What on earth was I doing sitting meditating on a bench in the middle of Kingsbridge High St in Devon? Pretty weird place to do it, you might think. And what could that possibly have to do with my business? Even stranger.
Well, you know when you think ‘Oh great, I’ve sorted that!’ about an issue that’s been bugging you? I mean, one of those inner challenges that come up, like fear about taking a step forward or guilt about not being a good enough parent, or anger towards someone.
And you know how sometimes that whole issue presents it’s head again, either a short or a long time after you’ve had the ‘I’m sorted!” thought? Well, it happened to me while on holiday, and that’s why I needed to sit with closed eyes amongst the passers by.
I arrived at my friend’s house in Devon – it’s beautiful, I’ve known them for ages. Philip, my late husband, and I helped them renovate it (we had such good times combining redecoration with meditation and creativity, I highly recommend it!) so I feel very comfortable there, it’s like a second home. Usually, with money arrangements around food, we have a kitty, or I just contribute a wad of cash and that does us for all joint food or activities.
But this time it was different. My friend Caroline said,
‘I only want you to pay £10 towards your food for this week’.
‘£10?’ I repeated it back to her, incredulously. That doesn’t buy much food, so it was a delightfully generous offer. And then something knocked at my inner door.
Three travelling companions, known as shame, guilt, and embarrassment. Actually, they didn’t knock, they just trampled the door down, barged in and took over my house! It really was like a wash of feelings, and I just couldn’t believe that it was the very same ones (albeit a lukewarm version) from over 9 years ago.
This was when I knew that after selling our health clinic we were likely to end up with a substantial amount of money (about £250K to be exact). In the face of that I felt embarrassed. No-one I knew had that amount of money (well, they might have done but they didn’t speak about it), and I was afraid of being on the receiving end of jealousy, envy, and criticism for not having ‘earned’ it – there were so many critical thoughts and challenging feelings. I remember literally cringing under the table when in the company of some friends who heard the (apparent) good news. (Of course, no-one other than me thought it was anything other than wonderful news – all those thoughts about others were simply projections).
What a weird response, you might think, to being on the receiving end of a lot of money! I had no idea at the time I would feel like that and it was a real eye-opener.
I knew deep down in my heart that I would get rid of this money, in order to go back to feeling comfortable with just enough, if I didn’t acknowledge the messages these travelling companions were bringing. (I now refer to this as your Money Comfort Level) And so began my journey to learn about money.
Well, it’s been an up and down one for sure, with loads of feelings, more money, less money, no money, and back to more again. Including lots of debt this time round – not ideal you might think.
Looking back now I can laugh at it all – you know, along the lines of that old joke ‘Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans’.
Anyway I was a bit put out to find the same old feelings visiting again, and about a tiny amount compared to before. (Just goes to show money issues are never about the amount – it looks like they are, for sure, but I know now that this simply is not true. If you’re disagreeing with me here, then how come you can look at the same amount of money in your account one day and you feel really rich, and the next day you view the same figure and you feel really poor? Same amount, but thoughts and feelings about it change. Try it and see.)
Anyway, there I was in Kingsbridge High St, having accepted the offer of £10 for food for the week, but walking away from a handbag shop where I had just spent quite a large sum of money on a new handbag (one of my favourite things to spend money on!).
As I came away from the shop I realised an inner conversation had been going on, along the lines of:
‘I’ll not tell them it cost as much as it did. Anyway, it was on sale, so that’s a good deal. It feels a bit weird though, accepting their offer and then spending a lot of money on myself. Perhaps I’ll just hide it, that would be easier. Oh God, I shouldn’t have done it. Shall I take it back? Oh, I just won’t say anything and hide the handbag’
How mad is that! It was when I realised this justifying of my actions was going on that I knew I needed to stop. My mantra: Stop. Be Still. Listen. And only then Act. And that’s when I sat down on the bench on the pavement near the cashpoint and closed my eyes. I brought love to the 3 visiting feelings and to my root chakra (to do with money and security) and the inner voice began to calm down. My body relaxed and I was able to laugh at myself round the dinner table later on as I showed off my handbag and told the story.
Here’s the handbag, I know you’re dying to see it by now!
I’m telling you all this because this is a lesson in receiving. Even though I had moved forward miles in my relationship with money, under particular circumstances the feelings arose again. This time, I wasn’t debilitated as I had been in 2004; this time I could release myself from the self-criticism and judgment quickly and lovingly. Primarily because I didn’t judge myself for having the critical thoughts and feelings.
But I did question – how much am I willing to open my heart to receiving good? Can I open myself wide to that? Receiving in all shapes and forms?
So, as you read this article, how did you feel? What thoughts came up? Did you react to the amount received for the sale of the Clinic? Where do you receive in your life? How much are you willing to receive? How open are you to receiving full stop? And do you know your Money Comfort Level and how to move beyond it?
While you may know, like I did, that money is just an energy and is neither good nor bad, just like anything else, putting that intellectual knowledge into practice regularly is another matter. Learning to develop your relationship with money into a good friendship, where you allow money to ebb and flow naturally as is it’s wont, is something I’m still learning about, even though I work with others to help them. I imagine I will never stop learning about it, and for that I’m glad. Glad too for benches in High streets!