Flow is about more than cash flow. It is about life flow. Each of us creates our greatest wealth when we are in our own personal flow. - Roger Hamilton
There’s a reoccurring theme running through my life that goes something like this: “let go.” Go with the flow might be another way of stating it.
I hear myself uttering the words whilst teaching yoga, I repeat them to myself silently when I feel myself stiffening with stress or disappointment at something not going the way I’d planned and observe the process in nature and watch with wonder and envy at the ease of flow in its purest state.
It got me thinking about how one can “just let go” from the rigid ideas we have about how to earn and grow money, the strict targets, the discipline and structures that all help one to achieve greater wealth and dissolve into a state of non-worry that gets us to the same point, financially. Is that really possible?
On one hand, there’s the mainstream thinking that reinforces the 9-5 pm. paradigm where we work not for love but for money, routine and results…in the form of a regular pay cheque and maybe the odd promotion. On the other, there’s this idea of pursuing your passion, allowing money to be a secondary concern and thriving on a perpetual wave of uncertainty where opportunities knock on your door, not the other way around.
But does it have to be one or the other?
As with most things in life, it’s a balancing act that involves letting go of fixed notions and attachments to ideologies of any extreme. Letting go is not a synonym for abandonment rather I see it simply as a way of releasing fixed ideas and opening the mind to possibility.
Can such a mindset be fairly said to apply to money and wealth management?
There’s very few I know who would said that money doesn’t matter and fewer still who would say they want less of it than more. In fact, the only person I can think of is my meditation instructor, a Thai monk in his 90s whose relinquishment of all worldly stuff ironically attracted to him money by the truckloads. But even this enlightened monk realised that money wasn’t something to be treated lightly. With the money that did flow his way, he created ways to channel it back to the people who needed it most; hospitals, daycare centres in the poorest areas of Thailand, to women who needed to learn skills to help them earn income for their families.
Naturally a monk who has no material desires beyond shelter, food and transportation to reach his temples across the world obviously has a lighter grasp on money than most of us yet his handling of it was very deliberate, measured and clear. I believe this was the case because he knew very clearly what its purpose was, unlike most of us stuck with wants without fully understand why.
For anyone wanting to attract more money into their lives, I think this is a crucial question because it speaks to intention and then makes more obvious the pathway by which to achieve it.
When we know what are targets are, then we can aim to achieve them more precisely whether it is saving for a first time home, having enough for a great holiday every year, a new car, money to start a new business or send a child to university so they don’t have to go into debt to get an education. The details around the bigger long-term goal all of a sudden begin to take shape, removing some of the obstacles that stand in the path of our flow.
The why and what for is not an easy question to ask because it forces us to be honest with ourselves about what we want out of life instead of just imagining a better life that comes from being ‘rich.’
My journey through yoga over the past decade has helped me to see more clearly in this regard. When I find myself thinking of the conquest of money, I remind myself to take stock of what I already have, and the real abundance in my life that has nothing to do with it.
In letting go of this idea that I need more, I discover or return to a place of truth and honesty with myself about my wants, and needs and what I long for most in my life. When I strip it down to basics, it’s about love, family, friends and living at peace with myself. More money would afford me more time with my family who lives across the world so I don’t minimise its worth or delude myself that it doesn’t matter. It absolutely does but within limits.
In practical terms, a way to navigate one’s way through the chaos and cross-currents of the turbulence is to make a list. Establish firstly what is truly important and why. Then attach to those things a figure where necessary. In this way, you can begin to make sense of how much you need, and set in place some ideas, methods or means of making money that are in line with your inner values and goals. From that you begin to develop a greater sense of mindfulness about what it is you are doing, and why and from that an energy of flow.
P.S. Just in case you were curious whether you are being properly remunerated for that job you are doing, here’s a link, with love, from me to you.
Amanda Morrall is a New Zealand based personal finance expert. Her first book Money Matters was published in 2013 by Penguin Random House in NZ.