Many of us have already run into money obstacles that threaten to hinder our creative desires. After all, we may have awakened some wild, long-lost dreams but we also live in the real world, don’t we? We may be managing to survive in this shaky economy, but there’s precious little leeway for indulging ourselves in art. Or else that art had better pay for itself. Right?
Can you see where our ideas about money play a leading role in our creativity? If we believe there isn’t enough, our expansiveness and willingness to experiment is in jeopardy. If we can’t afford the supplies, the studio time, the lessons, the time off – what’s the use of any of this? If our art doesn’t pay the bills, how can we sustain it?
In this chapter, we have come to a crossroads of either beginning to understand how to fully manifest our creative dreams, or else failing to. At best, if we do not come to this understanding, we will always struggle and always fall short of what our true potential is. And an integral component of that understanding is to recognize the relationship between God/dess, money, and us.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, or if you’ve done any browsing through my archives, you know that I’ve written extensively on the history and meaning of money. This is a good time, I think, to review some of those articles.
For instance, many of us are still struggling with the stories handed down to us from our ancestors, especially the founding Europeans that first settled on this continent. I wrote back in 2007, “As we begin to consider and heal our own relationship with money, we can’t overlook the values and ideology that permeate the very foundation of American culture. The Puritans had a profound influence on our deep-seated beliefs about money. Their doctrine was that a strict moral code, hard work, and ‘an honest day’s wages for an honest day’s work,’ would assure one of financial well-being…
“The truth is, that many of the poor in our country are part of the growing number of ‘working poor.’ They work very hard, long hours, often at multiple jobs, and still don’t have enough money to feed their families…The influence of the Puritan work ethic, which tells us that all it takes to succeed is hard work and stoic denial of fleshly pleasures, cannot be underestimated.”
By the way, I wrote this well before the financial meltdown that hit in 2008.
What’s wrong with the Puritan ethic? As I noted, “For those who work extremely hard and make little progress, it creates an impossible bind. It sends the message that they are somehow not working hard enough. It assumes that we are all on a level playing field and that success is entirely based on hard work, courage, and cleverness.
“That is certainly what our founding fathers intended and it is what we strive for this country to be. But the facts are that class, privilege, race, sex, education, and other factors still have enormous influence.
“Ultimately, the denial of these influences adds to our illusions and wounds about money. We’re told it is there for the taking, yet it remains so elusive. It is only available to those who are worthy and so if you have it, you must be good. If you don’t, you must be bad.”
I invite you to consider what assumptions about money are operating in your own life. They may be obvious, or perhaps very subtle indeed. Tomorrow, we’ll examine our beliefs a little more closely.