A Conversation With Money

Photo: Sarah O'Leary

The other night a friend arrived from out of town and we sat around the kitchen table, empty plates pushed aside, refilling our wine glasses.

Inevitably the conversation turned to politics and world affairs. And just as inevitably I began ranting. Somehow we’d circled onto the subject of Wall Street bankers, foreclosures, and all those senior citizens now scrambling to eke enough money out of their pension check to stay in groceries for the month.

And then we got onto lobbying, and the way that lawmakers now vote based on the wishes of their corporate lobbyist buddies, rather than what they know to be right for their constituents.

“It’s greed!” I shouted. (I’m happy to report I did not pound my fist on the table, but I may as well have.)

“These fat cats just want more and more, and they don’t care who they screw in the process! It’s so disgusting – the more money they make, the more corrupt they become and the less they care about the rest of us.”

Everyone nodded in agreement.

A small percentage of super rich folks (now immortalized as the One Percent) are sitting back in their mansions, serving up caviar on their yachts, and flying around in their private planes, while the rest of humanity is wondering how to fund their retirement so they can live decently (at best), or struggling to find a cup of clean water and something to put in their belly (at worst.)

And those people with all that money – they just couldn’t give a damn. They just want more.

That settled, we babbled on, jumping from subject to subject as we continued to empty that wine bottle.

And then it struck me. The Aha! Moment.

What the hell did I just say? And how does that fit in with my affirmations about the free flow of money? As in Money flows into my life easily and effortlessly. Or, I am worthy of financial abundance.

Um, hello? All the affirmations and abundance meditations in the world aren’t going to do a damn thing when I continue to voice my long-held belief that people with a lot of money are blood-sucking jerks.

Now I don’t fully believe that last statement. That’s what’s weird. I’ve seen plenty of examples of people who enjoy financial prosperity and are good, honest people who use a substantial portion of that abundant cash to do good in the world.

But I voiced a much more deeply entrenched belief that night around the dinner table. It’s basically a version of the biblical admonition, money is the root of all evil.

Big subject I know. What is money anyway? Just a symbol, just a bit of paper, metal or plastic (or numbers on a computer nowadays) that we use to transact just about everything material in our lives.

But what is it really? Just energy.

But it’s some energy that has a pretty tight stranglehold on the human race.

I decided to have a little talk with money – and delve into what it means in my own life.

Hey there Money, how’s it going? Well, I guess it’s going pretty good – after all you are one of the most powerful forces in this world today.

So, you and I, we go way back with this kind of push/pull relationship. I know you don’t hate me completely. You always show up if I really need you, and you’ve never totally let me down. But you’ve remained pretty elusive, and I can’t say I’m confident in you as a true friend. I guess you can sense my ambivalent feelings about you. So you hold me at arm’s length.

I still don’t understand exactly how you work and how you transmute and transform yourself depending on where you are and who you’re with.

I think I’m beginning to see that you are actually quite sensitive and responsive – that you fulfill the expectations and beliefs that people place on you. And you do like to surprise people sometimes.

Maybe it’s not that you’re a fickle friend, just one that only wants to play where you’re honestly welcomed.

I’ve held some grudges I know. I want you to know that I’m letting those go. I realize now that you are not to blame for the way some people choose to use you. I’m getting it that you haven’t withheld your presence in my life out of spite.

Money, I’d just like to say that I now choose to welcome and accept you into to my life – to play, to dance, to collaborate with me on making good things happen in the world. Will you accept my invitation?

Last night, while reading up on a completely different topic I came across an insight that hit home. It had to do with those affirmations I mentioned earlier.

The common wisdom is that affirmations work when they are spoken in the present tense, as in “I am now physically fit.” There’s a dissonance for some people when they repeat such affirmations when they know the statement is not yet true. And so the affirmation doesn’t do anything at all.

This writer suggested using the word “choose” to put your affirmation in the present. “I choose to become fitter and fitter every day.” This way your honesty radar doesn’t start bleeping.

With this in mind, and since I understand that my own limiting beliefs are at the root of my personal blockages around money, I am rephrasing my affirmations and visualizations about prosperity.

“I choose to release my limiting beliefs about money.”

“I choose to invite prosperity and abundance into my life so that I can share it with others.”

“I choose to believe I am worthy of financial success.”

My challenge now is to remember.

When my mind moves into the familiar groove around lack and fear, or how too much money makes people lose their compassion, I will remember to replace those thoughts with my new chosen beliefs.

How does Money talk to you?

15 Comments

Filed under Introspection

15 responses to “A Conversation With Money

  1. “Money, I’d just like to say that I now choose to welcome and accept you into to my life…”

    Oh, me too!

    : )

    I don’t think the importance of this topic can be overstated. Thanks for your exploration. Money really is energy, congealed energy as Joseph Campbell put it.

