When I first learned about mindfulness, I was sitting in staff training at my camp. An older lady walked in and sat down in our circle with a bowl of grapes. She passed the bowl around and asked us each to take one.
—— This is a guest post from Cassie Jahn ——
The room became silent. In a way, she commanded silence simply by her presence. She had us hold the grape. Look at it. Truly get to know it. We felt the sides, the stem. We examined the colors – not just the green, but the browns and reds and yellows that all swirled together. We felt the divots where the grape had been pressed or cut. We were instructed to put the grape in our mouths. We moved it around, felt it with our tongue, and held it there. When we finally were told to eat it, we were asked to listen to the crunch, to feel the fluid, to understand the taste more than we ever had.
The process of eating this grape took approximately twenty minutes, but it was the best grape I had ever eaten. This process – this twenty-minute feat to eat a grape – is what mindfulness is all about. We were aware of the grape. We knew the grape.
Connecting Mindfulness & Money
Mindfulness is defined as “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.” Being mindful is the act of being fully aware.
What if we take what I did with the grape and also do it for our finances? We got to know them, took time to process them, and to understand them. Personal finances are unique – that’s why they call them personal, isn’t it? But it’s more than that, too. Finances have their ebbs and flows as in any area of our life. The only difference is that they often have control over our lives in ways that we are often unhappy with.
So, what if we took our finances and started really looking deeply at them. Let’s look at my story as we move forward. When my wife and I first started our journey toward financial freedom, we were paying for so many things that we later realized we didn’t need.
For example, we had a huge cell phone bill from a brand name company. We paid over $230 per MONTH toward this bill. That was a huge divot in our finances. In fact, it was a divot that cost us over $3,000 a year. Now, how did we come to the conclusion that it was time to change? We took the time to think about our finances, to be mindful and aware of our situation, and to find the divots. Now, our company helps us to save that $3,000 instead.
But that’s not all we did. We started working to find all of our divots and smooth them out. Of course, we have a few that we left. For example, we decided to keep some fun money that we can blow on whatever. It’s the imperfections that make our lives grand, isn’t it?
Using Mindfulness to Set Goals
Now, my wife and I have a lot of debt, as I’ve said. So we have made some pretty huge goals. In 2016, we hope to pay off over $50,000 worth of debt on our small income – crazy, right? It may sound like it, but I know that we can do this because we are using mindfulness to set our goals.
We have determined that $50,000 is a feasible amount if we work hard and spend quality time. Next month we will be hosting a 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge which has small daily challenges. Some of these include decluttering our home and others focus on decluttering our mind. We would love to have you join us by clicking HERE to read more about it!
Anyway, the reason I bring up our challenge is because decluttering your mind is the first step toward achieving a sense of mindfulness – which is so important when it comes to setting financial goals. By creating a mindful mindset, you set yourself up for success. Instead of feelings of frustration, guilt, and desire, you can focus on feelings of content, peace, and relaxation. Mindfulness gives you the ability to be aware of yourself and your surroundings so that you can make the choice that’s right for you.
This was a guest post!
Cassie Jahn is the author of a DIY blog devoted to living life to the fullest on a frugal budget. DIY Jahn began to help Cassie to stick to her plan to aggressively pay off her student loans, in hopes to inspire others to do the same. Find tips on saving money, paying off debt, earning money online, yummy recipes, and DIY projects at: