Relationship with Resources…

Taurus is the 2nd House of “I Have”

It is the realization of the spark of life that came through Aries. Taurus is grounded and real, it is the physical resource that makes the world move ‘round. Since it is in the New Moon phase, the energy has descended. We can look at this as a time to plant seeds, to ready for gestation and for saving. With Taurus and the Hierophant V energy, we are also looking to the discipline that comes with that Major Arcana archetype and the necessity for specific and actionable steps. Always with the dark moon we get the opportunity for some shadow work, so asking yourself some deep and hard questions about your relationship to resources, how you value others, and yourself? And what new disciplines do you want to nourish in order to flourish?

 

An edited excerpt from my journal, June 28, 2019, one year post divorce and navigating my financial reality at 38. I signed up 40 day Writing Challenge created by a friend, writer and teacher in Permaculture Heather Jo Flores, the founder of the Women’s Permaculture Guild

https://www.permaculturewomen.com/writingchallenge/

Day 17:  Poverty Mind? What is that?

To me, Poverty Mind is the thing that we use to tell ourselves we don’t deserve nice thing, or that we shouldn’t charge a fair wage for our work, or that a crisis will befall our family if we earn money without shame.

I grew up poor and we shamed each other all the time for making money, even though we all needed to be making more money than we did. It makes no sense! But that was how we conditioned each other to deal with the poverty–by wearing it like a badge of honor, even though we weren’t safe.

Actual poverty exists, and it’s horrible, and me, I eventually escaped it. But Poverty Mind can expand inside you. It can cross over into something akin to a dysmorphia. It can become a sort of mantra. And that mantra of “I don’t have enough” can become toxic, debilitating.

To me, Poverty Mind is Colonized Mind, and though I might not always have everything I need, I do have a choice about whether or not I will allow the Poverty Mind Mantra to poison me.

Sometimes, for fun, I do a meditation where I imagine myself just swimming in tons of money, naked on my bed like a silly old Queen.

Writing Prompts:

• How does that make you feel?

• Would you do a meditation like that, or not?

• What comes up for you when I write about Poverty Mind?

• Do you do the mantra?

• Do you self-oppress in this way?

• Is it connected to larger, (patriarchal) attitudes that you aren’t entitled to have money, to have your own nice things?

• And how does that connect to your ethics in regards to the planet, to sharing, to family?

• Also, does the topic trigger you, repulse you perhaps?

• Are you all about “law of attraction” and/or “abundance theory,” or do you eschew these ideas?

Do tell. Write about it. This is your challenge.

June 28, 2019

I didn’t grow up with a lot of money, my dad worked for General Motors in the Delphi Factory in Rochester, first on the assembly line then at his own bench, my mom worked retail until she went to school when I was 8 for Radiology. She hated that and went to work at my Middle School as a Math Tutor, then eventually as an assistant in the Math department and then the last 20 years of her life in the district admin office. Both my parents were in a union, neither had higher education over 2 years of college.

I hated asking my parents for money, and I still rarely do.

I didn’t join ski club withy friends in junior high because I just didn’t want to ask. I started working as soon as I could, in New York State is was 14 legally, bussing tables, washing dishes and cutting salad at a local country club, before that at 12 and 13 I cleaned houses and babysat. My grandmother used to spoil me and I thought she was rich, their house was always so clean and pretty, I always associated being clean with having money and being poor with being dirty. It was only when she died in 2003 that realized that she was in fact no where near being rich, she didn’t work, my grandpa sold books out of a van, my grandmother dealt with a lot of pride, jealousy and insecurity, and she lived off of credit, refinancing and social security. When she died, my grandfather was financially devastated and has always lived at the poverty line, like many elder folks sadly do. I remember that he could only heat the bedroom of his house. I still to this day feel sad for him and the lot he was handed, because he really didn’t play it well.

When I started making my own money, I realized that it was a flow of energy and for some reason it always came in as it went out, even in the times when I was over my head.  My first debt in my 20’s was with credit cards because I wanted to live a certain lifestyle, I wanted organic food and I wanted clothes…. and because I was insecure in other aspects of my life, I was buying a lot. I thought that made me happy.

When I finished Community College and I wanted to go to a real university, I remember being so sad because there wasn’t any money set aside for that, I had such high hopes based on what I saw happening with other kids, but instead I had to take out loans. I remember shamefully asking my mom, why didn’t they save anything for us? She just said, “we didn’t have it”. My mother is very generous and her main language of love is giving. She paid off my governmental student loan, the one with the lowest interest rate and in 2017 I was able to pay off the private one with 40% interest rate! I am so grateful. Even to this day, I will rarely ask for help and when I do I feel the nagging sense of shame, but she always sends me on my way back home to Costa Rica with a few hundred bucks and a card tell me she loves and misses me. :)

When I got together with my first husband, I realized that money made me jealous. He comes from a place of abundance with lots of spending and spoiling. The abundance generated by his parents very hard work and privilege, that gave him access to education, travel, land acquisition, professional support, connections, bailouts and one day a big inheritance.

