The Soul of – Personal Financial Sustainability

Reading The Soul of Money is the best way to reprogram your neurons to create truly sustainable personal finances. The subtitle of the hardcover edition of the book, Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life, perfectly summarizes its impact. I’ve had the good fortune to see Lynne Twist speak on multiple occasions (and to share the stage with her at a fundraiser for an amazing organization, Bioneers). Her speaking and writing both reflect this principle.

In many places Lynn’s genuine heartness shines brightly through the page, and I was moved to tears again and again. This is particularly true with the stories she shares, which are exceptionally powerful. Furthermore, immersion into her worldview is transformative via osmosis.

Not Just a Necessary Evil Anymore

Just as valuable as blasting one’s heart open (in relation to money no less), her practical wisdom invites readers to experience a 180-degree shift in the way we think of “the necessary evil.” This shift impacts one’s personal life in profound and unexpected ways.

When we take a stand to make a difference with our money, it has an organizing effect on every other part of our life. (p. 185)

Lynne deals lucidly with money as water, metaphorically speaking. As such it can be endowed with qualities that are then carried forward into the world, and circle back again, impacting our lives; money as a carrier of our intentions, whether we consciously acknowledge this and direct it accordingly, or not! Further, while we tend to think of those people who have the most money as having the most impact, again and again she brings us back to the reality of the responsibility that we all share, no matter how much money we have:

People and families of very few financial resources, and those of enormous wealth, have turned their financial flow toward causes and commitments that make their hearts sing, and their money carries the same joyful, life-affirming energy into the world to make a difference. (p. 107)

Devastatingly Candid, and Uplifting

This book, however, is by no means airy-fairy. Lynne shares disturbing truths about our world with readers, and thus invites us to share in the courageous act of looking poverty–poverty of the soul, or financially speaking–directly in the face. Personally, I believe that it is only when we are willing to look directly into the dark that we can bring light in. Lynne demonstrates this principle over and over.

The Hidden Mainstream

While The Soul of Money is largely focused on her experiences as a fundraiser for humanitarian initiatives (and is perhaps the most valuable book fundraisers and development directors could ever read), it is I believe meant for a more general audience. As Lynne points out, “money is never really absent” (p. 255) from our lives.

To make the world a better place, we need to deconstruct some core beliefs we have about money. I’ll let you read about her top three, but she also addresses the delusion that “so-and-so is better with money than I am,” and “has it more together,” in addition to the misconception that “people are just greedy” and that is why the world is going to hell in a hand-basket. She speaks of the “hidden mainstream”:

They want to see their tax dollars, expenditures, and humanitarian-aid dollars invested in ways that promote sustainable living, global peace, and equity, and not in depletion, revenge, and military buildups. (p. 215)

This is very important! Lynn is pointing out that what she calls “the hidden mainstream” is a significant majority of people who have life affirming values, but these are overborne by what we have come to think of as business as usual. (There is a lot more to say about this mismatch between our values and our behavior, but I’ll leave it there for now!) We toss around this word “they” in pretty much every political discussion.  I think with Lynne’s book in hand we can begin to sense an alternative to rapid and unforgiving thoughtlessness when we blithely talk about “them.”

Get the book on Better World Books, and check out this in-depth presentation by the author (below).

Lynne Twist from Lenz Foundation on Vimeo.

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