Monday, March 24, 2014

Funding Your Lifestyle

This is the next installment on using your power to identify, claim and fund the life you were meant to have. If you are new and have not yet read Money or Power, you may want to go back and do the exercises before moving forward. If you have read Money or Power, you should now have a clearer picture of what you actually need to be happy and healthy. Also, if you are anything like me, you probably found that you have far more than you need to be happy. In addition, you are probably beginning to think about what you should do with all the stuff you have decided is not crucial in life. If so, I have included a few suggestions at the end of this blog post to help.

We all have basic needs that include food, shelter and clothing. These needs are what we have in common with every living creature in this world. We also have responsibilities. Some of us have minor children or elderly parents that need our care, attention and resources. We have financial obligations that come with being a contributing member of society, family and community.  In other words, living in the world as an adult includes taking care of our own basic needs and responsibilities to the best of our capability. This means that a personal approach to identifying and claiming a new life will be tweaked according to what each individual needs to do to care for basic needs and responsibilities. There is no cookie cutter approach for success. Consequently, the Living PowerLife approach to funding the life we are meant to have is not an invitation to ignore obligations or to become (or continue to be) a freeloader. Indeed, this is an invitation to use our power to make future decisions that will lead to living a new way with new opportunities. 

While taking care of basics and responsibilities, we all can become bogged down or even trapped in a certain mind set. This frame of mind leads to a certain kind of behavior. To understand the mindset, I imagine a treadmill. On this treadmill we run to catch a prize that changes unexpectedly and is always just out of reach. We constantly work to get more money so that we can buy the latest and the best gadgets. We continuously compare what we have and how we look to images in magazines, the next door neighbor, a colleague, a friend… We do not sleep well at night because thoughts about how to buy or make the next payment for the latest social upgrade possession distract us from relaxing and finding peace.

If any of this feels familiar, more than likely you are on the Keep up with the Jones’ Treadmill with the rest of us. Roads to Jones’ Treadmill are plentiful but the main access is through living beyond our means. Living beyond our means most often occurs because we believe we deserve the same life that we think our neighbors are living rather than the one our budgets can support. Advertising executives depend on our adherence to this belief to get us into stores. Bankers bet on this belief to get us in debt. Marketing professionals use this belief to create a desire for often useless gadgets. Remember the Ginsu Knives?

While on Jones’ Treadmill, the life, joy and opportunities each day has to offer is overshadowed by envy, greed, anxiety or lust. We look around and instead of seeing the beauty of nature, the diversity of humanity or magnificence of architecture we see what others have or are wearing. We envy those who appear to have more than we do. We lust after the current ‘must have’ designer label and greedily accumulate more. More shoes, more suits, more designer bags... We become anxious when faced with the possibility of not being able to get More. 

Here is a small real-life example of what happens when we are invested in Jones’ Treadmill: A few days ago, while riding the subway, I noticed a young person who was talking on the phone with someone about not being able to access a social media account. As I watched, this person became more and more agitated because the account was not allowing access. The person was dressed in the latest designer clothing and had the most up to date phone.

As the subway trip continued and the person tried different approaches to resolve the technical problem, tears started to flow. The person was clearly anxious and sad. I do not know what else was going on in this person’s life, but at that time, the day was sunny. The weather was nice. There were people all around laughing and talking and the person with the social media problem was oblivious to this all. The world was, literally, passing by unnoticed because of a glitch in a technical gadget.

While we may not be reduced to tears because we cannot access our social media account, just how invested we are in Jones’ Treadmill is revealed when we take inventory and make need assessments of our belongings. If, for instance, we have 10 pairs of black shoes collecting dust in the back of our closets and they are very similar or almost identical this means that we are buying into the belief that we should have what we see on others. This is indicative of the fact that we are running Jones’ Treadmill. Likewise, if our second bedroom closet is full of clothes that we have not worn for at least 1 year, say hello to Jones’ Treadmill.

Realizing that most of the items in your inventory will not bring you happiness, is the first step off the treadmill.  The first step is always the most difficult step to take. Because of this, I encourage you to be patient with yourself. Reading this blog and following the steps means that you are now moving in the direction that will lead to your powerful lifestyle which is the most import thing to remember. As you remember to go easy on yourself, we will now begin one of the most crucial stages of this process; developing the plan that will bring the changes you want and need. In Living PowerLife style, I will use my experience as an example:

I am a person who likes to dress well, go out with friends on occasion, spend time with my family, and have dependable transportation.  Among other things, I enjoy reading, music, a good single malt and premium cigars. I also do not have an unlimited supply of money. In fact, many would say that my money is tight. For many years, I agreed. I believed that I never had enough money to do what I thought I wanted to do. My mantra was: when I get this raise, degree, job… I will then have enough money to… The more money I made, the more money I spent. The more I spent, the more I felt I needed to earn. The people I attracted had the same values and same expectations which meant that the moment I was not earning more their interest in me was gone. 

