After 6 years, my family is finally out of debt (except for our mortgage or course – the word itself means “debt till death” for a reason!). We moved to Kelowna 6 years ago from NYC where we didn’t own a house or a car – our most valuable possession was probably our Mac desktop. So when we moved we had to buy everything – a car, a house, furniture, etc. But after tracking our debt weekly, we’re finally in the green.
It’s been a slow process of putting more money in and taking less out. What’s interesting is that this input vs output management has occurred in more ways than just monetarily. After years of being depleted from sleep deprivation and lack of self-care from having kids, I’ve slowly built up my ojas. Ojas is the Ayurvedic word for “vigor” and is the essence that allows us to resist stress, prevent disease, and gives us strength, immunity and endurance. It’s like money in the bank so to speak. When ojas is low, any small stress to the system will put you over the edge and make you sick, exhausted, or burnt out (think adrenal fatigue, colds, flus, allergies, infections, etc.).
But several years ago I decided to invest in myself and learn Ayurveda. I wanted to learn how to better take care of myself and fill up my inner reserves so I could serve my family and students better. Reminder: self-care isn’t selfish.
When I lived in NYC I "invested" a little differently. I inherited my good (albeit expensive) taste from my mom and would scour consignment stores and sample sales for designer labels I could afford on my waitressing and yoga teaching wage. I have to admit, the $1000 Marc Jacobs handbag (bought for $300) did bring me a good amount of joy and my $1200 Prada raincoat (bought for $600) made me feel like a million bucks – but the return on investment was close to zilch. Mostly I was just parading as someone who had more money than I actually did. Fraudulent, to be honest.
I think it bears examining – what are your investments for anyway? And are you getting a return on your investment? Or are you just doing what everyone else is doing around you – buying the bigger house, the nicer car, the newest iphone, the latest Lulu? Is it more than skin deep? We’re pretty good at upgrading our electronic technology but are we upgrading our inner operating system?
Needless to say my retail therapy left me pretty empty so I kept searching for a filler for the feeling of lack I was experiencing in my life.
When you look at what most people invest in – houses, cars, and retirement – it might lead to more security, more comfort, more status. But what about good health, deep happiness and wellbeing? And what good is money in the bank once you retire if you have to spend it all on medical bills (very common), or in pain, sick and unable to enjoy your life in your big house with your fancy car?
I think we need to learn how to invest properly. In what REALLY matters. In feeling our best and living a life we love. In what brings true joy – not just fleeting moments of instant gratification and ego-massaging tactics.
Now I don’t know much in the way of traditional investing, so take it from the man who is arguably the best investor who has ever lived (net-worth of more than $72 billion dollars!):
“Invest in as much of yourself as you can, you are your own biggest asset by far.” — Warren Buffett
“You only get one mind and one body. And it’s got to last a lifetime. Now, it’s very easy to let them ride for many years. But if you don’t take care of that mind and that body, they’ll be a wreck forty years later, just like the car would be.” — Warren Buffett
So invest in taking care of your body, mind and spirit. Cultivate good habits and stick to them with a daily routine. Your time is extremely valuable and precious – how are you spending it? When we begin putting little deposits in the bank accounts of body, mind spirit – the compounded interest has massive, exponential payoffs that are beyond what we could ever experience from all the money in the world.
Start filling your inner piggy bank and your life will be richer than you could ever imagine.
Here’s a few suggestions:
Eat foods that nourish you – mostly plants
Honor your digestion
Get enough sleep
Move your body
Take care of your sense organs
Journal ideas, thoughts
Learn something you're interested in
Commit to your goals and learn to focus on them
Surround yourself with uplifting people
Experience gratitude daily
Do something just for fun
Connect with your desires
Plug into a community or a teacher
Take care of yourself so you can live a life of service
Spend time in nature
Live with integrity – put your money where your mouth is!