I’ve found a bunch of pretty fabrics in the attic, which have just been lying around since they seemed to precious to use (a habit that I’m glad I ditched – beautiful things are for using, not to be left to a slow and invisible death in a box in the attic!). Seeing them instantly made me want to sew something. Then came the inevitable „I really should do something with these fabrics!“
1. Know yourself.
That’s how it goes, right? „It would be nice to do …“ turns into „I really should be doing …“ Add a „because it’s good for you“ and the whole thing’s dead. For me anyway. I blame the inner child. She rejects anything „good“ (or „healthy“) by default, not even to mention the „musts“. It doesn’t even matter that it’s fun things. So how to deal with that?
2. You don’t need to change your goals, just change the course.
I don’t know about you but I can never win over my inner child. And that’s really a good thing, since she’s actually me! The way I see it, it’s about finding a way to win myself over. I don’t need to want make myself want something else, I just need to use different words and phrases. In child language, things are simply how they are. I would like something made out of my precious fabrics, and I love being surrounded by things made by me. Not because that’s „good for me“, or „handmade“ or any other grown up word. The real reason is the one that is completely justified by kid logic: because. It’s just what I want.
3. Make it easy for yourself.
Maybe you think that should be enough motivation to get going. Ha! So not. It’s not just your inner child you need to get on board with your plans. There’s that couch potato, too. And words aren’t enough to get her going. With my sewing project I ended up booking a class. I know myself enough to know that when I sign up for something, I’ll show up. Especially when I paid in advance! The couch potato may not be completely sold at that point, but it’s a first step.
4. Don’t wait for the couch potato to disappear. Just bring her along.
My inner couch potato obviously did not feel like going to the sewing class when the day came. When I explained that she could just tag along, and not feel like going all the way there, and all the way through class feel like not doing anything, she finally caved. After two days of sewing classes (and yes, the couch potato me didn’t feel like going the second day, either), I had fixed the hem of a favorite dress which had been ripped years ago, made three pillow cases, and learned a ton of stuff about sewing technique. Plus I realized that I prefer my amateur way ignoring technique for the most part and simply do it the way I feel. Too lazy to be a perfectionist.
5. Be proud of yourself.
The dress may be repaired but it has been too big for ages, the pillow cases may be pretty but honestly, I could have saved myself the trouble and just gone and bought some for the money of the class. That is the inner critic’s evaluation of this outing. Of course she had to put her two cents in, that’s what she’s there for. That’s also why I don’t beat myself up over her judgement but I keep in mind that she always finds fault with everything. It’s her job. Luckily there’s that inner child, too. The part of me that adores everything I do, and that sees the good in everything. My inner child was excited that the dress could be worn again – whether by me or anyone else didn’t matter. My inner child loved the pillow cases, and found the priceless, of course – because it was I who made them exactly how I wanted them! Which store sells that?!
6. Share your genuine appreciation.
Genuinely appreciating what we ourselves created is really a way of acknowledging that something was not so much created by us but through us. Technically that’s gratitude. That is something entirely different from demanding others‘ approval, which stems from doubt. When we doubt that something amazing can come into the world through us, it’s because we are under the illusion that what we do is our work alone.
This is inner critic territory: we could make a fool of ourselves, come off as bragging, be crushed by others‘ judgement or on the other hand define ourselves by our accomplishments and become addicted to others‘ praise.
The inner child is connected to the truth: she just wants to show the world the miracle that worked its way into the world through her hands. Not because she’s wondering what the others think of it, or because she wants to „accomplish“ anything beyond her work. It doesn’t even cross the inner child’s mind that her own assessment of her work could be separated from the world’s, that her value as a being could somehow depend on her „accomplishment“, or that she could have any hidden agenda. She is simply amazed by what sprang from her imagination into this physical world. She wants nothing other than sharing her appreciation for that. Nothing to do with being „immodest“ or „show-offy“ or desperate to be liked. It’s a form of expressing gratitude.
And whatever we express gratitude for, we receive more of. That is good soil for future motivation. So let’s be genuine and share our appreciation. In all areas of life.
Sometimes I make a wish, and I only become aware later of what that wish actually meant. I become aware of it when I experience its fulfillment.