When we got together, he had a salary, that soon disappeared from the poor investments and business dealings he made with his partners, so we lived off my salary that came from his company. Even though it was 2008 and I was making $45k a year, I couldn’t afford to live the life I wanted to live, my taxes, credit cards, student loans, rent, car payment, insurance and other monthly expenses ate it all up. When my credit cards were finally paid off, I vowed to never buy anything if I couldn’t buy it with cash. I hate credit cards.

I moved to Costa Rica in 2009 to go live off-the-grid at my partner’s project that he started in 1997. Living off-the-grid as I was, adjusting to a simpler life, was the most liberating experience. Yet I still felt jealous of rich people, especially rich women, mostly rich women who got it handed to them by their parents. I still don’t know many “rich” women who are “self made”, to have money, you need to start out with money. It isn’t easy working your way up, no matter how much we want to romanticize that idea, no matter how much feminism and “manifestation” tells us we can. I have taken a lot of steps in my personal development to no longer be envious, but to shift toward a sense of admiration for their success. Hey, we can only rise up if we raise each other up after all!

For ten years I got used to having in-laws that provided. Provided our beautiful home in Costa Rica, vacations to exotic places, and me with a nice car. My partner and I worked on various projects and managed the retreat center, and I kept us out of the red as best I could. I also got used to the idea that I could pretty much spend as I liked, though the spending was and is much more mindful. Early on I noticed how my partner treated money, how he valued people who had more, he saw opportunity there… I hated that, because I felt like I wasn’t nor the people I came from had any value in his eyes.

When we divorced I became fearful now that my “life insurance” was gone. Though I had access to some of our assets, I did not fight for what my legal rights were (50% by Costa Rican law), instead I settled because I couldn’t afford a lawyer and I did not want to fight about money. In that I gained access to the land in which I live now. Through the divorce and home building I got into major debt, over $50k in credit cards and personal loans! I had access to shares in a project I have been involved with for many years, so I flash sold them for way below the evaluation because I had to. With that sale, I was able to finish building my home, which is a modest one bedroom with large terrace on 2500m2 (0.6 acres) within a slowly evolving community. I was out of debt and then medical bills put me back in it, which to this day I am still paying off. But in the end I OWN MY HOME! That is a major accomplishment I am so proud of.

Through those years when I got lost in the storm of partnership that had a twisted relationship with resources, I was not sure even if I could stand on my own feet. It has taken until now to realize that I have worked hard enough to create my own name and to work for myself. I have seen that as an herbalist and teacher, I won’t be a “baller” but I have learned to trust in the work and the relevance of the discipline, that I have something important to offer that helps others. While my finances are not steady, and each year looks a little different, I learn to dance with currency moving in and out of my field… as my dear friend Monica once told me… “currency is like a wheel, it spins one way and back again, never stand in front of the flow.”

I don’t know how much I believe in the theory of the Law of Attraction, but I know, that if I cry poor, no matter how much I have, I will be uphappy. If I hoard what I have, I will never be actually rich. I spend and I receive. I love treating people to things, and donating to people and causes, being generous is one of my favorite things to do. I think more than a belief in the Law of Attraction, my beliefs are firmly set in the Law of Reciprocity, an exchange of energy in all its forms.

I also realized some years back the ah-ha moment of being a Projector by Human Design and that my life’s work isn’t to hustle and work but to do what I love and the abundance will flow. I often worry about money still, and I try to find ways to not spend… I actually notice that the shadow side of my mental health is that I shop when I am unhappy and when I am happy and grounded I don’t want more things. I have been paying close attention to my other capital investments: my loving partner, my friends and network, my spirituality, learning new languages, cultivating community in various ways and working with my mind and the land in ways that inspire me. Whenever I get really scared about money, I count my blessings. I have access to clean water, I have friends and allies near by, I own my home, I am not waking up terrified for my life, I am healthy, I hear birds singing, I can move on my own free will… I count them each day. And while I still don’t have a retirement plan as the money managers say I should, I am a free to live my life as I like, there are fruit trees in the ground and that is invaluable.

Writing Prompts:

  • Did anyone teach you how to manage resources
  • Did you talk about it with your family?
  • Were you aware of the fianncial situation in your home growing up? 
  • What feeling did you have around money?
  • How did it feel to always get what you want? Or to never or rarely get what you wanted?
  • What about when you saw others more well off that you?
  • As a teenager or young adult, when you started to make your own money, how did that feel for you?
  • When was the first time you felt fully capable of taking care of yourself financially?
  • Have you had any debt you could not pay off?
  • Have you had to ask for financial help?
  • Have you ever come into some money and what was the first thing you thought and felt?
  • If you never had money again, what would that mean for you?