My childhood relationship with money was that it DID grow on trees! Growing up in Barbados I recall my Daddy speaking about his mother who, in her later years, would call and ask him to bring her home some money from the family business. He’d mutter under his breath “Granny thinks money grows on trees …” and I remember feeling (though not risking speaking this) but she’s right! She needs, she asks, she gets – it’s just like the lime tree was for us!
When I was about 10 years old, a time when my parents had limited means and not enough money to buy our school textbooks, we’d had an experience that had left me with a powerful sense of being organically and abundantly supported by Life.
Seemingly magically (at least to me!) a lime tree had grown up in our back yard where the water from the kitchen sink ran into the earth. It grew quickly and bore profusely, and we picked the limes and sold them at local hotels where tourists were staying. The money from the sale of the limes bought our textbooks. This was a powerful experience of being provided for when we needed it, and is one I’ve carried throughout my life. Though I’ve had other issues in my relationship with money, a sense of scarcity has not been one of them.
When I married my first husband at age 20, I joined a family in which the fear of scarcity permeated the air. Though I wasn’t conscious of this at the time, I held on fiercely to my childhood deep knowing of being supported by Life. This certainly had its advantages, but at some level I also stayed stuck in a kind of magical thinking of being provided for and receiving what I needed. My contribution (which in retrospect though significant, wasn’t financial) seemed invisible and often minimized both by me and my first husband. I often struggled with my sense of worth, and towards the end of that marriage experienced shame when my desire to contribute more financially (and judgment because I didn’t) became part of the conversation. One thing I was clear on by then was my unwillingness to ‘get a job’, investing my time and life energy in a way that didn’t reflect or express the values I was beginnning to recognize as crucial for me.
It’s only been in recent years that I’ve begun to embody the notion of stepping into my power and being an active co-creator with Life. I’m becoming more intentional about contributing the value of my unique gifts in our world. Early in 2012 I connected with Elyse Hope Killoran and her Evolutionary Wealth Project. Together with a group of other pioneers I engaged in her Jumping Tracks program – Unhooking and Unlocking ourselves from our current paradigms around money and many of the other cultural imperatives of the water we in our world swim in. Then, through being more of who we are in each now moment, Unleashing our potency and capacities, allowing ourselves to be pulled into the field of new possibilities.
Earlier this month, the movie Money and Life was released. In watching it recently I recognized another step in my ‘growing up’ around money. As part of the promotional material of the movie says “we owe it to ourselves to understand the fundamentals of this technology called money in order to be effective participants in the economic transformation that is happening around us, a shift more rapid and as profound as the Industrial Revolution.” In their commitment to inviting sharing and discussion of these ideas, the producers of this movie are offering an option for viewing the film by streaming Money and Life online at no cost. In exploring what we’re not taught about money in school, it examines our current relationship with money, offering the possibility of reclaiming our lives from the grip of a sense many of us have of being stuck and pawns in our current financial system. And it “aspires to be a part of bringing a new consciousness to our understanding and practices in the world of money, bringing a touch of humor and a lot of heart to a matter that concerns us all.”
I continue to learn and grow here, and I certainly don’t have any sense of having all the answers – or even that there ARE certain ‘right’ answers! Like the film, I want to explore some of these questions – “How can we move beyond being merely consumers, debtors and creditors, and put money in service to what we really care about as citizens, as human beings? Can we design a monetary circulation system that fosters democratic equality? What responsibilities should a corporate charter convey? What does it really mean to make a living?”
And I’ve been inspired by a statement by Dianne Juhl – creator of The Feminine Face of Money: Living Soulfully in a Material World who says:
“When we women (and I’d add all of us!) commit to affirming our money savvy AND our worth, we most potently and powerfully embody our wisdom – for both personal gain and the greater good.”