Money Matters and Life Lessons

I wrote about the concept of money while I was in Africa. How it is simply a form of energy, neither a good thing or a bad thing, but how our attachment to or obsession with it is what causes problems.

And I was reminded of all this last night. We are preparing to sell our house. Downsizing, and selling off all the stuff we don’t need anymore. It all just seems too much now somehow, and I’m sure my 3rd world travels have had something to do with this re-framing.

Anyway, I arranged to sell one of our couches. A young man and his father came to pick it up. I watched him count out the cash, not really paying attention. I trusted that it was all there. I stuck it in my pocket and helped him get the couch into his truck. After he left, I counted it myself, and found it to be $40 short. I called Max and told him. He insisted that he gave me the full amount and that it was my responsibility to have counted it on the spot. And he was right, I should have. He was resolute and un-yielding, and I hated that.

I brooded about his for a few hours after that call. Why was I so trusting? How could I have been so stupid not to count it? It was not so much about the $40, but I just hated the idea that I had been ripped off. I hated the idea that I had a momentary lapse. I was so sure that I was right, and that he was wrong. I stopped just short of accusing him, which I would be very relieved about later.

The whole thing really bothered me, particularly because it spun me out for awhile, and I could not seem to reign it in.

This morning, in the light day, I found the missing $40. Somehow it had fallen out of the pile of cash, and under a piece of furniture. On another floor of the house no less! The universe does indeed respond in some very mysterious ways sometimes!

I immediately sent Max a note apologizing for doubting him. I never heard back from him. But that’s OK. It was the right thing to do.

So many big lessons and reminders here in this seemingly simple little transaction.

The Doubt Worms

Last week I met with a group that is doing some wonderful humanitarian work in Africa. I have been looking to do something meaningful since my volunteer mission to Nicaragua earlier this year. It would appear that this group would welcome my expertise, and that if I want to do this, the opportunity is right there. I just need to say yes.

Almost immediately, the “what if” doubt worms set in. What if fail? What if I can’t do this? What if I’m not as good as they think I am? What if they discover that I am a fraud? Of course, my “right brain” knows that this is ridiculous. I am a 24-year communications veteran, and there is not much I haven’t seen (although I imagine Africa will challenge this). Of course you can do this, my rational side tries to tell me. But the doubt worms remain. They are pesky and persistent little creatures, reminding me of that niggly, familiar feeling that I may not be good enough.

And my instictive reaction to the unknown is fear. But perhaps, as Pema Chodron puts it, “fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.”

I then met with my wife and son to get their thoughts. My wife had no doubt whatsoever in my ability to do this work. My son asked me what was the worst that could happen. Good advice and wisdom close to home. They made me wonder what life would be like if I were able to see myself as others see me. If I had as much confidence in myself as others have in me.

The truth is I don’t need to prove myself to anyone, not even myself. The truth is I am enough, just as I am.

I will try to stop thinking and analyzing. I will simply do my best. I will trust myself and accept what comes. And things will work out just fine. Hell, it might even be great!

This time I will not fight or run from the doubt worms. I will simply let them have their say, shine the light, and watch them wither away.