If I Were A Rich Man … ‘Twas the Night Before Tax Day!

‘Twas the night before Tax Day
and all through the house
not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse
who could nibble at a dollar bill
and carry it to build his nest
or back to his nest already-built.  

‘Twas the night before Tax Day
and all through the house
all the creatures were dreaming
of what they would do with nests full of money.
Many dreaming, like Tevye,*
that they wouldn’t have to work hard,
would have big houses right in the middle of town,
and would be thought to be wise and powerful
just because they’re rich.
Many asking, like Tevye,
“Would it spoil some vast eternal plan.
If I were a wealthy man?”**

Any day of the year is a good day to learn about money …
To learn different things about money than they teach you at home, in school, at the bank, on the job, in an accountant’s office, and certainly in the media. To learn deeper truths about money than you learn anywhere else.

Tax day is a particularly good day.

With all the issues we have related to money in our individual lives, in our national economies, and our world economy …
And of course, in our politics …
The Fiddler on the Roof song and fantasy can help us dissolve the illusions we have about money …
And learn the deepest truth about what drives us in our relationships with money.

For example …
Just because a person is rich, doesn’t mean s/he has a healthy relationship with money.
Just because a person is rich, doesn’t mean his/her relationship with money is about the here and now, and not some other time long ago.
Just because a person is rich, doesn’t mean his/her relationship with money is that of an adult.
Just because a person is rich, doesn’t mean his/her relationship with money is really about money.

*****

As a depth psychotherapist and a financial therapist, I have worked with many people over the years to help them discover the roots of their relationship with money. Despite my numerous articles, the most thorough of which is my home study course, A Recession Regression – Finding the Root of Our Relationships with Money, people often, if not usually, have the misconception that if you’re rich, you have a healthy relationship with money. Not necessarily so.

Many people I’ve worked with who were not rich, knew their relationship with money was not good for them. Many even knew it was not good for their family or our world. But until they did the depth work, they often imagined being rich would fix their relationship with money.

Many of the wealthy people I’ve worked with knew something was distorted about their relationship with money and came to me for the help to discover what. Many didn’t know, and were very surprised and thankful to find out.

People willing to go to the depths of themselves consistently discover in our work together that it is the little child they once were – still alive within them – who is truly driving their relationship with money. Sometimes experiences with money as a child do form a layer of that child’s experience driving their financial life today. But almost always there is another layer of early experience that isn’t about money at all. It’s about something going on in that child’s life, in that child’s relationships, in that child’s pains or even trauma, that ends up being transferred unconsciously onto money.

Here’s a profound example that could apply to a child who grew up to be poor or a child who grew up to be rich. Sal grew up, the oldest child in a large family: mother, father, aged maternal grandmother and grandfather, and 8 siblings.  His father worked in a factory long, long hours. His mother took in sewing so she could also be home to take care of her parents and children during the day. They were far from rich financially, and he felt it. But the greatest deprivation Sal suffered was from not having enough of his mother. She felt she had too much else to take care of, and his being the oldest, she enlisted his help taking care of the other children.

Sal decided very early in his life … before he even had words to express his decision: I’ll never have enough. It was a decision that lived in his little heart, his little body, his little mind. Later he might have had, thought, and even said the words. Or perhaps not. If he did, it is unlikely he could have realized how powerfully that early decision would affect his life, even drive his life, from his unconscious self. One thing’s for sure: it definitely would drive his life in very profound ways from the underground labyrinths of his psyche.

For instance, with an early decision of I’ll never have enough, he might struggle and struggle and work so very hard trying to make a good living, and find that no matter how hard he works, he does, in fact, end up never having enough money. He fulfills the early decision by its coming true actually in his finances, followed by his feelings.

He might also find a way to earn a really good living, bring in lots of money, and still feel he doesn’t have enough. He might change jobs, start his own business, hit a jackpot investment, and still feel he doesn’t have enough, even though he has in the current day more than enough many times over. He fulfills the early decision by its coming true in his perception and most of all in his feelings.

In both versions of Sal’s here-and-now experience, he is always experiencing and afraid of not having enough. In both versions, he is blocked by a decision he made long ago in his childhood – the decision “I’ll never have enough.” He is blocked by that decision. He is blocked by his being unaware of it. He is blocked by his transferring an experience he had with his mother onto money. And he is blocked by his own not working with this issue in his life and not healing and resolving it to its root.

Furthermore, he is not the only one impacted by his early decision and his reactions to it – his internal reactions, his relational reactions, his financial reactions. This is one of those places where it is becoming more and more obvious that we’re all connected.

Babies are not born greedy. Babies are born innocent, vulnerable, needing. It is the experiences our babies have and the unconscious early decisions they make from within those experiences that end up driving them to become greedy – greedy for money, greedy for power, greedy for attention, greedy for love … or hopeless in relation to the same things.