Like now on this trip: I keep seeing my wishes getting fulfilled constantly, and how in a way their fulfillment is different from what I had thought yet at the same time exactly what I wished for.
The tree house epiphany
I had a moment like that today when Frida’s fiancé Jason told me the story behind his tree house. I suddenly remembered how I had written a sort of wish list before I started my journey, places I wanted to go, what I wanted to see and experience. There was a tree house on that wish list, one by a very specific person, so that’s why I didn’t recognize this one at once as the tree house from my wish list. But as I heard Jason speak about his tree house, and realized how well thought out every single detail about it really is, that this is truly the manifestation of a great vision, I suddenly remembered that that was how I had perceived the tree house on my wish list. I saw that that was what had fascinated me, and had been the reason I wanted to see that particular tree house. In that sense my wish had been granted, even though I didn’t end up seeing that specific tree house or meet that specific builder from my visualization.
You get what you imagine
In my experience that’s how wishing and visualization works: you literally get what you wish for, what you imagine. Not literally in the sense that it is in accordance with the words you use but something that corresponds with the feeling your visualization evokes in you. That’s why it sometimes takes me a while to realize that what I am experiencing is exactly what I wished for.
It’s been like this with every stop of my trip so far – on the outside they all may have looked differently from what I’d envisioned beforehand, but the feel was the same as in my visualizations. The more detailed I imagined what I wanted, the stronger the resemblance.
Ever since I understood this, I sometimes check in to see what happened to the things I imagined and wished for. And I am at this point amazed at how it takes less and less time for my visualized wishes to become true – and that any deviation from what I really want is always due to me missing a detail in the visualization or the description of my wish.
It’s our limited view that keeps us from seeing that things are in alignment with the big picture
At the same time I can see how there is a deeper wisdom at work here, too. That even though the deviations might disappoint me for a moment when I realize, „Oh, I forgot to be specific about this, so that’s why it turned out like that“ it always turns out that the way things do pan out is exactly right, that it is in alignment with the big picture. That it’s just my restricted perspective at the time that keeps me from seeing that.
Doing the right thing?
I used to worry a lot more about whether I was doing „the right“ thing. I constantly felt like I wasn’t living up to my potential, that I was doing something wrong for not being better than I was. When I came to understand that there is that bigger picture, that we come into our lives with a certain plan, and that even though there is room for variations on the details, it’s not possible to „fail“ in the sense that we don’t do what we’re here to do. So then when I started worrying I comforted myself that „Either you did the right thing or it didn’t matter that much“.
What if our „forgivable mistakes“ are not even mistakes?
I am not so sure about that notion anymore now either. What if it’s even better than that? What if the things I have taken for forgivable mistakes aren’t even mistakes, either? What if everything is exactly as it is supposed to – all the time? What if it’s only my limited view of things that keeps me from seeing that? For I am experiencing more and more how, even though, yes, I do forget to consider certain details when I wish for things or imagine my future, it always turns out to be exactly what I need when taking a look at the larger scheme of things.
When I decided to let go of Road to Walden as the title of this blog, it was not because I thought the search had ended. I will always be on that road, which is the road to the home within, while also aware that that destination is right here, right now, on this road.
I decided to change the title because apart from the many wonderful things that Thoreau’s Walden represents to me, it also represents a notion which I am leaving behind at this stage in my life: the notion that the quest for happiness (= home) is about finding out how little you need to be content with. I still agree that happiness isn’t in „stuff“, and yes, it is true that so much of what we do in order to afford a lifestyle we think is necessary to make us happy leads us to the exact opposite („lives of quiet desperation“ anyone?).
Yet at this point I feel the question of how little I can live with isn’t all that interesting to me anymore, even though some part of my mind is still playing that game („Will I run out of money on this trip before I can access new sources of steady income?“ is one of those classics on repeat in my head some days). The way I see it now, the two don’t have to be connected, although my brain is still pretty wired that way. I am not interested in tying finical wealth and worldly possessions to judgement anymore. It’s possible to have very little „stuff“ and money and be happy. It’s possible to have very little and be unhappy. It’s possible to have a lot and be happy, and it’s possible to have a lot and be unhappy. At this point I feel like an experiment on how little it takes for one to be happy is not really the interesting question.
