finance · learning · parenting

The Road More Travelled.

12.3.18.jpgOn Friday, I went to the San Anselmo library to find this book I’ve been itching for: The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money.  I’d taken a photo of the cover over 2 years ago when I was working in a school and they hosted a book fair.  (In fact, I took many photos of the parenting section, as there’s little difference sometimes between parenting and teaching.)  And, as I begin to gel my ideas and intention around a blog uniting parenting, finance, and spiritual principles, I wanted to get some inspiration.

I knew that I didn’t have to start from scratch, that there are resources out there—and I’ve fallen down a mini-rabbit hole with a blog site about living frugally, below your means, and retiring early, as part of the “FIRE” (financially independent, retired early) movement!  But, it took me a little while to re-discover the title, as when you’re looking up “money and kids,” you get a lot of results!

This is encouraging.  It seems that part of the backlash of the financial collapse is: How do we help this not happen to our children?  I’m grateful people are asking this question, and are also offering some answers.

As I was cooking dinner yesterday (producing amazing ratatouille from the kitchn website), I was listening to the podcast, “Make me Smart.”  The other day, it was “Conversations from the Corner Office” (you can tell I have a thing for Kai Ryssdal from “Marketplace” on NPR!!).

I’ve been listening to Marketplace for several years, eons before I knew what the numbers meant, before I owned a stock, before I understood why at all I was listening.

I suppose the answer is, because I wanted financial literacy!

I still do.

And one of my intentions in wanting to absorb information on finance, parenting, and values, is that I want to learn to live better in that realm.  And once I learn it, I want to share it.

There are roads that are paved before us; let’s not bushwhack just to say we did.

 

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focus · perseverance · strength

Dig Deep

11.23.18.jpgIn one of her books, Brene Brown talks about having to “dig deep” in hard moments in order to persevere.  J likes to call it a “head down” time, but I have bristled intensely at this phrase as it seems to mean something soul crushing to me but close to encouraging to him.  (I’ve asked him not to tell me “head down”!)

As I work through this time right now when it feels like things are spread thin, like I’m spread thin, I remembered Brene Brown’s phrase, dig deep.  I relate it to what we taught the cross country students about saving just a little in the tank for that last push in order to sprint toward the finish line… though of course in this case (the “life” case) there really is no finish line.  But the sentiment remains: you have access to more power and energy than you think you do, and you can use it, you can dig deeply into the well of yourself to find the power that you need to get through the “right now” that may feel overwhelming.

What feels most challenging to me at the moment is, in this moment of upheaval (moving, relationship rebuilding), to come back to what is most important and critical to me.  This feels like what I need to dig deep in order to do.  To come back to center, as I wrote on Wednesday, and to reframe my whole days and hours and thoughts to arrange themselves around what is most important to me and the course of my life.

It is well and important to think about where to put the empty moving boxes and when I’m going to clear out the hardly-moved-in-to closet so that the carpenter can fix it, but these are also distractions.  I can spend as much time thinking about the minutiae of “home-keeping” as I can on Pinterest… which is to say A LOT!

But envisioning a life and taking actions toward it are two different things.  And I am a visioner.  It is much more difficult for me to meet the rubber at the road.  It is much more challenging to actually do what’s important for me.  And I’ll have to get to the bottom of that veering so that I can dismantle that skewed attachment.

But in the meantime, I would like to tell myself to call on the inner resources of strength and capability and self-esteem to write this blog, to go to the gym, and to find that book that I want to read as part of my path on my journey of writing.

My journey cannot be diffuse, and in order to focus, to truly stay homed (honed?) in on my development, I will have to remind myself regularly, often, and with so much love, to Dig Deep.

 

goals · insanity · meditation

Center

11.21.18We finally had our Goals Group call again last night.  It had been several weeks, folks out of town, my cross country final “meet.”  And it was like an oasis.

Although I’ve been connecting regularly with my action partner via text each morning, letting her know what I hoped to accomplish that day, I was finding that those lists were becoming more and more “task” oriented and much less oriented toward my visions and goals, which is the aim of an action partnership (at least to my understanding).

Further, I was barely getting through any of the items I was texting her.  Because the way it’s currently set up is that we make commitments but don’t follow-up on if we did them or not, I was finding that I was writing lists and then hardly doing any of them!

