Money is the silent partner in almost everything that we do. There are different ways to deal with it, but I learned that what you earn and how you spend it is a private matter not to be discussed with friends or family. The men handled the money and women stayed out of it – rather old-fashioned by modern standards. Of course, whenever I was single, I handled my own finances. As a single mom, I was in much better financial shape when I remarried than when I first became single, so I thought I could handle my money. This year, I updated my relationship with money when I read The Soul of Money: Transforming your Relationship with Money and Life by Lynne Twist.
I was both excited and reluctant to read it, as I both enjoy and fear money. After all, when you need it and don’t have it, life isn’t as easy. It can be a bully. I found Ms. Twist’s book both engaging and thought-provoking. She spent a good portion of her life as a fundraiser for The Hunger Project, an innovative non-profit organization partnering with people to end world hunger. She knew the world from the perspective of both the most poverty-stricken people and the most wealthy, and her insights are profound.
Ms. Twist’s stories were engaging and I loved her discussion of scarcity as a way of life, even among the wealthy. My husband and I make a comfortable living, so why did I always feel like we didn’t have any money for what I needed? It was the illusion of the scarcity mentality that Ms. Twist addresses in The Soul of Money. Money is just an energy exchange, so why do we mystify it and make it bigger than it really is? I loved her energetic approach to spending money and the way that we can release the scarcity mentality. Although I thought I had seen money as an energy flow, but when I read her story of how money is like water, I hit a turning point.
Her chapter about helping her mother put her life to rest was inspiring, to say the least. How she found and expressed gratitude during her terminal illness and the way she shared her love with others was beautiful. It was an example of a life well-lived that we all should know is a possibility to aspire toward.
Many of the other parts of the book brought forward concepts that weren’t new for me, but the way they were presented was fresh and the stories stuck with me powerfully. The engaging examples helped to bring a new perspective to money, victimization, the isolation of the wealthy, and the need for all people to feel purpose in their lives. Scarcity and sufficiency as a way of life was just the tip of the iceberg.
I was surprised to see some changes in my life as I read Ms. Twist’s book. I no longer said, “I can’t afford that.” Instead, I said, “I have other priorities for how I’m spending my money” (ditto for how I talked about my time). What really changed was the sense of self-empowerment that I experienced when I finished the book. Discussions about money no longer made me anxious. I no longer deferred to my husband for financial decisions. I initiated conversations, communicated my needs, and became more helpful in my suggestions. A door was opened for wonderful new financial possibilities for us. In different ways, we had both been seeking a more equal partnership in handling our money, and after I read this book, we magically found common ground that works for us both.