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Please read Part One of this series.
In Part One, we explored the letdown many of us very capable, intelligent women feel when we suddenly are not succeeding at the level we think we should be in the law profession, despite earnestly trying just as hard at it as we did in school (or dance, or sports, or life).
As Patterson Hood of the Drive-by Truckers sings, "nobody told me it'd be easy / or for that matter be so hard."
So here's a wide-ranging assortment of Flower Essences that address issues of money, abundance, scarcity and self-belief.
Trillium. Trilliums generally address the sense that something is missing (even if you intellectually know that it isn't). This blog post features a picture of a beautiful red trillium. My blog itself has a photo of a white trillium. This is going to be significant as you read further. Now, the red trilliums grow in California; what I've seen firsthand "in the wild" from hiking in western Washington State are the white trilliums.
White Trillium is a Columbia Gorge Flower Essence that corresponds more to the crown chakra and feminine consciousness, and the abundance that is available to us everywhere just with a shift in emotion or mindset. What is really fascinating to me is that the White Trilliums in my area turn a luscious orchid-maroon color as the blossom ages. See here:
Instead of fading, it intensifies. It is like it is bringing something from the imagination or spirit or unseen (the airy white color) into life and form (the rich maroon color). This flower teaches you that you can do that too. You can bring your imaginings into form, and stop feeling completely caught up in "first world problems." (Which is a big part of what I intend to do with this blog.)
Now let's talk about the red ones, which are more specific to money issues. FES' Trillium Flower Essence is the red variety. It addresses root chakra issues of survival. It is for the person who thinks at times they're barely making it, but really has more abundance than they allow themselves to feel. The person needing red trillium may be pretty aware that they "should" feel more abundant than they do, and know that they are pretty well off compared to many people on the planet, but they just can't shake the sense of scarcity.
Here's a scenario: let's say you are stressed about a huge tax bill, and not sure when this or that case is going to settle, and you're at the checkout at some store, and they ask you, "do you want to buy a candy bar for the troops today?" And in your mind are all these things like, "I should buy a candy bar for the troops. God, I'm such a jerk if I don't. But I have this huge tax bill. Should I? Shouldn't I?" And then maybe you buy one for the troops and then buy another one for yourself and feel upset that the candy bars are 50 cents more at this store than it is at the other store you were just at. (Mind chatter. Mind chatter.)
WHOA. Slow your roll...you have clean water, a roof over your head, and your tax bill is kind of a quality problem, isn't it?
Anyway, the Red Trillium is excellent for helping us balance our internal struggle with our first-world problems. They are legitimate soul problems, so don't kick yourself. Just consider this essence to help you do the spiritual and emotional work of consciously choosing giving.
Star Thistle. Star Thistle Flower Essence also addresses a sense of lack that is not a helpful view of the world, kind of like Trillium. Often the person needing Star Thistle really is in more of a state of actual financial stress than the Trillium person. The Star Thistle person will insist, "my situation really IS that bad" as a reason for staying "prickly" and not able to be fluid with material resources in a way that will get them flowing again. The Star Thistle person struggles with the idea that sometimes it can be wiser to spend money to make money. They may not buy the shoes that will last 5 years, even if buying a new cheap pair every 2 years is more expensive long term.
I have taken this essence a few times during my life, and I'll tell you that it just really helps me relax and trust myself, trust in my decisions, and be frugal when that's appropriate, without a major freak-out or guilt trip against myself. Star Thistle helps one discern the "line" that makes sense for the individual.
Cerato. Ah, wonderful Cerato. Cerato is not specifically a money issue remedy. It is one of the original Bach remedies. It is helpful for the person who doubts their own inner wisdom, and who has to poll their friends on every decision. It can also help the person who is easily led into the wrong decision because she listens too much to others and not enough to herself. The Cerato person never feels quite sure, and second-guesses themselves ad nauseam.
Cerato helps one be way more independently decisive and take less time to make decisions. Did you know that according to some, indecision is one of the biggest things that can hold you back? Or to put it more gently, indecision and not trusting oneself can cost one untold thousands of dollars of earning potential. I find that many people who complain of "stress" vaguely around issues of career and money need a course of Cerato just to get centered in hearing their own inner voice, and then a lot of the other problems take care of themselves.
California Poppy is also not specifically a money issue remedy, but is worth mentioning for the shopaholics out there. California poppy can help people who are caught up in trying to emulate the "lifestyles of the rich and famous" even if they don't have the resources to fund it. We all know the type -- their "money is on their feet" instead of their 401k. There is nothing wrong with having nice things, but not to the exclusion of one's true values. It helps those people go a little deeper to align with their own authentic values.
Penstemon is the remedy for when life just sucks in every way. I wish I could give it to everyone who just found out that the student loan forgiveness they were expecting is not going to happen. Penstemon evokes the biblical story of Job, and the great Steinbeck novel, Grapes of Wrath. This is the "light at the end of the tunnel" remedy, to help lift one out of self-pity (even if a pity party would be totally understandable). Penstemon is another remedy that isn't specifically about finances, but can be helpful.