    I find it interesting that I’m always downgrading my financial fantasy to sensible expenditures, but with a deep financial foundation. Meaning I imagine myself driving a subaru instead of an audi, still wearing shorts and t-shirt, still wearing a plastic casio watch, but with lots of money working for me through investment and savings so I never need to think about it no matter what I need. These two aspects of my basic financial vision are always present when I think about what I’d do with monetary wealth: simple life supported by deep pockets.

    Symbolic of something, I’m sure. Possibly of some inner compromise in which I have the security but without having to feel worthy. Still sort of rejecting the gift. I don’t know, but the part part about “not having to think about it” may represent an opportunity for growth.

    I think my relationship with money is still young and early, in the break away phases of moving past fear and craving. My latest thinking is that to me, basically, money = freedom to create.

    Thanks again for raising the question! It’s an important one for me.

    • You know, Peter, another way to think of ‘downgrading’ the expenditures is that maybe your priorities are different than simply craving material things. I know for myself that I’m more interested in cultivating abundance in my finances so that I can be free to travel more often, support my friends’ businesses, and give to the causes I believe in. Of course I’d also like to redecorate my home a bit, and it would be great to drive a vehicle that I could feel confident wasn’t going to break down!

      You’ve got it right about the “freedom to create”! Money can’t buy love, but it seems that it sure can buy freedom! So, it’s all about loosening those fears and negative beliefs so we can allow that freedom into our lives.

      Thanks for stopping by and giving us some more to think about! Glad you enjoyed the post.

  2. This was a good post–it made me think. And you’re right–if we wish for abundance in the form of money and, at the same time, demonize those who are most abundant, we send the universe a mixed message!! I love your new affirmations. Thank you for writing this.

    • Thanks Jess. Yes it was a bit of a cathartic moment to realize that I was habitually thinking and voicing opinions that directly opposed my intentions about abundance. I wish it were easier to reprogram those thoughts, but I guess the first step is actually recognizing what’s going on. Thanks so much for visiting the blog and giving this a read!

  3. Big emotional topic. It has been interesting to read the comments as well. Like most married couples, my husband and I have different views about money. He likes to spend it and I like to pay down debt. I view a debt free life as the ultimate freedom – not how much I have. I want to build a “lifestyle” with balance of creativity, passionate work, family, travel, etc. To become debt free would afford me that lifestyle.

    • I can definitely relate to this Jane! I feel the same way about getting rid of debt. With a kid in college I’m not moving very quickly in that direction – but I do hold it as a vision and goal. My husband enjoys spending money too, and he feels (quite rightly) that he works hard and he should be able to enjoy himself when he plays. He lives in the present and doesn’t spend much time stressing or thinking about future finances (positive or negative.)
      At this point I’m brainstorming ways to generate more income – hopefully by transforming my skills and talents into something of value that people want to pay for. Then I can hopefully eliminate debt and create more freedom!
      Thanks for stopping by the blog.

  4. I’m thinking that thinking is powerful, so is speaking [or writing] what I am thinking. I’m honestly so “unplugged” from what’s going on in the World [though still aware that it is] that reading of your dinner table conversation made me look at what I think [and write] and that of late I have also wrapped spoken aloud words round my present money-related circumstances.

    I’ve had some big swells of anger about things that happened [or should have but didn't] so long ago. I’m aware of the resentments about money I HAD and then HAD TO spend on “repairs to my health” that were things that “should have been taken care of” in that same so long ago… And then, much like you’ve shared the AHA!! of it, I’ve seen these thoughts like a bucket brigade, moving me either toward what needs “dousing” or back up the line for “refilling.”

    I think there is a World Consciousness around money and power and their many relationships and extended families of relationships. I think we’re all playing with “the little man upon the stairs, the little man who wasn’t there, he wasn’t there again today, I wish to heck he’d go away… boom-boom” a silly tune my dad used to sing when I was small and he was still My Hero.

    A lot of my anger has my dad’s name written all over it. As others have shared, this is where I learned most about the hand I’ve been dealt about money. It has always been a power player, something that could BE withheld if… I don’t know that he particularly meant this to BE his legacy for me, but whenever I have tried to talk with him about it, Now, he isn’t interested. I think this sums up my delight at “unplugging” from what is going on from day-to-day in this World I live in.

    There are so many stories I hear whenever I plug in even a little, like at the newstand where Gracie and I go each morning so she can get her cookie and flop her paws up on the counter, making the day of the man who IS there. If we have to wait in line I will scan the headlines and there is never anything there that makes me smile and actually pick up a paper. As I waited yesterday for my bone density scan there was CNN on 2 televisions in the waiting room [I was the only one there]. I was glad for my audiobook and an old magazine to leaf through. Last time I got drawn into CNN without “cover” of headphones, I had a grumpy attitude for a day…

    I like the concept here, of a conversation. I like that it can evolve and that it doesn’t have to BE whole and complete and forever. Affirmations, however they are worded, are OUR thoughts out loud and/or on paper or screen. It is good to notice what we “affirm” in our conversations in the World, which you have done here, BEcause it can then give us what a thermometer does.

