Setting Priorities

Earlier this evening, I had a difficult conversation with my partner on Skype. I was trying to set up a future flight in late April to come see him and it raised major concerns within him about finances and budgeting. We have an agreement that whether I drive or fly to see him, that we share the cost by each paying half. When I expressed to him how much the flight cost was, his voice tone and demeanor went from pleasurable to stern. Over the next few hours we spent time working through some uncomfortable moments that dealt with finances. We went over his budget, and saw what amount of money was truly available to him after all his monthly bills were paid. In the end, there was a small amount available that could cover his portion of the flight so long as he was able to maintain his current work schedule and budget.

I spent some time meditating after the conversation as I had gotten angry during much of the conversation and was trying to figure out exactly why. At first I looked at all the people I’ve dated where things like this came up and realized that more than not, most of my former partners had done the same thing as what happened tonight. But I realized that there was something more in this, and it was about me. I’ve talked a lot in many of my postings about how things outside of myself that irritate me are simply mirrors for myself. In this case, another one appeared.

There have been many times in my life that people have asked me to do something that would entail me spending money. Whether it was gifts for family members such as my nephews, trips away with friends, retreats, classes, or a holistic practitioner to see, I’ve made excuses how I couldn’t afford to do any of them. There were times in friendships where I said I couldn’t afford something such as going out to dinner with them, and then I went ahead and went out to dinner with someone else that I liked better. Or maybe a friend gave me a gift for a special holiday and I would say I couldn’t afford a return gift and yet I would give another friend a gift that I felt closer to. There were times as well where I might be asked to do something and I would express my concern about not having enough money and then I was out buying myself new clothes that I didn’t need, new DVDs that I’ve already seen in the theater, or taking myself on a trip somewhere to pamper myself.

I know many people probably do this. All of us set priorities in our minds on what’s important to spend the money on that we earn. But sometimes, priorities get mixed up on what truly is the most important.

In my life now, the number one priority is serving God’s will. After that it’s taking care of my health and healing including staying clean from all addictions. And in doing both those, my partner is the most important thing outside of that. Since meeting him I’ve made a lot of changes to how I’ve lived day to day. I buy a lot less things that I don’t need in my life. I don’t go on trips anymore unless they are to see him or are with him. I don’t go out to dinner every night of the week. And I look for other corners I can cut in my life to save money so that I can spend it with my partner.

It never was like that before. I was selfish and my money was allocated as I saw fit. If I wanted something, I got it and everyone else was secondary to it. I believe that’s why I got so angry tonight because I projected my former financial selfishness, onto my partner. Thankfully, I’m not that way anymore. It is important to set priorities on finances and how money is spent. But I also know it’s not healthy or spiritual to tell someone I can’t afford to do something when I’m doing it with someone else. To combat that, I have become more open and honest with my priorities to those in my life. And I have learned as well that beyond my family and my relationship, I need to treat everyone equally on what I can or can’t do. If I’m setting priorities in my life with different friends, then maybe I’m not really wanting to be around some of those people in the first place.

I know my partner cares about me. And I know he wants me to come see him. I realized after meditation that he wasn’t doing to me what so many others including myself have done. Sometimes it’s difficult to see the mirror when I’m in the midst of any argument. But I know through meditation and prayer, I generally see that it always leads back to me and my own behaviors.

Peace, love, light, and joy,

Andrew Arthur Dawson