’s interesting that this is the point at which some people became critical of the series. As long as we were preaching prudence, everyone could get on board • especially at a time when the stock market was tanking. But as soon as we started talking about ways to make enough money to satisfy our heartfelt desires (heartfelt in the best sense of the word), some people became concerned that we were advocating the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
In a way, I guess we were. But not in the way you think. We believe that people have the ability to discern their authentic consumption levels. This goes for food as well as for every other commodity. By paying attention, we can figure out the things that make our souls come alive. Not plastic things, that titillate but do not satisfy. But real things, that nourish the body, mind, and spirit.
These things can change over time, but the basic principle of paying attention to what nourishes the soul will not lead us astray.
Once we know, we can begin to make the shifts that enable us to take advantage of all aspects of what Robert Kiyosaki calls The Cashflow Quadrant (Click): We can draw money as an Employee, a Self-employed, a Business Owner, and an Investor all at the same time. We can stop wasting and start making money. We can save and give money as part of a regular investment plan. We can take advantage of real estate, corporations, and networking in order to enhance our final position. In short, we can do what we’re called to do in order to live the life we’re called to live.
That is our second wish for anyone concerned about money. Know your potential. Learn how to make the system work for you. You can, of course, drop out and live a meager lifestyle. There is a great spiritual traditional here that we recognize and respect. But you can also drop in and live a sufficient lifestyle. Sufficient to meet your needs and the needs of the world. Sufficient to make you sing of the goodness and mercies of God.
Please contact us if you would like to pursue this further through personalized coaching. Next week we start The Art of Listening. One woman has already subscribed her husband for the new series! J It’s a skill most of us could stand to hone.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC