Money + Transformation Circle
Summary: a group of 40 folks from the local community came together on Father's Day of 2015 to share stories around their relationship to money. Below is the content from that circle (most recently added audio, blogs, transcript, photos -- and excited about so much interest in a 1-day conversation). Simply click on any of the headings below and you'll see the related information.
The Invitation For June 21, 2015
"Relationship between money and the search for ourselves has an electricity that results from removing barriers between two fundamental and fundamentally opposed motivations: the quest for transcendence and the need to function well in the everyday world," remarks Jacob Needleman in his seminal book, Money and the Meaning of Life..
On Sunday, June 21st, few community organizers are convening to share thoughts on our relationship with money-- its role in life, society, and potential to unlock deeper ways of operating and connecting, both within ourselves and the world. Our intention is to start a dialogue and then build on the emergence (as we have done with business, music, technology and most recently education).
The circle will be hosted by a remarkable crew of local folks, including philosopher Jacob Needleman, founder of RSF Social Finance and chairman of New Resource Bank Mark Finser, founder of Kalliopeia Foundation Barbara Sargent, renowned Gandhian scholar Michael Nagler, and local acupuncturist Thuy Nguyen who practices gift-economy health. It will all be anchored by impact investor Birju Pandya and social entrepreneur Min Xuan Lee, who designs games to change children's relationship to money.
Some of the questions we'll hold together -- can money be a tool for transformation? How do you engage with money in a way that supports your inner growth? What do you think about research that says we become stingier as we become richer? At what point does affluence stop supporting well-being? More broadly, do markets fundamentally crowd out morals? Is it possible to design projects with a mindset that honors multiple forms of capital?
Join us for an evening that explores these and related questions. Simply RSVP below, and we'll send you the details as we get closer.
Before the Circle ...
Some of the questions we'll hold together -- can money be a tool for transformation? How do you engage with money in a way that supports your inner growth? What do you think aboutresearch that says we become stingier as we become richer? At what point does affluence stop supporting well-being? More broadly, do markets fundamentally crowd out morals? Is it possible to design projects with a mindset that honors multiple forms of capital?
If you'd like to remotely join the circle, we also invite you to respond to these 3 questions before the circle. People have contributed some great gems thus far. Professor Michael Nagler writes, "I was always suspicious of money but still felt I 'needed' it and certainly sought it from time to time. I was uncomfortable with the dichotomy. Then I discovered Gandhi's idea of trusteeship that solve it for me: we don't own money, but we can use it." College sophomore, Cjay writes: "As someone who cares for the world, it is often hard to make a good living." Longtime educator, Mary Roscoe: "Over the past few years, I have stopped seeking funding and have given my time as a volunteer, because I wasn't able to align my values with the logic of fundraising." Acupuncturist Thuy Nguyen shares, "Money isn't a separate entity from us. We are always in relationship to it, whether through scarcity or abundance." Sarah Hogan adds, "I tend to spend money on materialistic things when struggling emotionally, such as when feeling depressed or overwhelmed." Artist German Herrera wonders, "How can we change the belief that people with money can't be compassionate and kind?" Activism legend Mark Dubois adds, "Long ago, after being tutored by a river about life's magic, I sensed we've been sidetracked into the delusion that money buys security."
To add to that, :) last week, Lynne Twist joined one of our circles and shared an incredible story that'll put a smile to your face: What Gertrude Taught Me About Money
Gratitude For the Circle
Thank you for a heartfelt circle last night around the ever-so-rich topic of money! Just sharing your time on Father's Day was a gift, let alone the many shining gems that surfaced through our collective stillness, stories, and presence -- and perhaps might still be emerging. :)
We opened with Jerry's invitation to "live into the questions" in place of "solving the problems" mindset (here's a related experience he had, at the age of 9, sitting alongside his Dad one night). Min, then, articulated how 1 in 5 kids today are diagnosed with depression, and how our relationship to money can cultivate the toxicity of our spirit -- "spending is tied to loneliness, hoarding is tied to lack of inner security, money avoidance is tied to fear, workolohism is tied to escapism." Mark spoke about how care-giving for his wife is changing how he relates to money and life, while Barbara shared her challenges of living into the mystery of receiving unexpected checks in the mail in her early twenties. And then, we circled around for a nuanced series of reflections.
Alongside the abundance of memorable stories, what also stood out was the diverse range of experiences that our circle was able to hold. Michael eloquently shared Gandhi's idea of trusteeship while Tapan humorously reflected on the awkwardness of leaving his wallet on the ground. :) Lynne spoke about her tendency to control the impact of her giving while Leah reflected on her 2-year-old teacher who gave away her favorite sticker. David spoke about how he was a "lover of money", as Aaron smilingly noted how he was born into Michael Douglas's basement (who popularized 'Greed is good' which we've expanded to 'Generosity is better' :)). Cjay spoke about loneliness when she couldn't afford to transportation money to hang out with friends, Evelyn reflected on poverty when she had to live in her car for three weeks, German shared his fear when his Dad challenged him to study by giving him a shoe-shining kit, Audrey remembered her "how much do you make" question from a vegetable seller in India. Towards the end of the circle, Eri summed it up: "It's comforting to know that I'm not the only one who is confused by money." And Gail offered the poignant closing reflection, "Whether we're giving or receiving, can we learn to receive the wholeness of a person?"
Thank you. As you know, the purpose of such circles isn't to arrive at a conclusion, but to hold space for inner transformation through our inquiry -- not only into money but ourselves.
Post-Circle Recordings and Blogs
Min just shared a thoughtful blog about the insights shared in the circle: Money + Transformation Circle
German has kindly posted up the audio file:
For now, here's a raw transcript -- a portion of which may make it to Richard's piece in works & conversations.
Oh, and a collection of photos from various cameras, especially Bhoutik's. :)
Post-Circle Conversation Opportunities
Join Min in an Honesty Circle coming up next Thursday
Join Audrey and others at Karma Kitchen next Sunday
Join Guri :) at an Awakin Circle any Wednesday in Santa Clara
Co-create a 21-day Money Challenge (back story) with Birju
Explore 1-Day retreat around Money+T, with Kozo (and Jacob!)
Drop us a note about how we can support you
Share your feedback from last night to help us ladder the emergence