When you come right down to it, most of the profoundly intense feelings we feel in today’s world have their roots in the experiences of the child still alive within us from his/her world long, long ago.

If only we would do our inner work to discover the roots and to heal all the way to the roots … our world today could be a very different world.

This is not work for just one of us or just a few of us.
Every one of us who does this work helps him/herself and contributes to the communal healing.
But this is work every one of us needs to find a way to do.
For our own sakes, for our children’s sake, and for the sake of our world.

© Judith Barr 2016

*Tevye is the main character in the popular Broadway musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”

**From “If I Were A Rich Man,” song from “Fiddler on the Roof.” © 1964 Music by Jerry Bock, Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP KEEP OUR WORLD SAFE FROM THE INSIDE OUT

As you begin to “wind down” from Tax Day – whether you’re rich, poor, or in-between … whether you get a refund or have to make a payment – take this wonderful opportunity to explore your true relationship with money.

Explore how you felt doing your taxes, or having them done for you. Were you tense or relaxed? Were you angry? Sad? Elated? Scared? And take some time to explore as well how you feel in the wake of this Tax Day. How do you really feel towards money? If you could speak with money, what would you say?

We all sometimes need the help of a skilled, caring professional in the things we do … and the labor of love that is exploring your relationship with money is no different. When you’re ready to go deeper into yourself, and truly heal your relationship with money, seek out a caring, integritous therapist to help you find and heal your early decisions about, and wounding to your relationship with, money.

Imagine if we all, rich and poor, did the crucial inner work to heal our relationships with money! Imagine how different our economy – and our world – would be!

Why Did We Let S&P Scare Us?

Some may be done with the S&P downgrade of the United States’ credit rating.

But I’m not.

Although it was awhile ago linearly, it’s not over in its impact . . . and it’s still having an impact on me! Enough to write about. And I hope it’s still having an impact on you! Enough to read, think, feel, and talk about. So here goes . . .

Why did we let the downgrade of our country’s credit rating by S&P scare us so much? So much that our market dropped over 500 points the next day? And a couple days later? And a couple days after that? Why did we pay attention to this rating agency? Couldn’t we see they have no credibility?

Strike #1 against their credibility: S&P (along with other credit rating agencies) gave AAA ratings to subprime-backed securities . . . the ones that caused Ugly Monday, September 15, 2008.

Strike #2 against their credibility: S&P (and other credit rating agencies) gave Lehman Brothers a risk rating of ‘satisfactory’ a mere quarter before it collapsed.

Strike #3 against their credibility: S&P got their math wrong in their justification of their US downgrade . . . overstating the debt by approximately $2 trillion.

Three strikes, S&P, and you’re out!

Even the head of S&P, Deven Sharma, has stepped down as a result of too many strikes.

With three very obvious strikes, and likely many that aren’t so obvious, why would we be okay with their staying in the game for strike 4 . . . and beyond?

Why would we give the power to affect our investments, markets, country, lives, responses . . . to a group of people who’ve made repeated mistakes that caused such harm to our citizens, our country, and even our world already? Why would we allow such misuse, if not abuse, of power to continue?

This is a huge, crucial question for us, especially now. For us as individuals, as a nation . . . and as a world.

The question again: Why would we be okay with allowing a person or group to have a destructive impact on us? Especially when they’ve done the same thing a number of times before that we know about? And who knows how many times that we don’t know about?

Put another way: Why would we allow a person or a group to abuse their power with us? To abuse us? This is a question explored regularly with many people who come to work with me. It’s also a question we need to ask ourselves not only in our individual lives, but also in our communal lives – in our families, communities, houses of worship, schools, in our states, countries, and world. Our lives and our sanity may depend on our asking and answering this question.

Let’s begin to answer this question . . .

We could follow a round-about path, or we could go straight to the core. In this time when our deeply exploring and finding the truth about power is so crucial . . . are you open to going straight to the core with me?

Our relationship with power – its misuse and abuse and its magnificent use for true good – begins at conception and forms itself unconsciously within us from that moment through our childhoods. . . and into our adult lives.

Let’s take two imaginary people, a man and a woman, Janet and Nathan, and ask questions that could apply to both of them. How were they conceived? Consciously or unconsciously? In real love? In the mask of love? With clear intention or ulterior motive? In a situation where one person took advantage of the other? In a cycle of abuse – did the act of conception come during the abuse phase of the cycle or the remorse phase of the cycle?

However they were conceived, that was Janet’s and Nathan’s first experience of power. And that will drive them, perhaps haunt them, likely without their even being aware of it.

