I attended a money workshop run by Tim Malnick about a year ago, taking the time to work with my own money projections. It was very powerful work, we were a small, intimate group of 12. There were some tears and hoots of laughter & giggles too among the participants; Tim reassured us that the giggling and tears were quite normal. Some old memories I probably had repressed, kept flooding in. I realised I had a lot of unexpressed grief about the poverty I saw around me, growing up. As a child, I couldn’t make much sense people living in huts, of children with no clothes on with red, malnourished hair or of old people begging.
My longing is for a world where we share our resources freely with each other, so we can provide for everyone's needs. There is enough for each of us, is my firm belief and nature is abundant, in the absence of human destruction. We have enough time, food, energy yet we have no great system for sharing it. Some of us have much more than we need (housing, money, clothes, food) and others it seems have not even enough to feel human.
A memory about some shame around money came up for me. I was around age 9 I think; my class teacher's name was Miss Bobin (pronounced bowbeen). She wore her hair in a sharp bun, wore dresses that went to her knees, had a loud voice and could be quite terrifying when she wanted to. You didn't mess with Miss Bobin. One day, she asked a question of the class - "What do your parents do for a living?."
There were over 50 students in the class; as I stood up to speak at my turn, my friend Vivek piped up, wanting to be funny, and yelled: "her mum sells chorizo" (sausages)...Now, my mum did sell the best Goan pork sausages ever (my opinion) to supplement her meagre teacher's wage. We kids helped her make them. To my dismay, there was a lot of chuckling & laughter at the word chorizo. I felt quite ashamed and frozen; I didn't know what to say or how to recover from my embarrassment. My teacher ordered the class to stop laughing, and said, “Her mother makes an honest living!” Somehow, that calmed me down and made me feel differently about the whole episode. I had never shared this with anyone before until the feeling of shame around money, and then this memory came up strongly in the workshop - it was beautiful to be heard about this and quite empowering. After I had time to reflect and journal, I also noticed the larger theme of shame and guilt around money in my life and how it can still freeze me and affect my choices in the moment.
I recognise now I am so grateful for so much that my mother has done for me. And for people like my teacher who knew how to stand up for me and help make a small child feel safe and okay inside.
Our conditioning around money, shame, guilt and not being able to ask for our needs to be met in the world leads to a lot of pain in the world. It is so transforming to be able to speak about these memories or experiences, in safely facilitated spaces; I enjoy offering these spaces to other people, in the hopes of freeing them to have more choice in the moment, loosening the hold of these old, disempowering stories around money.
I see how some of the hardships I experienced as the daughter of a single mother have enriched me. There is nothing to be ashamed of. She made an honest living and she taught me how to.