Back in the day, I practiced Tai Chi as a martial art. It was a good experience. While I wasn’t ever good enough to threaten the legacy of Bruce Lee, I learned that I could do things with my body I didn’t believe were possible for me. Our teacher was fond of observing, “Mind and body are one,” as he taught us his art as well as a thing or two about learning and life. Unity of mind and body is a truth about many aspects of life not just the martial arts. When our mind and body are at peace, acting in harmony with one another, we can perform physical feats that are difficult to explain. As mind and body become one, at peace with what we truly value, we can better heal our body and our soul. One of the great enemies of unity is stress. When our environment or the life we are living is toxic, our body is quick to let our mind know that something is wrong. Stress triggers the release of hormones that prepare our body to fight or run away from the source of our problems. In the short run, when confronted with a real threat this reaction can save our life; if left turned on for too long those same hormones will kill us. If money is a source of stress in your life, your body will let you know something is wrong even if your mind is in a state of delusion or you are living a lie. Remember the basic money equation: Money In = Money Stored + Money Spent
(integrated over the course of a lifetime).
If money spent exceeds money in over long periods of time money stored will turn negative as debt destroys your life. That is a source of stress. Arguments over money, for example, are the number one cause of divorce. Excessive debt and/or an obsessively materialistic lifestyle can ultimately kill you.
You can heal yourself. Mind and body can become one. First you must believe that it is possible to turn around your life. Stop. Look deeply at the source of your problems. Take responsibility for your life. Don’t focus on external problems. Discover what you can control; what you can change. It may be you need to find a different job. It may be you need to spend less money on some specific item, like cigarettes. It may be you need to sell a car to get the money you need to pay the rent. It may be you need to cut back on restaurants, so that you can retire before you die. Look deeply into the money equation. There is nothing about that equation you can not change. As you increase money in and decrease money out, money stored will increase. It is simple mathematics. As you continue to increase that number, you can reach freedom. Whatever that word means to you, you can live it.
Find people who will encourage and support positive behavior. We all need two kinds of friends, those who will lift us up when we faint and those who will kick us in the butt when we are lazy or when we indulge in morose self pity. We don’t need friends who tell us it isn’t our fault; the evil bankers did it to us. We don’t need a shopping buddy telling us that buying another pair of shoes will make us feel better. Please be careful whom you choose to bring into your life. We need someone who will encourage us to move in a new direction, past our old limiting beliefs.
Write your own prescription for your own life. I can point out the basic truths of money. I can teach the fundamentals of living on a budget. I can even suggest at least three different paths for beginning investors to explore. I can not live your life for you. If you are deeply honest with yourself, you know what kind of life you need to live so that your mind and body will be in deep harmony with what you truly value. I can not tell you that you need to sell everything you own so that you can be free to become a missionary in some distant land. I can not tell you to go out and get a second job for a couple of years so you can afford to keep your teenage children in their current high school with their friends. The details of your life depend on your values.
Your money is nothing more than a measure of how you use the energy of life. If your use of money is in harmony with your values you will be at peace. If you continue on a path of peace you will find freedom.