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Pay For What You Get

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In a recent post on Bundle.com, writer Matt McCue discusses how easy it is to spend hundreds of dollars each summer on Dave Matthews Band concert tickets and related amenities. McCue points to several factors that keep him purchasing seats, namely, DMB’s amazing ability to vary performances by continually updating songs, their steady ticket prices, and their generosity, which allows fans access to a plethora of free live recordings, making the cost of each show seem even more reasonable.

Interestingly, Matt deems his tour habit a financial “blind spot.” I’m not sure that I agree with him there, although, I may very well be misinterpreting his use of the term. But if, for argument’s sake, we assume that a blind spot indicates that as fans, we are largely unaware of the impact that going to shows has on our yearly budget, then I would have to disagree. Instead, I believe that we are acutely aware of our shrinking wallets, and yet, we persevere. Why? Because we place a high value on both the performances that we attend and the sense of community that we experience every time we two-step it into a venue.

As it happens, a healthy and balanced relationship with money is partly built on our ability to spend capitol on those areas of our lives that we most appreciate. Unfortunately, many of us live with a sense of guilt that pervades every decision to part with our hard-earned cash.  In her outstanding book, “The Soul of Money,” Lynn Twist describes the way in which our relationships with money become distorted by the myth of scarcity. In other words, believing that there is not enough, we live in constant fear, regardless of how much is actually in our bank accounts. This leads to greed, jealousy, and misuse of power in relation to financial means. The antidote, of course, is to recognize that whatever we have right now is enough, and always will be. 

Lynn, who has traveled the world in an effort to end hunger, tells a fascinating tale involving a remote village in the African country of Senegal. When she visited the people living in this barren desert, their main concern was finding a good source of water, as theirs was severely dwindling. Although the women in the tribe believed there to be a water source underground, they had heretofore been silenced by the group’s strict religious customs. After some intense negotiation, the women were allowed to begin digging, and indeed, they found a wondrous water source under their feet. This uplifting story beautifully illustrates the concept of sufficiency. Not only was the underground lake there all along, so too were the women and their luminous gifts of intuition. 

The bottom line is that if we put our resources into those activities and purchases that sustain us spiritually, we cannot go wrong. The trick is learning to decipher between buying things that offer only momentary thrills, versus true sustenance. Luckily, we Dave enthusiasts see things from a clearer side than most can dream.

Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.

Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self

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