On Saturday February7, 2015 I attended a Symposium entitled Women, Money, & Spirit– A One Day Symposium Reflecting On the Meaning of Money in Women’s Lives at Dominican University in San Rafael, CA. It was a joint organization between Kate Levinson, author of Emotional Currency and Mairi Pileggi, a Dean and the Director of Gender Studies in Dominican University of California. There were two plenary sessions of all 200 participants, as well as breakout sessions in which I was honored to be invited to participate.
I thought I would share some of the points that were made during the plenary sessions that I believe speak to all of us.
Kate Levinson kicked off the event by talking about a crow that kept cawing at her, and how she suddenly felt that the crow was telling to her “Speak Up”. She did a pretty credible caw imitation! As women we have a lot of values to bring to the transformation of the money system so that money can change including relatedness, reciprocity, feeling, nurturance, heart, sufficiency, compassion, caring, and connection instead of the greed and disrespect that have predominated in the masculine-based money system of the last millenniums. She proposed the money system could become more personal, connected and meaningful. But in order for this to happen, women need to speak up and break the taboo.
Georgette Wong is the CEO of Correlation, an innovative consulting firm dedicated to impact for world-class investors and the curator of the Take Action! Impact Investing Conference Series. She is in the field of this practicing Make Money, and Do Good. She explained that what she means by impact investing is using money to channel into the heart. That we need to use our money to support our life purpose and our vision. She asked the provoking question” will you invite your money to join you on your life journey?” She also asked us, “what are you willing to ask for, to command”.
Barbara Sargent is the founder of Kalliopaia Foundation, whose mission is to contribute to the evolution of communities and cultures that honor the unity at the heart of life’s astonishing diversity. She gives grants to smallholder projects for women, grants that align with each other and the earth and consciousness. Her wish is to bridge the “other”- the rich and those without and start the flow of money from those that have it. Like me, she sees that money to flow to keep the whole cultural system healthy. The way I have spoken of this in my book is that money is like blood- if it doesn’t flow it stagnates and stagnant blood can mean at least the loss of health, but also possibly death.
Kim Klein is an internationally known trainer, speaker, and author well known for her ability to deliver information in a down-to-earth and humorous way. And she definitely had us in stitches! Kim talked about the issue of asking- the willingness to ask “will you help me?” and how women have been conditioned that they are not supposed to ask for things. She said 70% more people give money away than volunteer- and where that money goes is to those who ask! She suggests we need to reclaim our asking as women- a powerful imitation and part of the practice of generosity. She encourages us not be afraid to ask, but rather recognize that our part of generosity is to ask. Then you could experience joy of asking and of helping each other. She closed with “Do what brings you joy!”
Sister Carla Kovak is a member of the leadership team of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael. As a Dominican Sister, she has practiced living the vow of poverty for 50 years, and lived communally with no personal money and yet the experience of sufficiency for a part of this time. She sees the real poverty is in the status of women in the world, in education, networks, community and how we have all been contributed to this. She envisions a solidarity with all beings, and the joy and abundance that comes when we are happy with enough!
She recognizes that everybody has needs, even this with a lot of money, and that there really isn’t a hierarchy of needs- money doesn’t shield you from life. When we realize there is no asymmetry when it comes to needs and have a compassionate view we can start the bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots. That would mean each of us owning our humanity and entering into the dance of giving and receiving.
Chris Fortin, a Soto Zen Priest, led the closing ceremony. She left us with two impactful statements from the spiritual point of view that provoke food for thought:
No giver, no receiver, no gift
We think we are doing things for ourselves, but we are doing it for the world
As I was leaving, I ran into one of the three men who were brave enough to be with 200 women for the day. When I asked him how he had been impacted, he said “I learned more today that I learned in 30 years of being in business”!
Perhaps you will attend Women, Money & Spirit Next Year!