Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gratitude for my life

One of the most important teachings I got out of the Money Program this past year was that sufficiency, enough, abundance aren't specific amounts. They are a steady flow of what we need and what we want coming and going from our lives.

I am very grateful for the people who have come into my life this year and equally grateful for those who moved on. It was painful at the time, but I know that friendships have a lifespan too and that we move and change in our beliefs and interests.

I am grateful for deepening relationships with my family and close circle.

I am grateful for all the learnings of the past year, some fun to know, some hard to accept, but all have enriched my life.

I am grateful to have sufficient money flowing in and out of my life to have the things I need and some of what I want.

I am grateful to all the readers who bought my books, to the people who invested in my art.

I am grateful for retreats and a studio where I can write and paint. These are long-held dreams come true.

I am grateful for my health, my mind, my opening heart.

And I am grateful for all of you flowing in and out of my life. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

25 Small Ways to Help the World

I loved this post.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Some of what I learned from the More Money Guaranteed program

My 9-month program about transformng my relationship with money came to a close at the end of October. It was a highly successful investment for me. It was more money than I'd every spent on anything and I got more out of it than I could ever have imagined.

Here are just a few of the things that happened for me:

  • I got the courage to double my hourly rate.
  • I made significantly more money as a consequence.
  • I finally found a successful way to stop overworking.
  • I got things done on my longterm to-do list that I didn't think would ever get finished: an inventory of my art, an art website, five ebooks written and published, an Etsy shop. 
  • I gained a much greater understanding of investing and how to make the most of the money I do have and orchestrated some changes with my financial advisor and jumped in to do a little investing on my own.
  • I met 70 amazing and inspiring people and became good friends with several of them. 
The program is happening again next year (Feburary through November). There are numerous payment options and some very hefty scholarships depending on your income and networth. If you would like to transform your money and your life, I highly recommend it. And yes, I am taking it again! That's how good it was. www.themoneycourse.biz

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Learning to feel sorry for myself

In our second conversation about the five stages of grief, Anna, my therapist, advised me to learn to feel sorry for myself. If you can't, she said, you can't really grieve. That's what grief is, she said. It's being willing to go into the deep parts of your loss: the person, the possibility, even the dream that has died or left you. Grief is truly feeling that loss, being with it, moving through it, not pushing it aside.When we tell our children "stop feeling sorry for yourself" or "get over it," we do them a disservice. We teach them that grief isn't a part of a life, when it is central to life. Love and loss are central to life.

I grew up in a "buck up" family. Keep busy, don't think about it, and it will go away. Of course, it does. But it goes away someplace deep inside, not through you and out. When my mother died, when my father died, I didn't grieve. I didn't become lethargic or depressed or weepy or even particularly unhappy. I pushed all of that aside and went on with my life as if that was the most important thing to do.

Anna wasn't talking about either of these big events or even about the death of Nellie although she could have been. Instead, she was talking about food addiction. If you cannot grieve the fact that you are a food addict, she said, you cannot let go of wanting it not to be so. And if you cannot let of wanting it not to be so, you can't make peace with it. I now see the broader scope of all this in my life. How learning to feel sorry for myself could change everything.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A few words about the election

I don't rant much politically. I'm not sure how helpful it is. But several things have struck me about the recent election, which was disappointing to me but not surprising.

First, those of us who are well educated and liberal seem to think that everyone will (or should) think like we do. It wasn't until I realized how few of my age peers (teenage in the 60s) became hippies or anti-war protesters that I understood some things about our country. We weren't all that many. For one thing, many fewer people went to college in those days and we protesters were mostly college students or college grads. Most of our peers didn't fight the draft, got married right out of high school, took minimum wage or factory jobs, and if they have money now (or credit to buy things), they want to hang on to it and they will vote conservative. That's what conservative means, conserving what you've got.

Second, I read somewhere that the mean IQ in the United States, as elsewhere in the world, is about 102. That's right in the middle of normal (90-110) That means that half the people are below that and half the people are above. While it doesn't take a high IQ to vote or to understand the candidates' ideas, it may take a higher IQ to understand that TV is not our best source of information. And while a much wider range and much bigger number of young people are going to college, they are mostly not getting thoughtful, reflective educations: they are getting job training in the guise of a BA or BS degree.

Last, it struck me on Wednesday after the election, that most of our compatriots are living mired in fear. Fear of change. Fear of loss. Illogical fear. When you have illogical fear, you can't be reasonable. You can't be reasoned with. When you have illogical fear, you stay with the husband who beats you, you keep drinking, you keep shopping, you keep buying. When you have illogical fear, you have no imagination to work with, no way to imagine a different life. So you cling to what you know, you cling to the ones who soothe you, not the ones who want to shake things up.

We do get the leaders the larger collective votes for. And it's painful when you can see a different and perhaps better way.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

One person is all it takes

Since I got back from North Carolina two weeks ago, I've been thinking about my presentations at the retreat and wondering what impact my message had. This group of women in recovery was the audience I had written Sober Play: Using Creativity for a More Joyful Recovery for. It was wonderful to share my many ideas about how creativity and successful sobriety are linked both to the whole group and to individuals as the weekend progressed.

I was delighted and not all that surprised to hear how many of those women had dreams of being an artist, a writer, a musician. I think most of us do, once we're exposed. Once we hear great music or see art that touches us or read a book that we love, we want to do that too. We want to do what others do and once we start doing it, we want to do more.

But something intervenes, often an external critic, a parent trying to be "realistic," a teacher on a power trip, a friend who doesn't get it and we stop. We don't hone our skills while we're young when it's easier, we don't take chances when we're young, we just stop.

I've no way of knowing how many of those 85 women will step fully into their creativity now. They will still encounter the "realistic," the naysayers, the friends who don't get it. And they will have to battle their inner critics as well, all too quick to pull the you're-not-good-enough card on us. But maybe one or two will pick up that novel, that paintbrush, that crochet hook and go for it. I hope so.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Writing a book that includes failure

For the last five months, I've been working on a book on sugar and food addiction. I have wanted to write this book for some time. Many recovering alcoholics turn to sugar and why not? Alcohol is fermented sugar. In fact, many meetings serve sugar (doughnuts, cookies, birthday cake). And yet in most AA meetings, sugar addiction is not a topic on the table although many of us eat it like there's no tomorrow.

Part of my impetus to write the book was my success with the food plan. For nine months, I thought I had my food addiction under control. I wouldn't have said "cured" but I was galloping in remission. And then I wasn't. My quandary now: are there readers for a self-help book that doesn't have the answer?

Of course, there's always room to tell my story, to talk of my struggle, but is that enough? I'm no longer sure.