So I was doing some internal work a while ago about money. Now, as it happens, I have a pretty good relationship with money. I like money, I usually have enough, I don’t mind paying bills and since I always pay my bills on time, I have a very sexy credit score.But I couldn’t help noticing that while I always had enough money, I never had more than enough. My standard of living hasn’t changed much in the past 20 years, and I was feeling like I’d like to participate more fully in the economy; I want to buy stuff.
I took a piece of paper and started writing down all the ways I thought I was about money: thrifty, smart, easy, responsible, careful, respectful, appreciative. All well and good. But what about the opposite? What about the ways I thought I wasn’t allowed to be about money?
I started going with the idea that “what you can’t be with, runs you.” In other words, if you can’t stand the idea of being rude, then you spend your whole life in terror of rudeness, and you let your fear of rudeness make your decisions for you. But if you can admit that (sometimes) you are rude, then you can just go about your generally-polite life aware that sometimes rudeness happens, and that’s OK. (Especially if you apologize afterwards.)
So what do I think I can’t be around money? Hmmm: irresponsible, careless, profligate, reckless, wasteful, disrespectful, ungrateful… With each word I made a picture in my mind of me behaving in that way. Irresponsible? Yes, I could definitely think of a time or two that had happened. Careless? Certainly. Profligate? Well, not really, but I sort of liked the image that appeared in my mind of me just throwing money around, buying stuff without looking at the pricetag – very Auntie Mame. This was fun. Then. Then. Then I wrote down the word “thief.”
Well. Clearly a person can’t be a thief. That would just be wrong. But I was committed to my “opposites” game, so I started to think, “where in my life am I a thief?” And it came to me:
The quarter-inch of lotion in the bottle I couldn’t bring myself to throw away or replace, because there was still some left.
The freebie lipstick that was the wrong color but I kept it anyway.
The clothes in my closet that don’t fit.
The time I stole from my writing to ditz around doing nothing much at all.
Those items – the ones I was hanging on to out of a sense of “thrift” – were STEALING from me! They were stealing my time, my attention, my space, even my ability to liberally apply lotion after my morning shower!
And I was stealing my own art right from under my nose.I was the thief, stealing from myself over and over again.
I was stealing my ability to live in the moment. I was even stealing my faith in the future. I was stealing away from myself the thought that maybe, if I got rid of the junky bit of lotion or the ugly lipstick or the ill-fitting clothes, that there would still be enough to go around. That I could “splurge” on new clothes that fit the body I live in right now. I was stealing the 15 minutes a day I could be spending working on my book – which also meant stealing my integrity.
That’s what my misplace sense of thrift was really stealing: my ability to live in full integrity in this moment. Right Now.
As you are probably old enough to know: Right Now is all we have.
Right Now is the whole banana. We all have friends who have left this earth – they don’t have a Right Now anymore. (Perhaps they are in an eternal Right Now?) But we have Right Now, and we deserve to have items in our lives that suit our life Right Now.
So stop saving things “for good” – use the good silver every day.
Stop keeping clothes that don’t fit – someone else needs them.
Stop fretting – spending 10 minutes debating the relative merits of one shampoo that’s 50 cents cheaper than another shampoo is NOT the highest and best use of your time.
Stop wasting time on television shows you’ve already seen. Don’t let TV or video games be a thief.
And finally, stop pretending that you not spending the time or money on your ART that you know it needs and deserves in order to come full flower is somehow a good idea. Don’t be the thief of your own creativity.
Find the thieves in your world and give them a big hug and kiss and let them go.
Right Now needs you.