Are you ready for some fire in your life? And I’m not talking about Valentine’s Day – this fire will last all year.
This past Tuesday, February 9, everyone here at Karmê Chöling Meditation Retreat Center celebrated Losar (or Shambhala Day for us), the Tibetan New Year.
Following the Chinese calendar, 2016 is the year of the fire monkey. According to the qualities of this mythical creature, this year will be filled with energy, creativity, confidence, and some chaos.
The fire monkey can also inspire a bit of money-making.
With all this lively energy swirling around, it’s a good idea to put some extra effort into focusing and harnessing it through new financial habits.
And since it’s the start of another new year, it’s a great time to reflect on any financial resolutions you made on January 1.
I got back in touch with Solomon Halpern, experienced meditator and president of Highlander, a mindful finance company, to get his advice on how to be more mindful and aware of your spending and finances.
A Five-Step Jump Start
As I’ve written before, there’s a lot of emotion surrounding money in our culture. For most of the western world, money is associated with success and value. If you don’t have it, you’ve failed in some way.
It’s also taboo to talk about money and how to manage personal finances.
On the surface, it’s considered impolite. But there’s also a lot of deep shame associated with asking about money and financial planning. Deep down, we’re worried that we should know something we don’t, or that everyone else is ahead of us in some way.
As with so many other things in my life, I’ve found meditation has greatly helped with how I relate to and work with my money. Halpern has found this to be true too, so much so that he’s started a business around helping others be mindful about their money.
Here are his top five steps for changing your relationship with your finances to a more mindful one.
Step 1: Set aside a block of time (1 hour or less) for a meeting with yourself about your finances. Choose a quiet, uplifting setting. DON’T do any other preparation for you meeting.
Step 2: Start your meeting with 5 to 20 minutes of meditating or focusing. Follow your breath in and out. When your mind wanders, return your focus to the breathing. Allowing your mind to settle and clear will make it easier for you to access your own wisdom.
Step 3: Pick one of the following prompts to write about. Don’t worry about writing clearly, just record your thoughts:
- My personal finances cause me stress because…
- Some obstacles I currently have in my financial life are…
- When I think about money and my personal finances I feel…
Step 4: Finish your meeting by meditating again for 2 to 10 minutes.
Step 5: Review what you wrote the next day without judgment. Reflect on what themes or insights come out of your writing.
Hopefully this exercise will allow you to see your personal challenges around money and financial planning. If you feel like you didn’t get any clear insight, you can always repeat the exercise.
Once you achieve some understanding of what financial aspects are most important or worrisome for you, you can then focus on creating a plan and developing spending and saving habits that address those concerns.
In a few weeks, I will explore the nitty gritty of actually taking steps toward creating a plan and improving your finances.