Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Investing in Self

I was chatting with CK today about technology. Well, my want of newer technology. I have an iBook that came to me 4 years old... a year ago. I said it was OK, really I mostly just write, blog, email, but it gets boggy & hard to work with... a lot. In fact, as I as I try to write this.

With the way my back bothers me carrying around a laptop gets really tiring. For travel I've been considering a micro, maybe something running Linux. Really, I've coveted a Macintosh Air.

I'm getting a bonus at work, which both surprises & delights me. I thought maybe I'd just set a chunk aside for my birthday in August and if there was enough left over buy one. Not think about it too hard, just go do it.

The day after I found out about the bonus the hot water heater went. What I then discovered as a home owner is that the cost to install the hot water heater professionally was going to cost more than the unit itself. We talked about it and picked out the most energy efficient unit we could get, with a 12-year warranty, and $1120 later the house has very hot water again.

And so go the thoughts of an Air. Only this afternoon CK was talking about how we should get one for me. What I came to see how my worry about the money, that I was spending too much, frivolously, was based in not seeing myself as worthy, devaluing myself. I finally commented to her how until the last year or so no one had ever commented upon my writing as something useful to them.

In the past year people have told me how much they've enjoyed, found useful and even meaningful my writing has been to them. This week my teacher Chozen asked me to write about my experience with mindful eating for her blog. Something I already wrote for her was included in her recent book.

Despite this evidence of merit, that my writing isn't merely some frivolous thing I do, I still am questioning if I really need such an expensive piece of technology. Regardless of the improvement to me, the help to my back, or any of those positive things it is hard to recognize that it is OK to want something like this and have it. What it really makes me wonder is why it is so hard to really invest myself at that level when it is easy to spend truly small amount of money on myself frivolously. To really spend money on myself that isn't absolutely necessary, like a hot water heater, that I judge as not being responsible.

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  1. I think this is really important to write about.The voice of the Inner Critic can cause such suffering telling us how we are being frivolous or irresponsible. It has helped me to work with seeing this as the Inner Critic. Mine told me for years not to spend “too much money” on shoes, so I wore worn out shoes and was in pain constantly from plantar facitis. It was only when I realized this was but one voice and opened my awareness to the wisdom that was there. Then I could say, “I heard you but I’m not taking your advice footwear. Thank you!”Your writing about this is helpful as I think about our next offering of the Buddhism, Mindfulness and Money class. I’d like to include something on the Inner Critic as part of it next time. One of the things we talked about was looking for the Middle Way on money and spending. One dynamic that can happen is that when people feel constricted they splurge on things that are not important. Or they might binge akin to someone on a very restricted diet. I’m not saying you are doing any of that, just that people shared in the class about how they were feeling unbalanced. Until now I didn’t see it as possibly the Inner Critic.On the Air, I say go for it if you can! A computer is your tool. If you were a carpenter, you need a hammer, saw and other ergonomic tools to get the job done and keep you safe. If you were a doctor, you need a good stethoscope. You’re a writer and a computer professional. It’s OK to want the right tool for the job!

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