Category Archives: relationships

The Big Secret About Getting Fired

Throughout my life there have been many times when I feel like Cassandra.  She was a Greek prophetess cursed by Apollo so that her prophecies, though true, were fated never to be believed.  For me it has often been about stating what I felt was obvious and having others look at me like I’d just landed from some other planet.

One of those areas in which I notice I have a really different perspective is ‘why people get fired.’  It looks like they got fired because they made mistakes, embezzled from the company, or didn’t do the job effectively.  My experience in corporate land says that’s not so.

Before I detail this out let me say that I’ve only been fired once, from my very first job.  I have, however, fired people, seen others being fired, and heard a myriad of stories from friends and clients about being fired.  I know this really isn’t about Money, and yet I keep running into this with clients.  My point is to expose that this does happen, and warn you so you don’t get caught in it yourself.

You may have a very different opinion, and here’s what I notice: What gets you fired is not really about the work you do, or don’t do.  It’s how you fit in the culture of the company.  It about whether or not the people in power like you—and by the way, those people may not be in the top slots on the org chart!  It’s a system thing.  Are you a fit?  Or do you stand out?

In many ways, a Company—just like a Country—has a personality.  In order to fit in and be successful you need to align with that personality.  If you don’t, you won’t last.

Oh,  they will find a more plausible reason to let you go than that you don’t fit.  But nevertheless, it will really be that you just don’t fit.

In my experience if you get hired and really aren’t competent at the job you will be let go within a short time—six months or less.  If you’ve been there awhile and somehow now they don’t like you, and you are sensing impending doom, know that it’s about  that you don’t fit in the current culture, or perhaps in where the culture is going.

The irony is that NO ONE actually talks about this.  Thus my Cassandra thing!  I worked in various Corporate lands from 1970 to 2000 and found this to be present everywhere.  As a manager I admit that I would find other issues/mistakes to come up with a viable reason for firing the person.  They were all true and valid.  However the real reason was that they just didn’t fit.

If someone fit in the culture those mistakes would be forgiven or overlooked.  If you don’t fit you aren’t forgiven.  Certainly in some ways this is awful, it’s like cliques in High School.  And it’s what is happening.

So my suggestion is to look for kindred spirits and places you ‘fit’ as a person, as much as you look for a job that suits your skills.  It’s no fun to stay where we don’t fit, and it’s more than likely not worth the money however much it is.

And if you are in a place that you did fit, and somehow the culture has changed, dig deeper and see if your being suddenly always in trouble, or let go has to do with that… there may be some financial compensation for you if the game has changed.  For example if you recently got a raise or a promotion, and then get transferred to another boss who fires you, there is something else going on—something for which you may be able to get some compensation.

Bottom line — fitting in is often way more important than being competent.  Just sayin’


Shell Tain, the Untangler

If you’d like to chat about Cassandra things of your own, or how to navigate these ‘not performance based’ problems give me a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at

Boomers and Personal Growth

First, in case you didn’t know, I’m a baby boomer—a fairly early one since I was born in 1951.  Lots of individual ‘boomers’ have been pioneers and changed the world.  Paul McCartney is just one of many.  In addition to contributions by many of us individually, there are some remarkable changes they we were the first generation to actually experience.  Things like computers for individual use, space exploration, and the one I really want to talk about today—’personal growth‘.

Actually ‘personal growth’ is  the catch-all phrase I’m using to describe a big cultural change.  I’ve decided, based on my own experience, that my generation is the first one to embrace the radical idea that we can work on changing the baggage from our ancestors and our past without necessarily being considered out-and-out crazy.

Things have shifted.  When I was in high school and having a very hard time with a bunch of things, I asked my dad if I could get some counseling.  His response was: “Sure, we can send you to Camarillo!”  Which meant ‘No!‘  Camarillo was that state mental hospital.  It was a stigma for people of my dad’s generation to get help with their emotions.  He even declined the psychiatric help offered to him after he was liberated from a German prison camp at the end of WWII.

As I grew older there was a shift happening in the mental health field.  It was becoming more and more common for people to seek the support of a psychologist or psychiatrist.  It no longer meant that you were ‘totally crazy’ if you tried to untangle your thoughts and behaviors.  There was still a stigma, but it was much less severe.

