Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Soul of Money

It’s looking like I’m about to have a new gig as a Chief Spiritual Officer, just as I requested. A series of wonderful synchronicities brought about this circumstance. Among them was a meeting, taped by my partner in (a website is in the works even as I write), which I was invited to hear. The owners of the business made reference to a book by Lynne Twist called The Soul of Money. Being the A student that I am, I was on Amazon before you could say bookshop.

In The Soul of Money, Ms. Twist, a longtime, seasoned fundraiser, speaks to our financial preconceptions and assumptions. The first one is that we live in a world of Scarcity. Not new information, but do you see the word scare in there? She divides it into three axioms:

There isn’t enough.
More is better.
That’s just the way it is.

Ever resorted to any of these in a conversation about money? I’m pretty sure we all have. My own response to her words of wisdom was a simple ouch.

The far larger portion of her book (Thank God/dess!) addresses the opposite of Scarcity which she terms Sufficiency.

[Do an experiment for a moment. Stop reading, and say aloud the word scarcity. Say it several times, and see how it feels in your body. Now take a deep cleansing breath. (This is code for: EXHALE! The inhale will happen naturally after that.) Try saying Sufficiency and see how it feels in your body. I’ll lay my top bet, which is a quarter, that Sufficiency felt better than Scarcity.]

Sufficiency is an exciting new context for every aspect of life, especially for money. Ms. Twist invites us to “change the dream,” based on a principle shared by many indigenous peoples that we dream our world into existence. Yes, even our “money world.” Scarcity is a dream we dreamed, and, even better, sufficiency is a world we can dream if we want.

She quotes the delicious Buckminster Fuller, he of geodesic dome fame, and writes that scarcity is about a “you-or-me world,” and sufficiency is about a “you-and-me world.” Here’s how she suggests we get there:

Take a stand
Change your conversation
Create a legacy of enough

I was so impressed by her thoughtfulness, her consciousness, her suggestions. Before I read the book, I had promised to loan it to a friend. Now that I’ve read it, I’m going to have to renegotiate my promise. This is a book to own, and read, again and again and again. My friend is going to have to get his own copy.

Here are some of her closing words:

We can shift from scarcity to sufficiency,
from complaint to commitment,
from envy to gratitude.
We can, through the stand we take,
through the power of conversation,
and through conscious attention to our legacy,
change the dream.

I think it’s time we begin to look at money as having a soul, don’t you? Lynne Twist’s The Soul of Money is a gentle confrontation guaranteed to wake us up. And, you’ll have to forgive me for I can’t resist, you already know that . . . the best way to make our dreams come true is to WAKE UP!

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