Overall, I can say that the answer to the question “Am I real if I am not making money?” is YES.
But, about 2 years ago I decided to peel away the layers of myself. Shortly after I got married, I decided to deeply look at what I wanted to be doing with my work life. My husband inspired me greatly as he went for his musician + educator business full time.
Plus, I had a few subtle things going on inside of me–for one I held a migraine that lasted for about 6 weeks. Seriously, I was in bad shape.
Also, my brother and sister-in-law had become parents, and I kept thinking of how I want the next generation of my family to experience life by my example.
So, I decided to leave a work situation that was thrilling in so many ways, but really wasn’t going anywhere for my soul and spirit.
Needless to say, there have been highs of freedom feelings from starting something new, as well as lows of not really knowing my purpose or value outside of a paycheck.
I had no real idea that my equation of value and paycheck were so interwoven until I experienced the absence of that steady paycheck.
Who gets to decide your value, anyway?
Money is a form of exchange in our life for what we value. And in a big way, money has become the MOST IMPORTANT way to establish value in our American culture. Owning stuff, land, homes, cars, cool gadgets, etc. means that we are adult and have our mess together. Or at least, that’s what we all seem to continue to agree together.
I get paid when I have private clients in my mentorship programs. I get paid when someone buys a sweet art piece from me. I get paid when I teach workshops or classes out in the public. It pretty much always feels like a magical situation when I get paid because the money comes from doing what I love with my whole being.
Things I don’t get paid for that are my work but I am valued for:
I help my husband run his thriving business as a musician, educator, and yoga instructor.
I show up for my friends when they need me to help them with a task or with their life.
I take time to visit my family and cherish them with all my energy while I am away.
I cook myself and my husband healthy vegetarian meals 2-3 times a day.
Once a week or more I share my art and thoughts on this blog to help you find your creative power, and once a month I send out a creativity information packed newsletter.
I lay in bed with my new mama friend and listen to her birth story.
I keep my home + business spotless because every day it serves as a front for music lessons, and every night it serves as our private home.
I know deep down inside that I am valuable, but how do I truly find myself in the sea of inner un-raveling my old patterns of finding worth?
Here is how I practice remembering:
Gratitude practice + value practice:
Adapted from Kate Northrup’s book Money a Love Story, plus a twist from me:
Write down what you do that brings value into your life and into others lives. Assign that a monetary amount, and write yourself a fake check for that amount.
Why is this activity important? Because this act of finding your value helps you to notice and FEEL that your worth is assigned, ultimately, by you. Money has a soul, and why not make that soul filled in a love relationship centered around your most valued moments of being on this great green earth?
So, back to my question, am I real if I am not making money?
Who gets to decide if something real and true? (hint: you)
According to meditation teacher and writer Tara Brach: YES, an emotion can be real. When the emotion really happening, it’s in you and going through you. But is it true? Is the emotion really you? Answer: no.
The true essence of what we are, and what we feel is that we are worthy, free, and capable.
Does my question of am I real if I don’t make money reflect my truth?
Absolutely not, my truth is solid and unwavering.
Is the emotion real? Well yes. It’s real because I’m making it real.
Am I real if I am not making money only serves to inform me of what *does* make me real.
What makes me real:
waking every day and being able to breath, I can leave the list right there, but here are other aspects of my real:
feeling the feelings of my spirit
finding God everywhere
embracing my senses
being able to move and exist in this gracious world
sharing what I have to teach with others
This question, am I real, though it seems dramatic, has helped me to CREATE a meaningful life, no matter what happens out there or how I measure up next to someone else.
I have cracked the code and watched myself transform, bit by bit, tear by tear, and become aware that I am here, and because I am here I am worthy.
3 practices to guide you into a place of knowing that you are real:
1. Practice self-care: No matter what happens in your day, either positive or negative, if you can come home to your spirit and body and take care of yourself you will be able to manage your emotions and your frame of mind. Be an active participant in your wellness: take walks, nourish yourself with good food, give yourself time to enjoy creative expression such as reading, moving, writing.
2. Believe that you belong: Resolve yourself to the belief that you are here for a reason. You were born to be here, to serve, to impact others lives by following your true purpose–whatever it may be. You belong here.
3. Imagine your life as you want it: Creative imagination is a great tool to free you from feeling stuck in a pattern of thought that no longer helps you. Close your eyes and imagine the details of the scenario you want to be real. Do this strengthen your mind’s ability to visualize and see how you want your life to be, and watch your sense of meaning and purpose become clearer.
There you have it, dear reader. I hope this guides you to a courageous understanding that you are real, worthy, and here to shine.