Coping versus Creating

  • Are you protecting what you have rather than reaching for something greater?
  • Are projects that were once delightful and interesting now an effort?
  • Are you wondering if it is just you? If you’ve lost your groove?

Well, I’m here to say that it ain’t you, it’s the times we’re living through. Success strategies now are different from before and I’m turning my own ship into this new wind as fast as she will go. Your Money or Your Life was once seen as an early retirement strategy – now I’m teaching it as a pathway to resilience and resourcefulness in changing times.

Coping is hunkering down. Creativity is stepping up. Same situation, different response and different experience. So it’s good to face whatever facts we can find – and then find ways to continue on a creative path.

Here’s what we’re up against. The prolonged recession where only the rich seem to be getting richer is chipping away at optimism and willingness to risk in the direction of our dreams. Our houses – once in theory investments – are now a place to live at best. Starter homes are now forever homes. Retirement is a receding horizon. Before our jobs were stepping stones on a career path or security for our families. Now we’re lucky to have them and wondering how to help those who don’t. Graduate degrees aren’t guarantees anymore. Sure, some are flourishing, but it’s less obvious which stepping stone is solid and which one will leave you stranded.

I do sound like the Old Philosopher. His list of mishaps is so tragic it’s funny, but he then breaks into “Keep your head up high…show the world… never give up, never give up, never give up that ship.”

I published 10 strategies for resourcefulness (and there are more) a while back – the ones I teach (and will teach at Schumacher College May 31-June 4). They arise from the Your Money or Your Life approach – and it can help now.

Certainly those of us who applied this approach in our lives – even as others rode the bubbles of the 90’s and 00’s– are darn glad we have some level of financial security. Even if you aren’t there, knowing there is this pot of “enough” at the end of the storm is reassuring – you can get there too.

Financial security could be just having perspective on that part of our minds that has melded with the aspirations of the consumer culture. That makes it easier to say “so what” when the voices in our heads compare us with the millionaires on TV, easier to release possessions that once possessed us.

Financial security could be not having debt. The ultimate debt relief.

Financial security could be having savings that were for a rainy day – and it’s raining.

Financial security could be having an income from our investments that meets our basic needs.

Let me tell you, I am relieved to be in this situation and know that whatever luxuries I’ve piled on the essentials, I have a long way I can “cut back” without bleeding a drop.

(Just a note – people have applied these steps in other recessions. It’s not hopeless because you aren’t there now.)

But financial security is also resourcefulness no matter whether you have any of the above.

  • Are you stuck in thinking you only have 2 options?
  • Are you so surprised by what isn’t happening that you’re like discouraged unemployed – no longer looking?
  • Are you ignoring what’s staring you in the face because it ain’t what you’re looking for?

These are states begging to be re-sourced.

The first step is celebration – which seems like it should be the last step. Don’t we celebrate when we get what we want? Well, considering we’re alive and resourced enough to be reading this blog post, we’ve already gotten a lot of what we wanted in the past. Attention to what we do have boosts the psychological immune system. It boosts optimism. We recognize our power to create, not just cope. That’s not the whole journey. It’s not positive thinking. It’s recognizing the evidence of resourcefulness in your life as a platform for creation. It stimulates what we need to succeed in these times.

As I said, I’m teaching this at Schumacher College in the UK and hope you will join me.

Next post: how I’m being resourceful with selling my old “family” house.




So nice…

I just found this comment on Kathy Masarie’s website. I feel privileged to carry a teaching that can make this kind of difference:

Back in the day, I found incredible solace, wisdom, and support in the book, Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence (revised in 2008). I was lucky enough to spend an entire week with one of the authors, Vicki Robin, a delightful, passionate woman. I turned my “more-is-better” relationship with money around, spent less, and saved more with the goal of financial independence. I explored and found my passion in supporting parents proactively to prevent problems. I spent more time with my soon-to-be teenage kids. And I left my pediatric practice to do it. I chose “life” over “money.

Resilience Resourcefulness Empathy

I just read a super inspiring article by Michael Sammet that wraps resilience, resourcefulness and empathy together in one narrative of creative, collaborative adaptation to the BIG changes upon us. Just my cup of tea, so to speak, since I just finished teaching “resourcefulness” as a teleclass and will teach live at Schumacher College May 31-June 4.

I especially like how Sammet defines his terms.

Resilience in design “means creating objects, templates and platforms Continue reading

Too good to not share

The Your Money or Your Life Teleclass is rounding the bend into the final week and our “lesson” last week was resourcefulness. I prepared a list called “10 Ways to Skin a Cat” that merits a blog post.  I know, the image of “skinning cats” is political incorrect, not to speak of gruesome. However, it’s a folk expression and as such is imbued with great common sense. In some ways, our wealth and stuff have rendered us inept in the skills of daily life. We no longer know how to “make do” which seems like Depression Era poverty but is actually human creativity in the face of adversity.

So here’s the list, in little bite sized pieces. There’s a cool quote at the end.

1. Celebrate wins – what you appreciate (celebrate) appreciates (grows). Celebrating wins grows your resourcefulness, putting you in a positive and empowered state of mind. Amazing what appears when you relax into appreciation of what is.