It’s an important change for all of us.  For literally centuries people kept doing the same dysfunctional things their families did over and over and over.  There was no way to stop the patterns unless you were willing to accept the judgement involved in ‘getting therapy’.

I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Phil’s statement: “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.”  And I would add the obvious idea that you can’t acknowledge what you are unwilling to look at, work on, or talk about.

I’m really writing this to answer a question I get from a lot of my clients, which goes something like:  Why didn’t my parents do better with this?  The answer to that comes from another quote —this time it’s a paraphrase from Maya Angelou:  We do the best we can until we know better, when we know better we do better.  Our parents didn’t know better. How could they?  Their parents, grandparents, etc. didn’t either.

And then in late 1980’s and early 1990’s all sorts of things started to happen around new ways of not only becoming more aware of our thinking and behavior, but actually consciously doing—as Maya would have said—better!  One of the best of these new ways is the one I work incalled Life Coaching.  Imagine, assisting and supporting people to have better lives,! Helping them to let go of the way it was always done before, be it around work, relationships, or even money!

And it’s all been in my lifetime. Wow!

You know I used to think my grandmother, Cupcake (* see below) had seen the most important and remarkable changes in human history in her lifetime.  She was born in 1900 and died in 2001.  In her hundred years there was electricity, automobiles, flight,  computers — a myriad of amazing and miraculous inventions that changed our lives.

And now I think that it may just be possible that the most miraculous thing is happening in my lifetime — people are readily choosing to break the old patterns and embrace their lives and talents in new ways.   They are doing it through workshops, coaching, counseling, retreats — there are all sorts of paths to personal growth.

Wow, just wow!

(*Okay, I recognize an explanation is in order here—as a little girl I nicknamed her that.  She was short and round and had white hair, thus frosting on top.  The name “Cup Cake” stuck!)


Shell Tain, The Untangler

If you’d like to chat more about this idea of how you can break the pattern, just give me  a call at  503-258-1630 or check out my website at

How I Learned About Money

First, let me say that this is a blog I’m writing particularly for Adam Naor to share on  Pennybox is an app for kids to learn about earning and using money in a practical and fun way. I was delighted to find out Pennybox is doing something directed specifically to kids around money.  Adam asked me for a blog to use on Pennybox—about myself and how I learned about money—so I, of course thought I should share it with you.  Here goes!

The story is all about me and my dad, A. C. Royden Stone, known as Stoney.  A little bit of context about Dad and money.  My dad was 1957 Dad and Meborn in Oklahoma in 1925, he lived through the dust bowl as a little kid.  My grandparents moved to Wyoming in the 30’s and opened a ‘lunch room’ which was run by the family.  Dad served in WWII and was a POW held in a German prison camp.   When my parents first met he was riding the rodeo circuit and dealing poker for a living.  By the time I was five he had sold insurance, had ‘made it rain’ for farmers in Washington by selling ‘seeding clouds’ and was managing a Pepsi plant in Minnesota.

He was what one calls a ‘self-made’ man.  Later in life he went on to become a TV producer, manage cable TV systems, and—even later—motels.  This background sets the stage for his relationship with money.  He always had a bunch of cash, and was likely to buy a round for the bar.  I don’t think he ever really tracked it or accounted for it—which makes his earnest and engaging methods of getting me both comfortable and savvy with it all the more remarkable.  I was an only child, born in the early 50’s, and a girl.  He wanted to make sure I was smart and self sufficient when it came to money.

He started me early, and he made it engaging, fun, and emotionally rewarding.   When I was really young it was more about numbers than money.  The tool he used then was to teach me how to play poker.  Important life lessons were learned through learning old gambling terms—about “breasting your cards” (not flapping them around), and “not betting on the cards to come” (assuming the right cards will show in the next deal).   Really good things to know in addition to the numbers piece.

When I started getting an allowance part of the deal was that in order to get the allowance I had to keep a ledger of my spending.  It had two columns:  Income and Outgo.  If it was up to date and balanced, I got my allowance.  The brilliant part here was that he had no judgement around what I spent, he just wanted me to account for it.  Trust me, if this had been my Mother, she would have had judgement about every entry, and I would have not been able to succeed.  I think that was an inherent part of his strategy, he wanted me to feel good about this money stuff, so he framed it in a way that I would.