Indian Root is one of the Desert Alchemy essences from Arizona. It is a cut through bull remedy for those who overcomplicate things and try too hard. Indulging in confusion, indecision, and overthinking can be a way the primitive brain lies to us and tells us that we are being "prudent" or "responsible," but in reality we are shooting ourselves in the foot because we are doing nothing to get closer to our career or financial goals. I have taken this, and found that it gently but powerfully quiets that primitive brain, allowing the pre-frontal cortex -- the part of the brain more suited to the task of financial goal setting and execution -- room to do its thing.
In summary, money issues and scarcity thinking are never isolated. They tell us volumes about how we are handling other parts of our lives -- our health, our relationships, and all other decisions. This is not a license to judge others or judge oneself harshly. Nothing has gone wrong, and the power is yours!
If you're intrigued about how the Flower Essences or Coaching can help you, you owe it to yourself to reach out.
To your prosperity!
Notice that the rope that says "GUEST ONLY" is open, telling you that you're allowed to take these steps.
One of the biggest mental and emotional hurdles facing many lawyers, especially new ones, is money stress.
Once upon a time, when I was less than one year from having passed the bar, I was in Sears trying to buy some cheap suits so that I would have something to wear.
Not Nordstrom. SEARS. Like, where you buy a lawn mower.
Just one suit plus one thrift store blazer in my wardrobe was not getting me by. I tried on several suits in the junior's department, you know, those polyester ones. They fit ok and looked acceptable. Most of all, they were what I believed I could afford at the time.
I picked out two that would work and stood in line. When it was my turn, the retail clerk asked me if I wanted to open a Sears credit card. Well, my parents had a Sears credit card since forever, so this was probably a smart thing to do. Right? I gave them my information, and they declined me. Multiple times. In front of everybody standing in line behind me. It was humiliating. I recall it had something to do with my income not being enough. But I was....a lawyer.
What does any girl do? I called my mom to complain. She couldn't believe it either. I had good credit. I was current on my student loans. It wasn't like I was trying to buy a house. What was the deal?
I gave up without my cheap suits and left. Then, for the next couple of years, I regularly visited the Salvation Army, hoping the my benevolent unknown twin, the rich doppelgänger, would have donated some nice stuff. I regularly found quality pieces there that fit well, and cooked up a whole story in my brain about my "rich doppelgänger" who got bored with her clothes every month and donated them.
In any event, I enjoyed my resourcefulness, but this was NOT what I thought my life as a young lawyer was going to be. And it wasn't just about the clothes. It was a lot of things that felt so far out of my control -- and were so far from what I was told they would be.
Many of us go to law school on the dazzling promise of a better life, a life with more influence and financial security than that afforded us by just a four-year degree.
For many of us, it is felt as the golden ticket out of the working class. For many others, it seems it is just our fate as members of the Gen-X or Millennial generations to need expensive higher education in order to continue the middle-class standard of living we had as kids.
So...we strive to get good grades in undergrad. We strive to get into the best law school we can afford, and do what it takes to prove ourselves worthy of remaining there. We compete for class rank, and try to get the best job someone will give us.
We keep striving, and get very used to the underlying not-enoughness as an emotional default setting.
And then as soon as we pass the bar and start working, many of us find that the do-good stuff we really want to do pays less than the evil corp stuff the other kids are doing. But we find we are spending the same money to keep up, to go to CLEs and networking events and live in the same expensive neighborhoods. Our colleagues in big law may look more fancypants but may not actually be any better off, with their larger car payments and more expensive wardrobes.
We wonder if we will ever pay off the student loan, or buy a house. We feel guilty about spending the money on a facial, or a delicious meal out, or a pair of shoes that puts a confident pep in our step. We then get into a very self-defeating thought loop where everything we do to take care of ourselves, invest in ourselves, or enjoy life becomes another count in the indictment against ourselves that we rattle off in our minds every morning, noon and night. Thoughts like:
And sometimes, these thoughts flash by really super fast before we are even fully aware of them, like stealthy product placements in movies and TV.
But the end result is a feeling of powerlessness that colors all our choices, actions, and inaction.
If, despite all the feel-good memes we like and share, our primitive brain still thinks we're screwed no matter what we do, we won't invest in ourselves.
We will buy the cheaper suit that fits weird and falls apart after one season, and carry ourselves differently when we wear it.
We will resist signing up for a personal trainer for our physical health, or a personal coach for our emotional management, and tell ourselves it is because we "can't afford it."
We'll prepare our own taxes.
We won't go to the conference where we could meet the people that could help us make our practice take off, because the hotel is too expensive.
Or we'll book a cheap Airbnb the night before a big out-of-town deposition to save money, and end up getting only three hours of sleep because it smelled awful and we had to leave and it took two hours to find a hotel. And end up NOT saving money. (Not that I've ever done that. LOL.)
