Money and Soul-Work

by helenzuman in General

A few months ago, I had my first experience of handing a copy of Mating in Captivity to a potential reader and receiving cash in return. Since the story of money I’ve lived with for decades dictates that income mainly accrues through labor for hire, this was a delightful surprise. Yes, I’d spent countless hours writing, revising, and refining the text, and navigating the publishing process—but that was work I would have done anyway, in the interest of delivering what I perceive as a precious gift. Each time someone buys a book, I further my soul-work: bringing joy and working magic through reweaving the web.

What web? The web of life. The web of relationships. The web connecting former Zendiks, as well as those whose lives we’ve touched, and those who’ve surrendered, or watched others surrender, self-trust. The web showing how the coercive power of cult stories mimics that of industrial civilization—a heist so audacious, so enveloping, that most of us fail to notice it, most of the time.

I aspire to do my soul-work with my whole spirit, full bore—and I’m aware that money, like water, flows through most of my interactions with other humans, most of my efforts to fulfill my desires and meet my needs. So, I face the question: How can I honor my calling, while generating enough money to maintain financial equanimity? Put another way: How can I get money and soul-work to flow through the same channels?

In posing these questions, I am not alone. Just the other day, an hour or so after arriving at Medicine Wheel (a neighborhood within Earthaven Ecovillage that I’ve adopted as my home away from home), I dropped into a conversation with two other women grappling with the same conundrum. As we talked, I wondered: How to translate this shared experience, this shared yearning, into strength for transformation? What if many of us (most of us? all of us?) are unwittingly perpetuating an Abilene Paradox of a money system that keeps us from giving our best? How can we join to weave a financial web that feeds soul-work, and nourishes the soul-worker in each of us, as we negotiate each day?

I wonder if this pull I feel to join money and soul-work is more widespread than I think; I wonder if I’m part of a swelling, yet still subterranean, movement to unite our most precious gifts with the money that, in our current economic story, we require to thrive. Perhaps the first step in bringing this movement to light is stepping forth and saying: I intend to unite money with soul-work. I yearn for this. Do you?

If you liked this post, you’ll love my memoir, Mating in Captivity, in which my twenty-two-year old self enters a cult with a radical take on sex and relationships. Learn more here.

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