I want to open this up with what’s been on my mind the last few months as I’ve been moving from Santa Fe to CA.
I never want to be someone who is running a business just to make money, or someone who inextricably connects money with service and success (meaning, you can’t separate it: the amount of money you earn determines how successful you are and how much you served the world around you AKA money is the measure).
Money is an incredible tool and it can be a lot of fun and yes, our lives are improved when we have it. But this way of thinking of money as a measure of success is harmful to creatives and people who struggle with money (those who were raised in poverty and have a lot to unlearn and learn, those who do not have a talent/skill that will make them money, people who just cannot seem to figure out their work in this world, etc.) for so many reasons (though the new age gurus will tell you- “it’s only harmful if you allow it to harm you.” Insert a QUANTUM eyeroll here, please).
This is a nuanced asf conversation so I’m going to step carefully, and I’ll be inviting my newsletter subscribers to come have an actual conversation with me about it so we can unpack it all very soon. My hope is that as you read this piece, you’ll begin to understand where I’m coming from, if you don’t already. Mostly, I am advocating for us to consider that there is another way.
One of my biggest lessons over the last year has been that in this late stage capitalist society we exist in, it’s too easy to compromise our integrity when our creative output/expression becomes the sole source of our income.
The capitalist, meritocratic, individualist (“every man for himself”; the nuclear family) patriarchal, white supremacist programming runs deep, and it’s during moments of stress and trauma and the need to survive that it really shows up, and if our income (and therefore our livelihood) is dependent on our creative output, it’s a slippery slope to staying in our values.
Because fear is driving us in this state, we begin to unconsciously look for validation for our shadow. Confirmation bias is real and we forget that we’ll always find evidence for that which we are looking for.
But evidence doesn’t make it right.
The old programming shows up and it feels safe because it’s FAMILIAR. And we will always have a part of ourselves that relishes in the familiar, even when it’s fucked and we know it. We are human, after all, and this is the human condition.
I HAVE A THEORY ABOUT THIS.
It’s why we’re seeing so many “self-made,” from zero to CEO coaches and “teachers” making hella money right now. Preaching over and over again that you just have to want it more! Be more willing to work for it! Be more willing to GO FOR IT NO MATTER WHAT. All in or bust! High caliber women don’t hesitate! They don’t ask how much! They just DO IT WOOOOOO!!!!!
And people who are deeply longing- maybe even desperate (myself included; my world was rocked when I left Ohio) for solid ground to stand on are handing over their life savings to learn the secrets to the universe. Because there has to be a secret, right?
(A side note: I want to be very clear here: Mentorship is so incredibly valuable; it’s changed my life and the lives of most of the women I know who are devoted to progress, but it should be accessible and it should not be something that is only available to the already wealthy, or that we go into devastating debt to receive. How many of us can say we’d be where we are without some lucky breaks and some extreme generosity? I certainly can’t.)
I’D LIKE TO HAVE AN ACTUAL CONVERSATION ABOUT THIS BECAUSE I AM NOT CERTAIN I CAN EXPRESS IT FULLY VIA WRITING. HIT REPLY IF YOU WANT TO JOIN ME FOR A CONVERSATION. MAYBE WE’LL HAVE THEM REGULARLY AGAIN?
Covid really put a magnifying glass on this vulnerability for a lot of us; our shadows were ready to come out and play. Ideas, ways of thinking and egoic, individualist values that we thought we’d overcome rose to the surface asking us to pay attention to them again. If we allow ourselves to be reminded to be vigilant, and we embrace these reminders (devastating as they may be) as a gift, we are supported in our efforts to stay focused on our integrity.
This is how we learn and evolve.
Here’s what I know right now:
Our current place in the process of evolution has positioned us in a place and time where things are just really hard. And in a lot of ways, it’s a shitshow; there is so much noise, so much information, so much change.
So much discomfort, and fear, and uncertainty. And that’s OK. To deny the reality of it is delusional.
…delusion: a place a lot of us would like to exist when things get hard.
Checking out is SO tempting, and THAT is precisely why, in times of extreme stress, we are prone to abandoning the present to have affairs with other dimensions and times (past, present, or “quantum”).
Honestly, there’s just too much to say and I wanted to keep this short but we all know how that goes. I’m going to keep writing about this and exploring these topics.
On a personal note,
I’ve really been pondering this deeply because this past winter was dark.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the work that I’ve been doing, the company I’ve been keeping, the ways in which I’ve been using my resources (time, energy, money, space) and what does and does not feel good. I’ve been thinking a lot about how, going forward, I can begin to separate my income from my expression (more on this later because it’s SUPER relevant to what I’m working on right now).
I got depressed over the winter and I realized it was because I was growing roots in spaces where the soil was toxic for me. These spaces were attractive because they felt familiar; they looked and felt safe because they were based in the ideologies in which I was raised: capitalist, meritocratic, individualist (“every man for himself”; the nuclear family) patriarchal, white supremacist ways of existing.
It doesn’t matter that aligning with these ideologies are precisely why I was so mentally ill to begin with. When things get hard, even when we know we’re going to get burned, familiar is sometimes just too delicious.
I’ve definitely learned that when I am depressed or anxious, it’s because I’m not in integrity. This is too nuanced to go into here, but I wanted to put it out there. It doesn’t make it any less real or any less hard to get out of, but this knowledge has freed me from shame, judgment and self-loathing on a macro level.
I mentioned on IG that I’m pissed. And I am- at myself, mostly; that remains true as I settle into my new digs here in California, in my garden shed on Sarah’s new flower farm where I am feeling secure.
Safe for the first time in a while, I am reminded that it’s a lot easier to breathe deeply when we are in community with people we trust, love, and know will never abandon us.
COMMUNITY TRULY IS MEDICINE.
I am maybe not quite feeling free and easy, but I know that everything has a season, and I’m here for all of it. And this is what I bring to my relationships with my family, friends, and clients.
Because the point of it all is not to avoid the hard stuff, the raw stuff, the real stuff, but to be available for it all.
Real life exists at the intersection of polarities.
SO FOR EVERYTHING, I AM GRATEFUL, AND IF THERE’S ONE THING I KNOW, IT’S THAT A LITTLE GRACE GOES A LONG WAY.