In this interview, you’ll find out how Kirsten overcame some old conditioning around money, letting go of old beliefs that were no longer serving her and embracing an abundant, needs-based relationship with money.
Kirsten is based in Denmark and also travels a lot; we had a long conversation about NVC, money and her relationship with money via Zoom; I have published her interview in two instalments, editing only for brevity.
Kirsten Kristensen is a CNVC certified trainer. In 1998 she met Marshall and discovered Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and found that NVC added a very profound and life-changing dimension to her work as a therapist. She leads NVC training in three countries as well as serves as a consultant and supervisor for institutions and organisations.
What were some of your old money ‘stories'?
It is an ongoing process. I think of money as an energy that helps us exchange things with each other. I grew up with the understanding that if you are rich, you got your money in some bad way or through the exploitation of others.
Now I know that money is innocent, it’s how we use it that can make it less so. Money itself hasn’t done anything wrong.
Could you give me an example of one of your patterns of thinking where you have gone deeper and without being too personal something you could share?
I have taken some steps myself coming from not having enough money to do the things I want to do. At some point, I realised that I could open myself to let money flow to me and enjoy the receiving. Earlier, I always thought that money comes to me, and I pass it on. However, this was scarcity driven for if I must pass it onto someone else as soon as I get it, it’s not flowing to me. I realise now that money is helping me to meet my needs and I include my needs when I think of it flowing – both others and myself.
Shams-i-Tabrīzī, a Sufi mystic said, “What I want also wants me, is looking for me and attracting me”. I now see money as an energy that is matching me, and I am looking for that energy to help me make my life happy. We are ready; we need to find each other in this life.
When I sit down, I try to attract the things I want in my life; I also want to remember the beautiful prayer, from my nonviolent communication practice, which is “please give it to me only if it is serving the life I’m here to live”.
I come across some people who apply the law of attraction in the demand energy, a pulling energy. I prefer to stay open, with a ‘request’ energy, with less attachment to a specific strategy, and see what form it takes. I have my longing but it’s not for me to say the form.
So by a request, I see it as me throwing out different ideas and then don’t I get upset when I hear a no.
Yes, that’s so important or if I do, I give myself self- empathy and remind myself that it’s okay for the other person to say no and that no is the beginning of a conversation for the other person and it’s up to us to find a mutual yes.
What was your relationship with money before you practised NVC and how has it shifted now after having practised NVC for a few years?
I think I grew up with the understanding of there being an exchange that has to be fair. It follows then that if you gave me money, then I need to give you value for your money. I have worked to separate fairness from money.
Marshall Rosenberg, the creator of NVC, said something like, 'never work for money, give your work as a gift and you give me a gift so that I can continue to do this kind of work.'
My idea is to not let money decide what I have to do, like if I have this person to join my workshop then money is not the deciding factor if this happens or not. Taking back the power and not leaving it in money. How can you put power in money? It is the most unhelpful place to put the power.
Can you say more about using money as a request?
I think everything we do could be governed by the gift idea that we give what we can and receive what we need and if we all do that there would be enough for everyone. It doesn’t work in the system we have set up today with much power given to the banks. I don’t think that we can easily shift to a gift economy but I think it’s very much worth studying how we can get closer to that.
Here is Part 2 of the interview.