In this issue ~~
* Living with Uncertainty and Chaos
* Dealing with Money
* Creative Tip
* Wise Words
with Uncertainty and Chaos
Nowadays, the world is moving so fast that we don't seem to
know what our reality will be like from one day to the next,
or even from one moment to the next. For many of us, uncertainty
has become part of our day-to-day existence, and it can be very
As humans, our tendency is to gravitate toward, or attempt
to create, safety and security. We want to know what's going
to happen next. When our lives our shaken up, we do everything
we can to bring them back to "normal," to stasis. We
try not to make waves. But reality is constantly redefining itself.
By trying to make it constant or static, we inhibit growth and
One way we can cope with chaos and uncertainty is by understanding
that it can be a result of something positive, that it doesn't
always signify a crisis.
~ When you're stretching and growing, learning something new,
you're in unfamiliar territory. Uncertainty is part of the process,
and it can be uncomfortable.
~ Chaos is an inherent part of creativity. If you try to pin
down the creative process to make it feel safe and comfortable,
you stop or inhibit it.
~ Chaos is a part of choice. When faced with choices, the
more possibilities you can come up with, the more powerfully
you can choose. But having more choices creates more complexity
and, therefore, more chaos.
So we've acknowledged that uncertainty and chaos can be good.
But that doesn't make it any less uncomfortable. Fortunately,
coping with the discomfort is a skill that you can develop. You
probably have some techniques of your own, and I'll suggest a
~ When you're in the midst of chaos, you may feel like you're
on a merry-go-round and can't control what's going on. Stop.
Take time to pause. Don't keep running. Take the time to think
things out, to get grounded and centered.
~ Look at the chaos and determine where it's coming from.
Is it a positive or negative place? Is your life truly out of
control, in a downward spiral, or is the chaos a result of new
surges of creativity and change?
~ When you're in the midst of a creative project, don't try
to stop the chaos. Allow the creative ideas to flow without trying
to organize them; that comes later.
~ Keep moving forward through the chaos, even if it's confusing.
Do whatever you can to keep the momentum going, or perhaps to
ride it, even though the direction it's going isn't clear to
you yet. Just keep getting your ideas down. Eventually the fog
will lift and the chaos will give way to order. Don't force it;
~ Remind yourself that you're safe and do what you can to
reinforce that and get yourself centered. You might:
- Use written affirmations or tapes.
- Meditate, pray, do yoga or exercise.
- For those who work with chakras . . . The first chakra represents
security, and its color is red. Get red flowers. Visualize yourself
wrapped in a red "security blanket," or even get a
- Have a touchstone, one that feels good in your hand and
calms you. If you like crystals, you might choose a black obsidian
or onyx to repel negativity, a red stone like carnelian or garnet
for security, or aventurine for emotional balance and mental
- Pet your dog or cat, or hug a stuffed animal.
~ Get support from family and friends. Align yourself with
other individuals or a group who understand what you're going
through and will support you in moving through it rather than
Some days, it may seem as if the world is whirling about your
ears. But if you can discern and understand the chaos for what
it is, you can learn to cope with the uncertainty and use it
as the creative opportunity that it is. At the very least, it
will build character!
Okay, I admit it. Finance is not my strong point. Oh, I do
okay financially and manage to keep myself out of trouble, but
when someone starts talking about financial planning and investments,
my eyes glaze over. I want the freedom and security that money
offers, but I want it to just be there without having to think
While some people love playing with money, watching the stock
market and moving their money around to get the highest returns,
many of us would rather not have to think about it. Financial
advisor Marian Wellman says, "I think many people, and perhaps
creative people in particular, have the tendency to throw up
their hands when it comes to money." We would rather not
let concerns with money take our attention from our work, and
as a result, we may end up managing our finances in a haphazard
Wellman continues, "The thing to keep in mind is that
money is not a religion, or a belief, or a political persuasion
that one is embracing or not. It is a tool. Knowing how to handle
money is like learning how to drive a car, how to get around
on a subway, how to pick out the right clothes. As a tool, money
can be (is!) your servant, to help you run your life creatively."
So how can we do this? Often, we find ourselves trading off
time and money. Either we find ourselves settling for less money
so we have the time to do the work we love, or we go for the
money and sacrifice the time. We may be making enough to cover
our expenses, but not enough to save (or so we think).
For me, the two major concerns regarding money are 1) making
more and 2) making the most of what I have.
1) How can we make more money?
~ Look for a better job. If necessary, take some classes to
upgrade your skills.
~ Give value to your work. Many feel that because creative
work is fun, you shouldn't be compensated, or at least not well.
