I was on my way to work one morning and had rationed my time in a way that left no room for aberration – I hopped on the freeway, and lo and behold, I came to a screeching halt – traffic. An accident a few exits ahead had cars creeping along like an ant trail in slow motion. What the heck?! Traffic wasn’t in my morning plan! “It’s not the time of day for traffic,” I mumbled to myself. I noticed my body heat up, my impatience building, tension all along my spine. As I was stressing out, eying the clock as if my gaze controlled it, I wondered, how many times a day are we inconvenienced?
An important theme recently among my clients has been the vacillation between hypervigilance and collapse. How do these two states live in your body? Hypervigilance is often a state of anxiety, of production, of doing – being early or on time, accomplishing tasks for a deadline, making lists in your head of all the tasks you have to do, shutting off many parts of yourself in order to please a boss or appease a customer. In essence, it’s a results-oriented stance.
When I talk to friends and acquaintances about therapy, I often hear these comments. Do any of them sound familiar?
- “I can talk to my friends about my problems.”
- “Why would I talk to some stranger about my problems?!”
- “I’m not crazy.”
- “Therapy is cool for others, but not for me.”
- “The therapist is going to ‘psychoanalyze’ me.” (here, ‘psychoanalyze’ means to discover something I’m ashamed of)
- “The therapist is going to think I’m crazy.”
- “I am not in crisis.”
- “I don’t need therapy… It’s my husband/wife/boss/co-worker/fill-in-blank who needs to change!”
As promised, here is an exercise taken from Maria Nemeth’s book, The Energy of Money. I invite you to explore this exercise in a calm and non-judgmental place, and give yourself some time just to free-associate. I’ve shortened it a bit, for space’s sake.
Your Structure of Knowing Money
On a poster-sized piece of paper, write the word “money” in the middle of the page. From there, start writing down your associations with this word. Do this by drawing lines moving outward from the word “money.” An association is any word or phrase that pops into your mind when you think of money. (This mind-mapping technique was developed by a writer named Gabriele Rico).
If you live in this society, you have some relationship to money, so this month’s topic is the dreaded MONEY ISSUE!
Do you save? Do you spend? Do you binge spend? Do you have a hard time spending money on yourself? Do you have a hard time spending money on others? Do you always think there is never enough? Where do you spend your money? Is it in line with what you value? Do you follow your money meticulously? Or do you bury your head in the sand, hoping that your account isn’t withdrawn? Just thinking about these questions makes me feel like this guy in the photo!
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