Amazingly it was only a couple of years ago while talking to a client about my dad’s ‘money training’ that I had a clear insight about this one thing he did.  He would borrow money from me on a Friday night in order to take my mother out.  This started when I was about nine.  I was delighted to help my dad!  I felt so ‘grown up’.  And he would always pay me back on Monday with interest, so there was that cool idea of ‘investing’ thrown in there.  What I didn’t realize, but am now sure of is that he never actually needed to borrow the money!  He ALWAYS had a wad of cash.  He was doing this so I would learn about money.  Yay, Dad!

There were other examples and the last one I’ll share is no doubt his favorite!  I was about 13 and wanted a sewing machine.  My dad said that if I saved half the money he’d give me the other half.  I saved and saved money from baby sitting for quite awhile—in those days baby sitting was 50 cents to a dollar an hour!  When I had the money together I went to Dad and he asked how much the machine I wanted was.  I said: “$125.00”, and he said: “Okay, then I’ll give you $62.50” to which I said: “No, just give me $60.00.  I want owning interest.”  In that moment he was the happiest man on earth.  He had successfully taught me about money!

It is no wonder that I ended up an accountant.  The actual magic is that I ended up a Money Coach.  See, my deeper nature is not about crunching the numbers but about understanding why people do what they do.  So with the great relationship that my dad helped me create with money, I was not only able to manage and understand money, but to notice when others were bewildered by it.  When another executive I worked with came into my office one day and, after closing the door, sat down and said: “Shell, I need your help, I can’t balance my checkbook!”, I knew that this was not a skill set issue.  It was deeper than a method—it was in his head.  That was just another event that led me to my current career of helping people untangle their money knots…and fundamentally, without my dad and his loving care in helping me be at ease with money, that would never have happened.  I’ll love him forever, for that, and so much more.


Shell Tain, The Untangler

Gunnar’s Travels

This is my friend, Claire, at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  You can see by the photo that it’s one of those hazy, almost foggy days.  She’s smiling and looking great.  And look, what’s that in her hand?  That little vial? Oh well, that’s Gunnar, or more accurately some of Gunnar’s ashes.

Claigunnar crop 2re’s cousin, Gunnar, died on the 4th of July weekend in 2015.  He was just 21, hadn’t really had much time or done a bunch of things yet.   But oh the places he’s been since then! His extended family (and there are quite a few of them) all have been taking Gunnar on adventures—everywhere! Sometimes he just visits like when Claire took him to work one day.  She didn’t want him to get stepped on, so he just stayed in the vial.  In other places a bit of his ashes get left like when one family friend took him to see the sunrise in Reykjavik.  Gunnar was named for his family’s first immigrant from Iceland, Gunnar O.

Recently, when the vials are empty his carriers refill the interior where the ashes were  with the elements of the environment he was left in.  Some of the additives are waters, beach sand, or even moss.   These are labeled and delivered back to his parents as a souvenir of his journey.  He’s even been mixed with a bit of Tattoo ink for a more permanent site visit.

He’s really having quite an adventure.  He’s been to a Neal Young concert, one of  Gunnar’s favorites, and seen the Pope up close when he visited the U.S.  Both NASA and Stanford have had Gunnar visits.  He’s been to Ireland and Jamaica.  He’s been added to fireworks and gunpowder and shot into the bright night sky. While in New York he went from under the Brooklyn Bridge to catching the view of the Chrysler Building from the Empire State Building.  Gunnar has been wandering in the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming a bunch, and attended a Royals game in Kansas City.

His adventures continue.  And as Claire said: “It’s the coolest idea and I am grateful for my family’s willingness to participate and to actually enjoy the celebration of this young man’s life. Maybe his “job” was to bring us closer together. He’s done a bang up job so far.”

Notice that what’s really happening here is that this family is creating experiences that they want to share with Gunnar and each other.  Those experiences are what we cherish and remember.  It’s an enriching way to spend our time, oh and money too, for that matter.

