Looking Out My Back Window #150

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Originally posted on Facebook HERE

It’s a weird Memorial Day weekend. Normally the beginning of the Summer festival season here in Wisconsin… some of the events are going on, but many have social distancing criteria in place. I have friends on both sides of the issue, some throwing caution to the wind and just going about business as usual, others taking every precaution to not catch the virus. And a whole host of people caught in the middle taking precautions, but trying to get back to being able to go places and do things again. Maybe even see other people. Even a hug is met with a lot of trepidation these days. Strange times. This morning I was thinking a little about giving and receiving, and how an attitude of gratitude can affect our lives vs. a sense of entitlement. Every day, as I end my yoga session and come out of savasana, I think two thoughts: “thank you” and “I am so grateful”. I have had some pretty severe highs and lows in my life, and I’m grateful for it all. Life experiences make us who we are today. In almost every financial book I’ve read (and I’ve read a lot of them), they advise to save 10% and give 10%. I have to believe very few people actually do either one of those with regularity. But if you were to pick one over the other, I’d say most people would side with saving 10%. Many retirement plans match up to 6%, so employees will put that much in, them maybe also save in a savings account outside of work. Maybe. The hard fact is most people don’t save that much, much less give that much. And it can create all kinds of weird mental baggage, too. I remember years ago I was just really living paycheck to paycheck, and I wanted to give money to a cause I believed in. I think the amount was $20. But… if I gave that $20, what was I taking it from? Was I then not going to have the money to pay a bill?… I couldn’t give freely, because the thought of even giving that small an amount created tension in my mind. There’s a reason the 10% rule is in so many books on finance. It has to do with calming ourselves when it comes to money. Saving 10% says to the Universe “Myself and my family come first”. Giving 10% says “I have more than enough”. The reality is we often can’t see starting that high, though – 10% seems like way too much. So, start with what you can afford with 10% as the ultimate goal. $1 from every paycheck? It’s more important to start the habit than it is to do 10% right out of the gate. Even if it’s just $1 per paycheck. Then, when that charity comes calling – and you have $5 saved to give away – you can give it freely knowing it will not cause any financial stress. It was money you put aside just for that purpose. The trick is to start from wherever you’re at, though. We all have reasons not to do this right now. “Maybe I’ll do that once I pay this bill”, or “I’ll do it once I get called back to work”, etc. Maybe it’s only a nickel. Five cents from every paycheck. Start the habit. See what happens. And – as for receiving – we all keep mental tallies. So, when your neighbor gets a new rototiller and stops by with his old one and just gives it to you to be nice… in our minds there’s a debt owed. You take the tiller, but a year later when your neighbor needs help moving some heavy equipment – you can’t really say no, right? You still owe him for the rototiller. What if we could just give and receive without the mental baggage? We need to see ourselves as important. Our health, physically, spiritually and financially, are important. We also need to realize we have more than enough. No matter where we’re at, we have more than enough. If you read those words and your mind starts going crazy thinking about all the reasons you do not have more than enough – which voice is that? Is that the calm voice of God within you, or the voice that narrates your life? Look around you. Get calm. Be grateful for what you have. Living like you don’t have enough, never will have enough, can’t ever get enough… is living from a place where something is lacking. It’s a place of fear. Living with gratitude starts moving you into living from a place of love. And the only time we can control is now. Now is the time to move forward with gratitude and love.

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