“Money is only the value we assign it,” my cousin Victoria said to my voicemail this morning, a reminder of all I’ve learned this weekend. Her timely words, combined with ideas recently planted in a prosperity workshop with Michael Beckwith, helped me contemplate this crucial aspect of abundance thinking. How we choose to feel about the money we send out is far more important than the dollar amount.
If we view the transaction as “spending,” or are in any way unhappy about having to “shell out” the money for something, it is used, forever gone. If we instead focus on the services we have or are about to receive with gratitude, and the lives and communities the money will better, we are engaging in the energy of circulation. Spending repels prosperity but circulation invites the money back in our direction.
On Thursday, I paid a $135 ticket for my mom’s overdue inspection. Since she’d received the ticket after a thankfully minor accident in my community, she had to go to court here to fight it, rather than just mail in proof she got her car inspected the next day. I realized when I offered to help that I would either pay for the ticket with time or money, the latter of which seemed like the better choice on a beautiful late summer day. It wasn’t a popular decision in my family; they would have preferred the two of us to spend our day in a crowded court room, waiting to see the judge. Since the ticket would have been waived, they viewed my paying it a waste of money. I looked at it from a different perspective.
Paying it was an opportunity to say thank you to someone who has been beyond generous with me through the years, a person without whom I would have been homeless when I was struggling. It was a chance to let her know someone had her back. Learn how to receive Mom; this is only the beginning. She protested, but I wouldn’t take a dime from her. This is how it’s going to be from now on. Get used to it.
The court clerk heard our conversation and was touched; she told me she never knew her mother. The three of us shared a poignant conversation, once which brought tears to all our eyes, and my gratitude for my mom was taken to an even higher level. We enjoyed the rest of the day together, enjoying one another’s company at my pool before I took her back home.
“It doesn’t sound like you spent money on a ticket,” Victoria later commented, “But rather that you purchased a ticket to a beautiful day with your mother!”
The very next evening, I was going to go out on my brother in law’s boat, something I normally LOVE to do, but my body and spirit were begging for a night in. I do not like to cancel at the last minute, especially when I know people who were counting on me to go for various reasons will be disappointed. I needed to get to the bank before it closed so I made my phone calls en route, letting each person involved know individually that I wasn’t going, providing honest but nevertheless excuses for my decision when all I needed to say was that it wasn’t the right night for me. I faced some expected disappointment (because I expected it), which I did my best to contend with, forgetting it wasn’t my work.
Since I was so preoccupied with everyone else’s feelings, a bad habit I gave up years ago that comes back whenever I’m not practicing sufficient self care, I wasn’t paying full attention to what I was doing. I failed to notice I had parked in a handicapped spot. Granted, the signs were a little confusing, but if I hadn’t been preoccupied with my family and the complete non-crises that I was treating like one, it would have been clear as day.
I noticed the police car pulling up to mine as I walked back down the block toward my car, five minutes after I left it. Before I even got there, I knew what I had done. I could feel the police officer’s agitated energy as she got out of her car. I pleaded with her not to give me a ticket, informing her it had been a legitimate mistake. My ego was triggered more than a little when she ignored my plea and began to plug my information into her system. It was clear she didn’t believe me; she incorrectly assumed I thought I was who I was, that I did things like this all the time, intentionally.
“If I don’t give you the ticket, you’ll do it again tomorrow,” she said with an attitude that clearly demonstrated her dislike for the person she thought I was. I started to argue with her, exactly what she wanted, hissing some comment about karma and the stressful phone call which had preoccupied me, before I caught myself full madness.
Had I honestly just said I was engaged in a stressful conversation that distracted me? The conversation was about whether or not I was going out on a boat. The sad part is I actually had been stressed out! I hate disappointing people. But the truth is, you can never disappoint others; their disappointment is always created by their perception of your actions, not your actual actions. Sometimes I forget this, especially when it comes to family, where these people pleasing habits originated.
Also, was I seriously getting in a power struggle here with a complete stranger? Because she was doing her job? Sure, she could have chosen to cut me a break, but she hadn’t. I know better than to paddle furiously against the current. Maybe this woman made some judgements about me because of how I looked or my car. Maybe she was having a bad day. Maybe she was really just this rigid and didn’t know how to change her mind once she’d made a decision. Maybe she didn’t know how to give people second chances. What difference did it make? None of that had anything to do with me. Suddenly, all I felt for her was deep compassion.