We all honor those we have lost in different ways.  We take a piece of them with us in our hearts if not in a little vial.  This family has found a way to be very intentional about that, and strengthen their own connection at the same time.  I’m going to be more intentional about sharing my adventures with those that tag along with me in my heart.

Happy trails to you, Gunnar!


Shell Tain, The Untangler

Dad Made It Rain

Most of you that have followed me for awhile know that my dad started teaching me about numbers and money very early.  It was truly a blessing because I’ve always been good with both of those, and it’s no doubt the reason why I was so successful in my accounting career.

Today, as Father’s Day approaches, I’d like to talk about some of the other important  things my dad taught me that served me well in business and life.  I learned about business from him more by watching him than be being specifically taught.  He modeled some very effective life skills.

Here he is,Dad Jeep crop A.C. Royden “Stoney” Stone.  This is him about the time my parents met – the late 1940’s after WW2.  Dad was riding the rodeo circuit and dealing poker to make a living.  His parents ran a Cafe in Buffalo, Wyoming and he was striking out on his own.

Once my parents got married he sold insurance for awhile, but that didn’t pan out.  Shortly after I was born he worked for Irving P. Krick in eastern Washington state selling farmers on cloud seeding, which meant my daddy made it rain!

I was also impressed with his next job – what little kid in the ’50’s wouldn’t have been impressed with a dad that managed a Pepsi Cola plant?  The next adventure brought him to Hollywood to be the producer for “Beany and Cecil” the cartoon show by my uncle, Bob Clampett—a family business venture, for sure. He probably worked the longest for Storer Broadcasting, managing Cable TV Systems throughout California, and later producing several TV shows for them including “The Littlest Hobo” starring London, a very well trained German Shepard.  Later he did more Cable TV work in Texas, and ended his career managing motels.  All that for a guy from a small town in Wyoming, who only had a high school education.

Living with him through most of that I learned some really important things:

  • Breast your cards. It’s an old poker thing.  Don’t let others see your hand until you are ready. Dad kept his cards close to his chest while being open and friendly.  The deeper places were not easily reached.  The inner circle is small and select. Lots of folks knew and enjoyed him, and at the same time, the deeper spots were available only to a few.
  • Act like you know what you are doing.  This one serves me very well.  I try all sorts of things I don’t really have a clue about, but people don’t need to know that.  I’m bright enough to catch on and catch up.  Part of this one is also something about confidence.  While “acting like you know” you have to really “act like you know”.  You have to be assured.  Not snotty, not superior, just assured—and willing to try.
  • Try new things. I give things a try, and if they don’t work, I try something else.  But I know by looking at others how rare that ability is.  Many people are scared to death to move across town, let alone across the country.
  • Integrity is crucial.  He showed me how to honor and uphold mine. If people ask me what I think, I’ll tell them.  If I give my word I keep it, or I re-negotiate if circumstances change.  I’m loyal.  Come to think of it, I not only “breast my cards”—I keep everyone else’s secret too!

There are many other things I learned from my dad.  He’s very much a part of me, from how much I look like him, to how his quirky sayings keep coming out of my mouth, to the way I operate in the world.

Although he is in my heart everyday, I wanted to share some of him in honor of Father’s Day.  As you can no doubt tell, I miss him!


Shell Tain, The Untangler

Rank, Revenge and Money

Recently I was reminded of the complexity of a crucial couple’s money knot: what happens when one partner “controls” the money?

I was asked by my friend, Kathleen Burns Kingsbury to be on her new Breaking Money Silence® Podcast Series.  She’s hosting conversations around money myths that we hold.  The one I chose to talk about was “I have to know everything about the money to feel safe”.  We had a really great conversation which covered many aspects of the myth.  Here’s the link to the podcast so you can check it out:

One of the things that’s really intriguing to me about this topic is the concept of Rank and Revenge around money.  Let’s dig more into that one, okay?

Frequently in a relationship money is the place where power struggles are uber visible.  We’ve all seen the dynamic where one partner controls the money and the other partner ‘acts out’.  It was in some ways the cultural norm before the sexual revolution, right?  The husband controlled the money, but the wife would then go out and splurge.  In that instance the husband holds the “rank” in the form of control, and the wife practices the “revenge” in the form of spending extravagantly.  It’s a game or dance we have all seen in our families, in novels or in film.

