Money Message Principle #16 – We Can Only Think One Thought at a Time.

Several years back I was in Hawaii after a conference with the afternoon to myself and decided to lounge around and read. I chose a spot on a cliff overlooking the ocean with palm trees surrounding me. I read until the sun went down and I couldn’t see the words anymore.  I sat for some time looking at the sunset, and a canopy of stars began to appear. I was suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling of my puniness in relation to the universe. Here I was, leading a workshop to help people transform their relationship to money and connect with a larger, deeper meaning to their lives, and I felt like a speck of dust in the grand scheme of the cosmos. Who did I think I was anyway? Surrounded by this immense beauty and peace, I wallowed in thoughts of my insignificance.

Somewhere amidst my wallowing I realized I had dropped back into my money baggage mentality, so I counteracted it by remembering my money message. As I went back and forth between both of them, I realized it was impossible for me to think about my money
baggage and my money message simultaneously. I had to choose one or the other. So which would it be? Would I choose a money baggage thought or a money message thought? What kind of music did I want to hear, the dirge of my money baggage or the peaceful sonata of my money message?

It’s been said that it is functionally impossible to hold two thoughts in your conscious mind at the same time. To demonstrate, try this. Close your eyes and imagine the face of your best friend . . .  Then imagine a paper clip . . . Switch back and forth between the two images . . . Now try to think of them both at the same time. You can’t do it. You can almost do it, but what is really happening, almost imperceptibly, is that there is a switching going on in the microsecond between the two thoughts. You can only think one thought at a time. This is particularly true when you are trying to hold something more complex than a single image in your mind. With a statement as emotionally charged as your money baggage or as visionary as your new money message, you have to choose. Your mind has to settle on one or the other.

It is truly about choice. Are you thinking your money baggage or your money message? It’s your call. Our tendency, which we will be susceptible to for the rest of our lives, is to fall back into the money baggage thoughts habitually. But the work is about awareness—
becoming more aware of our thoughts and picking the ones that serve our soul, not the ones that support our habits and fears.

This is where the transformation of your life takes a leap forward—by choosing a money message thought instead of a money baggage thought. By doing this as often as you can, moment by moment, over and over, your life will begin to change.

If you find yourself sitting at your desk frustrated and upset because you hate your job, realize you are immersed in your money baggage. At that moment, think about your money message instead, and then take some action aligned with manifesting the kind of job that would nurture your soul.

If you are an artist bemoaning the fact that you do not have money, unearth your money baggage and see if your thoughts are arising from a conditioned belief. Choose instead your money message and see if it doesn’t suggest to you a more expansive way to be
an artist in the world supporting yourself.

You can make a choice in the moment between your money baggage and your money message. If, for example, you avoid paying your bills, it’s likely that your money baggage is at work. So consciously replace your money baggage with your new money message
and realize that paying your bills can be an act of self-love. It is taking care of yourself and your responsibilities so you can spend time dreaming of a new future. This is better than worrying and avoiding the bills.

You can only think one thought at a time. To the extent you focus your thoughts on your money message instead of your money baggage, your life will change and never again be the same.

Next time- Money Message Principle #17: Change Takes Time and Persistence


Money Message Principle #15-Part Two: Continuation of Take Actions Consistent With Your New Money Message

Ward’s project went on for seven long years. He lowered his living expenses. He found a full time job making films for nonprofits and foundations, and put any extra money he earned into the film.  He used up all his savings while he kept writing grants, meeting prospective donors, and looking people in the eye to ask them for support. Eventually, nearly 200 people gave him money to make his dream a reality.

His consistent, persistent actions, aligned with his money message, led to the completion of The Heart of the Game, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2005 and earned a distribution deal from Miramax Films. The film was shown in theaters all over
the country and received rave reviews from USA Today; Ebert and Roeper; O, the Oprah Magazine; Jay Leno, and many more.

Ward and I collaborated on the writing of this book for five years. I saw firsthand the paralyzing grip Ward’s money baggage had on his life. I saw him struggle to listen to his soul’s calling. To find the words to create his money message. And then to find the courage to continue to take actions consistent with his money message.

