From cave walls to Shakespearean plays to Netflix, humans are a story-making species.
Stories create our cultural myths, which have an immensely powerful influence on how we live, who we love, and what we believe.
Think about what Disney Princesses signal to young kids in terms of gender roles, romantic relationships, and definitions of beauty.
Or how our modern culture of stress and ‘busy-ness’ is reinforced by a coffee-chugging, goal-oriented mythos that values productivity over joy.
How you see yourself, others, and the world around you is largely influenced by the myths you were told growing up.
These myths are the key to understanding your conditioning — and the key to de-conditioning yourself.
In this 3-part series, I explore the three biggest issues many of us face: our relationships with money, love, and time.
When you examine the myths you’ve been ingrained to believe and how they’ve undermined your choices throughout your life, the results may astound you — they did for me, at least, when I realized my conditioning and went through Shadow Work, which is a process of de-conditioning and becoming more fully whole.
It might not sound like a walk in the park, but this process delivers a certain kind of liberation.
By tracing the biography of a belief, you can actively choose whether or not it’s helpful for your life…and you just may discover that many of these myths are not only unhelpful, but that they’ve been sabotaging you for a long, long time.
Question the myths and regain your power.
Figure out the plot and rewrite your story.
First up! Let’s talk about money.
If you’re in the wellness world or if you’re a creative entrepreneur like I am, there’s a giant taboo wrapped around money.
We’re not supposed to talk about money.
We’re not supposed to desire money.
We’re not supposed to worry about money.
That’s why even this first step of discussing money is so profound. When we talk and share and reconsider our relationship to our resources, our financial health, and the subject of money itself, we begin to unwrap the shameful sheath around it.
Brene Brown’s groundbreaking research, of course, has revealed that shame keeps us quiet. If a subject is painful or uncomfortable or difficult, we usually default to other numbing or avoiding behaviors, which ultimately keep us stuck in the same pattern. And these cognitive and behavioral patterns shape our lives.
I grew up hearing “You’ve got to work hard to earn a living” ALL THE TIME. Here are some other variations of this same idea that yo
u may have heard as a kid:
“Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
“Time is money.” (This one will rear it’s head again in Part 3 when we talk about — you guessed it — time!)
It’s pretty clear that these examples all have in common something deeply disturbing (& deeply powerful for the human subconscious):
They all support a scarcity mindset.
They all imply that lack is the natural order of things.
They teach that money is difficult, elusive, and a force out of your control.
These metaphors point to a very sinister set of logical conclusions:
Money = Hard Work
Money = Time
Money = Difficulty, Struggle
Speaking of metaphors, the brain is often compared to a computer. As the brilliant mental health counselor and community activist Ashley Sweet, who also is my co-teacher for our upcoming Shadow + Light Online Journey, says these unconscious beliefs get installed in our brains like software. Soon, they run in the background and we don’t even notice they exist.
Oh, and we haven’t even considered this hot mess of a cliche yet:
“Money is the root of all evil.”
Yikes. That one may be having a direct effect on your bank account as we speak. It did for me, for many years.
That’s because I internalized the idea that money is evil so utterly, so viscerally, that I came to an unconscious conclusion: Rich people are assholes. Rich people are shallow. Rich people are materialistic.
If money is evil, then people with a lot of money are also evil.
“Not I!” I thought in my self-righteous zeal. "I aspire to be a creative soul! A spiritual seeker! A yoga teacher! A poet! I reject materialism and shallowness and asshole-ness as general qualities!"
Therefore, I was also conditioning myself to be broke all the time, without even realizing it.
By judging money, I was preventing myself from opportunities to receive.
I de-valued my worth, especially when it came to my creative work.
How many artists out there give your stuff away for free all the time?
I felt guilt and weirdness about making money through yoga, reiki, and meditation.
How many yoga teachers have felt the same?
I struggled with sharing my services and offerings online, in deep fear that I might look shallow or egoistic or like a ‘sell out’. What other soulful entrepreneurs have been there?
The Good News: by identifying the cliches and narratives lodged in your psyche, you create a healthy dose of awareness.
Awareness provides space.
It’s in that open space that you can begin the powerful work of untangling your beliefs and behaviors from the sabotaging language in our thought patterns. IE, Shadow Work.
Shadow Work is a systematic process of tools and techniques to help you fully embrace where you've come from with your relationship to money -- that includes your mistakes, the shameful memories you'd rather ignore, as well as the energy of receiving, wealth, abundance, and your generous spirit. When you find peace with these aspects of yourself and your life, you dissolve the guilt and shame -- as well as their attendant negative thought patterns and behaviors. Your life begins to change, because you are changing from the inside out.
So tell me, what would it actually feel like to know -- deep in your bones -- that you are worthy? That you are deserving? That you are not made by your past?