I know that might sound strange because it is exactly what I am living right now, not owning more than I can fit into my backpack, proving to myself everyday that yes, it’s very possible to be happy with very little stuff (and yes, some days: not so happy, for all kinds of reasons). As always, it’s the intention behind it that counts. I do believe that while it’s true, happiness isn’t in material objects, rejecting them for that reason is not changing the game – you’re just playing on the other team. Chasing wealth and objects just for the sake of it is just as uninteresting to me as it is rejecting them just because you know they won’t make you happy. Because guess what: joyless asceticism isn’t the road to happiness, either. I imagine that if you feel empowered by experiencing how little you can make do with, then that can be a joyful and thus valuable experience, and that is definitely part of this journey, too.
At this point however I am most interested in the notion of non-attachment. I am interested in enjoying all that life has to offer, including material wealth, without making it my golden calf. I know that is something very „now“ (The Secret/the Law of Attraction), and that just really wasn’t on the menu for Thoreau*. It felt like Road to Walden wasn’t really including this aspect which has become a focus for me in all areas of my life.
The idea to change the title to www.sarineturhede.com was triggered by the process of revamping the site overall in order to showcase my work better but the actual reason behind it was that I wanted to mark for myself that this is my path now, the one that’s still inspired by others but where I am the pioneer after all.
* Although who knows – he only lived at Walden Pond for about a year and not his whole life, so I maybe the question of how little you could live with wasn’t a lifelong quest for Thoreau, either …
Writing that post On Wanting and Being Content made me think more about appreciation. To be more specific, it made me think more about the aspect of expressing appreciation, and what role it plays in the entire process of getting what we want.
I have noticed that when it comes to attracting good things into my life, they come easily when I am putting very little (or rather: very light) energy into the thought of wanting them. Almost as if I am not even really aware I want them. It’s like the thought „Oh, this would be nice“ just kind of flies by, and I only remember it when I suddenly receive whatever it was I thought would be nice.
For instance, a friend posted something on Facebook about how she had gathered so much burlap that she was able to make 6 lbs of pesto from it. That friend was nowhere in my vicinity at that time, so when I commented how cool I thought that was and how much I loved burlap, it was not a subtle way of inviting myself over for dinner. I just wrote what I thought. A few days later, another friend came to visit. She brought me a bunch of burlap. Yes, I know, it’s technically possible that she saw my comment (she didn’t mention it, though).
Still, it felt like the lightness with which I had expressed my appreciation of burlap had kind of send out a message, and someone who was in charge of bringing people joy had just picked it up, and thought „Oh, here’s someone who shows appreciation of burlap. We’re in the business of bringing people joy, so let’s send this lady some burlap.“
Maybe this all sounds very silly because, seriously, who gets that excited about burlap?! I know, but here’s what I believe: when we are able to wish for something with lightness, it’s easy to have that wish fulfilled. I believe that whoever is in charge of this Business of Bringing People Joy likes it when we ask for things out of a state of „This would bring me joy but my life’s happiness is not dependent on it. If you can do it, it would make me happy – but I’ll still be happy if it doesn’t work out“. That’s why it’s so easy to have those seemingly small and not very significant wishes fulfilled – because those are the ones I am capable of sending out there with that kind of lightness. Like expressing that I enjoy burlap.
When it comes to The Big Ones however … Not so easy maintaining that sort of attitude, that’s why they are The Big Ones, right? They are the wishes we feel are important, the ones our happiness depends on. So is the reason why it’s harder to have those fulfilled that the folks at The Business of Bringing People Joy don’t like it when we pressure them with desperate requests? Maybe they don’t like it when we burden them with the claim that our entire life’s happiness is dependent on our satisfaction with a specific order we placed? Maybe. Here is what I believe:
I believe that the communication between us customers and folks at the BBPJ is off a little sometimes. OK: a lot, and like, all the time. And like with any order we place with any company these days, we click on the button that says „Yes, I agree to the terms of service“ without actually reading the fine print. Because, seriously, who has time for that?! We just kind of trust that it’ll be alright. And it is. After all, it’s The Business of Bringing People Joy. However, if we did bother to open the file with the terms of agreement we’d find out it’s actually not that much, and the rules are very simple:
1. You get exactly what you ask for. To the t. Because the employees at the BBPJ are a very literal bunch, and they would get into serious legal trouble if they gave you anything you hadn’t asked for.