So, I got to tell as much to my Goals Group last night.  We’ve been working together through a series of questions over seven months now, having weekly calls to share our answers to what our goals are, what’s holding us back, what’s the payoff we’re getting from avoiding our goals — you know, the usual!  And it felt like an anchor last night, a recentering to come back to, “Oh yeah, what am I attempting to do with my life, again?”

It’s all well and good (and necessary) to accomplish the daily tasks of living—like Complete assignment for work, Get car smogged, Pick up paint samples,… Shower daily…—but these tasks do not fulfill the deep needs of my true self, and without holding those needs and goals in my awareness, without anchoring into my “purpose” or vision for my life, I begin to feel lost, unmotivated, and vague in my life, even while accomplishing the tasks of daily living.  Then I begin to feel depressed and listless.

Those tasks are not what bring me to life, so  I need to hold my vision for myself and my life topmost, as it is literally “vital” that I do so.

Therefore, last night I committed to my Goals Group that I would do my morning practice today, Wednesday, and Friday.  Journal, Meditate, Blog.  This practice (all three together!) helps me to remember who I truly am, not an automaton just trying to “get through the day.”  I want more for my life and for myself.  And if I don’t take the time to reflect, if I don’t set aside the hours (yes, hours every morning) to come back to center, to remember who I am and what I want for this one lifetime I am honored to have, then it’s just a series of days falling off the calendar.

I am grateful for the chance to plug back in, to center.  I do not yet feel back “on it” or “in it” — in myself, I guess that is — but I do know that, one day at a time, I will write myself into right thinking, and then think myself into right action.

Welcome back, to both of us.

 

chaos · compassion · order

My humanity is showing.

11.12.18.jpgPardon the mess, it’s just the inside of my brain.  You’ve arrived at a consequential time for me and I haven’t had the time to put all the belongings into their rightful place and order.

This pile here, atop what used to resemble a desk, is all my pending work tasks—the ones at the bottom over a month old.  Over in the kitchen, this disarray is where I collect all of my home related things.  As you see, the junk drawer holds, “Call the shade installer,” “Look up glucosamine supplements,” and “Find a better place for the Sodastream.”

In the heart of the living area is the jumble of my relationships, a pile of body parts.  The ear of my mom, for listening to the chaos and whose call I have to return.  The pointer finger of my dad for his accusation of missing his birthday.  The palm up, “Stop” sign of my inner self reminding me to pause, slow down, and remember my divinity, stillness, and truth.

On the porch, are my running shoes—sorry you tripped on them when you arrived!— dusty, beside a study about the precipitous drop-off of muscle tone as we age and a mishmash of the area’s workout classes.

So, you’ll have to forgive me if I can’t pause to look you in the eye right now.  If my fingernails have created a series of half-moons in my clenched palms, if a fistful of chocolate chips is a reasonable dinner, if my sleep cycle is a jackinthebox poised to awaken me at any moment.

Because, do know: There’s a robot vacuum on its way.

And a bed frame.  And a holiday break.  There are boxes unpacked so I have my favorite bread knife again, designated desk space, and a re-organized medicine cabinet.

Help is on its way.  I’m taking the action—some areas more slowly than others—but the pile will get unpiled, the sneakers will get sneaked, and I will learn anew what it’s like to let myself be human.

 

achievement · courage · progress

Dare Up.

11.9.18One of the points Deepak Chopra made during today’s new meditation experience, “Energize Your Life: Secrets to a Youthful Spirit,” was about opening ourselves to receive the nourishment and energy that we need.  Opening myself to receive is a concept I’ve been on about for a little while, and the idea of “starving at the banquet of life” as its antithesis has similarly been on my mind.

While I have made strides to allow myself to admit what it is I want or desire, I know that I must open still more in order to truly hold the kind of health and abundance I want to have and hold in my life.

Opening myself to what I truly need and want requires a few uncomfortable things from me: 1) acknowledging what I want (which presumes that I have gotten quiet and honest enough to be clear about my desires), and 2) telling other people what I want.

Both of these steps require a vulnerability that feels exposing.  But it also leads me to the lyrics, “Hide it under a bushel? NO! I’m gonna let it shine.”  And you know what seems to happen when people “let it shine,” when they share vulnerably and openly who and what they are?  They inspire other people to want to do the same.