If one person holds power in a negative way, the other person is likely to find a way to exert some revenge.  What’s really going on is an attempt to find some equilibrium.  The power in the relationship has become one sided.  It’s no longer a partnership, it’s a tug of war.

Struggle is a normal phase in a romantic relationship.  It’s that time when the ways you are different no longer seem cute and amusing.  Why can’t your partner just be more like you?  Why can’t you be right?  Why can’t you be the top dog?  Money is a place where this often plays out. Unfortunately some couples never move out of the struggle place around money—or other things, for that matter—and keep tugging on the ropes.

At the end of one talk I gave, a women came up to me and said: “You need to FIX my husband.  He’s driving me crazy.  He has these spreadsheets.  He’s always fiddling with the numbers and it’s just crazy.”   Seems ironic, in a way, doesn’t it?  This husband was being the number cruncher and his wife, being of the opposite view, thought it was crazy.  Mostly we think the less number crunchy person is the wrong one…the truth is that neither one is right or wrong, they just have different strengths and talents.

We all know opposites attract!  This issue is how have money effectively managed while NOT stimulating rank and revenge in your relationship.

One that often works is for the more natural number cruncher to translate the information into pie charts or bar graphs.  It’s likely that the opposite of the cruncher will be able to grasp proportions at a glance while numbers may just baffle them

One of the things Kathleen brought up in our conversation that I just loved was that as we share in the management of our finances with our partner the intimacy between us increases.  I think one of the reasons that is true is that when we finding a way to share this crucial area we have to honor and respect each other and our differences, and that makes for a closer connection.

Money, and the day-to-day management of it, is a crucial thing in our lives.  How can you facilitate a better way of sharing the money responsibilities in your relationship?


Shell Tain, The Untangler

Want to talk more about rank, revenge and money, give me a call 503-258-1630 or check out my website at

Checkbook, Check “Mate”?

Let me take you on an exploration back into my past by telling you about Tim—my first husband—and money.

CheckbookAs you probably know by now, I’d been actively “managing” my money since I was a little girl.  My dad made keeping records and being clever with money a rewarding thing to do.  By the time I got married at 21 it was very natural for me to be the family accountant. I not only liked knowing what was going on with the money, it actually was and is very important to me.  I enjoyed being effective and adept with it.

Tim was a good man.  He was responsible, ethical, very smart, and had a wicked sense of humor that often left me laughing so hard I was in tears.  One such occasion was his response to a TV commercial that asked “How do you keep baby Johnny dryer?” Tim’s response was: “a cork and a rubber band”—at that point I simply lost it.

He looked like Bill Bixby, the non-green part of the Incredible Hulk of the early 80s.  He was charming, warm hearted, wrote me poetry, and actually danced with me.  Great guy.

After we’d been married about five years I got tired of being in charge of managing the money.  It was role nausea.  Although I’m good at it, I just needed a break.  I asked Tim to take it on for a while.  He agreed.  Although I don’t remember it, I’m sure I walked him through the process of how I managed things, and handed over the checkbook.  (You remember those, right?  I still use them, every once in a while!)

I kept checking in and asking him how things were going and he said “coasting along”.  Turned out they were pretty much coasting downhill into oblivion!

After several months of his managing the money, he got a new job that required him to go away for around three weeks of training.  Since he was going to be gone for some time I asked him to turn the checkbook and reigns back over to me.  He did so, and it was a mess.

He had been entering checks in the checkbook, but had no running total, nor had he balanced the checkbook to the bank.  The actual bank balance once I figured it out was $2.57—and yes, I do remember the amount.  I wasn’t going to get a paycheck for two weeks, and he wasn’t going to be paid until after the training.    It was the 70s, and—as a side bar—credit cards didn’t let us pay over time until 1987!  And of course he took the credit card with him on the trip.  Yipes!

I was stuck eating the weird canned goods in the back of the cupboard while he was enjoying steak at his training seminars.  Hmmm.

No surprise I took back the bill paying, is it?  He just wasn’t good with numbers, literally.  He could write two different numbers on the check, the handwritten one and the numeric one, and a different number in the checkbook.  I referred to it as musical money, like musical chairs.  It usually ended up with me waiting to see which number the bank chose.