  • So driven, will they respond to themselves, each other, and others consciously? Unconsciously? With real love? With the mask of love? With clear or ulterior intention? With advantage-taking? In the cycle of abuse?
  • Will they treat others and allow others to treat them in these ways in their homes? In their schools? In their houses of worship? In their jobs? In their communities? In their states? In their country? In their world?

Lots of very important questions! We cannot become aware of our relationship with power without these questions. Today, let’s ponder and feel into these questions as a step in exploring this crucial theme. A theme that addresses how we deal with power as individuals and as groups – from our own family to our global community. Exploring this theme not only helps individuals heal by looking in the mirror of the larger more public events and world, but also helps our world heal by encouraging each citizen to explore and heal, one individual at a time. The cumulative effect is more powerful than you can imagine!

© Judith Barr, 2011

****

WHAT YOU CAN DO
TO HELP MAKE YOUR WORLD SAFE . . .
FROM THE INSIDE OUT

As we navigate these often turbulent times in our country and our world – economically, politically, environmentally, physically, mentally, emotionally, and more – we all need to explore the roots of our relationship with power . . . not only in relation to how we use our power through our own actions, but also in relation to ceding our power to those who may not hold our best interests in heart and mind . . . not only in relation to how we respond to being and feelingpowerless, but also in relation to any ways in which we may consciously and unconsciously contribute to our being and feeling powerless.

Every single step each of us can take to explore our relationship with power will help us and those we touch in our daily life as well as those all over our country and our world.

As you can see from this month’s article, this is a very deep journey…You may want to seek the help of a good, integritous therapist to help you navigatethis journey. If you need help to explore the deep roots of your relationship with power, please feel free to contact me.

RESOLVING THE DEBT ISSUES AT THE ROOT!

In our world today, there is a known and much talked about issue of personal financial debt and national financial debt. It is real and it is serious.

But there is another form of personal, national, and even global debt that is just as real and far more serious. It is at least part of the cause of the financial debt, and at the same time, it is also one of the most devastating consequences of the financial debt. This form of debt is numbing . . . emotional numbing.

As babies and little children, when we experience pain and trauma, perhaps one of our only protections is to numb ourselves to the painful experience and the feelings that go with it. But as we grow, what was once a protection against death, either physical or psychological, becomes a defense . . . not only against something in the outer world that will be painful or traumatic, but also – maybe even moreso – against those painful feelings from before being evoked and awakened again. And as we become adolescents and then adults, what was originally a reflexive protection becomes a defense against our own feelings, and then hardens more and more, becomes increasingly more brittle, and breaks off from its original intention, taking on a life of its own. The numbness that was once a young child’s momentary self protection becomes a consistent way of life.

If we numb ourselves to our feelings – in response to pain, trauma, crisis – it makes it impossible for us to consciously, purposefully, safely work with and work through the pain, trauma, crisis . . . to resolution. Instead, our conscious and unconscious energies are dedicated to staying numb, not feeling the pain – not feeling the here-and-now pain and not feeling the buried pain from the past. The consequence of this numbing: it becomes impossible to clearly discern if there is pain, if the pain is here-and-now, if the pain is from long ago still alive within us, or if the pain is a consequence of both. It also becomes impossible to determine if there is a problem in the current day that needs to be resolved, and if so . . . if it is in our inner world, our outer world, or both. And it also becomes extremely improbable that any problem that does, in fact exist, will be resolved with heart. If we are numb, we may feign caring, but where is the real caring? Buried beneath the numbness!

So from this new perspective . . . how did we get to the debt problem in our nation and our world today?

From numbing ourselves to our feelings. Some who experienced pain as children – abuse or huge lacks or excesses – may grow up greedy for money or power. Others who suffered as children, perhaps even from the same things as those who grow up greedy, may grow up resigned and hopeless. Unproductive, unfruitful, even destructive action and inaction will likely result from these places, supporting the numbness that holds at bay the real roots of the pain. Feeding the numbness that deadens us to our own suffering and to the suffering of others. Bolstering our temptation to not contribute our fair share or to turn a blind eye to the needs of others. Reinforcing any difficulty we have asking for help, offering help, and discerning what help will be truly healthy and what help will actually undermine by collusion or enabling, for instance. From our numbed selves, we may relate to resolving the current day problems as well as the childhood, still-alive-within-us inner problems in unfeeling, even heartless ways . . . that continue to cause us and others pain, and that continue to create more numbness.

These examples are just that – examples. And very tender ones, at that. The depth and breadth of the whole reality is much bigger, much deeper, and much more complex. But I invite, even urge you, to take these examples and this essence of the deeper debt problem . . . and to seriously work with this level of debt within yourself. I also invite you to share this with others you know . . . for we deeply, urgently need to resolve the debt issue at this level of our beings individually, nationally, and globally.

