Money Yoga

money and life

 

 

Money and Life is a documentary that talks about where money comes from (thin air) and how it’s been turned into the way we live our lives and what we can do about it.

 

 

 

Money & Life Extended Trailer from Katie Teague on Vimeo.

It got me thinking about my recent change in my relationship with money.  In the past two years I’ve let go of a lot of things that most think are big measures of success- my luxury condo, my car and lots of stuff that wasn’t serving me.

 

This isn’t to say that I don’t think that I should move on a commune away from society. But I have shifted my paradigm of thinking when it comes to how I measure my success and what I want to offer to the world. I’m more interested in the inter connectedness of the world rather that trying to squelch someone’s chances of success for my own gain. That kind of thinking works off a thought process that there isn’t enough. When in fact, there is enough. There is enough food, money, success, happiness for everyone.

I’m not talking about Law of Attraction woo woo stuff here. But one thing I have realized is that I used to put a lot of focus on accumulating stuff and not living life. And though my lifestyle has changed drastically from the one that I was living a few years ago- I’m more centered and more content than I have ever been.

I don’t think I’m fooling myself either, because the more I connected with the work I want to do, I created opportunities for myself.

In the beginning of the new year most of us look to cleanse our bodies. But what about cleansing for we spend and live? Life gets busy and our routines could use a shake up. When was the last time you checked in with your kids about how they understand money? Have you taken a look at how you are saving for retirement? Are you spending excess money each week without knowing it? Regardless of how tight you may think you manage, it’s a good idea to check-in.

Beth Kobliner, probably best known for her book Get a Financial Life encourages people to do a ‘money fast’ at the beginning of each year. After paying necessary expenses, can you spend the month with spending any money? It’s a great way to see what’s important and what’s not. It may also challenge your idea of what is important.

If you are serious about jump starting your financial health. Levo League has five great tips to get you started on a 30-day financial cleanse.

1. Introduce yourself to the bare necessities.

Cut out all frivolous spending, so you can get to the bottom of your relationship with money. You can spend on groceries, bills, transportation, and health expenses—nothing more.

2. Convert to cash

When we use cash, we become more aware of our spending. It might sound counterintuitive, but managing your spending habits becomes simpler without a credit or debit card. Either your wallet is full, or your wallet is empty. You see the flow of your money in real time.

3. Monitor your spending

Over the course of a week, you can begin to monitor what you really miss and what you are surprised you can easily live without. You’ll be motivated by the amount of money you’re saving in the meantime, and you’ll likely think to yourself, “This is a lot easier than I thought!”

4. Learn to forgive, in order to learn

Even with all the progress you’ve made so far, you’ll most likely slip up and purchase something you didn’t mean to. It’s very important to forgive yourself.

Like I said, our habits become very automatic and as soon as we let our guards down, we may catch ourselves swiping a credit card on something we are in the habit of buying. Take this moment to truly consider your motivations behind your spending.

5. Reassess your values

Understanding your values and what’s really important to you is the key to financial wellness. Your spending and use of your time should point to your values—meaning, you should be spending the majority of your time and money on things of utmost importance.

If you’re not, you’re unaligned with your spending and have the opportunity to use your money in much more meaningful ways. For example, if family is really important to you, but you spend no time with them and no money on spending time with them, you’re missing out on very fulfilling spending.

You may want to plan more trips with them, or even plan to visit them if they aren’t nearby. I call this putting your money where your heart is.

 

 

 

Check out the entire documentary Money & Life below.  It’s great to watch with the family.

 

 

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Finishing 108 Days of Meditation is the Beginning

meditation

 

So over 108 days ago I committed to a daily meditation practice.

The ways in which it’s changed me are too numerous to count.

Subtle changes have occurred. For example, I’m smiling more. This was a change that crept up on me. One day walking in my new hood I took note that folks were so friendly. People said hello and waved. What was even stranger is that is that people got friendlier and friendlier! Then it dawned on me- I’m friendlier and more open. You get back what you put out.

It was a head scratching moment. Yikes- how closed off had I been before? Bob Marley was right- you can’t run away from yourself. And it’s a good being because I’d never know how good being open could feel.

Meditation hasn’t just metaphorically opened my heart- it’s literally made me more flexible. Being still has given me an ability to look deep inside my breathing. As strange as it sounds sometimes it feels like I moving energetically into a pose in slow motion. Like liquid pouring into liquid. Rather than moving step-by-step into a form I find myself moving there in a rhythmic motion.

Life presents us with situations that  are challenging and I don’t run from that, but I am much more selective about my optional noise. It’s said that we are like the 5 most people we spend most of our time with. I would think that applies to where we spend our time. Am I spending time in a meaningful manner or is it being wasted? Being still has also allowed me to turn down outside noise that doesn’t serve me.

It’s simple really- I’m trying to be more awake and less distracted.

I’m more successful on some days than others but hey, the fact that I’m paying attention puts me ahead of when I wasn’t meditating at all.

 

Namaste y’all.

 

 

Adventures in Meditation – Ch-ch-ch-changes

keep calm and turn off your cell

 

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I’ll make you so sure about it

God only knows what I’d be without you

If you should ever leave me
Though life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

– The Beach Boys

I’m a bit to attached to my phone. Don’t get me wrong.

It’s a necessary lifeline. It’s my calendar, my lists, heck- I’m writing this post from my phone right now.

At night I use a white noise app that lulls me to sleep. My alarm gets me up and Insight Timer gongs me back to reality from my meditation practice.

Even my apartment building is in on the act- when someone buzzes my apartment it comes to my phone.

However, my addictive self started to rear her tempting head. It was as if I couldn’t do anything without it.

Thankfully, my meditation practice has begin to spill over into my life.

