A couple weeks ago, I had a realization that was both freeing and terrifying at the same time:
Not one of my deepest longings can be fulfilled with money.
Probably you’re reading that from one of two camps: Duh, money can’t buy happiness; or Huh? What kind of deep longings are you talking about?
The phrase “deep longing” came up in Bari Tessler’s book The Art of Money, which I have been working through during the month of July. Something about it immediately struck me. I dove in and went looking for my own deep longings. What were they?
I found they were things like…a calm, quiet, serene home environment. Relationships that make me feel understood, appreciated and supported. Creative endeavors that fulfill and sustain me. Lots of time for rest, relaxation, reading and reflection.
*None of which can be bought with money.*
It was liberating and at the same time heavy; a release and at the same time a prison, a challenge, a dare. Because if my deepest longings can’t be fulfilled with money, that means they all come back to ME. They all rely on me. My deepest longings are dependent upon ME to create, establish and go after.
I sat with it for a few days. Could this be a new sort of guide for me? If exactly what I’m doing right now is not fulfilling some deep and aching desire, is it at least contributing to it and not working against it? I made myself a little wallpaper reminder on my phone. I checked in with my thoughts, words and actions from time to time. (Is what I’m doing/thinking/eating right now “for” or “against” my Deep Longings?)
Part of me felt like I was saying “That’s it — I just don’t need money any more.” And yet it didn’t feel good to say that. Of course I need money! We all do. But…did I need this extra thing here, and that other indulgence over there, and when the spending feels bad, can I recognize it, and when it feels worth it, can I latch on to that feeling and go for IT again and again? Something still felt daunting and difficult until I remembered, Wait — it’s always the FEELING BEHIND THE THING that I’m going for, right? This is Desire Map 101. You don’t want the expensive new heels just for the red soles and pointy toes; you want them because of how they make you FEEL. You don’t want the vacation just to be able to say you’ve been to Hawaii; you want it because of how you feel when you’re there: Relaxed. In heaven. Spacious. Alive.
And so, this:
I can make myself feel all of the ways I want to feel. I can feel calm and serene, even, dare I say, no matter what’s going on around me. I can feel loved and supported, no matter “who” is sitting next to me — I have God and the whole Universe on my side! I can feel creative, fulfilled, secure, confident…
I don’t need money to do that. None of us do. And if it feels like money woes are the problem, they’re just NOT. It’s never about what it’s about. I can choose instead to look at all the little branches of my money tree weaving their way out into the world and what Deep Longing they’re trying to address, albeit in an unconscious or backhanded way. I can choose to look at the roots — how all of my patterns have been growing and reaching deeper and deeper over the years — and with great awareness say to myself tenderly, “Honey, look at all of this spinning and spending and unfocused behavior, so misguided and misdirected. It’s okay. You can do this. It’s two sides of the same coin. I have to do this all on my own? No..I get to do this all on my own!”
For me, these two statements — (1) money cannot fulfill my deepest longings, and (2) only I can do that — have seriously set things in motion. Change is all around me. Big, small, good, “bad”…If you’ve never given much thought to the feeling behind the thing you think you want, try it now. With one thing — anything. A cheeseburger, a coffee, sports tickets, a ball gown…Once you identify the feeling behind the thing, ask yourself how else you can feel that way. Not that you can’t have the thing — treats, indulgences, wants and needs all have their place. But for me, this uncovered some real and rarely acknowledged desires. It made me think about activities I want to do more of and how to make that happen. It gave me the courage to start dreaming again and the eyes to see where I already am on the path to those dreams.
Money cannot fulfill your deepest longings.
Only you can do that.
If you feel the same initial resistance to those statements as I did and you’re thinking all the things like “Yeah, money can’t buy happiness, but it can sure help,” I get it. You’re at the terrified stage. The “I have to do this all on my own” stage.
It’s okay. Because next comes the “I get to do this all on my own” stage. And that is Miracle territory.
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