Money is a topic that bears a host of branches; like a tree planted in fertile soil, whose roots go deep. Some of the arms of the ancient being are ancestral. Consider the messages you received about money from your family. “Money is the root of all evil.” “We are the poor relations.” “We can’t afford that.” “Do you think I’m made of money?” Calling money ‘dirty,’ and a person who has a lot of it ‘filthy rich’ doesn’t make it desirable. Would you want something that feels sullying on your hands or in your wallet?
The messages I received were mixed. My father was born into a Russian immigrant family who fled persecution to come to America where they really did expect to find streets ‘paved with gold’. I imagine that they were disappointed to discover it was symbolic. Working hard and accepting government assistance was a challenging dichotomy for them. My father felt embarrassed by their financial state and was determined never to be in that position, so he embodied a professional ethic to such an extreme that he became a workaholic. It is a tendency that his daughter had unfortunately embraced, as I too have inherited a fear of scarcity, lack and limitation. It is a paradigm that I have chosen to face, embrace and replace.
My mother was raised by American born parents whose socio-economic status was higher. While they were, by no means wealthy, they were the first family on the block with a television and car. My grandmother was widowed at an early age, when my mother was 18, so the two of them took care of each other. As we were growing up, my mother would always say that my grandmother had a money tree in the back yard. No matter how diligently I searched for it, I could never find it. Not sure at what age I realized, that it too was a metaphor that meant we would always have what we needed.
Imagine my confusion as I considered a career. I entered into the social work field with the idea that I ‘wasn’t doing it for the money,’ but rather, the noble cause of service for those who were in need. How arrogant is that, even though it seems self-sacrificing? What would be wrong with money being a reason to go to work each day, in addition to offering a valuable service? Social work was to be something I would do for decades, in addition to becoming a writer, speaker, minister and healer. I too found myself caught up in the erroneous belief that I needed to be a ‘starving artist’ in order to keep my work from being tainted.
It was when the belief in lack and limitation drove me to 12+ hour days and less than 6 hours of sleep per night, that I needed to seriously explore my relationship with the ‘almighty dollar,’ and the pursuit thereof. Early last year, I began incorporating a mantra that came to me in meditation. “I work for God and the salary and benefits are out of this world.” Trusting in a Source that co-created abundance, rather than feeling a compulsion to strive and struggle was a doorway to the work I am doing now, that is rewarding both monetarily and emotionally.
My recent guest on It’s All About Relationships is Money Coach Karen Collacutt. In our interview, we discussed the concept of making friends with our money; a revolutionary idea for some. Most people have a love-hate relationship with this medium of exchange. I asked her why this is so.
“One of the biggest challenges is that we don’t get taught about money and how to deal with it in our households. Money is still one of the biggest taboo topics. We will talk about politics and sex first.” She encouraged getting engaged with money as we would a friendship as we “build trust and do things together and if you screw up, you fix it.”
She encouraged listeners to “Make a happy place for money to come and hang out with you,” as you would a friend you wanted to spend time with.
The image which brought delighted laughter that came to mind as we were speaking, was that of the Julia Roberts character in Pretty Woman who rolled around in money tossed on the bed.
Collacutt encouraged changing our mind about the language we invoke to refer to money, by using the words “cancel, cancel and cancel’ and replace it with something positive. She believes that “Money is neutral and simply energy and has the meaning we give it.”
Because money is a mirror for the ways we view ourselves and a measure of our value for ourselves, often what we allow to enter our lives reflect those beliefs. The concept ‘money is power,’ is a guiding force. She is convinced, “Money and power are intricately linked.”
Collacutt suggested a few practical, hands-on techniques to invite abundance to enter and stay in our lives. One is the affirming mantra “When I stand in my power, money comes to me easily and effortlessly.” Imagine what a power stance might look like. Feet planted firmly, head held high, shoulders back, confidently gazing ahead, smiling, and arms at your side, palms facing outward in receptive pose. Is this how you stand most of the time? If so, good for you! If not, what is your accustomed body posture? Switch it up and ask yourself which feels more comfortable. Sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zones to let go of what no longer serves, to welcome in what we say we desire.
A playful exercise involves picking a day of the week such as Money Mondays, Wealthy Wednesdays or Financial Fridays, and taking a look at your money and what it is up to, and not just when things feel like they are going awry.
Discussing the ‘thriving, rather than starving artist’ concept, what became abundantly clear were the ways in which we do a dis-service to ourselves and clients by underselling our offerings in the guise of wanting to be accommodating. There must be an agreed upon exchange of remuneration for our time and services.
During our conversation, the word ‘monergy’ spontaneously emerged. I had never said it before, but it occurred to me as it slipped out is that Monergy= time + energy. People hire us for our experience, expertise, training and time, and the love we put into it, as well as the value they glean from what we offer.
An exercise to practice this dynamic is to state what your services are worth. If you are not able to receive what you have asked for, walk away if need be. As frightening as that might be, it makes space for those who are in need of your professional gifts and who can afford services.
If there is a thought that tells you that it is not acceptable to be wealthy, remind yourself that the more money you make, the more you can do with it and be of greater service. THAT is priceless.