Even with that huge difference in our skill sets around money, once we got past that month, money was not something we ever fought about.  During the rest of our marriage we made a lot of money decisions together.  He participated in the choices and spending—he just didn’t manage the checkbook, I did!

One of the times we moved he went ahead of me and rented an apartment for us.  We knew each other so well that he found the perfect place for both of us at a great price.  Everyone that knew me was frankly amazed that I didn’t need to see the place first!

The point is that together we made a great team, we combined our different strengths.  I found ways to communicate how the money was going that worked for him, and he respected my role as the family accountant.  How can you and your partner find a way to be more effective with money by sharing your talents?


Shell Tain, The Untangler

Is there a money knot in your relationship? Wanna talk about it? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at

Think of your Company as a Person

Back when I was deeply immersed in “Corporate Land” I tried to hold the standard of: “What is best for the company?”  I truly felt that if something was good for the company overall then it was worth my time and effort.  Most of you reading this are in essence your own Company.  You are the company or the company is at least all yours.  So now this “What is best for the company?”  and “What is best for you?” can get a bit tangled.  Sometimes it’s even hard to tell where the boundary is, isn’t it?  When is it about you?  When is it about the company?  When is it about both?

Thinking of your company as a person can be a great exercise for a small business owner or sole proprietor.Thinking about that led me to the idea that it’s just like a romantic relationship:  Yours, mine and ours.  You are the decider for all three entities.  Yep, entities.  In a way they each have a voice and thus each need a say in what is going on.  That works in a relationship and it will work in your business, too.

Let’s agree with that metaphor for a moment and imagine that your company was actually a person.  What might happen if you started to think of your company as a person?  As a partner with you in your business?  How might that collaboration benefit both you and your company?

What would that person look like?  What would they be wearing?  What are their hopes and dreams?  Really envision your company as a person.  Give them a name, or a nickname based on the company’s name.  Start to give the company a voice so you can balance the conversation.  After all, if it is truly your company then whatever is good for it is at least worth giving serious consideration, yes?

Of course, what you really want is what’s best for both you and your company.  That’s the best result.  And just like in a relationship sometimes one side needs to give in or at least compromise.  How would that work between you and your company?

What’s currently going on in your business?  Which side seems to hold the power?  What would balance look and feel like?

Many of us sacrifice too much of ourselves for the company.  We pour time and energy there and get exhausted.  We forget to take care of ourselves and reinvigorate our enthusiasm for the work.

On the other side some people try to ignore the company side and just do the parts that seem engaging.  One of the things the company side really wants is all that crunchy numbers stuff and that fiddly administrivia… yawn!  And yet those thing turn out to be really helpful stuff in the long run.

See if this idea of actually anthropomorphizing your company into an entity gives you a new way to balance the scales.  Play with it.  Have meetings with your company.  Even go on retreats together.  It’s amazing what the two of you can do. Wow! Power couple on the rise!


Shell Tain, The Untangler

Having trouble envisioning the company as a person? Give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at

Money Ritual

This time of year is filled with rituals; some formal and some not so formal.  The ones that come to mind for me are things like singing Auld Lang Syne, watching the ball drop, and making resolutions.  There is even a very long-standing New Year’s ritual that has to do with money.  It’s one my family did every year and I never knew it was a mcandle heartoney ritual until now.  Wow! Money really is a taboo topic!  It’s Hoppin’ John, the black-eyed peas and rice combo. The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins and a coin is even sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls.  The addition of collards or some other green adds to the wealth since they are the color of money.  Even cornbread adds to the ritual being the color of gold.

As humans we really need and like rituals.  They help us create clarity and focus.  We have been using them for centuries.  They are everywhere.  They define the space.  Frequently they tell us when something begins and when it ends.

Ceremonies are all about ritual.  There are rituals around graduation, marriage, babies, weddings, winning the game… you name it. They can be celebratory or solemn.  Whatever form they take they help us to step out of our day-to-day life and take notice.  They aide us in getting purposeful and mindful.

