It’s very clear that money is entirely a cultural construct – it’s something that is created by society, it has no material reality in itself, and no natural or external force caused its existence.
There is an incredible freedom in this. It means we don’t have to be run by our culture’s familiar emotions of fear, greed, shame and anxiety – these are just emotions attached to cultural stories, which don’t give us useful or accurate information about money itself.
Instead, we can create our own relationship with money. Rather than simply be constrained in the tight space generated by those familiar cultural emotions, we can come to find meanings of money which resonate with us at a deep level and which help us become more and more aligned with our authenticity and our spiritual path.
The range of possible meanings is endless. All meanings are valid – though the most useful are those which bring us into a constructive and enlivening relationship with money. As a start to this process of creative refreshment, here’s some images or archetypes that I am working with and find stimulating.
Being a bridge
A previous post talks about this in more detail, but the essence is this: Many people who bring a gift to the world are bringing something new – something which the world is calling for because it does not yet exist. Because our gift does not yet exist it is often hard to tell people what we offer. In such a situation it is helpful to see ourselves as a bridge – between what we know is good but is not yet manifest, and the current reality of social life.
A bridge has the extraordinary property of being anchored in 2 places at once. In our case our strong connection with our gift usually means one end of the bridge is firmly anchored in what we know is possible. It is often very challenging, though, to get the other end of the bridge as solidly anchored in current social life – it’s hard to clearly say what our gift is and to connect with the people who want it.
But when we are able to make that solid connection to current social reality then people can easily hear and see what we offer, and they can readily feel whether it is for them or not. And as a result energy can flow both ways: we get to offer our gift regularly and often. It is well received. And money can flow easily.
In this scenario, then, money is a litmus test of how good a job we are doing of being that bridge – how solidly we are anchored both in the current world and in what is possible.
Standing on one’s own feet
Our fears about money tempt us to look outside ourselves for solutions: need to get a job, generate more clients, find a patron, work more hours, win that contract, be more focused. All are action-oriented. So what if we turn that around and ask about not-doing? What if I grabbed the emotional energy motivating those actions and brought it inwards? What would that look like?
It might look like standing very still but very solid. Solidly anchored in one’s own space, one’s body. Feeling the connection through feet to the ground, and from the ground up one’s legs and suffusing throughout one’s body. Feeling the move and sway of Earth energy, like the sinuous movement of a giant beanstalk, or the elastic wind-swept movements of the branches of the trees. Feeling one’s energy coalescing absolutely at one’s centre, deep in the belly, allowing firm rootedness to the Earth below and at the same time fluid adaptive movements in my pelvis and all my limbs as I respond to Life’s events.
In this image money flows along energy pathways from the ground, like a force field that keeps our feet glued solid to the Earth and then flows up our energy meridians and across our whole being. This solidness then enables almost a complete opposite…
Debt as an act of faith
Debt mostly gets a bad rap in our society : being in debt is seen as bad, as a burden, being ‘trapped’ by debt, a constant source of anxiety. Credit cards are frequently seen as actively dangerous and credit providers as malevolent. Government deficits are seen as irresponsible.
At one level all these things can be true. But we don’t have to relate to debt in that way. Especially if we are borrowing money to fund a business which expresses our life path, we can see that act of borrowing as an expression of faith in our gift and in our path. If we did not believe that our gift is needed and that we have the capacity to give it, then what are we doing in business? Come to that, what are we doing at all?
This doesn’t mean we should just gaily launch out into debt willy-nilly. We are a bridge between what we know is possible and what is currently happening in our society. So it’s crucial that we are wise and sure-footed about bringing our gift to the world as-it-is: we need plans grounded in the realities of the world and in what our own capacities are and what they are not.
But such plans do not have to be gloomy or restrictive. Nor does borrowing have to be a constant and unrelieved burden. Rather, we can see borrowing money as a very tangible expression of our faith in our gift: that our gift is true, that the time is right for it, that we can offer it well, and that we are willing to serve our gift in whatever way it needs, including taking risks.
These three suggestions are just a start – a stimulus for creativity around our relationship with money. What works for you?
Photo credit – http://inspiringsuccess.com/blog/2013/09/balance-with-your-archetypes-creates-financial-ease/ Thanks Rosemary Cunningham http://www.rosemarycunningham.co.uk/