I sprinted on Jones’ Treadmill for many years. For most of those years, I did not sleep well and was not happy. I used food and alcohol to fill an unidentified void; the void that comes when we chase after shadows. I missed some of the most important events in my loved ones’ lives because I had to work. Sound familiar? The alternative to the treadmill lifestyle is to plan. Yes, plan. Plan fun, plan work, plan emergencies, plan shopping, plan meals… Plan. 

Just like you found out that you actually need far less to be really happy, with Living PowerLife and planning you will see that funding a new life is not as difficult as you imagine. Your plan will have about 6 different parts:

Part one: Connect.  Connect and stay in touch with your inner guidance through daily private meditation. When I meditate, I spend some of my time envisioning my connection to the Universe and to God. The Universe responds to the energy that I put out and God is beyond anything that I can imagine, including religious institutions. With these two connections firmly in place and consistently attended to, there is no limit to what I can accomplish. If you are not someone who believes in God, that is fine. Stick with the Universe and remember to keep a grateful spirit; be grateful for what you have and build from there.

Part two: Ignore. Ignore anyone who tries to redirect your attention to something negative. Ignore anyone who expresses thoughts and feelings that undermine your plan. This includes your own thoughts. Here is a silly real-life example: One day while I was walking to the subway stop and enjoying a beautiful spring day, I noticed a woman walking toward me. As she came closer to me I smiled and nodded hello. Instead of responding in kind, she pointed down to the sidewalk and said, Look. Look there. I did, and there was a dead rat off to the side in the grass. Yeah, disgusting. I would not have noticed the rat were it not for the fact that I allowed my attention to be redirected.

Part three: Envision. Envision what you are working toward. Take a short time during your meditation to envision every aspect of your goal. What does it look like? How does it feel? Why is it important? Keep your language in the present rather than future. While you are envisioning, be general. You can limit the Universe if you become too fixated on minute details.  A simple example: you decide that you want to enjoy the best meal you have ever had. You envision your favorite food cooked perfectly. Then you proceed to include a particular restaurant, in a certain city, on a predetermined street, with a certain person, dressed a certain way... Get my point? These details could undermine your work because you are not open to possibilities that you may not know about. In one of those unknown possibilities could be the experience you are seeking.

Part four: Know. Know in your heart without anyone having to tell you that what you are envisioning belongs to you. Your job is to stay focused, connected, flexible and to act. In addition, Living PowerLife and your plan require patience and consistency on your part. Be patient and understand that you are living on the Universe’s clock. Be consistent in doing what you need to do to be successful. In other words, this is not an invitation to sit, look at your navel and wait for things to appear. You have to do your part and that requires action.

Part five: Itemize. Those of you who have been following my blog over the years know that I am one to make a list. The habit of list making is crucial to success when visualizing, prioritizing and working toward goals. At this point, you should be ready to work with several ongoing lists. For example, I have about 6 lists that I am now working with to live my new life. Some lists I refer to daily, some monthly and others annually. Some are based on the season and some are based on particular occasions. Be flexible with your lists and do not hesitate to update when the need arises. With your lists include resources when you can. For instance, when I decided to add dancing shoes to my list, I also included places where I could buy second hand and discount shoes.

Part six: Relax. Relax and be patient. Be patient with yourself and with the Universe. Remember, this is a lifestyle which means life-long. Consequently, when things do not fall into place immediately do not give up. Understand that there is a reason for what you experience as a delay and do not try to force the Universe or the process. Several times I have realized that what (or who) I thought I wanted was actually something that would bring more trouble into my life. 

While not getting what I wanted was disappointing in the short-run, with time I was glad that things did not work out the way I wanted. This reinforced my belief that I am never alone even at my loneliest moment. The same is true for you.

From my PowerLife to yours,


Link to relevant blog post
Learning to PowerLife: Mental Attitude

Recycling your belonging can help to bring new energy into your life and create room for the new. Check in your area for places to donate to homeless shelters or second hand stores. Some areas also have Internet lists that enable people to give items away or make exchanges. When donating, make sure you get a receipt for your tax purposes. If you want to make a little extra money, there is always craigslist, ebay and amazon available to you to sell your unneeded items.