It strikes me as odd, but also understandable, that we have so few rituals around money. I don’t mean the ones using or giving money.  I mean ones honoring or acknowledging our relationship with money.  So here’s what I’m proposing.  Set up and do a Money Ritual in this New Year.

It can take any form you like.  Frankly, it’s more about your intention than the steps.  It can be fun and silly or serious and committed.  Let me make one up and you can then figure out what you like about it and what you’d change.

Personally, I like fire!  So I think I’ll start with a bunch of colored paper.  I’m going to tear the paper into pieces big enough to write on.  I like the idea of the torn, somewhat messy edges. Then on each piece I’m going to write something about money that I want to either keep or let go of.  I plan on focusing about my thoughts or beliefs.  Things that I want to let go of might be “worrying about money”, and I will want to keep “appreciating what I can do with money”.  I will then create a ritual by taking all the “let go” slips of paper, reading them aloud, and burning them one by one.  After that I’ll find a cool box, bag or bowl and, one by one, read aloud and put into the container each of the ones I want to keep.  Later in the year, I can even go back and review those more positive elements as yet another Money Ritual.

There.   That’s a ritual.  I can do it again that way every year or I can do something different.  It’s my choice.  The definition of ritual really says that it has to be the same, prescribed format every time.  I’m going to disagree.  I think the INTENT has to be the same, not the steps.  When dealing with large groups of participants, the consistency of format creates predictability which puts people at ease.  If that works for you on a personal level, go for it.  For me, I like to change things up so I stay more conscious and in the moment with them.

What I’m suggesting is that you set a bit of time to create a Money Ritual.  To get clear on what you want from and with money in the coming year.  To make a declaration, and in the process to let go of what didn’t work while embracing what will.

And if you’d like a bit of help creating some other rituals with your money give me a call at (503) 258-1630 or check out my website at

Wishing you and your money a new year filled with Ka’ching!

Shell Tain, The Untangler

Money’s Wish List

So what do we do with Money over the holidays?  Most of us use it and ignore it at the same time.  We spend it with the idea that we will catch up with it in January.  Actually, it’s more like April.  It takes that long for many people to catch up with, or recover from, their holiday spending.

At the very least it seems we put our money thinking on hold.  And yet what do we expect from Money during December?  We earnitexpect it to be there.  We expect it to stretch to meet our needs and desires.  We expect it to magically appear.  And we expect it to do all this cheerfully.  Hmm.

Remember that thing about how we are going to be in relationship with Money all our lives? How about the question: “If we knew we were going to be in relationship with a person forever how would we want that relationship to be?”  I’m guessing that we wouldn’t expect anyone we were in relationship with to do what we expect of Money over the holidays.

So what might Money want?  What’s on Money’s wish list? You’ll have to ask your Money to find out. (Yes, talking to your Money is a good thing.)

Here’s what I think Money will say to you.  I think it wants what everyone really and truly wants.  It wants your time and attention.  It wants to have a shared experience of deep caring with you.  Well, isn’t that what we want from our loved ones?  Stuff comes and goes and frankly it’s very few presents that make a lasting impression.  What we want is positive time together.  Money just wants some of your time and attention.  It might even want your acknowledgment and appreciation for the frenzy you put it through during the holidays.

And Money as a loved one?  That may be throwing you off but think about it.  Sometimes Money doesn’t give us everything we want but neither does family.  Sometimes we have to work really hard to keep things going with Money and the same with family.  Sometimes Money seems to let us down and so does family.  And sometimes Money comes through and helps us, just like family.

Money will be with you longer than family.  You will interact with Money every day.  What’s the relationship you want?  What’s the relationship Money is asking you for?

Oh, and Money has some obstacles in communicating with you, doesn’t it?  It can’t talk to you; it has to get your attention in other ways.  What if you tried to notice what it might be trying to say?   What might that bounced check be saying?  What might the pile of unopened bills be saying?  And what might the unexpected money that lands in your lap be saying?

So check in with your Money and see what its wish list looks like for this holiday season.  Can you possibly fit in giving Money a bit of what it’a asking for now?  Maybe there is something on Money’s wish list you could give it?

If you’d like to explore how you and Money can get along together better, give me a call at 503-258-1630 or check out my website at


Shell Tain, The Untangler