There were days when we met that he was literally down to a few hundred dollars in funding for the film and he needed to raise tens of thousands more. At those moments I returned him to his money message and encouraged him to continue to take actions consistent with it. It wasn’t easy. Despair and rejection took its toll. But little by little, step by step, one thing led to another and the film became a reality. A reality beyond his wildest dreams. Ward shared:

I learned so much from this process. It is hard today to even recognize the guy who, seven years ago, was afraid to ask anyone for help. I am astonished at how deeply ingrained my belief patterns were. Outwardly I may have appeared confident, but I was scared most of the time, thinking subconsciously that I didn’t deserve support. I had spent most of my life living a lie about myself, and it did not go away overnight. I got counseling, I asked friends for emotional support, and though scared a lot of the time, I kept taking little steps forward. The process of transforming my old belief
patterns into a new vision of myself, one that resulted in the making of my movie, has given me a quantum leap in confidence in myself and in the universe to support me.

Ward is a perfect example of how to transform old beliefs about money into a promising future. His story illustrates what is possible when the limiting bonds of one’s money baggage are replaced with the limitless possibilities of a new money message. In order to
create a truer life for himself, he had to first recognize the limits of his money baggage and how it ruled his life. He then created a new money message and took some action.

The most important lesson to take from Ward’s story is to keep taking actions in alignment with your new vision even when you are afraid. It took many years but now he is living that new vision. He gave the world a gift in the form of the story of his movie and Ward’s life will never be the same. He told me the other day, “I’m already half way through life but I feel this great sense of promise about the future.”

My sharing all these stories is an attempt to get you to recognize some of the limiting beliefs you carry, and then to create a new vision for yourself. Though afraid or unsure, if you continue to trust your money message and take actions in alignment with this new
vision, one day you will find yourself living that new life.

Initially, as you are creating you new money message and experimenting with it, you may feel a bit uncomfortable about it. Your money message may even feel a bit false and too unrealistic. That is to be expected. You’ve lived all of your life up until this moment
weighed down by your money baggage. After all, you have a lot of evidence that your money baggage is true, and you may have no evidence—zero, none, zip—that your new money message is true.

Your money message is like new shoes that take a while to break in. Your money baggage, however, is like an old pair of comfortable slippers. It is human nature to stay with what is more known and comfortable. These old slippers are your old patterns of thought.  And sometimes those old thoughts come back and inhibit us from acting in line with our money message.

It happened to me recently concerning a decision I faced. I needed to expand my business, to add more office space and hire more employees. As I turned the details over in my mind, I became increasingly anxious. I was wondering about a downturn in
the economy. I was worried about the added overhead, and that we wouldn’t have the business to support it. I knew I would have to work harder to support the growth. So there I was, smack dab in the middle of my old money baggage again: I have to work really hard to make money, and even if I do, I’ll never make enough.

One morning, I was fretting about all of this when I remembered my money message. It is my birthright to have abundance in all areas of my life and I give generously from this abundance. I breathed deeply a few times and began to reorient my thoughts back around
my money message.

Even though it was a stretch to expand my business, I went ahead. Over the ensuing months I experienced a few moments of panic, but I decided to trust and keep going. I hired the staff I needed and as a result have been able to serve more clients and become
more profitable as a business.

When I give money away, with every check, with every donation, I trust it will come back to me multifold so I don’t have to live in the scarcity of holding on. This trust allows me the courage to take new actions, take more steps, and to keep on when I get afraid.

In Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, after Scrooge has his awakening, he takes some actions right away that mirror his new world view. We might assume that Scrooge’s money baggage is: I need more, more, more. Money is more important than love. When his night messengers come and take him on his series of dreams, he is able to witness the sadness and pain his closed heart has caused in the world. Finally, he is taken to see his own grave. When he wakes and finds out he is still alive, Scrooge undergoes a complete change in consciousness. We might say he has discovered his new money
message: Living my life from a place of generosity will make me richer than I could ever imagine.

He doesn’t just think this; he immediately sets out and takes action. He tells the boy in the street to go and buy the biggest turkey he can find and have it delivered to Bob Cratchit’s house. He is filled with a joy and new-found generosity in his heart, and he shouts that joy to the world.

If we could follow Scrooge throughout the rest of his life, there would inevitably be times when he would find himself back in his money baggage, alone on a cold night counting his money, wondering how he could get more, and feeling the old fear that propelled his greed. But he would have already taken some baby steps to start to turn his life around. He’d bought a turkey for a poor family. He’d called out good cheer to the people in the streets. Maybe over time, he would have built a new home for the Cratchits or an orphanage for all the street waifs running about.

