“Healing ourselves on the spiritual level involves developing a strong connection with our soul. We heal ourselves on the mental level as we become aware of our core beliefs, release those that limit us, and open to more supportive ideas and greater understanding. Emotional healing takes place as we learn to accept and experience the full range of our feelings. And we heal ourselves on the physical level when we learn to honor and care for our bodies, and for the physical world around us.” ~Shakti Gawain
Years ago, one of the primary worries I took with me to the mountains was financial—insufficient income, several bills, along with taking a risk to buy my country property back when I had nothing (I figured I could always sell for the equity if necessary, instead of always watching rent money fly away) meant money was moving around more than coming my way. But in time, I realized what at first was startling to me—money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Quite a few people struggle with (well, actually, against) the reality (Yes! The reality!) that money isn’t hard to come by (yes, I’m talking legally here—and ethically). The trouble is that most people usually don’t simply want money.
Once, between projects, I took a brief stint as Executive Director of a local Theater, a non-profit organization using a historic space for community events. They were broke, and wanted to expand their programming and increase their funding. I had long held a lot of ideas for this small city community, and accepted the opportunity to grow a few of them. But first, we’d need cash—and we weren’t going to get it by doing the same things that got them broke.
I remembered from my days managing Seven Rays Book Store, a metaphysical gathering spot, that customers would frequently come in and peruse the wall of cards from psychics, astrologers, palmists, tarot readers and so forth, asking how they would ever know whom to pick. At the same time, those same card-posting practitioners would come in and lament the lack of clients. I sensed opportunity.
I sent out an invitation to the practitioners offering them spots at $50 to come read for the day. I also asked them if they’d like to give a talk, to educate participants and help give an idea of what they do. Used to far higher booth fees (and sometimes a percentage of their profits), practitioners jumped at the chance, happy they could charge whatever they wished, and keep it. I sent press releases to area media outlining the event and the talks as an entertainment option, and wrote a few guest columns to profile some of the practitioners. We charged something small ($3 or $5 dollars, something like that, I don’t remember) for admission, and once inside, people could attend the talks and walk around to visit with several practitioners and to get a reading if they wished. And we cleared—CLEARED–$3,000. That easy.
A local restaurant owner in a nearby town had always loved psychic fairs, and asked about putting on one in her establishment. I figured why not, and assembled a smaller group (for the smaller space) and made it a two day event. Word of the early event had got out, and I had new people, from an FBI psychic profiled on NBC to a tea leaf reader. I cleared over $2,000 for essentially a weekend’s work. Several of the participants cleaned up too, taking home between $800 and $1,200 each.
I did one more event, renting a ballroom in a city an hour away, and getting a smaller response this time. A local radio station did a phone interview with one of the astrologers, and a reasonable crowed assembled. I cleared $1,500 that weekend, but the novelty was wearing off, and I moved on to other projects.
Tim Ferriss, in The Four Hour Work Week, points out that instead of waiting to be wealthy enough to travel and live or work in other countries, recognize that many countries have such lower costs of living that it’s actually cheaper to live there than at home. Alex Baisley tells of an Irish businessman he met in the Caribbean who had realized he could spend three months vacation every year in the Caymans without it costing him any more—in fact, if he rented out his house in Ireland, he’d come out ahead in the deal. It may be possible to live the life of royalty right now, not someday. Retirees are moving to places like Costa Rico, for example, to exponentially increase the value of their savings.
I see people dropping $50/week on lottery tickets, because “Hey, you never know!” Yes you do. The odds of getting struck by lightning, one in a million, are far greater than the posted lottery odds. Do people go running scared in storms because “Hey, you never know”? Others drop $50/week or better on cigarettes. I used to on beer (the year I quit drinking, I put $5000 in my savings account).
If from age 20 to age 65 you put $200/month aside in a stock index fund averaging 8% over the long term, you would retire with $1 million and change on a $108,000 total investment—ten times your money. Why? Letting your investment compound over time. If, for example, you waiting until age 40 and invested the same $108,000 spread over the 25 years to retirement ($360/month), you’d only have $340,000 at retirement. If you waited until age 50, with only 15 years ($600/month), you’d only have $211,000. Twice your investment, vs. ten times. $150/week vs. $50/week.
