I had a glamorous weekend sitting in front of a spreadsheet working on my taxes - which is second only to sitting in the middle of a snake pit when it comes to the hierarchy of dread in my life. But then a deep insight popped up for me.
I flashed back to a workshop I did a million years ago when the kids were small and my life was eating me alive.
We did an exercise on money during that workshop. We were tasked with dragging our unconscious assumptions and associations about wealth to the conscious surface of our minds.
What came roaring up for me that day was something I didn’t share with the group because I was too ashamed. Everyone else talked about their parents, the feedback, the idea that rich people are greedy people etc, etc.
And they talked about wanting to uncouple these negative links in their understanding so that they could be free to have a prosperous, empowered relationship with money.
Sounds great, right?
But what came up for me was different.
I flashed back to trailing my mom through the grocery store. Begging incessantly and being told NO. We grew up with budgets and hand-me-down’s and we went to the grocery store on Saturday mornings with a list that we were not allowed to stray from. Everything was scripted, planned, rationed out. No surprises.
As a teenager I babysat for a super rich family a few towns over. It was my first experience being immersed in that kind of money. Sometimes the mother would give me her credit card and ask me to go to the grocery store. She wouldn’t give me a list. She’d trust me to use my judgement and I’d pick out whatever was needed for dinner or to restock the fridge and pantry. That experience was hugely impactful on me. The feeling of walking the aisles, making choices independently and filling the cart without having to worry. It felt like freedom on a whole new level.
It was loose.
That was the word that came up for me in the workshop that day. Loose. We use this word interchangeably with the word generous sometimes. A long, loose skirt with a generous amount of fabric and give.
I made a connection back then that stayed with me. If you have a lot of something, you can be loose with it. You don’t have to stick to the list, the script, the rules. You can take your hands off the wheel. The lane is wide and there’s no one on either side of you. You can afford to swerve and course correct without causing an accident. The richer you are the fewer people there are in your lane. The consequences become less and less severe when you’re able to pad the sides of your life with cash.
What surfaced for me in the workshop, that I didn’t share, was the understanding that my desire for wealth was not the desire for all the opportunities for life improvement that come along with having more means at one’s command.
It was the complete opposite for me. I didn’t want the open doors. I wanted a hiding place.
I wanted the looseness of wealth like a huge, high thread count sheet that I could drape across my life and tuck myself inside of. I didn’t want to face the level of responsibility that comes with living an empowered life. I didn’t believe, secretly, that I could handle it.
I stayed in a marriage that was wrong for me for many, many years despite my Soul yelling at me daily through a fog horn and despite all the tripped fire alarms and clear signs that I needed to go.
I stayed for a lot of complicated reasons but the overwhelming one was the idea that I was incapable of managing money on my own. This belief system is not uncommon for women. My resistance to facing the fears of my own incompetence and reckoning with my secret need for ignorance and hiding places kept me, ironically, in a situation that was a million times more painful than the work of taking responsibility for myself.
I think of my accountant as my healer in many ways. The first time I came to her office, my divorce was still unfolding and I was an unhinged, terrified mess. I remember telling her: I need to ask you a lot of dumb questions and I need you to be extremely patient with me, is that ok?
But she waved the question away like it was unnecessary. She witnessed my struggle without pitying me. And I defined the tone of our relationship as a vulnerable, honest one by calling out the thing I was afraid of. This deactivated my shame’s power over me.
We don’t have to pretend that we know what we’re talking about. Our work is to choose people to support us. People that we feel comfortable sharing the full, unedited extent of our ignorance with.
So now when I do my taxes, when I work on my budget, when I pay my bills, I mark the time, mentally and energetically, as revolutionary. It’s a practice of self love for me, on the highest order.
Because when you start living in accordance with your Soul you don’t need a hiding place inside your life any longer. And you come to realize that this is the most profound form of wealth a person can experience: the wealth of shedding your hiding places, standing up to your own wounded fears and slaying your own damn demons, with your own two hands.
Till next time, beauties : ) Your healing is my healing and my healing is your healing.
Rooting for you always! Mary
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