Lately I’ve been noticing feelings arise when the conversation around money comes up. Partly frustrated, confused, and saddened. It started when I was really looking forward to seeing my grandmother and updating her on where I’m at in my journey. Learning and teaching about permaculture daily, traveling to dive deeper into my connection with myself, Mother Earth, and community, moving into an off-grid tiny house, being connected to a spiritual Ashram, and pursuing a career in permaculture design. If you know me, you know these are the dreams that I’ve talked about wanting to manifest for a while! I excitedly updated her on all of my endeavors as she took a pause and asked “But are you making money from any of this?” My heart sank and frustration started to build as I was faced with a reality that reflected the perspectives of our culture.
The simple answer is, no. Nothing besides teaching workshops, pursuing permaculture design, and helping others is gaining income. But why is that the main question? Why is that the first thought that pops up? Shouldn’t my dreams and happiness be valued in the worth of what I’m doing rather than monetary gains? I actually feel incredibly fortunate and blessed to not be tied to monetary gains currently and have the ability to truly focus on what I’m passionate about. What if I told her I was getting paid for all of my work that I do to manifest the life that I want? Would it be valued then?
The conversation provoked such frustration because it showed me how we’ve come to a point where we’re valuing economics over ethics. Where we can help with the global, economic, ecological, and social crises we face today, but only if it fits into a box that acquires income for our savings. We’ve put our dreams off for vacation and retirement in sacrifice for money to make us feel worthy.
Another conversation arose that seriously made me feel this is the current Universal lesson for me. I was at the airport standing in line with a woman as we chatted about our lives. She was incredibly friendly and we bonded because of our jewish roots. She asked me what major I pursued in college and as I began to tell her she said “Well let me tell you, that’s not going to make any money!” I found it ironic that in this case, she’s worked her whole life to have a week vacation in Maui, while I’m traveling to spend months connecting with the land, pursuing my work, and will most likely spend less money in those months than she would in a week.
The irony of that conversation was a few weeks later I was hitch hiking in Maui and got picked up by an Uncle. He was so genuinely sweet, squeezing 5 of us in his truck filled with empty gasoline containers and tools. He played this incredible cd that his mother and brother sang on while he shared his experience of living his entire life in Maui. He said “It’s so sad to see how much of Maui has changed since America stole it from us… And all because of money…” I immediately thought about what I’ve been writing regarding money in our society and feeling the impact of how it affected the beautiful islands of Hawaii was absolutely heart-wrenching. He went on to say “I’ve lived my whole life and haven’t had to rely on money. It just seems to come to me when I need it. All of my work is with the land and the only times I get money is when I help others.” God, did my heart resonate so deeply when I heard this.
Now I don’t want to put down money, as it’s just energy in a different from. We can use it as a tool if we wish to, but I don’t believe our lives should be designed around one form of capital. In permaculture, Ethan Roland discusses 8 forms of capital including intellectual, spiritual, social, material, cultural, living, and experiential capital. In this perspective, we can design our lives to be wealthy in multiple areas. I believe we should pursue what we feel we want to pursue, regardless of how much money it’s going to make you! Redesign your life so that your yields are matching what your needs are. What’s holding you back from pursuing the life you want to live?
In these cases, I don’t hold anything against my grandmother or the woman at the airport, as I completely understand that they are just a product of their environment. They are just a reflection of what we’ve been conditioned to believe worth and success is. It showed up and reminded me that I need to stand even stronger in my truth and radiate it. Not to get defensive when the opposite opinion meets mine and shine light on the truth with compassion and understanding of the shift we are facing. It served as a reminder to lead by example of how we can live lives that are focused on giving and living our passions. If you feel this too, I hope you know you are supported and I encourage you to stand strong in your truth! You, my fellow Earthling, are not alone.
With so much love and support,