This is where the excuses start. “But you could lose money!” Not likely over 45 years; definitely a higher risk over just 15 years. And there are other investments than stock market index funds—this is just one example. “But I can’t afford it!” people tell me, as they pick up their iPhones, iPods, and laptops as they head outside to smoke. “But I want to enjoy life!” Learning to set aside a little for yourself first is very easy once you’re in the habit. You won’t miss it. Just remember—every dollar you’re spending at age 20 is ten dollars at retirement; every ten dollars now is $100 dollars at retirement; every hundred dollars now is $1000 dollars at retirement. That $400 iPhone sounds different when it reduces your return by $4000.
Every so often you’ll see in the newspaper some janitor or similar not-so-great-paying profession passed away and left millions to some charity. It’s not hard to do. Being a millionaire simply takes a little discipline and a little time. In the U.S., you could even save it in a Roth IRA and pay no taxes on the returns.
So why don’t people do this?
Despite what they say and think, money is not that important to them. Short term gratification is instead. And that’s fine—just don’t mistake it as money problems.
To get beyond the perceived barriers (they aren’t actually there) about money means taking a look at ourselves. We need to first get clear about who we are, what we want, why we want it, what lifestyle we want with it, who we want to do it with, and so forth. This usually isn’t easy. In her book Creating True Prosperity, Shakti Gawain explains:
“Most of the limiting patterns in our lives are rooted in deep emotional wounds that require a certain amount of time and attention to heal. Even more profound is the spiritual emptiness many of us feel when we experience disconnection from our soul. We can only heal this emptiness by finding a way to reconnect with our spiritual essence.”
In short, people don’t pursue the money because that situation, as all our situations do, reflects the inner reality of ourselves. As long as we’re conflicted, so will our environment remain. That kind of healing takes time—hence the perceived difficulty. But that difficulty is not with money, but with personal healing.
It’s what I love so much about taking my problems to the mountains—several of them turn out to not be problems at all, and the rest are usually things I can do something about. Turns out I’m not the victim of circumstance at all—including financially, hard as that may be so see at first.
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October 2012 is a series of daily posts about “A Wilderness Hike,” taking readers through the healing of wilderness experience and glimpses of my work at Kwan Yin Healing and of my book, “Getting Unstuck.”
You can read the series from the start via the links here:
Oct. 1: A Wilderness Hike
Oct. 2: The Sixth Hour
Oct. 3: Snowy Mountain
Oct. 4: Letting Go of Baggage–the Wilderness Way
Oct. 5: “Bear” the Thought
Oct. 6: Mountain. Buddha. Impermanence.
Oct. 7: The Rewards of Rain
Oct. 8: Finding the Keys
Oct. 9: “I’d love to, but times are bad.”
Oct. 10: Attracting the Law of Attraction
Oct. 11: We are not our thoughts
Oct. 12: Honesty, Forgiveness, Healing
Oct. 13: Getting Unstuck: Feeling Overwhelmed
Oct. 14: Money is remarkably easy to come by, if that’s all you want.
Oct. 15: To be Time Rich, Learn to Be
Oct. 16: Changing Thoughts for Changing Work
Oct. 17: Finding and Sharing your Gifts
Oct. 18: Do you want to be the boss? Be sure you want to run the show.
Oct. 19: Finding jobs within jobs
Oct. 20: Bright Mountain Dream
Oct. 21: Escape the Wilderness of Addictions
Oct. 22: The Importance of Spiritual Direction
Oct. 23: In Search of Enlightenment
Oct. 24: Relationship Thoughts from the Wilderness
Oct. 25: We learn in realtionships
Oct. 26: Chrysalis
Oct. 27: Self-Healing, part 1
Oct. 28: Self-Healing, part 2: Time for a new perspective
Oct. 29: Dix Mountain
Oct. 30: The Mist-Filled Path
Oct. 31: From Wilderness to Wondrousness