Brene Brown wrote about this idea in her book, Daring Greatly, quoting President Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the arena” speech.  He dramatized that the people who would criticize us for “daring greatly” are generally the ones who aren’t trying to dare greatly themselves.

So if you’re making strides to improve the quality of your life, in any arena — mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, sexually, financially, healthfully, energetically — keep daring, because there are those of us who are still in the bleacher seats, looking to you for courage, inspiration, strength, and invitation.

Dare on, Readers. Dare on.

habits · organization · self-care

A List, not a Litany.

11.8.18“You’d tell me if I had B.O., right?” I called across the house.  

“Why?  When was the last time you took a shower?”

“Errrm, I can’t remember.”

*Chuckling* “Yeah, babe, if you can’t remember, then it’s a sign to take one.”

As these mornings have unfolded in the new house, even though it’s closer to work, I’ve still been barely managing to make it to work on time.  Partly this is because J and I take some time in the morning to talk and be cute, partly it’s because I’m living out of a handful of shopping bags that I’ve moved over from Oakland so nothing feels routine, and partly because I have that drowsing in my head that says, “You live closer to work now, you have more time, go slow!” so maybe I’m not quite as rushed as I felt in Oakland…which was and is part of the luxury of living here in the first place!!

So, this morning, I began to write down a list, not a litany.  (The other day, J intoned to me, as I rattled off all the things I needed to do, “A list, not a litany,” as I’ve chanted to him!  Damnit that he listens to me!)

On the list is (yes) shower, talk to boss, exercise, call a mover, look up a Roomba, holiday cards, call my Dad (for his birthday which was on Tuesday and I didn’t call)… and, frankly, the list does go on.

But at least it’s there.  When it is a litany, it is unmanageable and unactionable.  There’s no toe-hold to make movement from when I’m rattling and lamenting.  But, with a list, there are concrete steps, even if they feel overwhelming as a whole.

One checkbox at a time and many of the items will be ticked off.  The move is temporary, the 7th grade trip will be confirmed, my dad only has a birthday once a year.

Sure, several of the items are daily (or should be!), like showering, blogging and meditating, but it reminds me only that I need to re-print and re-start my Habit Calendar, which had helped me to keep track of all the daily, weekly, and monthly items I needed.

A list trumps a litany any day.  A list connotes order.  A list infers completion.

So, first, dear reader: A shower.

 

finance · goals · parenting

Next steps.

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Yes, that’s me, during a 2015 modeling shoot.  Guess I was prescient! 😉

As J and I were driving into SF on Saturday, up and over the hills from the Marina to the Mission, I had a brainwave.

We were continuing the discussion (begun many moons ago) about kids, their time and financial impact on our lives, and the well-worn difference between what I anticipate it will be like and what he will.

When I tell him that I’ve done the research and kids cost x amount a year, he laughs and says, “Where? In Des Moines?!”  So I said that I would do some research on it, see what financially savvy mommy blogs there might be.

And that’s when it struck me: I’ve been aiming to transfer my blog to some kind of regular magazine column, and to preferably make some kind of money off this writing I’ve been doing for over the 10,000 hours they say it takes for a person to become an expert.  But, aside from the general tenor of the writing I do here, what would be my hook?

I paused in my speech, and said, I think I just had a lightbulb moment.

What if I started a blog about learning and becoming and refining what it takes to be a financially sound parent?

If we learn best by doing, wouldn’t it be great if I researched what information was out there, and coalesced my learning into my own writing?

So, I began to search the web.  When I type in “financially savvy mommy,” I get a lot of results.  I also found an article that listed the 25 “best” finance & parenting blogs and began diving into those.

What I saw was what I’d kinda hoped: Most of them suck.

Or rather: many were 404 not found anymore, or were about how to clip coupons and crochet a hairshirt, or were just clippings from other websites.

Very few (in my limited research so far) had what it was I’m looking for… which is great, because it means a vacuum and niche exists.

Combine the vision-, goals-, and values-based living I have and want to strengthen with the financial acumen I’m learning and also want to strengthen, and then aim that in the direction of planning for, raising, and thriving as a family — with a little irreverence and humor thrown in?

Well, that’s a blog I want to read.  So I better get to writing. ❤