The Prosperous Heart – The Phosphorus Heart?

Julia Cameron is no stranger to this blog… or to me. The Artist’s Way is a classic, and so is Cameron.

The Prosperous Heart is about something entirely different. And not. You’ll see.

Let me begin by answering why I asked the question in my title. See, every time I saw the title of this book, I thought it said phosphorus.

“Okay,” you may be saying… “Why?”

Well, let’s begin with Google’s answer to, “What does phosphorus mean?”

phos·pho·rus/ˈfäsf(ə)rəs/ Learn to pronounce

noun

  1. the chemical element of atomic number 15, a poisonous, combustible nonmetal which exists in two common allotropic forms, white phosphorus, a yellowish waxy solid which ignites spontaneously in air and glows in the dark, and red phosphorus, a less reactive form used in making matches.

“Ah, yes. I knew that,” I hear you saying. “Um. And?”

Here’s what I find humorous about it… see… I’ve written about money a few (dozen) times in all kinds of ways. The books that stick out most are these three:

Your Money or Your Life

Don’t Worry Make Money

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

And there are two movies that are faves… one of them goes WAY back to the 1970s. I wrote about both: Larceny as Self-Help/ Fun With Dick & Jane (the original!!!) and Mad Money

But seriously, there are more posts that talk about money… cuz… yeah… issues.

Money – quite honestly- has been the nemesis of my LIFE. Or, should I say, the LACK of money? <<< Yes, actually, I should say that. Ya know, since I asked.

At different times of my life, I would say money was a poison. A beautiful poison that begged me to hold it. Kinda like… you guessed it … phosphorus. Bright green phosphorus.

Why was it poison? Ah, that takes a bit longer to explain. If I had to take the short route, I’d say this: It was the bane of my first marriage. It has been the bane of this marriage. I am the common denominator. I wish we could live off flowers and happy thoughts because I (frankly) hate that we need money. <<< That! The word HATE. That is the crux of my money troubles.

So, with that preamble… LOL.

This book is good. It’s not the best I’ve read about money but also not the worst (by a long shot!). However, for a beginner in self-help and/or working on your finances, it would be fine.

It’s a 12-week program that ultimately asks you to find your own “Enough”. I like that! You’ll find I like a few things very much!

You will check out your spending habits, spending personality, and of course, how you feel about money. Cameron promises to help you figure out what the anxiety surrounding money is truly about… what it has been masking. And, you will integrate your new knowledge into your daily and global life – from both a spiritual and financial view. Big shoes to fill, eh?

Still, it isn’t the kind of workbook I expected. I had hoped that we would start from dot and build a program that turns how we feel about money on its head and helps us to get our finances in order.

It’s also, I’m sorry to say, a bit repetitive of The Artist’s Way, which I loved and devoured when I read it. The Morning Pages were stellar, for instance, and Cameron asks you to use them again here and to be honest, it doesn’t make sense to me, in the context of money-management.

Credit abstinence (cold turkey) is another of the main tools of her program and of course, it makes sense. Just stop using credit. Done and done!

Except…

For someone who has been mired in debt and is “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul,” just stopping isn’t possible. I know. BTDT. It’s a vicious cycle… and one that can lead to the worst kind of lenders on earth… “When the bank says no…” loan (shark) places, either online or in a strip mall. It can be a PayDay loan or a second, third or fourth on your house. We all know what I mean.

Another tool is walking… I mean… keeping fit and getting the endorphins firing certainly can’t hurt anything. Cameron calls it an escape from our problems, a time we can “experience our own inner prosperity”.

Huh.

This brings us to the word ENOUGH. <<< This is the crux of her program. And I do LOVE THAT. I also love some of the exercises throughout the book. One in particular touched me deeply. It was called “A Sleuthing Exercise” and asks that you finish this sentence in five minutes (set a timer):

“I felt prosperous when…”

I wrote: I felt prosperous when we moved into that beautiful house in Covina, rode horses with Debbie, swam in the built-in pools of my friends, got new school clothes every year, got braces, drove my Dad’s Mercedes when he was out of town (with permission, of course!), went to the beach, got my own car, got a haircut at a salon, Christmas at Nana & Bappa’s.

The timer went off quick!!!

Because… as an adult… I could have added so much! Even sitting in this room… in my little Library… at my desk… with a fountain going, the clock under glass (that I bought for $5 at a thrift shop because it reminded me of Nana) ticking above my head, cats asleep nearby… surrounded by my books… I feel prosperous.

This is where ENOUGH comes in – not with my books! Good grief, NO! I always need more! LOL. But see, that’s one of those things that she might say I do NOT need. I could go to the public library or online and read them. I don’t wanna!!!!!!!!

*Ahem!*

But enough… as in… we have… enough. Besides books, obviously. And guitars, my husband would say.

I find that I’m blathering, folks. This always happens when I talk about money. I need to wrap this up.

If you get this book, look for the Wednesday night tradition. It’s one of the gems in this book. It’s about cooking for friends. Although, while researching for this post, I did run across someone who said it wasn’t realistic for someone who is struggling financially because food costs a lot of money. Can’t please everyone. I liked it, though.

Finally, this quote found at the beginning of the book is a fine way to end:

The first step in receiving is giving.” – Catherine Ponder

In all the things I listed above, not once did I mention how utterly prosperous I feel when I give of myself… like the time I gave my friend Annie a ring I’d inherited from my dear former-mother-in-law. It’s a long story but it was 100% Annie, who is like a sister to me. I presented it to her… was it Christmas? I can’t remember. All I know is that I felt like a Queen offering her something so precious. And, she accepted it as such… we both cried a little.

Sheesh, you know… I’ve been thinking of this prosperity-thing all back-ass-wards. I get it now. This book certainly brought that out… and I’m gonna give it the credit it deserves! Thanks, Julia Cameron!

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