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Morning, friends!

Last week, I introduced you guys to a three-week series I’m doing on money and mindfulness. Today I’ve got four “offerings” — a yogic concept, a re-framing exercise, a journaling prompt, and a self-mantra. You will likely not resonate with them all, perhaps you'll even hate one or two. You can examine and see what will serve you most, and leave behind the rest. I would love to know what you think, so please hit reply. It helps me to feel less like a robot email person and more like a human person whenever people do, and is hands-down the best part of my week to chat with you all.
 
Another great part of my week? Sunday afternoon meal prep. This week I made this delicious salad, and a carrot cake that is very yum. I changed the recipe and made the frosting with cream cheese and coconut oil. It was both a sacred and joyful experience to eat.
 
Anyhow, without further ado…

Aparigraha

This word, which translates roughly to “non-coveting,” comes from the text of the sage Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras, and it’s one of the yamas—which are basically like moral and ethical guidelines. Aparigraha is about resisting the urge to possess material things.
 
Personal example: I work in social media, which means that a good portion of my day is spent on Facebook and like most Americans that also means that I am exposed to thousands of ads trying to entice me to buy things—roughly at least 4,000 ads per day is what current estimates say. I would say a couple of times per day I’m also lured into clicking into something—usually a clothing ad, sometimes a travel-related thing, and that dopamine hit sets my brain’s pleasure centers off. Before I'm even aware, I might even end up buying something.
 
When I really sit with this, I know it's a biological reaction to a stimulus, and not a true need that I'm satisfying. I'm working on creating some distance, whether that's to take a breath, laugh at myself, shake my head, get a glass of water, or just close my eyes and count down from 10. You can look at it like just another practice of developing consciousness. With enough practice, creating that distance is a modern-day expression of what the yogis called Aparigraha, and that’s a really beautiful way to stay connected to your own inherent being.

What are your personal triggers for "coveting"?

“Cheap and convenient” vs. “sacred and joyful” ✨

For a moment, hold each of those sets of words above in your mind. Say the words internally, and notice your body language, and maybe sensations or visuals that arise.
 
For me, cheap and convenient feels sharp, pointy, cold, rushed, jagged and makes me tense up a bit, like a little oxygen just left the room. On the other side, sacred and joyful feels expansive, warm, light and easeful—how I feel after a great yoga practice or hanging with my best friends and eating something delicious. What are the things in your life that feel most sacred to you? What are the things that cause you the most joy? I don’t mean to sound like a motivational speaker but the fact is that you are worth more than what is cheap and convenient.
 
Personal example: A few years back I discovered that Starbucks had a mobile ordering app. I got completely sucked in, and almost every morning I’d place my order, get a little dopamine rush from the power trip of skipping the long line and strutting out with my latte, and would down my sugar drink and cardboard bagel truly without a second thought or moment of enjoyment. By the end of the year, I downloaded my expenses. (Side note: because I am a Questioner, information like that spreadsheet provided is super empowering for me in changing habits—check out this quiz to see what your style is). I realized I’d spent $600 on my Starbucks habit, and that wasn’t even an entire year. I could’ve booked two round-trip flights to Paris with that money. That money could've bought 60 bags of groceries through Martha's Table. Instead, I just felt sort of blah and empty. So I deleted that app, and haven’t looked back. My weekday coffee hunched over a computer screen is not a sacred activity for me—so why invest in it? My Sunday morning post-yoga latte catch-up session with a friend? That feels sacred. And the excess means I have the additional funds to support those who lack the choice.
 
Next, I'll address "cheap." Cheap is good if you want to save money, right!? My hot take is no. The notion of cheapness convinces you that you can have more, that you need more, and that is how the retail industrial complex convinces you to buy more. Forgive me for all the food examples, but I liken this to the difference between drinking a glass of fine wine, and going to an unlimited boozy brunch. One is quick-hit sugar garbage that will leave you hungover, the other took years just to be ready for you to taste.

A Journaling Prompt 📖

For this one, start with that initial question: what are the things in your life that feel most sacred to you? Then, examine where in your life you have activities, relationships, or financial patterns or habits that feel cheap and/or convenient. Do you need these cheap or convenient things? What about them works? What doesn’t work? Can they be eliminated? If so, what could replace them that feels joyful and sacred?

💭A Mantra

This may sound incredibly silly, but stay with me. There’s a mantra that I have been offered by yoga teachers in my past, and I have found it quite transformational in my mode of awareness and feel-good-ness. It goes, “I am not my body. I am not my mind.” Fortunately, this extends very nicely to other external things we often confuse with “ourselves.” Try this mantra next time you are stuck, or overwhelmed or fearful about a money issue:
I am not my body. I am not my mind. I am not my thoughts. I am not my belongings. I am not my bank account.

Reading & loving 💖

There's a virtual round-table on 3/17 where facilitators Reba Thomas, Elsa Duré and other women of color will share their self-care evolutions and journeys towards self-healing; check it out here, there is no cost to join. // Women do actually ask for more money, they just don't often get it. //  If you really want to give something up this Lent, give up plastic. // "Sometimes in life we are called to carry our friends; other times we need to be carried by them. Blessings can be found in both." // Think it's great that restaurants are coming up with new ways to make sure all members of staff get access to wellness and health coverage. // Speaking of cheap and convenient, the fast fashion industry is a hot mess and a huge drain on the environment. This a good backgrounder on that. // The importance of knowing you might be wrong. // Why so many Americans are turning to Buddhism. // Also: if you've been at all drawn to learning about the Tarot but are still a beginner, I highly recommend this upcoming online course that the amazing Michelle Mae is offering starting 3/25. Shoot her an email for specifics!

🎵 Tunes

As a point of reminder and transparency, I don't monetize currently on this newsletter. I don't have enough subscribers for that anyhow, lol. But I do make a flat, small rate per song review I give to emerging artists, through a site called Playlist Push where I'm a curator. That's why I say, if you want to support this thing and give me props, all you have to do is listen to this playlist.
If you like reading this newsletter and find it some form of joy, you can support it is by forwarding it to a friend. Appreciate you 🙏

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