The Soul of Money
Here's how to square your daily financial decisions with your desire to do good.
BY: Lynne Twist with Teresa Barker
Whatever the nature of your own call to action, I invite you to take a stand. Separate yourself from the prevailing drift, and use the opportunity that we each have to deepen our values and become more determined to live by them and articulate them. We each can speak for sufficiency as a way of living and relating to money and to each other. Whether you do it with a dollar or a million dollars, whether you are a Guatemalan peasant or an African farmer, a person of inherited wealth or a laundress, a lawyer, a factory worker, a doctor, an artist, a clerk, a baker, or a banker, you have the power with your money to break the silence that protects a destructive, scarcity-driven money culture and take a stand for higher human values. Money carries the power an intention we give it. Endow it with your stand. Empower it to change the dream.
Money Is Like Water: Know the Flow!
If you want a clear picture of what your priorities are in life, who you are, what you care about, and what you stand for, look at your checkbook, your credit card bills and bank statement, and your spending habits. With every money transaction, you are allocating where you want your money to go, and this easy audit shows the flow. Maybe the money is going to children's education or to travel. Sometimes it's a fit with who you think you are, and other times it's just not. When it's not, there's an opportunity to re-examine how money flows in and out of your life and where you want to actively direct it.
What do you care most about in the world? Make a list - e.g., world peace, your children, your community, your garden, your political beliefs, etc. Now look at your checkbook or budget and credit card bills and see how much of your resources you devote to those commitments.
Now list the things that trap you: the things you crave, your weaknesses, things or activities that take you in a deadening direction instead of an enlightening direction. How much of your money is going to support activities that take you down or limit the possibilities of your life?
When was the last time you made a contribution that lit up your life? How much was it and what was the cause or person or project you were excited about? Did you share your excitement with other people?
When do you feel generous and why? When do you feel defensive about money and why?
What legacy are you creating right now with the way you use your money? Do your investments and personal spending support the world as you want it to be? Are you investing in people, products and projects that make the kind of difference you want to make?
Follow your answers to these questions to discover where money and soul merge to nourish your life! Without a judgment of good or bad, when you know where you're spending, you can make conscious choices to align your spending with your beliefs and highest commitments. No matter how much or how little money runs through your life, you can channel it to fund what you care most about in the world. Consider the possibility of living more consistently with your true values as a financial template or expression of who you are and begin that process with a gentle, but sustainable commitment to aligning money and soul in everyday ways.