Money and Satisfaction

Yesterday, sitting across a couple who came to me with an issue of unexplained infertility,  I began to see that the issue is just a symptom, and we are in for more deep transformational work. I felt that I deeply care for her and her struggle, and that I know how to influence her so she could have what she wants and felt a feeling of satisfaction.

I suddenly thought that money has never been the reason why I am in the business of transforming people’s lives, and why I do deep awareness work with people who need it and pay me for my time with them. I felt that I deeply care for them in the first place, then I create the mindful space for the magic to happen. And it happens.

I think this is the reason for success in work that I do with my clients. I think this is also a reason for my satisfaction from this work, not the money.

And it never has been.

Life Satisfaction vs. Money

I grew up in a family of architects. My father is a very artistic person. I grew up next to various types of art and his art “bohemian” friends. As a schoolgirl, after dinner, I used to stand next to my father’s desk, silently watching him draw new buildings, their inner world, and the people who would be using them, using paints and colored pencils.  The plain white paper would gradually come alive in front of me with scenery and people walking by, and I could almost hear them talk, sipping their coffee sitting in the winter garden, the light coming from the sunroof, the fountain gurgling and the soft music playing in the background and the see-through elevators silently sliding up and down the illuminated stem.

What I observed was the satisfaction from doing the work.

Although my dad always worked hard, neither of my parents taught me the value of money.

Where does a belief / value system come from?

You see, in Russia, even in the capital of it, in Moscow, where I was born and raised, money was the power behind the scenes. The majority of the population did not have it struggling to scrape for necessities. I was in a minority as my father was well-paid for his creative work, but I never saw the money. Mother paid all the bills and bought all the necessities, including food and dress, and we, the kids, never had to think about it. There was never a talk about money in our house either.

So I grew up not thinking and not knowing anything about how money is made, negotiated and what role it plays in a life of a single woman, when she begins to live on her own.

Having arrived to the US, I still had high standards for personal appearance, fashion, art, as well as high hopes for relationships, home decoration, travel, and all the lifestyle that requires spending money.  Having no value of money in my belief system did not help. As I struggled to understand how it all works, I was told that getting a job would help…

My first job was in an art gallery. Two months into my living in the US, with a PhD in modern art of architecture, I began to change my views on money. I was paid an extraordinary amount (I thought) of $25K per year, most of which I saved. People walking into the gallery asked me the price of a particular painting and I was supposed to answer: “$230 thousand”.

How could a painting cost anything?

Now lat me backtrack here. Well, growing up in the “old country”, behind the Iron Curtain, I only saw art in museums and at home.  There were no art galleries.

In museums, obviously, art belonged t the state, or an exhibition, and here art was not for sale, so there was not price tag. That was normal for me. As a daughter of artistic parents we frequented museums at least once a month, or more often when a visiting exhibition would arrive from abroad.

At home, my father, mother and I hung our own art on our walls. Sometimes father received art gifts from his fellow artists, or sculptors with whom he worked on a current construction of the next building he was creating. Everywhere in the apartment there were placed little and big vases, vessels, hand-painted wall plates, hand-blown glass sculptures, structures, hangings, and of course, oil, water-color and guache paintings. There was not an empty wall space in our Moscow apartment.

Growing up like this, it was inconceivable to me to have it any other way. Particularly, to hang art that was made by someone else or was bought in a store. Art was only bought and sold to the state, to decorate a public building, that was it.

Then there were craft stores, in which you could find small pieces of hand-made jewelry, pottery and some contemporary silk-screen prints. All other art was too expensive for a person to spring for, so it wasn’t even sold in those stores. And what for? Life was not such to display items of value on hands or neck for another one to envy. As students of architectural school, we often wondered who buys the jewelry and pottery that you can make yourself!

When I moved the US and began my career in banking, money became even more elusive, just a concept behind the trading screens, paperwork, phone calls, and executive travel accommodations. Just a means to a lifestyle, work, and comfort. And satisfaction. Apparently the satisfaction was not present for me in the great money I experienced as a banker and No money could hold me down to the position I did not enjoy.

I know people who think and live in terms of lack of money, not enough, don’t have it. I know people who live and work so they get paid. So they go to work and they learn to like it. For the sake of money. Are you one of them?

Or are you a person who lives a life of streamlining to satisfaction?

As I review my life attitudes, I realize that living for enjoyment and satisfaction is a better choice for me. And I see the money following. Where you create the space for magic, love and satisfaction with your choices, lifestyle and money follows.

So what is your choice?



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