©
Judith Barr, 2011

****

WHAT YOU CAN DO
TO HELP MAKE YOUR WORLD SAFE . . . FROM THE INSIDE OUT

As we near the deadline for debt ceiling negotiations in this country – and at any and every time during the year – make time to explore within yourself your own “debt of numbness.”

When and in what areas of your life do you feel numb emotionally?
And how does this emotional numbness affect your life and your interactions in the world?
Can you trace back to much earlier in your life when you began to feel numb? Go as far back as you can trace the numbness . . .

Only by exploring our own emotional numbness can we hope to make meaningful, sustainable change in our inner world and our outer world – in relation to debt, not just in the financial sense, but in any area of our lives and the life of our world. What will you do to help clear the debt of numbness within you?

TO SPEND OR NOT TO SPEND – AND ON WHAT?

Among many things that are in my mind and heart after this past week’s election . . .
I keep coming back to the issue of money.

According to NPR’s Morning Edition, literally billions of dollars were spent on the election nationwide!*
Let’s look at some specifics.
Candidate for California governor, Meg Whitman, spent $71 million dollars of her own money on her campaign.*
Rick Scott, Florida gubernatorial candidate, spent about $73 million of his own money to win.**
Linda McMahon – spent at least 50 million dollars, mostly her own money, on her campaign in Connecticut . . . more than any other Senate candidate this year. **
Candidate for New York governor, Carl Paladino, spent $3 million of his own money in the last week of the election alone.*

Extraordinary amounts of money . . . spent on political contests and governmental seats.

Think of all that money.
With that amount of money . . .
Imagine how many people’s houses could be saved from foreclosure!
Imagine how many people could be helped to move from the streets into safe households.
Imagine how many people could be fed.
Imagine how many people could be given good medical care.
Imagine how many children could receive wonderful educations.
Imagine how many people could participate in psychotherapy to heal the wounds of their childhood to the root … so as not to perpetuate them onto another generation!
And imagine the impact on our country and our world if we all had access to the deep inner healing we all need!
Imagine!

What are we doing?
Where are our values?
How distorted our values have become!
Look at all we spend for things outside us!
What about investing in finding the distortions at the roots of our relationships with money?
What about investing in healing the wounds we live with that would cause us to spend all that money on a government position that lasts for just a few years!

© Judith Barr 2010

* http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20101102/VIEWPOINTS03/11020338/Over-the-Top-Election-Spending

**
http://topnews360.tmcnet.com/topics/associated-press/articles/2010/11/07/114854-wealthy-self-funded-candidates-found-wins-elusive.htm

A Year Ago – Ugly Monday

Today is the one year anniversary of Ugly Monday.
On September 15, 2008, the Dow dropped 500 points,
the economy took a crumbling dive, and took us on a ride that isn’t over yet. . . even though some people believe it is.

One of the not-well-known reasons it isn’t over yet . . .
People have been doing things on the level of outer actions all through the year.
But very few have explored the roots of their thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and relationships with money.  

These unexplored roots actually drive what occurs in our financial lives individually, nationally, and globally.

As I’ve said many times before . . . The anxiety people have in their relationships with money preceded the recession and all the
economic turmoil by a long, long time.  That anxiety will be here after the chaos has been calmed and we are on seemingly solid
ground again, or even actually solid ground.  For many people, that anxiety exists all the time. It’s not going to go away – certainly not
any time soon. Certainly not as a result of things we do on the practical level in the outer world, either – not by selling our assets,
growing our savings, getting another job, cashing in an IRA, buying lottery tickets, or any amount of planning.

The only thing that can help resolve that anxiety is for us to do the work in our inner world – the world of our psyche and soul – to
discover, explore, heal and improve our relationship with money.  In other words, the things we do in the outer world cannot be
sustained without our also doing things in our inner world that bring healing and transformation.

You may have a hard time believing this, but at the root, people’s relationships with money are based on a young child’s thoughts,
feelings, and decisions about money and even more, about the things money symbolizes for them. So when under financial stress,
people regress to a young age . . . even if they’re not aware of it, even if they don’t believe it.   And from this young age, while
believing they are full adults, they make young decisions about things which need an adult to decide them.

So imagine if you, your friends, your parents, your community leaders, your state and federal leaders are all regressed and making
decisions from places within them of which they have no awareness . . . of which we have no awareness.

Sadly, there have been few in the media and financial worlds, and even the therapeutic world, who are talking about this aspect of the solution.
Having this conversation is crucial. Bringing this conversation out into the world for all to hear and take part in is crucial.
Taking action on these understandings is crucial. 

It’s time to become aware. It’s time to heal what interferes with our wisdom and heart.
It’s time.

© 2009, Judith Barr

*I addressed this theme in more detail in my article A Recession Regression. If you would like to receive a free pdf copy of this article, please email me at Info@PowerAbusedPowerHealed.com.