2. Your order is not just the words you use, it’s also the emotions behind it. And again: they take you very literally. If there is ease behind your request, you get your order with ease. If there is pressure in it, pressure is what you get. And so forth. You get it.
3. Maybe you’ve heard that if you want to remember something, you should tell yourself „Remember to do xyz“ because if you tell yourself „Don’t forget xyz“ you’ll actually forget because the mind doesn’t really know how to compute the words „don’t“ and „not“, and just skips them. The BBPJ works just like that. They don’t understand the words „not“ and „don’t“, so they just skip them. So always use positive descriptions to place your order. For instance: instead of saying „I don’t want more burlap“, place an order that states what it is you want instead.
4. And, the most important rule of communication: you place your order by thinking and through your actions. Your orders are prioritized, that’s why not every single thought and every single action is being answered right away. It’s all about focus. To the employees at the BBPJ „focus“ is „appreciation“. They assume that you want more of whatever it is your focusing on, so naturally those orders have top priority. Again, they take the emotions behind your focus into consideration when processing your order. That is why customers who seemingly place similar orders may receive services/products of varying quality.
I used to be a hard worker. I thought that all my accomplishments were made of blood, sweat and tears. That stressing out and not resting until I was completely exhausted was a necessary part of the process. That that was basically what got me the good results. Yet there were times where I didn’t study as much as I thought I should, and I still got good results. And although the thought occurred to me that maybe I really didn’t feel like studying more because it wasn’t necessary, I never trusted that part of me. I thought I was lazy – and lucky, if I got good grades despite my „laziness“!
I think differently now: I believe that everything I have ever succeeded at was not thanks to hard work. I think I succeeded despite it. Of course I can’t know how things would have turned out if I’d done things differently. But when I look back at all the things I have done because I thought I had to, it turns out they were not that important. And the things that were important happened even when I did things that could have jeopardized them. More on this in my post On Control. I do know that it was doing too many things for the wrong reasons, the main one being that misguided work ethic, according to which work equals hardship. Eh, it was not just work, I was under the illusion that basically everything worth having requires sacrifice. Except when you believe it, it’s not an illusion. It’s your reality.
Fortunately, even going down the „wrong“ path eventually gets you on the right track. Like Eckhart Tolle says: Suffering is necessary until you realize it’s not. Up until a year ago I thought that as long as I was suffering all was well (I always thought that if I was unhappy, I wasn’t done adjusting to whatever it was that made me unhappy …).
I have always had a voice in the back of my head that wouldn’t shut up when things were at its worst. That voice kept saying that this cannot be the way life is supposed to be. I want to be happy, that voice insisted, and I cannot accept a life where there is no way for me to be happy. For the most part, I managed to negotiate with that voice, reminding it that I was happy, just not in some parts of my life. But that, of course, was normal. Last year everything just kind of crashed and it felt like there was nothing left. That was when there was no bargaining anymore with that voice. First health, then work, then marriage. Once you allow yourself to see that basically all areas of your life have been ruled by the belief in sacrifice and hardship, you can’t help but admit that the only lesson is this: you cannot go on this way. That is when the suffering finally becomes unnecessary.
Don’t get me wrong: there have always been moments of happiness in my life. I am not ungrateful. That is what made it possible to negotiate with that voice in the back of my head in the first place. The ability to make lemonade can be a bitch, though. Because in reality there is more than one choice. Life may be handing you lemons, and maybe you enjoy lemonade. But the thing is: you could also pass on the lemons altogether, trusting that life will offer you something else.
I’m not going to lie: there are a lot of days when my head is having a difficult time trusting that I will be fine if I follow my gut instinct on what I want and what not. (I am having one of those days right now.) But I’ve done it enough times now to know it’s worth it. I never have to wait long for the proof that it is the right thing to do. Same goes for the opposite: whenever I catch myself making a decision based on the fear that I have no other options, I can almost physically feel how this is only setting me back on the path that I have just left. And I am not interested in going in circles.