These days I’m walking the dog without my phone. Why shouldn’t there be a time when I am just walking with intention without have to be available to a text, phone call, email, tweet or status update.

It’s not a big deal but it is a change, a change that has happened because I am more mindful.

Progress is measured in inches not feet.

At least that’s what I tell myself.

Namaste y’all.

 

Adventures in Meditation – Learning to Stay

meditationmedication

 

My mama said
Baby don’t ride that crazy horse
And my mama said
You must push with much force
And my mama said
Go get all that you’re after
And my mama said
That love’s all that matters

But I’m always on the run,
Always on the run,
But I’m always on the run ( on the run )

– Lenny Kravitz ‘Always on the Run’

 

Sometimes meditation just- sucks.

It ain’t been so easy the past week. Sitting still has been a struggle. I’ve been grasping at frustration and physical pain. Added to that are the thoughts that I should be headed down a different path than the one I’m currently on.

But I’m sticking with it.

This morning while walking Dakota I was listening to Pema Chödrön (as I am wont to do when I am feeling a bit out of sorts). I pulled up any track. Pema was talking about learning to stay. My facetious face reared its snarky head. Oh great. I listened anyway.

In meditation there will be bad days. But if I can learn to be with the thoughts and stay compassionate with myself, it’ll be okay. On the days that I’m feeling growly is when I most need this. It’s on these days when seconds pass like hours that I learn the most. The space in between the seconds is my opportunity to open my heart a little more. Acknowledging feelings of hurt, frustration or fear during a sit helps me move beyond instead of running away.

Yes Meditation, you are a crafty vixen but I see you.

Namaste y’all.

 

108 Days of Meditation – Breathe Baby

breathe-2

 

I meditate. But it’s been a long road to get here. The road ahead is longer- but I’m focused on the now.

Buddha on the mountaintop, I’m not. A bit tense high-strung might describe me- my mind clicks at a million miles a minute. In fact, as I am typing this I am thinking of a grocery list, my class tonight, my own practice and the laundry that I need to fold.

Suffice it to say- I was the poster child for someone who needed to get still. I wasn’t completely averse or unaware of this thought- I do find stillness both before and after my yoga practice. Yet, I hadn’t fully embraced a meditation practice. Oh sure, there have been some half-hearted attempts. But even though I’m a yoga teacher and someone who works on becoming more self-aware, the idea of meditating made me a bit… skittish.

Why?

Fear, mostly. Afraid of my thoughts? Maybe. Afraid that I’d be forced to let go and breathe- a little bit of the doctor getting a taste of her own medicine? Perhaps….

Maybe there was a little lazy mixed in for good measure. I’m being harder on myself than I should be- but I’d broken too many promises to my spirit by not committing to a practice of stillness.

Enter accountability.

Last year I practiced 108 days in a row of yoga (as you have probably guessed I’m sort of an all or nothing kind of woman- this is a gift and a curse and another post entirely) – it was a great way to reconnect with my practice and myself.

And it worked.

I was going to do it again this year- but in the back of my mind I knew that meditating was the bigger issue.

So I procrastinated- I told myself I needed the perfect meditation space. I told myself I should start on a Monday, when the sun was out, on the fifth of the month..blah blah you get the idea.

After reading a post on MindBodyGreen about before and after photos of people who meditated I said out loud:

“I’m going to commit 108 days of mediation and see what happens.” (I love experiments particularly when I’m the guinea pig)

And so it was. I don’t know how you operate, but when I say things out loud- even when my dog Dakota is the only witness, they become true and therefore must be realized. Now that I had said it- it was time to get started. Here are the ten things that helped me:

 

  1. Leap. There is no great time to get started meditating. I would always be busy. I just had to start.
  2. Keep a journal of your feelings either in a diary or on your phone. Jotting down feelings is a powerful motivator for both change and acceptance.
  3. Start small. I started out for with 10 minutes and went from there. If ten minutes seems like eternity, then try five.
  4. Use an app or a timer. It’s hard to let go if you are constantly sneaking your eyes open to take a peek at the clock. By using the stopwatch function on your phone you can focus on the act of observing your breathing rather than a watching how many minutes are still left. I found success with two apps. One is Stop, Breathe & Think- this app allows you to ‘check in’ with your feelings before you begin and offers suggestions for a meditation that suits your mood. Another app is Insight Timer. One of the cool features of this app is that it shows you how many people are meditating when you are.
  5. Find a comfortable seat. Sit upright. I sit on the floor on a block. But using a pillow or a chair may work for some.
  6. Find a comfortable gaze. This may mean the eyes are open or closed. I like to close my eyes. If I chose to do a second meditation at night- I’ll keep my eyes open and use a candle.
  7. Use a simple mantra. My monkey mind can get the best of me. Swinging from thought to thought while I’m trying to be still. Instead of trying to reach up and grab the thoughts I allow them to go on but I focus on a simple thought that turns the volume on those thoights down. Sometimes it’s a simple phrase like ‘I am.’ I inhale on the word I and exhale on am. Inhale and exhale. I…Am…Eventually I come to the place I am quiet- even if only for a moment. If a phrase doesn’t work counting can help- inhale on one and exhale on two.
  8. Be kind (to yourself). It’s not easy to be still- especially in the go go go world. There will be days when it’s torture to sit. Heck, many days are like that- but if every step I take is on the path to enlightenment- I can’t go wrong by trying.
  9. Be consistent. During the first few days- I made time each day to be still. This didn’t work for me. So now- I get up early each morning and begin my day with stillness.
  10. Try again. And again.

It’s been two weeks and I feel…aware. Aware to the idea that living in the moment is powerful. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that meditating is not about emptying my mind but coming to understand it.

 

So- go ahead and sit.

Namaste y’all.