B269EAC0-B22A-48D9-9B9B-7FC91133119C

Tag Archives: Philosophy

Money: 10 things every woman should know

imageRecently a new college grad asked me if I had any advice on “getting rich”.

First thought, getting rich, seriously?  What does “rich” even mean anymore?

Second thought, getting rich has never been a goal of mine.  My goal has been to be financially secure enough that I can make life choices based on my values.

Then I thought, there are many things wise women have shared with me that changed my view of money and forever changed my life for the better.  So I will change the question and answer…

What should every woman know about money:

1. Money is a tool (it is not inherently good or bad).

2. Know yourself and make choices based on your values.

3. Every loan or credit card purchase has to be paid back, ensure you only borrow for investments in your future (useful degree, affordable house, etc. not  clothing-vacations-cars).

4. Live below your means (starting out this might even mean roommates, a bike instead of car, used furniture, learning to cook cheaply).

5. Let others pay the retail price (ebay, consignment, craigslist are your friends, even today my designer wardrobe is mostly ebay.  I will not pay $500 for my DVF dresses when I can buy them with no sign of wear on Ebay for $100).

image

6. Save first.  From my first paycheck out of school I maxed my 401k contribution.  I also set up direct deposit for my savings (which is how I bought my first house at 22).  The trick is, if you never see the money, you can’t spend it.  My budget (house payment, car choice, entertainment budget) is based on the post-savings income.

7. Don’t waste money on taxes.  Max your401k, look into a Roth IRA, Flex Spending Account (FSA), donate items and keep the receipt.

8. Read the fine print. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is, always read the fine print before signing something with a financial component.

9. Don’t procrastinate.  Too often procrastination costs us money.  Read the fine print, know the deadlines and take action well ahead of time (to allow for errors and delays).  Keeping one calendar and to-do list helps.

10. Don’t rely on someone else to meet your financial goals.  You need to know your financial picture whether on your own, married, or with billionaire parents.   There is no knight in shining armor to rush in and save you financially.        Knowing what is happening with your finances and making decisions puts you in position to use money as tool and not be caught surprised down the road.

So none of my advice is flashy or ground-breaking.  It doesn’t have to be, money is in reality pretty simple and I love simple.

 

Beauty; my mission and it is not what you think

image

Beauty.

Bring beauty into being, simplicity into lives, the realness and rawness of beauty.

Not the cover girl version, or the sexy or manufactured images of beauty we are sold.

Real beauty, beauty in words, books, images, truth, loves and friendships.  As in the innocence of a little babe exploring this great world, the beauty in the cry of a mother facing loss.  The real-ness, the authentic beauty of what is real, sacred and imbued with spirit.

The beautiful strength that comes from facing fears and growing through them.

The acorn is not afraid of the massive oak it might become, it just is, and grows as it is able.  So do I.

Beautiful, strong, growing, giving and filled with love.

So, come here when you need beauty, or have beauty to share, the world is simply us, the more beauty we create, the more beautiful it is.

Being Grateful in Every Moment

imageI was once a full-on hippie, living from my car, camping my way across this North American continent.  Barely 18 and driving myself from the Midwest to Alaska. I rejected family, commitment, and mostly, responsibility.  I sought truth, the wild, beauty, and answers to the purpose of this life.

My life today is different.  I live in a lovely home, work a professional job, have a husband, children and daily commitments.  I have to carve time for adventures into the wild, and usually I bring my children with me.


image

Yet the truth seeker, the beauty seeker, the wild seeker, she has not left.

So when I recently overheard someone telling a group to “stop seeking the answers of life for as soon as you find the answer, the questions will change” I was shocked.

Isn’t that the very point?  Follow with me for a moment.  As a child I was obsessed with reading historical literature (the whole living a thousand lives through books).  Then I became obsessed with religion and spirituality.  That transitioned into a questioning of the status quo and American Dream, which lead me to Alaska and exploring true wilderness (while learning to do so safely).  From there I delved into science, which lead me to a rewarding career.  The professional life and subsequent financial planning led to questioning my values and purpose in life.  Thanks to all the previous questioning (and answering) it was easy to  know my/my partner’s values and uproot our lives to better align with those values.  Now that we have children, all of those previous cycles of questioning and answering have culminated in the responsibility of raising people who will go out into the world and make their own way (a bonus of the Alaska years is knowing how to safely take them into the wild).

