The Yoga of MoneyDec 14, 2021
Yoga and money may seem unrelated.
However, as a long-time yoga practitioner, I can honestly say I have learned more about taking action in ways that are truly aligned with what I want in my relationship with money by applying what I've learned practicing yoga. Sometimes the accounting background helps, but mostly - it’s the yoga. In particular, the powerful practice of ahimsa, or non-harming. Non-harming is the first - I mean absolute FIRST - principle of yoga. It isn't turning yourself into a pretzel and calling it spiritual enlightenment, but non-harming.
As you might imagine, the instruction is don’t hurt yourself or others. Simple enough right? The majority of humans don’t set out with the intent to harm.
However, this gets messy quickly.
Non-harming must begin with you. Let me repeat that. You must begin with you... extending that sweet non-harming to YOU FIRST. To extend something to another without first considering yourself is an out-of-balance approach. Though it may seem kind, It isn't truly kind to those around you and is often an attempt to gain approval and recognition - or a backward attempt to get your own needs met.
In the end, with money, putting others first only leads to emotional burnout or debt, which doesn’t serve anyone when it’s all said and done. In evaluating the way you earn, invest, or spend your money (especially around the holidays), it is critical to understand at a heart level that extending non-harming toward yourself is the kindest gift you can give to yourself - and also give to the people in your life.
Everyone benefits from non-harming.
The way you treat yourself - and spend your money (or not) - can be such a powerful reflection on your sense of self-worth. So it can be challenging to prioritize your financial well-being, especially during the holidays. However, by pausing to consider what would be non-harming to you with your money, you are affirming your self-worth and you can begin the new year with a sense of abundance. In addition, by setting loving boundaries and clear expectations, you give others permission to examine whether the way they spend their money harms themselves or others.
I know some of you worry that you will cause harm by saying no to others’ expectations of you around holiday gift-giving and celebrations, which often become expected over-spending. I want to assure you that usually, it does no harm to say no to others and yes to yourself. In fact, in most cases, just the opposite is true. When you are feeling obligated to spend money in ways that aren’t aligned for you, it can be helpful to look at the bigger picture of your relationship.
What kind of freedom could you begin to invite others to experience if they are mired in a painful story of obligation to traditions? Are others really wanting you to fulfill their wishes and dreams? Then the highest good that you can offer them (and yourself) is a loving no.
I’m not saying the other person will be thrilled; however, you are giving those around you an opportunity to learn how powerful and resilient they are. You are inviting them to examine their relationship to money, to indulgent consumption, and to make choices that are non-harming for them - showing them the way to spend money in alignment with what they truly desire. In this way, you are truly recognizing their worth - and your own - by saying no, gently.
Say YES to what really matters.
I would invite you to envision what holiday spending would look like if you were extending non-harming toward yourself and your checkbook. How much of the holiday spending you do is simply because of tradition or what you think is expected of you? If any element of the way you spend during the holiday elicits fear or resentment - you are harming yourself.
This month, I invite you to define your own vision for holiday spending with non-harming in mind. This is the ultimate yoga of money, to practice saying yes to your integrity and where you really want to direct the flow of your money during the holidays - and beyond.
I would love to hear where you land with non-harming and holiday spending. Tell me everything.
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