© 2013 jen

A Life Changing Experience & Wild Money

Above Image: © 2013 Rebecca Owens

A few years ago I was helping out with this new event called WDS. It was the first year of this event and my friend, Jolie Guillebeau asked me if I would help out with the after hours Craft Tour. I said yes I’d help out and organized a craft tour of the Alberta neighborhood.

On this tour I met a number of people, but the person who stood out the most to me was Luna Jaffe. She was (and still is) a certified financial planner, a former psychotherapist and prior to that an artist. The thing that stood out to me about her was just how well rounded she was. She really understood the perspective of creative, artist types and she also understood money and business too.

I remember taking her card and thinking, I’ll be following up with her as soon as I can. A few months later I was helping out with planning an event called Hello Etsy PDX and we needed speakers to talk to creatives about business. I knew just who to call. Luna Jaffe.

I remember that there were a few awesome workshops going on during Luna’s presentation at Hello Etsy, but I knew I had to see hers. I sat in her workshop doing the exercise at hand, which was to draw your relationship with money and I could feel tears welling up in my eyes, but I didn’t know why.

When I looked at my paper, through my tears this is what I saw:

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 Here I was, an adult, a professional, helping host and event and crying about a stick figure drawing about money. I was like, “Woah Nelly, bring it down a notch.” I ran to the bathroom and got ahold of myself.

Later, a few weeks after the event, Luna contacted me and told me she wanted to give me a space in her Wild Money Class.

I showed up for the first class. There were about 8 people in the class, mostly women, but there was a guy in the class too. Each week Luna would give us chapters to read (chapters that would later become her book Wild Money) and then we would get together and discuss what we learned about the chapter or about ourselves with regard to the chapter.

One week when I prepared to go to class I had a really profound experience with one of the exercises. In this exercise we were supposed to visualize that we each had our own money basket. It was the thing that you could catch, collect and save money in. We were supposed to draw what our money baskets looked like. Here’s my basket at the top of the page:

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 This is what that hard to read section says: “I have no basket. I never knew I was supposed to have one. I’ve had my hands over my head my whole life trying to catch money, but can’t catch enough with my hands.”

Down the side of my stick body it says, “deprivation.”

This was my past with money. I grew up with a level of poverty that I’ve yet to meet anyone in the U.S. that grew up as poor as me. I didn’t get new clothes, so I learned to sew. We didn’t own a car, but I was a great roller skater. We rarely went on vacations, but my imagination was big and wide and in technicolor for any type of adventure I might want to take. The three of us: my mom, my sister and myself lived in a one bedroom apartment for part of my life, with a bed in the living room. My bed, actually, was in the living room and there was no getting around how much this sucked.

It was in this class, with Luna that I realized that my old memories and thoughts about money, or the lack of it, were affecting me today.

I remember drawing and writing the last part of this image, of my new basket (which represented my new relationship with money) and tears flowing freely. When I finished this exercise and told myself that I would make myself a proverbial money basket, big and wide. That it wouldn’t be a flashy basket. It would be a sturdy, useful, utilitarian basket, but what I’d do with the money would be flashy and colorful. I remember thinking, but this basket will be so big and full of money that I won’t be able to hold it over my head for the rest of my life, so I think I’ll install a hook to hold the basket up for me, so my arms can finally rest. Imagining putting a stupid hook up to hold my pretend money basket= crazy healing. I’m not kidding.

The exercise reminded me that I was an adult now, that I could use my common sense and skills to fix what was broken with my relationship with money.

I was reminded from this exercise that I’ve always seen myself as Mowgly from The Jungle Book. A feral child raised in the jungle by wild animals, which could be scary to some small humans, but not to Mowgly, who sings and dances and makes friends on his way through crazy, dangerous adventures.

I was reminded that because I hadn’t really had much parenting I had no idea what money was really about, how to save it, how to spend it wisely, or really knowing much about money period.

I was reminded that although I was a fully grown adult, I was still regarding money in that uneducated, childlike approach.

Boom.

I realized that my attitude was that anything I received was good enough and that this thinking was interfering with the me I wanted to be.

I realized that whatever I received wasn’t good enough and that I wanted more.

I wanted abundance.

I wanted wealth. I never even let myself want wealth when I was young because it seems too hard to achieve. A set up for disappointment.

I used to wish for lower middle class. I thought that would be a huge step up for me as a young person.

As I came to these conclusions I realized that my script for money was outdated and I needed to draft a new one.

Jesus, this is sad to even admit that I used to think so little of my financial potential.

Of course I learned many practical tips and tools in this Wild Money class, but it was this one exercise that really blew the lid off of my whole concept about money, because I realized I had a relationship to heal and new skills to grow.

I realized I wanted more.

I realized I was capable of more.

I realized I could have more money than I ever used to believe of myself, because I am educated about money now.

I am capable of spending and saving wisely.

My past does not dictate my future unless I allow it to.

I really couldn’t have stopped the silent war that I was in with money for my whole life – overspending and under earning – without this class and without this exercise.

I’m not saying I have all the answers now, but I do have a lot of insight into myself and my spending habits and I have some new skills to help me along the path now. I really have Luna Jaffe and the Wild Money books and class to thank for it.

But that’s Luna’s mission. She wants all of us creative types to get right with our relationship with money. It’s a money management revolution!

Right now Luna is running a Kickstarter campaign to publish her book and there’s only a week left in the campaign! The project deadline is March 2nd at 10am PST, so if you want to pledge please do so today! For a $50 pledge you can own your own set of the books.

Something really amazing that Luna is doing is if you pledge $1000 she will give 10 Wild Money book sets to the women’s empowerment organization of your choice, in your name. So be sure to pledge today and get the books to up your money mojo or to up the money mojo in someone else’s life.

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