According to the American Psychological Association, money is our country’s No. 1 stressor. 72% of adults live paycheck to paycheck and report feeling stressed about money some of the time, and nearly a quarter rate their stress as “extreme.” Nearly half of Americans would have trouble finding $400 to pay for an emergency. This is the consequence of stress and being financially illiterate. It probably shouldn’t, but this totally blows my mind.
Serengeti Brain, which hasn’t changed much in 20,000 years, isn’t built to work naturally with money – hunters and gatherers had little need for it – and so for the last 9 months an intrepid band of Gelt-o-nauts have been working together to try and remedy that evolutionary limitation. If you’ve been following our year-long experiment attempting to both wake up and grow up when it comes to our money relationships, you know that we’ve discovered a number of things so far (If you need a memory jog at this point in the journey, you can view one here and here). One major realization by our courageous money-brain explorers is: whether it’s too much, not enough, or even just enough to perfectly balance our personal budgets, money makes us nervous. Money is rarely emotionally neutral. Here are a few recent realizations from participants.
The View From Inside the Vault
This weekly group, in the most subtle and profound ways, has inexplicably influenced and enhanced my life. I am a person who is always learning, exploring what lies within that might be fearful, hiding, angry, or sabotaging…and it is impossible to do that exploration solo. Staring at my bellybutton alone in my living room gets pretty boring after awhile! Of course, this kind of self/other reflection can’t happen with just anyone – so I’m glad I chose YOU ALL! I am engaged in this kind of cause/effect, give-and-take in many areas in my life. This particular money one is RICH in ways that I certainly never expected in the beginning.
Thus far I have been skillfully coached and tenderly supported to skillfully and outrageously reflect upon my Money Brain – not that I am an expert – but I love the transformations that are occurring. Here are just three of many:
-Money flow is now much easier in my life
-I don’t worry about money to the degree that I did
-My negative critical feelings about my own skills around money are diminishing
I notice that I don’t want this group to end this summer. The time has gone by so fast!
I know there is benefit in talking and thinking about money, and with others who share similar intent. Like an intimate support group, we are a fellowship of folks seeking (money) sobriety and sanity, and the path of happy destiny. “Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. The promises will always materialize if we work for them” (an AA saying about sobriety).
Coming Together for a Common Purpose
There’s nothing like a group of mindful, like-minded people who show up for a common purpose – to help others as they help themselves. And to laugh, sometimes even when we’re crying. We are a microcosm of that.
I love the way our group – even the fact of it, sans process – impacts mindfulness.
I love asking myself each Friday, or when I see the weekly email to register, or when I read the Tuesday money-minder post, or when I write your monthly check (so many prompts): “What am I learning and experiencing this week in the world of money?”
I appreciate the things we each share. I enjoy listening, too, and I feel like I want to be around for when one – all! – of our money-lives go Pop! and things shift perceptively.
I see/hear gradual shifts that are clearly perceptible. I look forward to checking in and hearing everyone else do the same. I wonder: could each one of us share a bit of money education each week, something that could be instructive to all? I think it would be best if it arose in the form of a story. We could each be watching our money lives and minds through the week to see what we are learning and may then share.
We teach what we most want to learn.