The constantly changing questions in my life have fueled my evolution.  

So, what does ring true to me?  I no longer reject commitment, responsibility, even tradition.  What I have come to believe wholeheartedly is:

The purpose of life is to be grateful in every moment.  

I used to read that line and scoff, how can I be grateful in the face of loss, tragedy?  Now I live these words, for the worst in my life has prepared me for the best.

And the commitments I used to flee, now I am thankful. Every commitment in my life, shows how my life is interconnected to those I love.

As I wrote that last line, I received a message from a beloved friend.  Her eldest is in the hospital with a newly-diagnosed, serious disease.  He is three.  Her third child is in her womb, past her due date.

My heart races to her, yet she is across the country and I cannot immediately be there. I am trying to get there.  Once there, I could help, sure, but I cannot take the challenging roles she must play out.  I cannot birth her baby for her, as much as I wish.  She has been up at night for weeks taking care of her son, waiting for some cure, diagnosis and she is exhausted.  I could sit at her son’s bedside but it is her that he wants and her that needs to be there.  In times like this it is so clear how strong we must be (in this instance, as mothers) and how deep our commitments must run.

It is moments like these that the biggest lesson I have learned comes heavily to me.

My life is to love.  My life’s work is to act on that love, to be strong for those who need strength, to be present for those who need me.  

It’s why the outcome of the mountaintop retreat is for me to give up my career in the next 8 months.  I have the answers to the questions that particular career gave me, and my focus has shifted again.  My role has changed and being at work, no matter how rewarding at one time, is no longer my focus, nor deepest commitment.

image

Before I pick up my pen- writing routine

image I was once told that Jamie Kirkland (one of my favorite painters), does not pick up her brush until she has reached a meditative state.  Given that my attraction to her paintings is for their serene quality, I believe this statement, whether true or not.

I have since employed the same technique before picking up my pen to write (or my camera to shoot).  I feel a heightened mental and sensory state occurs after a bit of meditation.  My words and purpose seem to vibrate at the surface of my awareness.  My work has greater clarity and concludes with greater satisfaction.

I’ve written before about writing and Morning Pages (see Julia Cameron).  I still employ the technique of daily, 15 minute, uninterrupted, stream-of-conscience writing.  However, as the mother of toddlers, I have had to modify the practice.

The idea of setting an alarm for before they awake, to write for 15 minutes in bed before anything else, is great.  The reality with toddlers is they wake up on their own schedule.  I recognize that this season of my life is dedicated to needs.   The needs of the boys, work, hubby, and my own needs.  I often need to sleep until they awake, to catch up on the missed sleep of previous days, weeks, years.  Yet the creative side of myself cannot be put on the shelf,  so I modify and find a space for creation in my life.

Writing Routine

My routine begins when I step into my studio for the day. First, I space clear (put away anything out of place).  Since I usually do this before leaving in the evening, this doesn’t take long.  I am one who has difficulty ignoring a mess.  I find the mind keeps returning to things left undone.

Second, I do a few yoga postures to release any tension and quiet my mind (reach my meditative state). Third, I set my intention for the day.  Typical intentions are: health, strength, listen, love, respect, calm, centered, open.

Next, I light a few candles (repeating my intention each time), turn on some centering music (Deuter and Takenobu are regulars), and set my phone timer for at least 15 minutes.

It is then that I pick up my pen and write uninterrupted until the timer goes off.  I write continuously, stream of conscious.  It is important to not self-edit, to not worry about a reader.  This way one can really see where they are and what is needed in ones life that day.

This morning, my entire focus was on sharing my routine with others.  It has helped me greatly in my life.  I share in case it helps someone else.  So here it is, Namaste.

Enter to Win $4K Back-to-School Prize at Tea Collection