Changing your reality involves a dance with faith, and requires you to act. You don’t take your new money message up to a mountaintop and sit in its glory, expecting your life to be transformed, wanting the universe to do it all. Nor will just verbalizing your money message over and over make a difference.

There is an old Zen saying, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” Even after turning over a new leaf, even after insights, the work is still there to do, the action still there to implement.

If you are going to have a new life empowered by your money message, you need to decide what actions are consistent with the money message, and then get out and take them. If you do, good things are going to happen to you. This practice will become a habit,
and after some time you will find yourself living amidst a new reality and relationship to money.

Next time- Money Message Principle #16: We Can Only Think One Thought at a Time

Money Message Principle #15: Take Actions Consistent With Your New Money Message

Affirmations only work when they are supported by consistent action. Working with your new money message is not as simple as saying a new thought and sitting back to enjoy the show while your life transforms. For your money message to work it must be backed
up by powerful intention, consistency, faith, and deeds.

You don’t create a garden by thinking about it and affirming you have a beautiful garden. You do some planning, get your tools together, turn the soil, plant seeds, water, pull weeds, and so on.

Once you have your money message, you need to let it guide you in taking some baby steps. If your soul wants more time with your family, go home earlier. If you are an artist at heart but have never acted on it, take a class at a community college. If you hear your soul telling you that the universe is abundant and will take care of you, buy yourself a weekend at a bed-and-breakfast. If your money message tells you that you are a shining light of attraction, ask the girl behind the espresso counter, whom you’ve been interested in for months, out for a walk. If your money message tells you that you are a divine entrepreneur, research the new business idea you have. Meditate more. Start designing your dream house. Go in and ask the boss for a raise. Keep going. Build on your successes and
don’t let the failures get you down. Keep at it.

Almost everyone experiences fear at this point in the process.  That means you are on the right track. The Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron says in her book When Things Fall Apart that “fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” It makes complete sense that committing to action elicits fear, for you have absolutely no evidence yet that your money message is true.

For most of your life, you have been influenced by your money baggage even when you didn’t want to be. You may have taken actions to change your life but found yourself frustrated by the results.  You may have done the ten things you were supposed to do to succeed at job interviews but still didn’t get the job of your dreams.

Perhaps the reason you did not get your dream job was because you didn’t know your money baggage was, and is, operating under the surface. Once you replace it with a new money message, it is time to get out in the world and experiment anew. It is time to trust,
to take risks, and to believe in the wisdom of your money message.

Some people simply get paralyzed at this stage. This is another reason why it is so important to get out—shake off the paralysis, get things going, get anything moving. A misstep—and learning from it—is better than staying afraid and immobilized.

Ward learned early on that money was something you never spoke about. And you certainly never asked for it; you earned it by being “responsible.” He also got the message that being responsible meant not taking risks outside the box. He developed a deep-rooted insecurity about being himself, as he was constantly being groomed to be someone he was not. As if that weren’t enough, he had an alcoholic parent, and like many children of alcoholics, he gravitated toward work that was highly structured—in his case, accounting.
Creative by nature, he felt stifled by this way of life. His money baggage became: I’m not good enough. I can’t be myself and live.

Ward explained, “In my family, the idea that a person could be successful and be an artist was never imagined. I never saw it as even a remote possibility until my mid-thirties.” When Ward moved to Alaska “to escape the force field” of his family, he left accounting
behind and instead pursued artistic adventures in theatre, photography, radio, and film-making. Eventually, he began an ambitious project, a feature-length documentary on girls’ basketball called The Heart of the Game. In order to complete it, he realized, he would have to ask a lot of people for financial support. But Ward’s money baggage, I’m not good enough. I can’t be myself and live, told him that he was undeserving and that asking for money would just end in rejection. This led to an almost paralyzing fear of asking people for money for his creative projects, especially this film.

After working with me on this book, Ward’s money message became: My own deep healing love of myself radiates truth, peace, and joy into the world, which returns to me in abundant and beautifully unexpected ways. Once he had it, he set out to apply it. He did all
the necessary research to find people who might know anyone who would support his project. He met with some of them and got referrals to possible funding sources.