And worst of all, we might take a shitty case for a client we don't like, because we're afraid the next dollar isn't coming our way. (A wise man once told me, "you're better off going fishing." He knows fishing isn't my thing, but he made his point.)
We're like, "I paid for law school, and I'm still paying for it, and that's it. I'm cut off." And every time we pass up an important opportunity to invest in ourselves or just really enjoy something simply because of money, we strengthen the self-limiting neurosynaptic pathways in the brain until they become like a four-lane freeway.
Our reptilian brain tells us that we are doing the "responsible" thing by cheap-assing it, but our evolved brain, our pre-frontal cortex, tells us that maybe this is "penny wise and pound foolish." You know -- sabotaging ourselves.
And we keep sabotaging ourselves because underlying all these responsible-sounding, "realistic" thoughts is a lack of belief in ourselves.
"Is she serious?" you may be asking yourself. And thinking: We were the first women in our family to graduate from law school. Or, perhaps even the first to graduate from college. We got good grades, passed the bar. Of course we believe in ourselves, don't we?
The truth is, if you feel like there is something you need, but you can't afford it, it is because you are not yet believing in yourself enough. You are still believing, to some degree, that the value you get out of something is not wholly within your control.
I will say this another way. Many of us who achieve great things, like graduating from law school, passing the bar, and getting a job have just assumed that reaching those milestones would create our results. That's often how it's packaged and sold to us. This is difficult for many very earnest hard workers to hear, especially because so much of life is set up that way: "get good grades, and you'll get into a good school. Get a good rank, and you'll get a good job. Etc. Etc."
They say "jump", and we ask, "how high?" And when we do that, but then are a loss as to why we aren't financially successful, or happy, or clear on what's next, we feel betrayed -- by The Man, or the Boomers, or God/the Universe, or how our law school was marketed to us.
I want to reassure you that it is human to feel betrayed, angry, stuck, scared, and all the other feels. You have followed the syllabus they handed you, the same one they handed me too, yet if you are still reading, maybe you are not where you want to be.
The good news is that you can change this.
But it will require you to think about yourself differently from the ways you have thought about yourself that got you this far.
The beliefs that made you a good student and nail your interview -- basically, beliefs about being good at meeting standards set by others -- are not the beliefs that are going to fuel actions that solve your personal, professional or financial disappointments. (Otherwise, you would have figured it out.) That's why learning these emotional and self-belief skills is ironically often hardest for women who were strong students and good test takers.
So, I'm inviting you to take the first step on that staircase by asking yourself these questions in your journal:
This is going to provide you a wealth of insight! In Part Two, I will highlight several Flower Essences that address the money, scarcity, and self-belief issues from a vibrational standpoint, best used in tandem with the thought work. Stay tuned.
When I'm not coaching other lawyers, I'm running a Fair Credit Reporting Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act practice. In that work, I meet men and women of all ages who have issues with debt and credit.
And, I'm a woman entrepreneur who started my practice with very little, and I'm now doing quite well.
So, it's fair to say that "my mind [is] on my (and your) money, and my (and your) money [is] on my mind."
So let's talk about money, and risk, and women, and practicing law.
I have observed that women are generally more risk-averse than men. We women are usually more interested in what is safe and sure, over what is flashy and risky. While some men might get into trouble by buying large-ticket items impulsively, women -- even in the younger generations -- get into trouble when they rely too heavily on something outside of themselves to provide security or authority for their financial lives.
Even if a woman has a shopping problem, underlying the disordered spending is a desire for safety and security that comes wearing the sheep's clothing of some external thing that money can buy that may make them feel more "safe" in the world.
Many women struggle with a "good girl" complex about money -- that if we are smart and get good grades, spending six figures on higher education is always going to pay off and be okay.
I've learned that we are going to be okay once we learn to trust ourselves and our inherent wisdom, and spend a lot of our own time teaching ourselves things they don't teach us in law school.
The gap between the naive "good girl," risk-averse place that has us putting trust in doing whatever our parents, teachers, or social class would have us do all the way to that empowered place where we finally trust ourselves and bet on ourselves can be a wide river to cross.
Depending on who our parents, teachers, or social class are or were, being the "good girl" and doing as one is told may lead to expensive law school for one woman -- and no education and a dead-end job for another.
Regardless of where we begin, the journey across that river to where we trust in ourselves, and learn to take the right risks at the right times, begins with full awareness of all of the influences, voices, thoughts and feelings that keep us stuck.
As our awareness develops, we learn SO much more about what risks we want to take, what money we want to invest, and who we want to be, regardless of who we may have been up until now.
And we can start from anywhere. Here and now is always the perfect place.
Some questions to ask yourself:
Where am I?
How did I get here?
What is the river that I am crossing?
How will I know when I have safely crossed to the other side?
How is where I am starting from absolutely perfect for me?
What risks am I willing to take to make my life what I want it to be?
What risks were foolhardy and inauthentic for me, and how am I wiser?
What voices inside me am I no longer going to listen to instead of my own wisdom?
How will my financial well-being be safer as a result of listening to myself?
I'd love to hear how it goes.