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 money 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 www.shelltain.com
Wishing you and your money a new year filled with Ka’ching!
Shell Tain, The Untangler