He decided it would be easier to ask a group than to approach an individual for money. He held a number of fundraising parties at people’s homes, showed them a bit of the film, and then at the end asked the group for money. Ward shared, “It was amazing. People
would pull out their checkbooks and write me $100, $250, and $500 checks. Teenagers might give me $10. I would raise somewhere between $500 and a couple of thousand dollars at each event. The more I reached out, the more I was supported.”

However, he resisted seeking out major individual donors because of the fear of rejection it brought up. It took him six weeks before he called the first possible major contributor. He described sitting at his desk in an absolute spider’s web of anxiety. He wrote out a little script about what he would say. And then he promised himself he would call the next day. But the next day he found half a dozen reasons why he could not call.

All the while, he kept his money message in front of him. When he did get around to his first call, the woman who answered was as nice as she could be. She agreed to meet with him the next week.  When they met, she was absolutely enthused about his film and gave
him $5,000 on the spot.

He still was anxious about asking people for money, but he had made an important shift in his consciousness. It was no longer about rejection or acceptance. It was about letting other people know about his humanistic intent and vision of the film and giving them an opportunity to support him.


More Next Week with Money Message Principle #15-Part Two: A continuation of Taking Actions Consistent with your New Money Message

Money Message Principle #14: Listen to Your Soul – Part Two.

I want to make the point that your money message is not the opposite of your money baggage. You might have as your money baggage, I am inadequate. I never measure up. To simply revise your money baggage to its opposite—I am adequate, I always measure
up—and have this be your money message won’t work. Opposites just reinforce each other. You would be bringing up your money baggage and making it stronger by trying to push it away.

Another reason you don’t want your money message to just be the opposite of your money baggage is that it probably wouldn’t be big or expansive enough. It wouldn’t fully encompass all the possibilities that could inspire you to new action.

Also, try not to use any words in your money message that unwittingly remind you of your money baggage. For example, if your money baggage is Rich people are mean, and your money message is I will be rich and give my gift to the world, the word “rich” may be
subconsciously reminding you of your money baggage and reinforcing it. In this example, a better word to use might be “wealthy.”  Subtle, but that’s how the subconscious works.

Lastly, don’t use the words no, not, or never in your money message.  Don’t let any filtering or criticism or belief in scarcity come into play. You want your money message to be positive, inspiring, and free of limitations. It will help you chart a course and take you
places your money baggage never could.

If someone else has a money message that speaks to you, by all means take it on as your own. Here is a sampling of other people’s money messages from the workshops I’ve led:

I’m powerful and abundance is mine.
I am the empress of my financial universe.
Money is the tool and I’m a master craftsman.
My knowledge will be generously rewarded and I deserve it.
Money is my friend.
I require much that I may give much; I demand more that I may give
more; I must have the best that I may give the best.
Success and family easily co-exist.
I can have it all. I deserve it totally.
Money is the natural by-product of my creative self-expression.
My money bouquet is so grand I’m challenged by what colors to
display and what ones to give away.
The all-inclusive universe is safe and helpful.
I’m the gift.
Money frees my spirit to dance and sing.
I love money and money loves me, and together we play and make
a difference.
The universe is an infinite, harmonious source of wisdom, wealth
and prosperity. I need only listen to my soul’s simple needs to
be one with creation.
Money everywhere is looking for me and when it finds me, it tells
its friends.

Notice that some of these examples don’t even have the word money in them. That’s fine. Just keep asking your soul its grandest vision of the role of money in your life and write down the words that come to you. Take time to let yourself hear your new money message. What would you like to create your most ideal life around? Don’t limit
yourself. Let the words come—they will come, without fail—and write them down. This will become your new money message.

Remember, the aim of creating your money message is not to become rich. It is to create a phrase or sentence that cares for your soul. Your soul is a deeper part of you, a part of you that is always there. It is like your best friend who has patiently waited all these
years to have a conversation with you. By listening to what your soul is calling you to do, you have the power to transform your life. To live a life consistent with your deepest calling and passions. To have your relationship to money empower what matters most to you in
the depths of your soul.

As one person who took the workshop said, “Your money baggage is a loud voice coming through the radio keeping you from hearing your soul speak to you. Your money message allows you to turn down the volume on your money baggage—and maybe even change the station.”  Take time now to write down or review your new money message.

Next time- Money Message Principle #15: Take Actions Consistent with Your New Money Message.