No high resolution image exists...
Do you have a favorite place or activity where you get your best bright ideas? For some people it is the shower – for me it is watering the garden. It’s a simple act of giving the plants what they need – water. If I don’t water them (and if it doesn’t rain, which, here, is almost a sure thing), they will not survive.
Since watering isn’t a complex task, it’s easy to use this time to think and just allow my mind wander through the free-for-all place of ideas where it is easy, almost predictable to come upon ideas that have value in practical life scenarios.
For instance, a recent “watering contemplation” began with the awareness of the balance which exists between my contribution to the wellbeing of another and my personal happiness. I noticed how, by just the simple act of watering plants, I was participating in the “the give and take of life.”
That may sound way too dramatic, but the fact was: Here I am, giving water and receiving back a form of happiness, that is genuinely giving back to me a form of satisfaction. Yes, I had stumbled, quite accidentally too, upon “happiness” in the sense of accomplishment that comes with contributing to the ongoing life of my lawn and plants.
And then, I casually wondered if there was a way to apply this natural process of give and take to financial concerns. It seems like the “bottom line” (money) is the bottom line (the top priority) these days where the economy has unpredictable mood swings and there’s insecurity which leads to unhealthy financial pictures – not enough flow. There’s not enough “green” – money. And the jobs and other means of making income (water) – well, there’s a water shortage!
Not only is there a job and money shortage, there’s an overabundance of frustration, anger, and fear which certainly cannot be healthy when it comes to finding solutions to any problem, or finding strength just to cope – because sometimes that’s all that’s available to do – wait and see – find and collect your options before making the next move.
But in this space of waiting and collecting, I’d like to contribute this idea of balance to help with the task.
To discuss balance and apply it to financial health is going to take a series of articles – one to go into definitions and specifics about financial balance, and other to suggest some strategies for achieving and maintaining this in a world which is constantly changing.
For now, I’d just like to put some questions on the table for further ponderings and feedback.
1) When it comes to handling money in your household, do you try to achieve a balance between outgo and inflow (spending and income)?
2) Have you determined the amounts of actual dollars in income you need to keep this formula balance (again, income and outgo)?
3) Do you have a plan for handling an unexpected imbalance between income and expenses – do you know what needs “watering” first and what could wait?
4) How important is it for you to not “waste water”? Do you distinguish between needs and wants? For instance, are you watering a water-storing cactus as often as a new seedling with shallow roots?
5) Have you identified priorities which will give you the most happiness for the time and money spent on them?
Creating balance in our finances is about “tending” – it cannot be trusted to a “set-it-and-go” system. We need to be aware of what is changing and what will remain the same. A spending plan, a budget is certainly going to be different according to the seasons, the comings and goings of people in our lives, and our plans for the future which will require savings.
I look forward to hearing your comments and will incorporate them in future writings on this topic of balance.
Balance: the essential ingredient for health, security, peace, happiness – all these benefits come from balance, knowing that life is not an all-or-nothing proposition.