I’m so thankful for the privilege of aging. It’s giving me time to change my mind about money. I have to tell you it’s a change that is long overdue.
So here’s what’s going on. I have an old, well-used, hard-working, sometimes under-appreciated dollar bill laid out in front of me on my desk, kind of like the one in the picture, so I can look at it as I write this post. I didn’t have a dollar bill in my wallet, so I asked JoAnn if she could lend me one, and being the sweet wife she is she happily obliged.
For most of my life, the truth is I have looked down on money. It didn’t mean much to me. It didn’t have any value for me.
Once, when I was about 23, and working as a reporter on the Daily Colonist in Victoria, BC, I bought a handsome new car – a gleaming Ford V8 in very good shape that cost me $300. The car wasn’t new, but it was new for me, if I’m making myself clear.
It was a cool car and I enjoyed driving around in it for about ten days. But then, being an idealistic young man, in love with sailing and seeing the world, I got all excited when an opportunity came up quite suddenly to join a sailboat leaving California on a Pacific cruise.
I quickly decided my new car had to go. All I could see was the romance of this new adventure. The car was an impediment to my dream of being an ocean sailor.
I took the car back to the dealer and told him my plans had changed and could I return the car and get a refund? Of course not, he sniggered at me. What planet did I live on? But here’s what I want to share with you. I said goodbye to the $300 quite happily. It didn’t bother me at all.
All I could think about was this great trip I was planning to make – a trip that never worked out, by the way.
And so it continued. Money was secondary to my deep-felt longing – a longing I did not understand but which had been with me since my teen years – to find deeper meaning and purpose in life.
A year or two later I met a man who inspired me deeply with his wisdom and genuineness. I was so inspired that I gave up my job, sold my boat and gave up everything to join the spiritual community he had founded in British Columbia. I lived there for 36 years.
Once again, money was beside the point. Like everyone else in the community, I was part of a cooperative venture. We received room and board and a small stipend, but our time and labor was given freely to the larger purpose without any thought of reward.
But life keeps moving, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. It loves change. It nudges us continually toward greater balance and wholeness. It doesn’t matter how old we are or how young we are – if we are wise, we answer life’s call to change and grow.
And so it is that my approach to money is changing.
Here’s what I see now when I look at the old dollar bill lying on the desk in front of me.
Here’s what this tiny little slip of paper, with all its fascinating symbols, including the picture of Washington on one side, and the beautiful statement, “In God We trust,” on the other side, means to me now.
Money is not somehow a little bit sordid, as I used to think. There is nothing evil about money. And there is nothing evil about loving money either, although it is not, and never will be a passport to wealth and happiness as our culture tries to tell us it is.
Money is a faithful servant that makes possible the flow of energy in this world and in our lives. It is a symbol of the divine wealth that resides within each one of us – the wealth of our own true character, our own true nature – and it is to be honored.
Money makes it possible for me to express my true nature more fully, and to give my gift more fully. It makes it possible for me to fulfill my deepest longings and aspirations. Money is to be honored.
How could money be attracted to me if in my heart I think it is unimportant or unworthy?
And so I honor money and see it with eyes of love for the beautiful symbol it really is -- a symbol of the energy, generosity and abundance of the universe that flows to each of us and through us continually.
Would love to share any thoughts you may have on this topic.
Picture credit: All rights reserved by jazer