I am still thinking a lot about the whole abundance thing. No matter what angle I look at it from, and no matter in what form or what area of my life I experience it, I always come to one conclusion: it’s everything. It’s the key to everything and anything we desire in life. It’s the one thing we should be putting all our energy into, the only thing we really can do to make sure all our dreams will come true: see to it that our mind is in a state of abundance. The rest will follow.
I had this realization for the first time a few weeks ago, when I saw an interview with online business coach and entrepreneur Mara Stix. As I understood her, the further up she got in her pursuit of financial success, the less her personal wealth concerned her. Once she had arrived at a level of income that afforded her the standard of living that she wanted, there was nothing that even more money could have contributed to that area of her life. Instead other things became a focus of interest, like how to expand her business, and how to manifest more and bigger things she would like to see in the world.
Last fall I had a vision of something I should build. It was as if the idea rained down on me after I had emptied my mind. While I was completely aware of the magnitude of that project, I was also overcome by a certainty that my mind wasn’t just making this up. I just knew that I had conceived this idea because it wanted to be manifested by someone. And If that idea saw me fit to be that someone, then it would also see to it that the means for its manifestation would be provided, regardless of whether or not I could see how at that point. I could not see anything at all about how to get there.
Since then, I have mostly practiced to let the idea go, to be open to any signs without trying to force things. I didn’t want to feel like I was just waiting for the right time to manifest this project. Therefore I have been focusing on being happy, doing whatever makes me happy. At the end of the day that’s what determines what kind of life I have. For the most part, that worked well, but there were definitely some days where I did wonder what anything I was doing had to do with that vision, if I hadn’t missed the exit and was headed in the wrong direction after all.
When I watched that interview with Mara Stix, it was like a switch was flicked. Suddenly I understood that I had been doing exactly the right thing, and why my personal happiness was essential to the whole project. Because how are you going to manifest something big and joyful, that requires a large amount of resources (both when it comes to material and labor) if not out of a sense of abundance?!
We need to be in a state of abundance on the personal plane before we can help abundance to manifest elsewhere. There is no other way. Actively inviting (and permitting!) abundance to flow into all areas of our life then is not just a mind-game, something fun to do, it is deeply meaningful.
For me this insight is very important when it comes to dealing with that voice that says it’s selfish to let your actions be ruled by what feels good, what seems like it would be fun. That you can’t have both – happiness and success, love and wealth. That voice may have served us and our ancestors in the past. Life was tough, we had to work hard in order to survive, pursuing our passion often came at a price. We know how to do that. And it is clearly still possible to live that way, if that is what we want. I see lots of people doing it, and I thought it was the way it had to be up until about a year ago.
When I look around, however, I see that times have changed. Something else is possible. We can rest in the certainty that our survival is secured. It’s time to find other life missions. Let’s start by following the signs happiness is putting up for us.
The interview with Mara Stix (in German) is part of a series of money mindset interviews by Linda Benninghoff (MyMoneyMind). They are available for free when you sign up for her newsletter.
I have been thinking about money a lot lately. Or rather: I have been observing the way I think about money, and how I handle money.
Three things have triggered this sudden interest: First off, I am at my grandparents‘ house, and a lot of family-related issues have surfaced since my arrival, the importance of success, prestige and financial wealth being a dominant theme. Second, I have come across the blogs of two women who talk about how to deal with money issues in a way that really speaks to me (Mara Stix and MyMoneyMind – both in German). Third, for the first time in my adult-life, I don’t have an income. I am currently living on my savings. Some days that feels like the greatest luxury, other days it terrifies me.
The money mystery
Not all of the insights that keep coming are new, but what is new is that for the first time in my life I am taking an active interest in my financial situation. I am realizing how much my avoiding the topic has been connected to my fear of lack of control. I have mostly lived with the feeling that I can afford everything I really want to do – which is not a bad place to start. However, since I avoided thinking about money, I always felt a powerlessness, both regarding my income and my expenses. It seemed like a kind of magic: if I went into my savings because I wanted to travel, money suddenly appeared (often only after I bought the tickets). The times I did try to take responsibility, I thought tracking my expenses was the best way to gain control – but suddenly all I saw was money running through my fingers like sand, and I hated the feeling of having to think over every cent I spent. It made me feel poor, even though technically I wasn’t.
