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

NVC, money and Kirsten Kristensen's journey with money

Kirsten.jpg

 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.