Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Money - Blech

"The problem of money dogs our steps throughout the whole of our lives, exerting a pressure that, in its way, is as powerful and insistent as any other problem of human existance. And it haunts the spiritual search as well."
--Jacob Needleham

"Think of our relationship to nature, to ideas, to pleasure," he challenges us. "Think of our sense of self-identity and self-respect; think of where we live and with what things we surround ourselves; think of all our impulses to help others or serve a large cause; where we go, how we travel, with whom we associate - or just think of what you were doing yesterday, or what you will be doing tomorrow, or in an hour. The money factor is there, wrapped around or lodged inside everything. Think of what you want or what you dream of, for now, or next year, or for the rest of your life. It will take money, a certain, definite amount."
--Simple Abundance, quoting Jacob Needleham

I spent most of my day yesterday reading about the Spiritual Discipline of Stewardship and Generosity for work. We're planning to focus each month of the coming year around one of the Spiritual Disciplines, or practices, and we're starting off with a BANG - talking about money and giving! So I started educating myself this weekend - and the more I read, the more I was thinking about how I spend money - where and for what.

As the holiday catalogs are already rolling in (I had 6 in the mail just yesterday!), and as we look ahead to talking about the Spiritual Discipline of Simplicity throughout Advent... It's making me take another look at how we give gifts, how we buy ourselves those things that have great sales at Christmas, how we save for the future, and how we give some away...

Today's reading in Simple Abundance talks about our spending habits (how appropriate, huh?). It encourages you to look back over your life - all the jobs you've had, the big ones and the baby-sitting or dog-sitting - and start to estimate how much money you have earned in your life... Depending on your age and salaries, you could have let millions of dollars slip through your fingers already! That's just crazy to think about...

Then, the book suggests, that for one week you write down every penny you spend and whether you used cash, credit, or check. At the end of the week, list your expenditures under these headings: Necessities, Comforts, Wants, Indulgences, Extravagances, Insanity (and I would add, Charity). At the end of the process, look over your list - what purchases were worth it? What made you smile? What made you feel regret? What could you have passed on? And how much money would you have saved if you had skipped the purchases that made you sigh?

I don't know about you, but I crave a simpler life. I crave to live differently - more simply, and less in the rat race to be like everyone else. So this is where I'm going to start... I don't think it's going to be easy - but maybe this is just the re-focusing I need to get me started!

I leave you today with a prayer I found in my readings this weekend:
(Take a dollar bill out of your wallet and place it in front of you with the "In God We Trust" facing you.)
"Guard me against the arrogance of privilege, against the indulgence of feeling that I don't have enough, and the poverty of spirit that refuses to acknowledge what is daily given to me. Keep me truthful in knowing where I spend, where my values actually are. Let me not skip this monthly knowing. Instruct me in judicious spending and in gratitude with no holds barred."
--Gunilla Norris

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Sore muscles from working out yesterday.
2. The hubby bought me cereal.
3. Everyone liked my ideas today! Woo-hoo!
4. I really like our new music director - she's cool.
5. Getting lots of chances to be helpful to people.
6. Signing up to do The Walk to End Hunger on Thanksgiving! (The Walk raises money for the local food shelves in the Twin Cities area - I'm walking specifically to support Neighbor's Inc.)
7. Most of my book group doing the Walk with me!
8. Book group was back to normal tonight - good discussion, lots of laughs, supportive friends.
9. The hubby cleaned the bathrooms!
10. Diane's chocolate chip banana bread recipe - yum-o!

5 comments:

Beth said...

Wow...very powerful...how did you know that my weekend was partly spent in angst about money?? Thanks

Melissa said...

Very interesting. I have gotten much better in recent years at telling myself no. I will want something for years before buying things sometimes. My big goal in life right now is paying off debt....I hate student loans and despise having a car payment every month (we went several years without having one).

I want simplicity too, I crave it. I've been lucky though that I don't feel such an urge to "keep up with the Jones'" that I am willing to go into debt over it and that helps a bit with the simplicity.

See you tonight! I'll be there, even if I'm in pain!

Carol E. said...

Love the new look of your blog. Glad to hear Mike did the bathrooms! He's a keeper.

Country Girl said...

See how much you have to be thankful for?!! Husbands cleaning the bathrooms is more romantic than a lot of other things I can think of.

Andrea, the collector said...

Meg-

One of the things I've started realizing as I've been spending more time at home is that everything I own needs to be taken care of in some way...watered, cleaned, dusted, etc. The more "stuff" I have, the more care and time is demanded. If I have or buy more than I need, it either sucks away my time or gets neglected and becomes clutter. It's made me think a bit more about what I want, need, use, etc. Do the things I have bring me happiness? Are they high quality and or beautiful? Am I willing to lovingly care for them? Or are they excess and unnecesary? It doesn't address some of the other things you write about (charity or savings, for instance), but it's one of the things I'm thinking about in connection with money and simplicity.

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