Saturday, December 31, 2016

Body Talk

I used to be prejudiced toward older people. Maybe I still am. I didn’t realize the prejudice existed. I thought I was cool and that I calculated people's value equally.

As I aged, the bias turned itself against me. I loved my flaming curly red hair, but at age 52, I felt the call of wild: “Go natural.” I cut my hair into a boy-like cut and waited for the salt and pepper. It wasn’t there. My daily mirror checks exposed a crop of white hair. I called myself Que-tip. I was one white-topped woman. One day a child pointed at me and asked his mom, “What is that grand mama doing?” I hold nothing against being a grand mom—really, I love it—but something snapped. That day I stepped out of my youth and became an older adult. I entered the youth of my old age.

I remember climbing the steps of the pyramids outside of Mexico City. I was greeted by an elder who said, “Welcome to the end of your youth.” I was 40 and wasn’t ready to give it up! I thought, “What does he know?” Twelve years later, I gave in. I was maturing.

I began to notice subtle changes in the way people looked at me. Maybe it was a projection, but people looked through me or past me as they hurried through their lives. As a younger woman, one who was often center stage, I was used to being noticed, but now, I receded to the sidelines of life.

My sister had a heart attack and I raced to LA to assist her recovery. When she returned home, she carried an assisted living package – a walker.  All of the sudden walkers were cool. I checked out the older passersby as I strolled through the streets of LA. I stopped and talked with people about their walkers. Behind these walkers were interesting people, not old folks. Again, my prejudices made themselves known. I previously looked down on people using canes and walkers, but now my contemporaries were using walking aids, wheel chairs, and scooters. As I awakened from a silent fog, I wondered, “How many filters and preconceived notions lurk in the dark corners of my mind? What thoughts do I look through that determine how I view others?” There’s not an answer; it was a moment of recognition: the mind has its secrets.

I’ve settled into my older years and continue to uncover and heal my prejudices. People don’t look at me the way they used to, but I’ve discovered that the transition from younger to older is not only about who I think I am; it’s about letting go of an image that I believed gave me some kind of advantage in life. No longer do I hold the success images of youth. I have less money; my wrinkled face watches the jiggles as I walk. Things hang off my body that previously stood at attention, but there’s a softness replacing the vigor of youth. There’s a knowing that I never was those things. I was never a body. I was never young or old. I was never my thoughts or beliefs. They were just an operating system. I was more, always more, and knowing that certainly makes my life EZier and EZier.


Friday, December 9, 2016

Money Relationship Healing

Our culture is fanatical about money. We believe there’s not enough. Even when we have enough in the moment, there’s a projection that our financial future will possibly be bleak. It’s like saying that a poisonous snake will jump out in front of us at any minute during the next 40 years, and we had better prepare. We give away our health, ignore our loved ones, and keep ourselves in overdrive in order to get more money. Our cultural mantra is “More money,” as if money could fix any problem we might face.

We judge people by how much money they have. Women seem to be more attracted to the power money brings than to the looks of a possible mate. We equate success with money and too often forget about the quality of our lives as the most important ingredient of success. Money is the god of our contemporary society.

Money is neutral. It is inanimate. It comes in paper, metal, plastic, and numbers on a computer screen. But if money is neutral, there shouldn’t be a problem, but there is. What is the real problem? The problem lies in our relationship with money. Most people have a dysfunctional relationship with money.

Once we have enough money to pay our bills and to live comfortably, our focus should move toward other kinds of activities, but it usually doesn’t. When it comes to money, there is a lot of fear. If we could heal our fears around money, the world would not only be a better place, greed would dissolve, and our lives could open to a greater happiness. Unfortunately, if our parents worried about money, we will probably worry about money too. Regrettably, we inherit worrying patterns from our elders – but relax, there is hope.

Here are some suggestions that can heal your relationship with money. Remember, having enough money to live a good life is wonderful, but building a life around money, robs us of our lives.

Suggestions for healing your relationship with money.
  • Recognize that money is innocent. It is not the root of all evil. It is a neutral means of exchange. It’s okay to have money.
  • Write a money worry payoffs page daily for one month. Complete the following: 5 Payoffs (benefits) I receive from worrying about money are:
Examples of payoffs would be:
    1. It’s a familiar habit and I identify with it and like to worry.
    2. My parents worried about money and I feel disloyal to them if I don’t worry about money.
    3. It feeds my addiction to drama and upset.
    4. It gives me something to complain about with others.
    5. Worrying about money is a game and I like to play it. (“Ain’t it Awful” is a game in which people talk about how awful things are. It could be money, the government, smokers, etc. The activity passes time, but people leave the conversation feeling uncomfortable. Games thwart intimacy.) If you prefer, write 5 payoffs for not having enough money.
  • Contemplate this thought for 5 minutes a day for 30 days. “I appreciate the money I have and I am okay with money.” See what comes up. Take notes. Rooting old beliefs from the subconscious mind helps free us from their power over us.
  • Make a pact with yourself not to worry about money for 30 days. At the end of 30 days, see how your experiment worked. Did anything bad happen because you didn’t worry? Were you able to break the habit?
  • We try to amass money to cover up feelings of lack. My free program “40 Days to Abundance” moves you from lack to abundance.
If you are constantly worried about money, and you have enough to meet your daily needs, I invite you to start the money relationship healing process. It’s never too late to improve your relationship with money, and when you do, you feel better about money, and your life will definitely be EZier and EZier.