Money has been, above anything, a teacher for me.
For many years, I used it and abused it. Heck, in High School during my years as a bad seed hanging with the wrong crowd, I even stole it (though looking back, it was to win the hearts of my fellow bad-seeders, to prove that I could roll with them).
I’ve always had money, but that’s because I’ve worked since I was a kid (my first gig was at the age of 11 at this place in the Upper East Side called The Little Shop of Plaster). I even babysat for a family in this well-to-do neighborhood, which meant crazy cash flow for me to spend on clothes and parties and whatever else I was into at the time.
I suppose I’ve always had money because I was instilled with a strong work ethic from a young age; and because money was always coming in from somewhere, I never thought twice about spending it.
Which is fine and dandy when I’m spending my own money.
But then one day… one day, I suddenly got a ton of it. In 2008, I got into a Master’s program at NYU, and I scored a pretty sweet ass scholarship that not only paid for my studies but also gave me a generous stipend.
Ok, lets just say I went nuts! I upped my lifestyle (weekly trips to Bliss, massages, eating at fancy joints like Quintessence and Lifethyme just about every day.) And then when that money ran out, I took out student loans. And when THAT ran out I welcome in the credit card companies who vied for my attention and wooed me due to my (at the time) very impressive credit score.
It got out of control. I used money and abused it. I justified it all by convincing myself that if I lived abundantly, then surely, more abundance will follow. Ha.
Next thing I knew, I was out of grad school, disillusioned with the field I had gone in to study (Museums… I’ll save THAT story for another time); I was stuck teaching yoga at a studio that I began to greatly resent (getting paid very little, working alot, and did not feel the least bit valued). I was sharing a great apartment with my amazing boyfriend, but our relationship was beginning to suffer due to my “history” with money. I couldn’t avoid it any longer. I needed help.
So, in February 2010, I reached out to the one person who I thought could help me: Kate Northrup. She’s a gal that ran around the circles I ran around. All I knew about her at the time was that she was financially savvy. So, I emailed her. I revealed it all. I asked for her help. I may have been on my knees when I hit send.
That was the first step to my recovery. Kate became my coach not long after. I joined her Freedom Family crew. I became fully committed to becoming financially independent. To achieving financial freedom.
Fast-forward 4 years….
I’m still honoring my debt. Unlike most folks who hate credit card companies and their insane APR rates, I aint judging. Look, I AM THE ONE who agreed to their rules when I borrowed THEIR money. And so, I am happily paying off what they lent me.
I am on top of my money. I bless it, I give it thanks, I invest it. I don’t just randomly waste it (for the most part… I mean, sometimes I buy things I later regret, but only sometimes). In my wallet, all my bills face the same direction and in ascending order. I track all expenses. Every time I get a paycheck, I leave it on my altar overnight before depositing it so that Lakshmi, the Goddess of Abundance, may bless it.
Overall, I now have a great relationship with my money.
Until my debt is paid, I won’t have “officially” reached financial freedom. But I’m cool with that, because as I write this, on July 4th, I feel insanely independent and free around it.
I’ll finish my Money Love Story with a sweet image for you and a little gift:
Being on this quest for Exquisite Self Care, back when I reached out to Kate, I knew that taking care of my finances was as important as keeping my body in shape and my mind nourished. Thus, my fierce determination and devotion to financial freedom.
Kate recently published Money: A Love Story. She’s such a big shot now, I love that my intuition guided me to her all those years ago. When I bought Kate’s book back in March of this year, my sweet friend/Open Center colleague Karolina and I decided we’d be each other’s accountability partners. The book is full of exercises, you see. So one day, when we worked together at an outside event at a church in the East Village that the Open Center hosted, we sat down during our lunch break to share our work. An hour later, as people came back from their lunch breaks, Karolina and I got up from the pew that we had been sitting on. I randomly look up to the stained glass window we had been sitting under, and this is what I see:
And finally, a gift I’d like to share. It’s a video that Kate made for La Dea Vita a few years ago, a challenge if you will, giving a very clever and simple practical tool to pave your way towards Financial Freedom:
bises & blessings,