Inquiry of Stuff
I know, I know. The idea of surrendering to life for a lot of people puts them in a state of fear, or panic, or worse. However, the idea, and practice, of surrendering to ‘what is’ can be quite freeing, especially when it comes to money and the stuff money buys.
After spending the past four weeks of July teaching financial principles to adults and kids using The Money Game in our Camp Millionaire and Moving Out! for Teens, I am in a bit of an inquiry trying to answer this question, “How did kids get so they want so much stuff?”
And by stuff I mean stuff they don’t in any way, shape or form, need to enjoy their lives on this planet.
Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against ‘wanting’ in general. It’s what motivates us in most areas of our lives.
We want purpose…
We want happiness…
We want love…
We want to set an example and do good in the world…
We want to feel useful…
We want to feel comfortable…
The challenge comes when we think STUFF is going to bring us any or all of these states of being.
The Be – Do – Have Ball Toss
When we start our financial literacy programs, regardless of age, we get in a circle and take turns saying, “When I grow up I want to BE a ______.” We fill in the blank, everyone else says, “And you will.” and then that person tosses the ball to another person in the group.
We repeat this process with, “When I grow up I want to DO… and When I grow up I want to HAVE…” And as we’re doing this process I am always amazed at how many people don’t want purpose, happiness, love, do good in the world, etc. Again, I’m OK with the idea of wanting a bunch of stuff. It just seems like so many human beings aren’t stopping long enough to evaluate what actually does bring them joy and pleasure these days.
What does surrendering have to do with money?
Well, the art of surrendering has to do with going within and letting a greater knowing figure things out. Letting something other than our convoluted belief-ladened brains try to figure out what’s best or what our next step is and so on.
The idea of financial surrender comes when we stop wanting for a second and take inventory of what is for us at the moment. In terms of our finances, we can ask questions like this…
Where are we financially?
What are we letting drive our motivations and desires and wantings?
What should we stop doing, start doing, do more of, do less of?
And if we have kids, how is what’s driving US shaping what will drive our children when they are adults.
Just for today, stop wanting stuff
This is a personal challenge from me to you and your whole family. Designate a day sometime in the next few days to be a “No Want Zone” and watch how terribly challenging it is for most people to just sit back, relax, accept what is and actually listen to their inner wisdom and guidance when it comes to money.
This process of having a No Want Zone may bring new insight into what you think is right or wrong for you in regard to your money. When you’re successful with one No Want Zone day, try scheduling another one. Pretty soon you may just find that surrendering into your own not wanting zone brings a powerful sense of financial peace to you and yours.
Hello Elisabeth, Just to answer your question concerning why kids want more and more stuff – I see a big part of it as a result of money scripts – the beliefs they have internalised as a result of watching the behaviours of adults, who, for example, are costantly shopping and generally accumulating fleeting things. Ah…the power of money scripts! They can work for us or against us. I speak to persons about this every time I deliver a presentation on Financia Literacy. Elizabeth Austin, Trinidad
I currently have a young couple here from Portugal and they say all the time how American culture is so weird. Very strict and no free, which is odd because American’s think they are free. I think I’d like to experience Portugal because they are lovely! Thanks, E
Excellent blog. Although I feel it says more about you, in a good way, than it does the reader. It allows us to see a piece of your heart, your passion for being, your love of teaching and a glimmer of your desire to leave this world w/the wood pile hire than you found it.
Thank you for setting a wonderful example. Smiles.
Dennis. Thanks. It was about me:-). You’re a doll…and your continued emails that support my heart and soul are always appreciated more than you will ever know. E