NVC, money and Kirsten Kristensen's journey with money (part 2)

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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. Here is part 2 of the interview; for part 1, click here

How does NVC affect how you view, consume, earn and spend money?

I have needs, and everybody has needs. It is okay to have needs and to ask for something to at met. For me, I think this perspective opened up allowing myself to ask for more for myself; this was a struggle for me earlier- I came from a poor background and didn’t think I could.

I find myself examining the price of items, comparing prices and celebrating being able to buy it anyway. It doesn’t make a difference if the price is £100 or £200 as I can afford it. I celebrate that I can afford it and give myself self-empathy in allowing myself to ask for the things that I would like.

I was politically active when young; I already had a strong desire in wanting a world where resources were shared more easily.  But, NVC helped me talk about it in ways that were less judgemental towards other people.

I think NVC helped me learn to stay connected with other’s needs and to have more peace in me about the world is as it is. And yet, while being peaceful, knowing too that I want much change.  Me with the world so that I’m not fighting with the world.

So my understanding is that NVC helped you to separate fairness from money, to learn to ask for your beautiful needs to be met and to consider your needs as important too, as much as those of others. Earlier, it was a focus on giving rather than also receiving. Also, you had some values before discovering NVC that already affected how you spent, earned and consumed but with NVC you relate better to people because you are mindful, connected to what is important to you and not using alienating language. You also include other's needs when you discuss what you want.

Yes, you make it sound very beautiful.

Thank you! You said you went on a long journey from scarcity to abundance; I am curious about that.  What were the forms of your scarcity and abundance thinking and did you start shifting it?

You may have seen the videos from Bristol where I talk about it.  I give this example of coming into the here and now. This question of do I have enough right now, not for the next second or the past second but this second. The more I practice being able to enter the here, and now, the more I realise that all my needs are met in the moment - almost all of them. I think this is mostly thanks to NVC and the spiritual practice that I have.

It seems to be a common pattern to feel some discomfort in asking for money. Did you notice any shame in asking for money too?

I think I still have shame in asking for money in some areas and when it comes to workshops and the work I do. I mainly had this limited belief that I needed to produce something special so I started very slow and quiet.  My first workshops were offered at a very low price, and I was very conscious whenever I wanted to raise the price for my workshops or my individual sessions then if I asked for more say $125 instead of $100, I felt stressed. I had to be good for $125 as I know how to deliver value for $100.  I was giving myself the space to stay with the low price until I felt comfortable.  Not trying to stress myself, to believe that I was worth $200, or put too much pressure on myself.

Sometimes, when working on a piece of training for a company, for example, I tried to get to the price that I knew was the market price which was uncomfortable.  I felt so bad, so much stress and insecurity- thoughts like ‘how will I make this customer satisfied enough for this price?, etc’  Tying up the money flow very closely to what I was doing was very limiting; it was more the stress of linking money to what I was offering, this sense of fairness with money ( that I worked on), that created the shame.

I actually think the shame is serving me, the shame is calling my attention to self-reflection and humility.  If we look at shame as a servant then it’s a different thing to feel shame. I still come into situations where I feel totally feel ashamed of something.  It’s not over but my relationship with shame is changing to be easier

Shame is so handicapping; however well my workshop runs or not it’s also a place for humility.  I’m not God and I am not the only factor that decides whether the workshop runs well or not.  I can bring my piece of the puzzle and the participant brings their piece of the puzzle and we don’t know what the picture of the puzzle would be.  To think that I can be so good to make any workshop run well is kind of leaving the human sphere.  I think that shame is calling me to understand my humanness.

Complete the sentence:  Money is….

Money is energy. It’s energy that is easy to exchange for all kinds of things. It’s an energy currency that works throughout the world. You can buy electricity, car, therapy sessions, most things with it.

Could you say more about your own inner journey towards an abundant mindset?

You can call that a gratitude practice which is probably the most important practice if I want to change anything in my life.  Help myself be happier with what I have.

Gratitude practice that Marshall has described for us is the most powerful practice to transform feelings of scarcity. What I do is sit down every day and take the time to remember something that happened that met my need and allow my feelings from that met need to vibrate in me.

I heard Marshall numerous times in his workshops recommending people to make a gratitude book; I think it took me 6 years to actually start doing that and I found it incredibly helpful. There was also a lot of mourning to do, things I felt sad about and had to process. I also made space for this but gradually, I had more entries in my gratitude journal than my mourning journal.

Notes:

  1. "Mourning in NVC is the process of fully connecting with unmet needs and feelings which are generated when we have been less than perfect. It is an experience of regret, but regret that helps us learn from what we have done without blaming or hating ourselves." - Nonviolent Communication - A Language of Life, 2nd ed., p 133, Marshall B. Rosenberg

Other resources: 

  1. Kirsten's video on Youtube: NVC and Abundance

  2. Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach