The other day, the words on my Hay House calendar hit home.
“I have a great relationship with money. It loves me and fills my pockets.”
No. Not even close. I’ve been in a struggle with my money story all my life: from not having it and wanting it, to having it and letting it slip away, to having barely enough, to having not enough, to feeling shame and deficit because of it.
You see, I’ve believed that money isn’t real for a very long time. That it’s a made-up thing. It started out as shells and cattle; stones and salt (yes, salt), not bills and coins; certainly not checks and credit cards. If you had something I wanted or needed, I could trade you some pretty shells for it. If I had something you needed or wanted, you’d offer me some unique and lovely shells, which, in turn, got you the thing you wanted.
At some point, the business of ‘government’ chose to be the sole creators of money because, not unlike early religious organizations, “government was created to control a population larger than those who wished to control it.” If you control money, you control the people.
There’s a true story about early money; shells and stones: “An example which takes this tendency to the extreme is the rai stone, used as currency on the Micronesian island Yap. Not only do these huge wheel-shaped carved stones not have a practical use, they are also far too large to be practically transported. Instead, the Yapese keep an oral history of each stone owner, and the value of the stone was determined partially by its historical heft. In one instance, a rai stone even sank to the sea floor, but remained in the economic system of the island. Islanders would simply agree to transfer ownership of the stone without ever having to see it for themselves.”
So, it surprised me the other day when I had a realization; not about my money story but about money’s story about itself. Systems thinking. “A system is an entity which maintains its existence through the mutual interaction of its parts.” What this means is, if we’re talking about money, money should have a seat at the table as an entity unto itself. Otherwise, it’s just gossip, isn’t it?
While there is so much more to say about systems and governments, for now, let this suffice.
So, what does money think about how it’s used in today’s society? I asked it that very question and here’s what came back to me:
· Money is in pain about how its story has changed; “WTF, Humans?” was the energy that came back to me after asking the question.
· Money never wanted Humans to suffer because of it, or the lack of it or the surplus of it, either
· Money sees the greed in the eyes of Humans who hoard it and use it to brag of their wealth; those who ask so much for their product, service or work that others have to gulp before they say yes or have to say no because the price is out of reach.
· Money realizes that the story has gone too far in the hands of Humans for money to change the story, even as a system
· Money wants to be used for good, to create more good
· Money delights in service and stewardship; it has a “let it flow” attitude that always finds its way back to the giver
So, with that, I’m learning to change my money story. I am its ally; not its enemy. It is my ally, not my enemy. I will never again see money as something made-up; I acknowledge its existence as a vital system within our systems. If I use it benevolently, as it would like to be used, it will come back to me as something unique and beautiful, not a trophy that separates me from the rest of Humanity; a connector to Humanity AND the planet AND all living beings.
Ask me about my money story. Here’s what you’ll hear:
“Money is a system; an entity unto itself that holds at its core an intention of generosity and abundance.”
“I use money as a loving extension of myself; caring for my needs, yes, and caring for the needs of others and the planet.”
“I have a great relationship with money. It loves me and fills my pockets.”
Linda Lombardo, 1/25/18
Those of us who love the outdoors, seemingly enjoy everything it has to offer. In Spring and Summer, we can hardly wait to go outside and feel rebirth and renewal in every breath; see bulbs break ground and burst into flower; the trees leafing into their distinct shades of green once more. We’re inspired to dust off our bicycles, or skates, or walking sticks. We are ready to engage in the beauty of nature; engage in activities that often require some long soaks in a hot tub, citing how out of shape we are after “that long lazy winter”. In Autumn, we walk along trails resplendent with the color from leaves that the trees have pushed off in preparation for wintertime. We go apple picking and love the crispness of the air and the warmth of the late afternoon sun.
We must talk about Winter if we’re going to engage with nature in ALL her beauty. I’ve seen memes on the first day of winter that read, “Only 75 more days till Spring!”. We stay indoors; become less active, less motivated, perhaps. We’ve forgotten - or choose to ignore - an entire season that is essential to our human cycles of life as well as nature’s. Not all of us, certainly, and yet, enough of us.
Energetically, Winter is a time of deep rest in preparation for a rebirth or transformation. The trees sense it as early as late Summer and early Autumn when many begin the arduous task of pushing their leaves off their branches, dispelling the idea of “Autumn leaves falling”. They only fall because they are pushed. These leaves are useless when the tree needs all its energy to keep its living cells from freezing in the cold. Trees know how to shut down what’s non-essential in order to ready themselves for hibernation, or dormancy, all the while actively keeping their living cells from freezing. At rest and active simultaneously. Some even set their buds before dormancy in preparation for Spring and warmer weather. My lilac bush is awash with tight red buds in December awaiting a signal that Spring has arrived and it gives me hope every time I stop to admire the lilac’s forethought and handiwork.
So, how do trees keep from freezing in wintertime? Research tells us that some trees change their cell membranes to become suppler in wintertime, so the amount of water they usually hold is released to the space between cells, where freezing is not an issue, maybe even of benefit to the tree. We humans usually eat more, put on a few of pounds, two or five or ten, acting more like bears planning to sleep through the Winter than trees whose work is less obvious yet still at work. Speaking of eating more, some trees even supply more sugar to their living cells, like anti-freeze, lowering the point at which a cell will freeze. They just don’t gain weight or worry how they’ll look in a bathing suit.
This brings me to the question: how do you keep your living cells from freezing in Wintertime? What are the non-essentials you push off to focus your attention on what keeps you alive? And what little buds are you birthing for a later date, a warmer season, a full expression of you when the time comes?
Beyond the science of trees, there is an aesthetic beauty to the woods in Wintertime. There is a silence in the woods, in which we can hear our own hearts beating, or hear snow fall to the ground as a squirrel dashes across a branch, or hear how the song of the wind in the leafless trees has changed ever so slightly; a song in the key of Winter; different than a song in the key of Spring. It requires us to be in dormancy, too, if we choose to notice and hear these things. What’s in motion when it isn’t you? What are you noticing, being present to the silence and stillness of Winter?
Most of all, how is Wintertime essential to your being alive, a thing of beauty and part of every season in nature?