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I don’t want to let the tremendous fear, guilt, and shame I have around money ruin this moment for me, and it is. I hate that it is. Especially since I know that most of my skewed notions about money don’t come from me. They’ve been handed down to me like heirlooms from my mother.

I struggle to support myself financially, this is true. I live month to month, but I live pretty comfortably. This is also true. I’m not getting weekly pedicures, or shopping for much other than food or work related supplies, but I have a house to myself and gas in my car. I have a small amount in savings. It wouldn’t cover anything greater than a minor emergency, but even having that is a feat for me. I’m on my own, I don’t make a lot, and I have quite a hefty student loan bill.

When it comes to money, my tendencies are to deprive myself and languish in self-pity, and to buy what I want when I want it (as far as groceries, cupcakes, Redbox movies, e-books, or pizzas are concerned) without knowing whether or not it’s money I actually have. I am miserly, but reckless and a bit entitled. It’s an odd combination. I am responsible and irresponsible. Mostly, I hate having to deal with it. Probably because of how it makes me feel (terrified, guilty and ashamed). I react to those feelings either by pinching my pennies or by recklessly spending. They are opposite reactions to the same fear, guilt and shame. It is all pretty unhealthy. I am unhealthy when it comes to money.

I created for myself the most beautiful personal retreat tonight. It is exactly what I want and need. It is an incredible way to celebrate myself and to nurture myself at the end of a very tough year. In May, I’ll be doing a weekend workshop at Esalen, followed by 3 nights in Carmel, and then 5 days at Tassajara. I wish it were starting tomorrow. Yet, part of what makes it so perfect, is it will happen exactly a year since my first trip to Tassajara and the birth of these Truths.

It is a lovely gift I am giving to myself. I enjoyed it for all of about 2.5 minutes before I pulled up my financial accounts and broke out the calculator. Over the next hour I became increasingly sick to my stomach and agitated as I obsessed about the dollars I have and don’t have. I can afford the trip with some of my savings, and still have enough for a small emergency. That doesn’t seem to matter, however, to the terror, guilt and shame. They are still coming on hard. Needless to say, they’ve killed the joy.

The money is mine. I am earning it with sweat, tears, screams, and several extra pounds. Why can’t I use it to give myself a well-deserved gift and just revel in the fact that I not only can, but that I want to? It is all to be celebrated. Yet I’ve been sitting here with multiple browser windows open and my calculator out, making myself feel worse and worse.

I am going to go to bed now. All I can do is walk away at this point. So I am going to go to bed now. And I am going to dream of Highway 1 and naked Zen.