One of my favorite parts of The Lord of The Rings movie is when the fellowship is making their way over the Misty Mountains.
They’re being led by Gandalf the Grey, attempting to cross the tallest, most perilous peak called Caradhras but the snow is too deep and it’s beginning to feel treacherous. The poor little hobbits are barely able to make it; there’s a bad magic at work. Earlier, the dwarf Gimli, Son of Gloin, suggested they not take this route and instead go under the mountain through the mines of Moria but Gandalf says he wouldn’t go there unless he had no other choice.
There is a good reason… something scary is lurking inside that mountain. Yet on they go, trying to make their way over, though there is a foul voice on the wind and the magic is bad. And then it happens: an avalanche hits and finally it’s decided they must turn back.
Their only choice now is to go under the mountain, through the mines of Moria and everybody is scared. Just then, we hear the voice of Saruman the evil wizard telling us that Gandalf knows what is hidden inside those mines, he knows that the dwarves dug too greedily and too deep and “you know what they awoke in the darkness of Khazad Dum… shadow and flame.”
Please tell me I am not the only one in the Love Posse who has a “thing” for the Lord of the Rings? It’s okay if you don’t. I wanted to talk about our money stories and being a good steward of abundance today and can’t help thinking that this Misty Mountains analogy might help you relate to your own shadow and flame.
Sometimes as I sit with people in session, I see how they’re trying to climb over their own mountain.
They’re scared of staying stuck. They just want to get over the mountain and yet there’s wind and rain and the avalanches that keep coming. Sometimes they even see how this probably isn’t the best path to take, they even hear the voice whispering that the true path lies under the mountain but they’re afraid of what they’ll find.
The journey is like that, we keep having signs and signals that the stuff we’re trying isn’t working. And on we climb. We’re so scared, we just keep on keeping on. We may even fall, and break a leg, but we just won’t consider going under. It’s too scary.
Yes, I so understand this. I have shared a lot of my own financial story in The Abundance Series already but one of the stories I haven’t shared yet is the time when I tried to build an “emergency fund.”
I was beginning to address my financial chaos and was following someone else’s plan for digging out of debt. The first thing they said was I needed to create a $1,000 emergency fund. First. Before I did anything else I needed to get this money together and keep it sacred for emergencies. Something in my gut didn’t quite understand – save money for an emergency? Isn’t that like worshiping at the altar of being broke? It felt like this couldn’t possibly help me dig out, and I kept wondering how having a thousand dollars in the bank would help me when I had thousands upon thousands more in debt. But because somebody kept telling me in that “I know better than you” voice to climb over that mountain and I’d be saved, I did it.
The first time I reached $1,000 our water heater blew out. The next time we saved $1,000 Winston the Wonder Dog had to have an emergency surgery. Next up, our daughter’s severe throat infection led her to an out of state ER and the out of network penalty was $1000. Let’s see… next came a dental emergency. After that it was something with the car. Each time, the bill was pretty much $1000. I was beginning to see a pattern. Not only was I was saving expecting an emergency–affirming the emergency–I was also hoping that by saving the $1000 somehow magically ALL the money problems would be healed.
It was more than a year like that, one problem after another.
As much as I wanted to blame the situation on everyone else, in the end I had to admit that I was trying to climb right over the mountain when I really needed to go under it. There was so much more to be addressed but I was scared and didn’t want to look. I thought the shadow and flame would kill me. You can probably relate in your own way, right? Something was calling me to go deeper with all of this. Clearly the quick fixes weren’t working for me.
I hate it when people tell me, “It’s gonna take hard work.”
There is something about that statement that makes me want to throw something at them. It’s the stupidest thing ever to say to someone who is already on their knees and frightened. Stupid, stupid. Yet when I first began searching for money help, I often found myself talking to the exact kinds of people who scared me. Shamed me. They said it would be hard and horrible and they hoped to God that I wouldn’t end up homeless.
Once I helped myself to stop being scared, I realized this wasn’t hard at all. Showing up and loving myself was easy. And the work of doing this was so worth it, so rewarding… I realized that I really loved it! And also, maybe we shouldn’t be taking advice from those who aren’t in the ring doing the work as Brene’ Brown would say…
As I began to dive deeper into my finances and I began to help others too, it became my clear knowing that all we ever needed to do was gently look at our money stories. This is where all the energy is tied up inside. It didn’t matter what the circumstances were, it always came down to the money stories. Our money stories are the scary “shadow and flame” we fear deep inside that mine, stories our inner little boy or girl clutches tight while we continue to make mistakes while trying to get over that mountain.
We need to gently gently peek inside that mine and see what needs to be illuminated. We don’t need to get out of debt first, we don’t need to save $1000 in an emergency fund first, we don’t need to get a second or third or fourth job first, we don’t need to crazily sell all of our possessions first. We need to sit with the inner child and find out what stories she or he is carrying.
I had to look at my money stories.
I had to sit with the little girl memories of money, my lack of awareness around finances and the deep shame I carried even about not knowing what the hell I was doing when my mother died – I did not even know how to write a check properly – I had to sit with all of that and let it come to the surface before things could really heal. I had to sit with the stories and hold the little girl inside and be with the terror (for a time! it does pass!).
It’s hard to give up your financial terror when you don’t sit with your own story.
And for those of you feeling particularly resistant and even defiant, I am gently inviting you to look into the mirror: this is the person you are hurting. You. And you know what? You are a precious gem and this is not fair to you.
If you can’t get close to it for a time to study it, how do you know where to start? You might just keep on that mountain, even though the path is painfully difficult. I am reminded just now of that saying from Joseph Campbell: Follow your bliss. But the truth is, many of us are in trouble because we’ve followed our bliss (and by that I also mean we’ve avoided what feels upsetting!) and you have probably already seen the way the stinky continues to follow you while you follow the bliss, right? You’re in a kind of stinky bliss then wondering why the crap keeps happening to you.
For those of you wanting some kind of action plan for going under the mountain, here is what I suggest:
- Show up with your money stories – Sit with your inner little one and begin a dialog about money. I have a free inner child offering which can help you connect with your sweet inner self, receive this over here.
- Get clear on the actual numbers and do your part to clean up any messes – take out the paperwork and write yourself out a budget. Old school is best if you ask me, just hand write it all out on paper. Don’t make it some big, ginormous thing! Just collect the mail this month, and keep a tally of the bills. Looking more keenly at the numbers is always the root of the process. We need to look at the numbers. Write out all of the bills and all of the income, all of the spending and all of the saving. We have to look. We need to do it. If we aren’t doing it, we are supporting the story of fear – which is SO not what we are trying to do, right?! Oh and this reminds me, for a time, you may want to turn off paperless billing! It helps to get clear at first to have the actual papers in hand…
- Get on a regular plan with your finances. Open your mail one day each week, enter the bill into the log, pay your bills one day each week… Also, if you get paid by the session like me, make one deposit each week – one withdrawal from Paypal (or whatever system you use) each week. Doing it all once each week begins a steady and easy routine, which gently creates a habit. It also takes you out of emergency mode. There is no need to fall behind or even carry worry if you are on a regular plan. Once I was rocking and rolling on this, it became so easy. You can do this!
- Trust. Allow. Receive. Trust that you are on the right track (you can feel it in your gut, can’t you?). Allow that this takes time, it’s a process. Receive, I have talked over here about the three things philosophy that says when you show up powerfully in who you truly are and honor this knowing, abundance is your return. Showing up powerfully means cleaning up the finances too. One must find the place of reality in the middle of “la-la Land” and “It’s all beyond hope land.” Find the middle of the extremes and begin to trust it. And how do we trust it? We trust it by knowing we have done everything we could be doing to do our part, right? Then when the worry comes, we can reassure little one inside saying, Sweetie, we have done our part, we are doing everything we need to be doing to honor our finances and abundance. All is well.
- Remember, this is a dance. This is not a one and done thing – it is a dance and the dance is always happening. Checking in with your finances is a permanent thing. Once you are through the scary part of the dark “shadow and flame” you’ve always feared, you might find it’s actually fun!
More super awesome tips for you
Avoid teachers and teachings which feel really upsetting and hard for you – these are not your way. Don’t go there. Avoid speaking about your finances or debt or lack with anyone who isn’t a light-bearer, anyone who isn’t also becoming conscious. If you don’t, you will be speaking your fear into a larger area of fear with their own and it will turn into an ego driven clobber fest, each one tries to dump the crap onto the other one.
We can make finances fun. I have a pretty dresser I keep all of my financials in, pretty box, pretty pens, and things like that. I make nice tea and I play nice music. I open mail on Fridays. I sit and say thank you… Once a month, I keep track of how the debt is going down, and the savings is rising. I praise my track record too – no late payments in over x months or years… I celebrate ME and my awesomeness!
Believe in yourself and love yourself. Part of your spirit wanted this experience to find out just how exactly one finds liberation. It needed situations in which to practice this.
I wrote an entire series on Abundance and becoming a Steward of Abundance over here.
A wonderful book which can help is The Energy of Money by Maria Nemeth which I have read and done the exercises and recommend. Keep the Kleenex handy, I cried a lot. It’s okay!
It’s never too late, EVER. You are gonna make it!
I have friends who are constantly being bailed out by family members and other friends who are constantly bailing their family members out. Friends who have earned 6 figures and more who still lost their homes and just as many with credit card debt which never budges. Savers and scrimpers who are married to spenders, and hoarders who are married to flingers. There are people who think all they need to do is work a little harder, dig a little deeper… people like me who didn’t believe they could make it on their own. The point is, everyone has their own mountain and their own way of avoiding what’s truly asking for healing.
In the end, none of the yukky matters really, it’s not the important point.
You gotta go under the mountain and face what’s there. It’s just shadow and flame, sweetie. And you are made of light of the highest vibration, the kind which shadow and flame cannot touch.