Love the work you do and expect to be handsomely compensated.
~ Have a positive attitude and expect abundance. Focus on
and affirm your abundance. Create a collage with pictures representing
the things you want in your life. Phrase your desires in a positive
way; ask for abundance, rather than to avoid lack. Remember that
abundance can show up in other ways besides money. When you do
achieve your goals, enjoy them and feel the gratitude. There
are numerous books and tapes you can use to help you with this.
~ Look at your parents' beliefs, attitudes, habits and patterns
around money and see which ones you've picked up that you want
2) How can we make the most of the money we do have?
~ Watch where you spend. Get value. Shop around, especially
for major purchases. Don't let the computer salesman talk you
into a top-of-the-line computer when all you want to do is word
processing and e-mail. Avoid impulse spending. Create a budget
and follow it.
~ Use a program like Quicken to manage your money. It's easy
to use, allows you to see where your money is going, and makes
tax time a breeze. Take advantage of the financial planning calculators
to plan savings, investments, debt reduction, budgets, etc.
~ Avoid debt. The interest on credit cards can eat up a lot
of your income. If you need a cash advance, consider a bank loan,
which has regular payments and a set payment schedule. Shop around
for credit cards with low interest rates and pay off the balances
as quickly as you can.
~ Handle your taxes wisely. File on time to avoid penalties.
Find an accountant who can do your taxes in the most beneficial
way. Invest your tax refund or use it to pay off debts.
~ Set financial goals. Prioritize. Think about what really
matters to you and where you want to flow your money. Plan ahead
for things you want, such as education for career change or advancement,
a house or a special vacation. Have a financial reserve so you're
not always living on the edge.
~ Save and invest. Have two bank accounts, a liquid fund that
you can access for immediate needs and a long-term account that
you add to but don't touch. Make sure you put some money away
on a regular basis. You can start small. According to Wellman,
if you put $2000 into an IRA every year starting at age 20 and
earn 10% a year, you would have over half a million dollars by
age 65. That means putting aside only $5.48 per day. Most of
us could do that by eliminating some unnecessary or impulsive
If you can't handle that much, do what you can. Put
aside small amounts weekly or monthly, rather than a lump sum
once a year. When I was an aspiring actress, a pension counselor
started me off with a whole life insurance policy for only $25
per month. As my income grew, I began putting aside more, but
that original investment gave me something I could grow on.
~ You can't be an expert at everything. If handling money
eludes you, get help. Some financial planners take commissions
from the products they sell, so their services might not cost
you anything. You may feel embarrassed to tell someone that you're
in debt, but trust me, you've got a lot of company, and taking
care of it now will prevent it from escalating.
~ Avoid get-rich-quick schemes. Very often, the only one getting
rich is the person selling you the information. Yes, people do
win the lottery, but for most of us, financial planning takes
time and thought.
As much as dealing with finances may scare you or bore you,
being responsible is powerful. Wherever you are, start now. Forgive
yourself if you've messed up. Develop new habits. Give value
to yourself and your work so you can attract more money. Make
wise, conscious choices. Don't leave finance to chance.
(Marian Wellman is a financial advisor and coach residing in
Denver, CO. You can reach her by e-mail at MTWellman@aol.com
or by phone at 303-750-8500.)
There used to be a time when each person could have all the
skills needed to get through life. But life has gotten much more
complex and busy, and we don't have the time or the ability to
learn and do everything needed to support our lives. If you don't
have the skills to accomplish a necessary task, think about hiring
someone. Don't feel you have to do it all yourself.
"What I had learned from Buddhism was that I did not
have to know myself analytically as much as I had to tolerate
~ Mark Epstein, MD, in Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart:
A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness
"It takes as much imagination to create debt as to create
~ Leonard Orr
(click on the book or tape graphic to
see a description at Amazon.com)
Coping With Uncertainty:
Insights from the New Sciences of Chaos, Self-Organization, and
Complexity . . . Uri Merry
When Things Fall Apart:
Heart Advice for Difficult Times . . . Pema Chodron
Madness: The Necessity of Meeting God in Darkness (audiobook)
... Caroline Myss
Left-Brain Finance for
Right-Brain People: A Money Guide for the Creatively Inclined
. . . Paula Ann Monroe
Your Money or Your Life:
Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial
Independence . . . Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
The Wealthy Barber "
. . . David Chilton
© 1998 Sharon Good. All rights reserved.
and tapes listed in the Bookshelf section of each newsletter
can be ordered from Amazon.com. To go to a specific book's page
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