How Do We Measure Success And Is Money The Enemy?

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I found this comment and quote on a FB site called Alliance of Shamanic Women Entrepreneurs {ASWE}. Since the work I do (the fundamental work I do) seems connected to healing, space creating, and counseling (and since I’m kind of an agnostic) I joined this site to figure out more about the world of spirituality and the business of business within it.

“Success is connected to your self-worth which is connected to the energy of money. I see too many women not step into their power around money. The world doesn’t need more broke storytellers, healers… it needs compassionate people to be successful, live their passion, make good money and do good things in the world with that money.

Spread the wealth. That is part of the journey and that is being successful. So my question is what if you allow success to be part of your story as a healer. Each person needs to have a dialog with their money story and their shadow issues with success.” from Shelly Smith.

It’s in reference to this quote by David Orr:

β€œThe plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.”
― David Orr, Ecological Literacy

I personally feel more aligned with the David Orr quote. I don’t believe that the last 100 years of corporate citizenship and industrialization have necessarily made the world a better place spiritually. Sure we have more things. And ease of making those things happen (toasters!clean water! dishwashers). But it also seems like we have anxiety, neuroses, fear, greed out the wazoo and a new set point for what success is.

I don’t think money solves problems necessarily. I think power does tend to attract people who enjoy using power (and oftentimes that means corruption). But even beyond corruption, it seems to set up a standard in which more is better all the time.

Case in point, we bought a new mattress after 12 years. The boys, who live in luxury compared to the rest of the world, were sitting on all the tempurpedic adjustable massage beds and claiming they needed them! And that $2000 was a good price. And I thought, kid? 120 years ago, my great grandparents on my Dad’s side were sleeping in dugouts on the Colorado River. And I wonder if they were fundamentally happier. Maybe not. Possibly both.
So money is weird. Our culture is in love with more, with money, with this idea of success being known nationally, on television, in sound bytes, by Klout scores, and so forth.

But isn’t ok to be compensated for the work we do in order to live? And can that mesh with healing, arts, humanistic work? Do we value ourselves based on salary? How else do we buy food, shelter, clothes in a world that encourages us to buy those things x 10?

I do know that I feel more driven than ever to do healing work, it terrifies me, and if I figured the arts didn’t pay well, πŸ™‚ then I’m surely gonna live in the poorhouse doing social justice work. Then again, perhaps my relationship with money is my own shadow side. I certainly know I have judgements about wealth.

Perhaps the challenge is to continue to redefine how we measure success in a world that places much of that definition on money and financial status. And also figuring out how to accept honest compensation for work done. Or perhaps we continue to work and give our gifts away for free.



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2 responses to “How Do We Measure Success And Is Money The Enemy?

  1. It is sort of messed up that some sorts of healing seem to be burdened with not being very profitable. Especially in the face of doctors making 6 figures a year and psychologists that can charge hundreds per hour to speak at a conference (I know that aren’t the only types of healing you are talking about but they are still healing).

  2. Pingback: Oldies But Goodies-Friday | Julie Gillis

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