I wasn’t able to connect the dots, so I thought that it was best for me not to actively think about money – I thought that was the part that made it „disappear“ because whenever I just did what I felt like, I was fine! I honestly thought that thinking about money was the problem. I am taking the liberty to blame my German heritage at least partly for that – just look at German expressions and proverbs about money, and you’ll understand: money stinks; stinking rich; Money isn’t something you talk about, it’s something you have; … the list goes on, not everything translates well but you get the gist.
This is also where family history comes into play: like everything else, my family’s values and ideas about money shaped my own values and ideas about money. Since I avoided thinking about money, I naturally was blind to how my family’s way of handling money had shaped my own view on it.
So here are the facts: I have never been actually poor. Even as a kid, my parents (and my grandparents, too) had savings accounts for us, so as an adult it was a given for me to keep it that way. I have gone into these savings whenever I wanted to travel or if I really wanted to buy something that my regular income didn’t cover. I have never spent any money I didn’t have, meaning, I have always made sure my credit cards had their limit at the amount that the balance on my account covered. I have been fortunate to have parents who paid for my university studies. The only time I went into debt was when I bought a house with my boyfriend. And even then, we would have had the means to pay cash, and that was the main reason we felt comfortable taking the loan. (Before you get the idea that I am loaded: houses on the Swedish countryside are ridiculously cheap, at least in the less populated areas, for obvious reasons – lack of jobs, schools, etc.) Since I no longer own that house, I don’t have that mortgage anymore, either.
All that sounds pretty good, right? Then here’s the real question: how is it possible for someone like me to have money issues? How could I for even the fraction of a second be under the impression that I am poor – let alone for longer periods of her life? The answer, as the a fore-mentioned blogs reminded me, is that wealth has less to do with your bank account balance than your state of mind. The Secret, anyone?
Abundance and scarcity – It’s all in your mind
According to the law of attraction, what you think is what you get. When you experience yourself as being in a state of abundance internally, abundance is what you get externally. Same goes for scarcity, of course. That explains why money always „magically“ appeared, when I decided to spend it on something that wasn’t a necessity for survival but just something I knew I’d enjoy. You can only make that kind of decision out of a sense of abundance, with the confidence that you’re provided for, that the money you’re spending on something fun won’t be missing when it’s time to pay the rent. The law of attraction is also the explanation why money suddenly seemed to be disappearing whenever I focused on money: the only way of focusing on money I knew was looking at the expenses. Naturally that created a sense of scarcity, which in turn invited scarcity into my life.
In the past few days I have been observing myself, and experimenting with some of the insights I’ve had.
How much money does it take to feel rich?
I started tracking my expenses shortly before I understood that the focus on them can produce the scarcity-mindset that leads into panic. After giving it some thought, I decided that I’d continue anyway because I wanted to know how much I need to live comfortably. Of course, the sky is the limit but sometimes it helps to have an actual number. It feels easier to think, „OK, I need X€“ thank thinking „I need a lot of money“. What was even more surprising: My X turned out to be not even a crazy high number. I have only been tracking my expenses for little over a month but I am seeing that I’m nowhere even near that number, and I have been making an effort to not be cheap. That was one of things I had promised myself: if I was going to live on my savings, I didn’t want to do it feeling like I can’t afford anything. I mean, savings are finite, so I obviously need a new source of income at some point. I’d rather have short while of fun with my money than a long period of dreading every cent I’m spending of it. From that perspective, keeping track has calmed my mind tremendously, and has reduced that aspect of lack of control. Just goes to show that it’s not what we do, it’s how we do it that makes all the difference.
Napkins, prayers and wedding dresses
Speaking of intention: I found that when it comes to spending money, how I feel about it has often very little to do with the actual amount.
The other day I found myself fretting over buying paper napkins. I was standing in front of the shelf thinking „Yeah, but I don’t really need those. Sure, these are prettier but I still have napkins at home, better use those up first.“ Then I realized: I was acting as if this were a life-and-death-situation when in fact it was napkins – that cost 99c! Also, the reason why I still had napkins at home was that I never wanted to use them because they were depicting a scene from a children’s book in which a teacher is chastising his student. (I’d really like to meet the genius that thought „Hey, this’ll make for great merchandise – how about some napkins!“. No wait, I don’t.) I came to my senses and bought the happy napkins. Really, they have hearts and birds and little doodles and it even says „Happy“ on them!
