“Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.”
I’ve come to realise I’m not the kind of person who is satisfied with surface experiences or answers. I like to get beyond the obvious, see past the mis-directions and obstacles and get to the root cause, issue or situation. For me it’s where the juice is and the arena where true transformation can occur, if we’re willing to be brave and venture into spaces most people would run screaming from.
It was in this energy of exploration I found myself recently musing on my experience as a board advisor, in roles I am passionately loving being involved in, especially so when I am allowed to get beyond the superficial stuff, and it was on this musing I came across a startling discovery for myself.
In these voluntary roles, I am doing work I used to be paid (& very well so) to do, and what I discovered is even after twenty plus years of my career, I realised with a sinking heart when I was in paid employment, I still at times questioned and doubted my abilities. Yet, in my voluntary roles, doing exactly the work (& more) I have done for so long, never once have I questioned or doubted my abilities. It seems that when money is thrown in the mix for me, suddenly the oh-so-steady and certain ground doesn’t seem to appear so steady and certain any more.
I pursued this line of ruminating going on within me. When nothing other than gratitude is being disbursed to me, it’s as if I feel the pressure is off, even though there is still a high expectation of my work in quality and quantity, and I deliver without hesitating, revelling in being able to contribute and be of service in such a manner. When money comes into the equation, now I feel the pressure (even after all this time!) of having to demonstrate the significant value I know I will add. The whole energy of the experience alters and because of one element, I go from confident and clear to less confident and less clear. Suddenly I feel who I am and what I do is questioned. Yikes!
The question in my heart and mind became very clear. When money enters the equation, why do I allow it to skew my living of life and giving of gifts? Other than the money element, nothing is different. I allowed myself to go down the rabbit hole of money and wealth once more (it’s a journey I have been making for over 20 years and slowly I feel like I’m making some inroads……some!)
Money to me is a man-made medium of exchange that holds the value we have allocated to it, and of course it fluctuates every day (a bit like me when money is in the picture!) However, in saying that, money in our world appears to hold power over life and death in every sense of the words. Having money equals having lots of ‘life’ and a superior quality of life. Not having money equals little and an inferior quality of life, plus likely a premature death (encircled by probable suffering and pain). Our world is built on money; it is what we have created and what we often unconsciously ‘kill’ for (metaphorically speaking), in order to avoid the pain of not having it. We are unwittingly willing to ‘kill’ i.e. take of life (in whatever form that maybe for us) for more life and the ‘stuff’ of life.
Yet we are the ‘stuff’ of life. Life never dies; it transforms and transcends. I give away the energy of my life every time I worry over how strong my financial position is i.e. how much ‘life’ I am accumulating, building, growing in order to be able to live life fully and be able to have ‘life’ in reserve when maybe I am not as vital, which will allow me to stay in life longer.
Money has become not only a measure of the value I create, it has become a measure of my worth and ‘life’. How much I have of it, and how much I will have of it in the future, so I can live. And I will do whatever it takes to have as much of life as I can, especially if in the past I have had experiences of pain; abject pain of not having money/life. In all likelihood I will vow this will never happen/be again.
Writing those words, I rail against them, for I had believed I had healed many of my dysfunctional beliefs about money, but when this came up for me again, I allowed myself to look deeper and see what was showing up. Irrespective of how much anyone tells you (me included) that money should never equate to your worth, the truth is our entire civilisation and world is very, very deeply and strongly entrenched into this very notion.
And so, every part of my/our life, whether we like it or not is tinged with this belief, premise, basis. Having money/more money equals being worthy of having more ‘life’ (i.e. I have demonstrated my worth in having accumulated more ‘life’), and whilst this premise may not be abhorrent to many, what it means for those that don’t have money or limited money, they are deemed of less value and worth, and therefore deserving of less life. Never mind that we have fashioned a world where ‘we’ have determined what has value and what hasn’t, and we show little or no mercy when this is challenged.
This philosophy is killing us, all of us; we only have to look out into the world at the way we treat the world, all that is in it and how we treat each other. Worse yet, how we treat ourselves; the cruelty and unkindness we unleash on ourselves when we don’t deem ourselves to be ‘successful and rich’ breaks my heart. Money has become master when it was meant to be servant, and we have created a civilisation, a society that reveres the master unconditionally to the extent, it has run amok. Money no longer serves the purpose it came to serve; it has become the purpose, and we race towards it, and in this race, we can see who we are becoming, who we will be and what our world will become.
This deeply personal examination a couple of days ago of my relationship with money and wealth brought me to a profound realisation. I have a deep reverence for money and wealth, because I know it can provide freedom, service, contribution and a host of many, many beautiful gifts, including a sincere humility for what this has meant in my own life and in the lives of the people around me. I have been privileged and blessed in my money journey, even when it has been up and down (most of the time down if I’m brutally honest!), but what this realisation did for me was to provide me with a clarity I have never had before.
It made me decide I am no longer going to use money as a measure of the value I believe I am adding or of seeing it in any way as a measure of my worth in living the life I am living or in how much ‘life’ I think I have. Life for me has always been an amazing gift, even in my darkest times, sometimes especially in my darkest times, and I no longer choose to hoard it, for fear of what the future might/might not bring.
Money is simply another form of the energy of life, and I choose to welcome it in whichever ways it shows up. I’m choosing to let go of the multitudinous ways I imagined I had to be and do in order to bring money into my life, and to allow myself the freedom to simply be and do all I love and am passionate about in the service of myself and others. Maybe in letting go of the stranglehold I have had on how I have to perform might give me the opportunity to perform for the sake and love of performing.
The reason I chose to share this very personal experience of mine, is it has shown me how making the choice to live an aware life has the power to alter the trajectory we find ourselves on. Interestingly enough, who I am being and what I am going to be doing is not changing, but my feelings about myself, the value I add, the worth I feel being here in this life; these aspects of me have been freed and my sense of self in this life has expanded and grown to beyond a consciousness I can’t even articulate.
To be able to change the world, we have to be willing to change the projection of what is happening in the world in us. Then, and maybe only then the dialogue of what life, money etc is has the veracity of being heard and altered, because it comes from a space of truth none can deny.
“Money is a great servant, but a bad master.”
Here’s to next time,