NOTES: Thinking About Freedom and Money

“Without a rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar.” Emerson

“I want to have more money,” a client said to me during his session yesterday, “so I’ll have more freedom to do what I am passionate about; I really need more money.”

There is so much that we have been taught, told, and modeled or drilled into our skulls that in reality the opposite is true.

In my family growing up there was never enough money and it was always an issue, a producer of arguments, stress and strain. My mother and father, having grown up in the Great Depression era, money was at a minimum and therefore became of maximum importance and so much so that my dad did a lot of life not doing what he loved but doing what he had to put “food on the table, a roof over our heads, and clothes on our backs.”

I remember a conversation we had a long time ago when I was an instructor teaching at The University of Alabama. This was long before I knew what a “boundary” was.

“So how much money do you make as a teacher?” he said.

“Not much; about $15,000 a year.”

“Damn, son, if you came to the plant and worked with me you would be making $25,000 and with over time you might even get up to $30,000.”

“Yeah, maybe but I would hate it and I love what I do.”

“Where did you ever get the idea you were supposed to love what you do?”

“From you.”

“You couldn’t have gotten it from me. I hated every day I went to work.”

“Right! That’s what I mean. I saw that.”

I opted a long time ago to put freedom and my passion first and let the money follow and while I have not led a luxurious lifestyle by any means I have been lucky and blessed beyond belief.

It has been my professional and personal experience as a counselor and coach that when freedom is THE priority whatever amount of money or material possessions come seem to be enough even though we might have to adjust the way we live to accommodate.

“…Was he free? Was he happy?

The question is absurd:

Had anything been wrong, we

should certainly have heard.”

The Unknown Citizen by W. H. Auden