People are far more open about their sex lives than their money lives. This is according to my meditation teachers Acariya Doug Duncan and Cata Sensei. And money can be as much a source of relationship dysfunction as sex can.
Feeling Uncared For By The People I Wanted To Help:
“ I try saying something, and people get upset with me.“
Ciara, a woman in her 50s with beautiful white hair, and black-rimmed glasses, leaned into the webcam. She told me, “My family has money. And I have been successful in my life around resources too. I feel deeply grateful by the amount of privilege I have been born into. And I have always had a calling to use that privilege to provide funds where they are needed.”
Her face changed. It took on a sad look, hurt and confused.
“And I have felt uncared for, even ostracised by the very people and organizations that I wanted to help. I have come away from conversations feeling like I have done something wrong for having money. My experience is that people feel awkward around me. Either putting me on a pedestal or staying far away. Either way, it is a distance. As the relationships continue, I end up feeling taken advantage of or rejected. I have tried bringing it up, and I feel like I have said the wrong thing. It feels like I am inside of a framework of thinking which is unhealthy and unconscious and I don’t know what it is. And I try saying something, and people get upset with me, or dismiss me.”
Well, Where Do I Start?
For Ciara, other people’s discomfort is a reflection of their relationship with money. Her hurt feelings and attempts to discuss the issue have put her into a repeated pattern where money has become a divisive wedge in her relationships.
Lynne Twist, a mentor of mine speaks of a way of seeing that we don’t even realize we have around money. An unconscious, unexamined set of assumptions that are at the base of the way we organize ourselves. These beliefs become the tone of the conversations we have with ourselves. Lynne calls it the mindset of scarcity. There is not enough time, money, hours in the day, volunteers, donors, participants for a workshop to run, not enough this, not enough that. The consumer culture produces this environment of thinking, its continued existence depends on it.
Everyone is going to have a different reactive pattern to the consumer culture and to how money is used.
And in the spiritual, transformational world, the world Ciara wants to be of service to, money represents a path down to the underworld of greed, the world of the tyrant, the world of the narcissist. A path to dishonoring your authentic self. There is a subtle rejection of anything to do with money. A belief that if we allow the money in, that it will change things for the worst. Well, there are millions of examples where this has happened.
Internal Money And False Beliefs:
Joni Mitchell sings so beautifully about it:
“They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
They took all the trees
Put ’em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see ’em”
So, my friend Ciara perhaps meets the financially dissociated part of the spiritual community, the non-profit, the artist, the transformational change agent by simply showing up with wealth. She meets the internal money conflicts and false beliefs which keeps the wheel of staying poor and struggling with getting money, donors, funding, participants, clients and so on. With the additional pressures that COVID has put on that sector, it is more important than ever that we address our unhealthy mindset with regard to money.
Build Bridges To Overcome Gaps With People:
“Doing the internal money work will help to bring clarity and confidence to how you approach money for yourself, your business, or nonprofit.“
My meditation teachers would always say to me, where there is resistance, lean into it. So, if you find living in the material world difficult and challenging, or if you over-identify with your interior world and may even despise those who live in the material world, lean in and imagine what it is like for them, as a person of wealth. What are their worries, their challenges having the responsibility to steward that money well? If the organizations and people that Ciara supports saw things from her perspective it could go a long way to improving relationships.
With COVID, many people are earning less while some already rich are even wealthier than before. Many small business owners, nonprofits, and service industries have been hit hard. The normal available government funding may not be available as much as before. It has already been declining before COVID. If you have internal assumptions around scarcity, or a belief that money is evil, the behaviors from these mindsets will only get stronger in this environment.
Doing the internal money work will help to bring clarity and confidence to how you approach money for yourself, your business, or nonprofit. It will help you to have those conversations with people with money to build bridges to overcome the gaps that stand in the way of wealth being directed between those that have it and those who need it.
Finally, if you are interested in doing some work around healing the split between money and spirituality and learning to direct and attract financial resources in full awareness, I invite you to join me online for Money & Spirituality course, starting April 3rd at 10am MT / noon EST for 6 weeks.
Whether you feel that you have more money than you need or not enough, you may benefit from exploring your relationship with money. I invite you also to learn about the 8 money archetypes – as a way for you to understand where the root of your suffering may lie.