Multiple choice question:
Money is most like:
You confused yet?
Humor me for a second.
If I were to answer this question from a couple years ago, it would have been fire.
“A necessary evil” frequently crossed my lips when I thought or talked about money.
In some contexts, fire seems evil. When we watch the news helplessly about the latest rampant wildfires, destroying homes, taking lives, and consuming all its path. It burns and causes great pain to those who come in contact with it.
In other contexts, fire seems benevolent. The spark that gives a lost hiker hope to make it ’til morning with its warmth. The crackling in the fireplace that brings our souls peace and good tidings at the close of each year. The bonfire that makes us s’mores.
You see, fire is an element of life.
It is neither good nor evil. It simply is.
And you get to choose the context.
Just as is the wind…
// hurricanes and gentle breezes //
… and the earth
// avalanches and vegetable gardens //
Fire, wind, and earth — elements of this world that are not singularly good or evil, and that are completely necessary to life on this planet.
Enter: M o n e y.
Money is no different, my loves.
Money is an element — neither inherently good or bad, and completely necessary. Great amounts can create great evil and beautiful art. Little amounts can create great suffering and deep gratitude.
What would shift in your life if you practiced relating to money as the earth beneath your feet, the fire on your hearth, the air in your lungs — rather than the unsettling earthquake, the greedy wildfire, the monstrous tornado?
What if it was a necessary life force, and neither good nor evil?
What would you do differently?
How would you feel differently?
If you go one step further, budgets are like the blueprints to our gardens.
We plant things with great care and precision according to the layout of the garden, the amount of sunlight available, the kind of climate you choose to live in. Depending on our plants’ needs, we give daily or weekly attention to them so they may bloom and grow. We come to know the ebbs and flows of the seasons so that our garden is tended, no matter what.
Try on this practice of tending your garden and relating to money as just another life-giving element, friends, and see what you discover.
Money can feel like a deep, relaxing breath.
Money can smell like the fire beneath your roasting marshmallow.
Money can sound like the stillness of a mountaintop.
Careful tending and loving surrender can describe your experience of money in your life, too.