Making a Living That Affirms Life
Each of us experiences a lifelong tug-of-war between our money interests and the calling of our soul.
When we’re in the domain of soul, we act with integrity. We are thoughtful and generous, allowing, courageous, and committed. We recognize the value of love and friendship. We admire a small thing well done. We experience moments of awe in the presence of nature and its unrefined beauty. We are open, vulnerable, and heartful. We have the capacity to be moved, and generosity is natural. We are trustworthy and trusting of others, and our self-expression flourishes. We feel at peace within ourselves and are confident that we’re an integral part of a larger, more universal experience, something greater than ourselves.
When we enter the domain of money, there’s often a disconnect from the soulful person we have known ourselves to be. It’s as if we’re suddenly transported to a different playing field where all the rules have changed. In the grip of money, those wonderful qualities of soul seem to be less available. We become smaller. We scramble or race to “get what’s ours.” We often grow selfish, greedy, petty, fearful, or controlling, or sometimes confused, conflicted, and guilty. We see ourselves as winners or losers, powerful or helpless. We let those labels deeply define us in ways that are inaccurate—as if financial wealth and control indicate innate superiority, and lack of them suggests less worth or basic human potential. Visions of possibility dissolve. We become wary and mistrusting, protective of our little piece, helpless, and hopeless. We sometimes feel driven to behave in ways inconsistent with our core values, and unable to act differently.
The result is a deep division in our way of being, in our behavior, and in our sense of our own character and integrity. This dichotomy, this break in our truth, not only confuses us around the issue of money, it also keeps us from integrating our inner and outer worlds to experience wholeness in our lives, the exquisite moment when we feel at peace in the moment, a part of and one with life. This quieter experience of wholeness has been largely lost in our culture, overtaken by the noise and scramble around money. The gap exists for all of us—myself included—and is at the very heart of the toughest struggles in life for all of us.
Money Itself Isn’t the Problem.
Money itself isn’t bad or good. Money itself doesn’t have power or not have power. It is our interpretation of money, our interaction with it, where the real mischief is, and where we find the real opportunity for self-discovery and personal transformation. The stories I share in my book, The Soul of Money, come from a journey through extremes, from circumstances of stunning wealth and shocking economic poverty, from people and places in continents away from this country. But I have seen the same lessons play out closer to home, in the everyday struggles and choices we make with money, and our expectations, dreams, fears, and disappointments around it.
You may have to look closely to find the money thread in your own story, but it is there and it has meaning. You can begin the process of examination, and transform the mystery of money, and the field of play that money represents, into a different kind of place. Your relationship with money can be a place where you bring your strengths and skills, your highest aspirations, and your deepest and most profound qualities.
Whether we are millionaires or “dollar heirs,” we can actually be great with our money and be great in our relationship with it.