“Next time you make a mistake, I hope someone is more forgiving with you then you have been with me,” I told her. “That said, I respect you and know you are doing your job. I choose to be okay with this situation and I have no hard feelings toward you. In fact, I’m going to pray that you may experience a greater level of peace. Have a nice evening.”
She was getting back in her car as I said that last bit, but she got back out and told me I could appear in court; maybe they would lower the fee. Suddenly, she was really nice. It was like a switch had gone off; my seeing the situation as it really was allowed her to also. I was not who she thought I was. I was not her enemy. In that instant, she probably even knew it really had been an innocent mistake on my behalf.
My ego got the better of me again as I drove away, as it pondered the perceived unfairness of it all. Here I was, trying to make sure no one in my family felt bad, and I got punished for it with a $200 ticket. I had spent hours on the phone coordinating a night I was not even going to be part of when I should have spent that time recharging. And now this!
Again, I heard the nonsense my small mind was trying to sell and declined its offer. I made the choice to spend my day as I had. I could have told everyone else to make a plan, let me know what it was and decided in the moment whether or not it felt right. And I could have put my own needs before the feelings of others, which I couldn’t control in the first place!
I was laughing by the time I told Victoria the story. Twenty minutes ago, it was not a comical one; now it was uproariously funny. I detailed the family dynamics, which as my cousin, she was able to fully appreciate.
“The Codepedency Express came to town. I boarded. With a first class ticket.”
I detailed the story in grander fashion than I’m doing here, since she is my cousin and could appreciate the various plotlines that played out in the tale. I concluded my story with the fact that I am not going to fight this ticket. Yes, just showing up in court would almost guarantee at least a reduction and the street signs are confusing in this community. I once had a bus stop ticket entirely waived for this very reason.
But, I’m not carrying this energy for the next month. I made this mistake because I was putting the entire world before myself and because I wasn’t present. I deserved the ticket. I have the money to pay for it. $200 is nothing considering the amount of money I can manifest if I get the many lessons this incident contained.
“We’ve spent way more than that on personal growth workshops,” Victoria reminded me.
Very true. As I contemplate this further, I think about how good it feels to have this money in my account, to circulate. The time I fought the bus stop ticket, it was because I didn’t. I think about how cool it was that I didn’t just see the insanity of the power struggle with the police officer in retrospect, but while it was occurring, in time to turn it around. I take time to appreciate the fact that my body is fully functioning and that I don’t need a handicapped spot. I think about the fact that the money will go to the community I live in and better it in some way.
I decided I will include a thank you note with my payment.
“Thank you for this ticket and the ensuing lesson in being fully present, not only when I’m operating a motor vehicle, which is of particular importance, but in every situation. This ticket has not only been a great reminder of this, but has also taught me other lessons. Say no when I mean no, even if I’m being persuaded by people I love to say yes. Don’t give excuses. Remember that other people’s feelings are caused by their perception of what I say and do, not what I say and do. Practice better self care. When I forget to take care of myself, I can’t be of any true service to anyone else, and I exhaust myself further while trying.”
I feel good about sending the money; this is circulation, not spending. This is a choice, to pay this rather than fight it, and it’s a reminder make better choices in the future.
Shortly after making my decision, I received an email from a hotel I booked several weeks ago for an upcoming trip to Sedona, a continuation of my living thank you note to Mom. Suddenly and for no apparent reason, this bed and breakfast felt compelled to give me $10 off the nightly rate because I’ve been there before. Sweet! I decided to look for further evidence that the $200 ticket payment would return to me quickly. The next day, I received a coupon from my yoga studio which will result in a $25 discount. I can’t wait to see how the rest, and more, will show up!
Today’s Prosperity Process
Make choices that feel good to you when you circulate money. And when you can’t change the choice, change your thoughts around it.
Thank institutions that have loaned you money in advance when you write checks, instead of grumbling about mortgage, loan and credit card payments. Write words of gratitude on the check or on a separate note. It may sound absurd; do it anyway! Take a few moments to appreciate your home when you pay your mortgage or rent, your car when you send out money to own, lease or repair it, your cell phone when you make a payment.
Think about the others your payments benefit. You are keeping people employed. You are putting food on someone else’s table. You are sending money that will allow the institutions to provide services for others.
Be conscious about where you circulate your money. Do you want to make purchases in chain stores you’ve heard negative things about, like ones that support sweat shops, or would you rather support local independent businesses?
Choose better thoughts and better ways to send your money out into the Universe. Eliminate the word “spend” from your vocabulary. Instead, circulate and be on the lookout for all the surprising ways it will come back to you!