The next „exercise“ was more legit: taking my wedding dress to the dry-cleaner’s because I was planning on selling it. I learned that depending on the dress, it was going to cost somewhere between 75 and 140€. If you consider how my mind felt about the napkins you can do the math and figure out how it felt about that … Was I even going to get that money for the dress?! Heck, I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to sell it at all – not because of the dress but because I don’t consider myself to be a good sales-person (that’s another story for another time). Then it occurred to me that this was just what I needed as incentive. If it costs that much to clean it (and I knew I wouldn’t have the guts to only pretend I cleaned it and sell it as is), there was no way that I wasn’t going to sell the dress. So the same mind that almost wasn’t going to spend 99c on napkins was suddenly ok with spending up to 140€ not knowing whether that would turn out to be money down the drain or an investment. (Still not a life-and-death-situation, though.)
As I approached the dry-cleaner’s with my dress the next day, I noticed how much I was worked up over the whole situation. Of course, it was more than the money – I clearly hadn’t really come to terms with the whole decision to sell my wedding dress … I stopped, took a deep breath and prayed. More specifically, I prayed for help to let go of my fears, to stay with love, and for the whole situation to resolve itself in the best way possible, regardless of my fears. This is what happened: when the lady at the dry-cleaner’s saw my dress she said: „OK, this may have been your wedding dress, but here it’s an evening gown. That’ll be 17€.“
Do I think that was an answer to my prayer? Maybe. OK, I do. But I am not sure that that prayer was my prayer. Maybe the fact that I had made a deliberate choice to be fine with the cost and not fret over it was that prayer already. Maybe that was the step that was enough to tell the universe I was ready, that it was OK to come and meet me (more than) half-way. Maybe that prayer on top was just for me and my fear. Maybe it got me an additional discount. I don’t know.
I have been doing a lot more things since then: taking my beloved cat wrist watch in to get fixed (it was so cheap that the cost of fixing it was absurdly disproportionate to the original price). Buying a new pair of glasses AND sunglasses even though I don’t „need“ them (everything is relative – I’ve had my glasses for 9 years, and besides, some might say that there are more decadent things to own than a second pair of glasses). Buying a bunch of flowers for the house (my no. 1 quick fix tip for creating spaces with a sense of abundance when a place is lacking that feel). Eating out (I haven’t felt like cooking or doing the dishes lately, so I decided that it’s time to take a break at least some days).
The luxury of not buying something
As I am conducting my little experiments, I notice several things:
1. I can afford everything I really want because none of the things that I find pleasure in turn out to cost as much money as my fear wants to make me believe. For instance, I have no desire for objects that are mere status symbols. I tried on two pair of sunglasses that looked almost identical. Both were brand names but one was about half the price of the other. Of course I didn’t get the expensive one, just because it had the Michael Kors logo! I don’t think I will ever define wealth as the ability to afford brand names for their own sake. (Which is not to say I judge people who do – if it makes you happy, it’s cool. It’s just not me.)
2. When my mind is in a state of abundance, I actually buy less of certain products. I used to buy a lot of groceries in bulk – because it’s „cheaper“ that way. I bought stuff just because it was on sale. I bought things „just in case“. All of these types of purchases come from the scarcity mindset. The amount of money you spend on those can just as easily add up to a small fortune – or even a large one. I love having an empty fridge because that makes it easier for me to eat whatever I feel like on any given day. If the fridge is full, I feel burdened by the „task“ of taking care of its content before it goes bad.
3. When I am in a state of abundance, I suddenly have to focus more on what I really want. I wouldn’t buy a pair of glasses that cost a fortune when I don’t feel like they’re „totally me“. However, I have probably spent a fortune on things that were not „totally me“ – just because they were cheap. Abundance then is not just being able to afford „expensive stuff“ – it is also being able to afford not buying something that doesn’t feel 100% right. In that sense, I can feel rich not buying something. It is about living in the awareness that I am provided for, always.
You may have noticed that my focus here was purely on the expense side. That’s because the income side has been even more „magical“ in the bewildering and confusing sense to me. I am in the process of changing that but not quite at a point where I have anything ready for sharing yet. If things keep going the way they are right now, that is going to change.