    I feel fortunate to have happened upon this today, this afternoon, when I am feeling friendly toward money, for no other reason than it is my choice today. I have had too many recent days of wrestling it to the floor like it’s an octopus I am trying to dance with…

    I am certain I shall BE thinking more on this, Sarah, and for that I will thank you, Now. I sometimes wonder if people I read ever really know how great an impact they can have on me. I often haven’t the first clue HOW to tell them, mayBE BEcause I simply don’t know it at the time, but I am glad for how you left it with the question to which I could, albeit in too many words, respond.

    Thank you.

    • Wow Currie, thanks for the thoughtful response! It’s a blog post in and of itself. I love that image of wrestling this money bugaboo to the floor like an octopus you’re trying to dance with! That is so apt! It’s such an emotionally charged issue, and I know we will all continue to have lots to say on this one.
      I’m struggling now because I’d like to maintain a positive vision for this, but social justice is an important value to me, and I do like to keep up on what’s happening in the world. But I’m realizing that listening to some of these news reports sometimes just reinforces all the negative beliefs! My big challenge is to figure out how to take this information and think of it in a solution-based way. Because it is definitely one of my goals to use my communication skills and talents to share positive solutions.
      Thanks for giving me more to think about.

  5. musiesusie

    My limiting belief about money is that bringing more money into my life will create too much stress. Which is not all that faulty in its logic since the times when I have made more money have also been very stressful. I mean, you can see where my brain made that association. Now I just have believe that it doesn’t have to be true. I believe it in theory, but it’s not in my bones yet.

    Changing beliefs is certainly important, but it’s also true that in order to have a steady, comfortable income, you do have to produce something of value and share it with the world. Money represents value, so there are two ways to slip up: Not valuing your work enough to share it and charge what it’s worth or not valuing yourself enough to think you deserve to make decent money.

    Sigh.. :)

    • So true Sue. Part of my ‘belief reset’ has to do with knowing that I am capable and talented and can produce something of value. It is definitely that double-edged sword. And if you’ve been entrenched and surrounded by a poverty consciousness it’s easy to undervalue yourself and your work. Because – what if people can’t afford it? We’re all in this together I’m realizing and part of the affirmation has to be creating a shared prosperity for all of us.

      It’s hard to change those associations when we’ve seen evidence that seems to bear it out. I guess to get it in your bones you would have to find some people who enjoy a good money flow and a low stress life. I know they’re out there! Thanks for the insightful comment.

      • musiesusie

        To be honest, I can’t really say the wealthy people I know seem stressed. But they do have highly valued professions. I’m a public school teacher!

        One other limiting belief I have around money is connected to my belief in voluntary simplicity and non-materialism. The things I value most in life don’t cost money; therefore, I don’t value money. Unfortunately, my dentist values money and so does the airline that will fly me to visit my elderly parents this summer.

        I haven’t quite reconciled the fact that I feel very satisfied without a lot of possessions and don’t mind if things are old and worn, etc. yet there are still expenses (large ones) that I just can’t avoid.

  6. For me, growing up with two immigrant parents I learned really young that “you’ve got to work hard for money”! I still have moments of guilt that I make my money from home while “chatting with people” (my dad’s words) because clearly, I don’t work that hard for my money. These old beliefs get in the way and like you said Sarah, all the affirmations in the world won’t change that if the energy is still there beneath the words.

    I’ve also heard phrases like “I’m in the process of…” or “I’m on my way to…” but it’s not worked that well for me. What has worked is focusing on how I want to feel when I have the money I want in my life. The more often I tap into that feeling the more easily the positive statements are to say and that’s when things begin to shift for me.

    Of course, like a roller coaster, this conversation has its ups and downs ;-)

    • I love your idea of focusing on that feeling Sandi. In fact, I wrote that down as a message to myself when I came across that same concept in something Danielle LaP wrote. Getting into that feeling does make it easier to find the words to express what I am bringing in.
      I can definitely relate to how intense it is to deal with the entrenched messages from our family. Having to work hard, long hours, and have it be no fun are big ones. And then there’s the old ‘artists, writers and people like that have to struggle and starve in they are going to do their art’ Time for a reset, and it is an up and down ride for sure! Thanks for the great input!

  7. Wow! This is a BIG topic for me! Half of my reason for trying to make a living via blogging (to be clear, to date I have spent more then I have made and I still don’t have my own product to sell!) is to become more powerful around money. Before I was married I always squeaked by and now my husband, who thankfully doesn’t suffer with my money issues is the bread winner in our house. I want to change this and become a financially contributing member of this family! To date I feel like money mocks me. This is the year I’m changing this!

    • I definitely get where you’re coming from there Kathy! It’s never fun to feel like one person in the couple is bearing more of the bread winning burden. At least you have a little one at home – so you actually have a ‘job’ – in addition to your amazing blog! You’ve got so much great content and following, I know you’ll be able to make the financial piece happen this year! Maybe we can put our heads together about it some time!

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