2. Collect failures – Take as many “no’s” for an answer until you get a yes. Don’t argue with the “no.” Accept it as evidence that you are on the trail of a resourceful solution and others fainter of heart, having taken “no” for an answer, have quit.
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”~~ Albert Einstein
“I’ve never made a mistake. I’ve only learned from experience.” ~~ Thomas A. Edison Continue reading

The 5 C’s of Resourcefulness

Something in the human brain snaps to attention in the presence of counting. I discovered this at one of my early public talks. Someone asked a question and I said, “There are three things to know about that.” Everyone put a “1.”  in their notebooks in unison and looked up like baby birds waiting to be fed. Whoa! Powerful. Then I saw this counting everywhere, noting each time that upon seeing the number I wanted to know more. The 9-step program. The 10 commandments.  The 8-fold path.

So I know a header about the “5 C’s” may pique your interest. I didn’t do it for effect. It’s just how these qualities of resourceful people came to me. They are:

  • courageous – this is the quality of will that keeps you moving in the face of your own fear
  • cheerful – this is the quality of heart that lets you anticipate “there is a way” when evidence says there isn’t
  • creative – this is the quality of mind that invents new solutions – that is curious and enjoys paradox
  • competent – the is the quality of body that learns rhythms of how to do things and does them well, both maintaining what is and innovating what could be.
  • connected – this is the quality of us as relational beings who know that no solutions reside in one person, they all come from and serve the group.

The ART of resourcefulness engages all aspects of self in a collaborative treasure hunt, the treasure being meeting our needs elegantly and sufficiently without degrading the systems which gave us life and on which our lives depend.

C, that wasn’t so bad.

Daily Life as an object of meditation… grrr

The Your Money or Your Life telecourse started last night (you can still sign up) and I had the brilliant idea that I would tackle one of my daily life unconscious resource flows… mess. Mess isn’t clutter. It’s more like “dirt” combined with what my old housemates called “Vicki trails” – papers and dishes and things at the top of the stairs (for weeks) waiting to go down.

I can now testify to the power of the practices I assign to others. My mind is going crazy. Judgments. Promises to be good – later. Defiance. Wheedling. I say “daily life” is a perfect object of meditation. Isn’t meditation for calming the mind? Of course, but achieving “calm mind” in the face of irritated mind, that’s the fast track to ultimate peace. Okay to calm on the cushion, but calming in daily life. Whew.

So I do invite you to join in this powerful ride to mastery of your daily muddle – to liberate all that energy for the loving and serving that is at the top of all our real and honest lists.

And what’s the point of all our meditating anyway? To be steady in the midst of it all. You’d agree that the “it all” is heating up, in both thrilling and terrifying ways. We live in times of change. Egypt shows up that all is not lost even when what oppresses seems so solid it will never move. Climate disturbances show us that none of us escapes the consequences of our collective choices, even with all the money and influence we may have.  I really believe clearing out the obstructions to our capacity to be awake and resourceful is a crucial task and great service.

So again, I unabashedly encourage you to join in this 7-week ‘crash course’ in not crashing but staying the course.  Click here to do so.

Heart & the new tele-course

Hype or heart? That is the question. As I promote my new Your Money or Your Life Tele-course , I invite you to give me your feedback. I’m reaching down inside myself with the command that’s always cut to the spiritual chase for me: “know what you are doing and why.” I’m working to link that inner knowing with this lifelong outer work of helping people transform their relationship with money, stuff, time and all the rest. I just sent the below out to my email list – I think the heart is linked to the “hype” – the invitation to learn with me. let me know what you think.

Dear You!

Do you want to be part of positive change rather than a bystander in the tides of history? I sure do. Continue reading

Oil Fat & Enough

Has it ever occurred to you, as it just did to me, that there is a similarity between oil for our cars and oil in our diets? We tend to over-consume both. Even if our butts get fatter or our wallets get thinner, we just can’t resist the power packed energy source called OIL.

Both are such rich fuels, and both are so tempting that it’s hard to stop. We are hard wired to go hog wild in the face of fats, because they are rare in nature, we never know when or where our next supply will be, so we chow down and stock up. It used to be that we didn’t need a stop signal for consuming fat because it was not that available. “Go” helped us survive.

Truth in advertising: all this relates to the new expanded 7-week Your Money or Your Life telecourse I’m teaching starting February 15. Read on… it all comes together by the end.

Speaking of Continue reading

Such a thing as healthy money?

Good question. Even though I’m hosting the Healthy Money Summit (starts Monday. Sign up for free. Listen live or later via recording) I’m not sure what it will take to have a healthy economy, healthy financial system or healthy currency. In view of how destructive the economic system is to life and limb (tree and bush and animal), is it possible to have a life-giving life-serving system?

Let’s break that down a bit – as I will in my Healthy Money Summit session. I see several functions for money. The first and most familiar is Continue reading

Sign up now: Healthy Money Summit 1/24-27

Hello all my blog readers – this needs immediate action! Many people on a conscious path find that money is one of their most challenging areas to deal with. That’s why I’m delighted to be a featured speaker for a free online event called the Healthy Money Summit.

Join me the week of January 24-27th and learn from leading authors and leaders on how you can create a healthier, happier, more productive relationship with money and, culturally, how we can transform our relationship with money as well.
Click here to learn more.

Hosted by me, Vicki Robin, bestselling author of Your Money or Your Life, the Healthy Money Summit will feature luminaries such as Riane Eisler, Lynne Twist, John Robbins, Satish Kumar, Hazel Henderson, David Korten, Alisa Gravitz, and many more notable authors, thinkers and leaders. Continue reading