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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Seduction, Spending And Love

Prada's competition this week.
“Baking Soda! 99 cents!” beckoned a pink, fluorescent piece of poster board in the pharmacy window.

I’m used to feeling the twinge that tells me to go purchase something when I walk by the window of, let’s say, Forever 21.  But baking soda? First of all, I don’t bake. Second, my roommate just bought some baking soda, so even if I needed it, I have some at home in my very own fridge.  Why did I suddenly feel a mouthwatering desperation to buy it?

First things first: I recently read a new and life-changing book called Money: A Love Story, written by my dear friend and money muse Kate Northrup.  I have read several books on personal finance throughout my life.  Every time I have approached money in the past, it has been from a place of fixing myself, righting my wrongs, and atoning for my financial sins. This was all so that I could someday be “good” or at least “better” with money.  “Oh I’m so bad with my money!” I would lament in the off times, just like my old days of yo-yo dieting. In the on times I would get that crazy, manic look in my eye, feeling proud when I could deprive myself as much as possible, like buying a street cart coffee when I really wanted a latte.

The thing about this approach however, is that I hate street cart coffee, so inevitably I would buy the latte anyway after becoming so fed up with all the “rules”.  These rules mind you, were all written by my own hand – strings of barbed wire I had strung up around the things I could and couldn’t do in order to be considered “good” with money. Eventually, of course, I would rebel. “Oh yeah rules??? I’m getting whipped cream on that latte! And special flavoring! And I’m getting a LARGE!” I would leave the coffee shop feeling bloated, wired and utterly defeated.
$4.25 down the hatch.
But let’s get back to the baking soda. 

I knew that rationally I had absolutely no need or even desire for baking soda.“But 99 cents?” my mind said. “What a deal! I don’t even know what baking soda really costs but it looks like this is the steal of the century! Maybe I should get a few.  And while I’m at it, some paper towels, we can always use paper towels.  And while I’m here, I need conditioner.  And you know? I’ve been thinking lately that I should start using Listerine, just for that extra oral care punch”.

Normally, this thought process would usher me straight into the pharmacy and escort me out with an unexpected $40 transaction on my bank statement. Forty dollars is not a fortune, but the pharmacy purchase, plus a detour into the sunglasses store, plus splurging on a twelve dollar green juice, etc. These little spending adventures feel so sparkly in the moment, but suddenly turn into a sandstorm once reality hits.  Kind of like admiring a bird perched elegantly on your windowsill only to have it fly into the house, turning a thing of grace and beauty into chaos and panic. 
Kate! What a cutie-pants.
I was spared from the allure of the pink neon sign and I have Kate’s book to thank.  In Money: A Love Story, Kate takes you through her own journey into and out of $20,000 of credit card debt.  She also shares about her own financial entanglements that looked like a safety net from the outside but felt like a boa constrictor on the inside, and how she unraveled herself.  Her story is inspiring, real, and filled with compassion. 

In fact, what I love the most about the book is it’s compassion based approach, and the way it taught me to turn to my body and my feelings when making financial decisions.  This ties right into seduction as a spiritual practice.

People always assume that by teaching seduction I am teaching about power play, sex and how to scrutinize someone’s insecurities so that you can come out on top.  This model is based on manipulating and controlling other people’s desire.  But when applied as a spiritual practice, the tables of seduction turn. The focus is no longer on the desires of others, but rather the desires of YOU.  And not just the flippant impulses that serve as momentary distractions, but the deep, churning stirrings of our soul.

When I saw that flash of pink neon in the pharmacy window, my heart got excited. I felt like everything that little sign was promising: power, abundance, community, something-for-nothing, was not only suddenly available at my own fingertips, but available at half the price! How could I say no?
Big kahuna indeed!
I said no because I went within.  I asked my body: does this desire feel like a gentle lapping wave in a tide pool at the bay, or a big crashing, unstoppable wave in the ocean? As a seductress and a woman who now practices Money Love, I have come to see that trying to surf the little waves doesn’t ever get me very far.  There is much more power and reward in waiting for the big kahuna. 

I did not buy the baking soda, paper towels, conditioner or Listerine that day. And now, in addition to having another $40 in my bank account, I have the space in my mind and heart to spend time on the things that I truly love, rather than rummaging through my fridge making space for a few boxes of Arm and Hammer.
                                                                                     
Thank you Kate, for telling your money love story, and in doing so, clearing away the brush for us to all rewrite our own. 

P.S. - Seductive Ritual: Rites of the Body is coming up September 22nd.  I am so excited to honor the holiest of holy's on that Sunday - your body.  This one-day retreat will be unforgettable, and is almost full.  Click here to reserve your spot!

P.P.S - The first round of gifts for attendees of October's Seduction Is A Way Of Life Retreat arrived today.  Cutting open that box was like untying the ribbon on a box from Tiffany's.  Just sayin! ;)




2 comments:

  1. Kitty, I loved this quote: "These little spending adventures feel so sparkly in the moment, but suddenly turn into a sandstorm once reality hits. Kind of like admiring a bird perched elegantly on your windowsill only to have it fly into the house, turning a thing of grace and beauty into chaos and panic." I completely related to your post, and have been working through some Barbara Stanny exercises on money. I will have to check out Kate's book also. Much thanks!

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  2. Thank you Miss Pearl! So glad you enjoyed it!

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