Some years back, an old friend convinced me to attend a Financial Policy Council meeting.
He’s a founding board member of the New York City chapter.
My financial policy was boys + boobs + booze = $. The idea of mixing it up with Wall Street hedge fund guys and financiers sounded interesting, but so did my private champagne bathroom in Aspen that held 10 to 12 people comfortably.
As a girl who was married young—just long enough to get pregnant twice—I never completed my last semester of college, was broke, and had sole custody of two children to raise and provide for in every way. My MBA came from what I call the “Swan School of Business,” where you are either one up or one down, going to bed with the devil, pushing the envelope as you direct attorneys, and always delivering what you promise with your word golden.
Like these Wall Street insiders, your attorney is your calling card that announces who you are, the game you play, and your drink of choice.
The attendees were not so different than some of the stranger folks at a nightclub—only these people talked about jetting off to Hong Kong in the morning, mineral deals in South America, telecommunication deals in Africa, infrastructure deals in the Middle East, commodities, metals, crude oil, real estate development, and movies they finance as executive producers. And they wore such outfits as navy blue velvet tuxedos, “Jimmy Buffet” island shirts with Gucci loafers, or custom made suits with young Russian girls on their arms, who looked ready to blow them at any moment.
Surprisingly, many of them were practicing Buddhists or spiritual in some way, and practiced yoga and meditation. Most of them looked like they had little time to waste on knowing about stylish trends or the art of small talk, as they quoted Sun Tzu and Machiavelli and spoke most enthusiastically about money—big money. Millions and hundreds of millions of dollars. Wealth creation.
Fast forward about nine years, and the founder of the Financial Policy Council—who wrote Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics—offered to teach me about wealth creation.
He said I first needed to understand money.
Initially, I rejected his offers, and instead focused on developing my mindful life: teaching yoga, practicing meditation, and running Ayurveda workshops while walking away from business to live a simpler life. I did not want to use my natural ability to develop and manage income-producing businesses.
But then, my relationship with money became convoluted. I repressed my own truth and floundered longer than I care to admit living my version of self-imposed poverty. The bottom line is that I am a businesswoman, and I want to understand money, amass wealth, and help others live their potential as I live mine.
This is how I live in alignment with what I love with honor instead of shame.
While meditating, it came to me that money is masculine. However, Ayurveda indicates that everything has both masculine and feminine qualities. As a businesswoman, deepening my understanding of money required identifying the feminine qualities.
Sipping champagne, I sat on the floor in easy pose to begin my mindful meditation—with cash strewn around me, listening to the Benedictine Monks, and considering how the Vatican understands money.
How does money feel, taste, sound, look, and smell? What sensations do I experience when I have money and don’t have money? What motivates me to want money? What repulses me and scares me about making money in business?
Pushing through my fear, deep down, I am afraid of: emasculating a man, being judged for my drive, commanding high expectations, intuitively knowing what needs to be done, and my ability to see the big picture. And I feel the shame of: not finishing my education and instead getting pregnant, a failed marriage, living with a man without marriage, and my desire to be loved, cherished, treasured, and chosen to be a wife. And for me, this includes a man wanting to provide, protect, pursue, and penetrate all of me, and pushing for more.
I don’t ever want to be rejected and devastated again—whether it’s by a life partner or a business partner. I fear abandonment and my own power, yet my desire to be loved for all of me—despite suppressing most of what I’m about—is keeping me back from the masculine quality of making money.
It hit me that for me to want to create wealth, I need an emotional connection, acceptance of who I am, and forgiveness for the past while I shamelessly pursue my desires.
Money is a measure of success. It brings me pleasure to create and be on top.
I have to want to earn the money (masculine) to care for others (feminine) with respect for the process.
Generating jobs for others to earn money for themselves and their family, caring for employees and clients, connecting with people, using money to create, helping others, organizing, using intuition for guidance, mindfully managing people and situations, nurturing a business to grow, remembering details, implementing emotional intelligence, communicating, holding faith, and receiving ideas, advice, money, influence, power, help, compliments, and prayers—these are all feminine attributes.
Money itself has feminine qualities. It is cool to the touch, then warms in your hand. Cash is soft, while coins are heavy, quiet, passive, and nourishing. The very thought of money creates the desire to pursue it, like the masculine hunting the feminine. Money connotes the feminine qualities of abundance, possibility, opening, yielding, and an urge for more. Money is expansive, like a woman.
Building a business is like giving birth, managing the business is like raising a child, and operations are like taking care a household.
Money provides freedom to bring meaningful care and purposeful help to the world—one in which I thought I had to act like a man to be successful.
Making money is masculine, however, the feminine qualities are leveraged to create a successful balance in business. Being emotionally motivated to care for my business using my feminine nature will create wealth. Patience, faith, intuition, dedication, love, abundance, and a need for beauty, luxury, and to nurture are my timeless feminine secrets.
Six quotes that help us discover the feminine in wealth creation:
1. “Always remember, Janine, iron fist in a velvet glove.” ~ Ziad K. Abdelnour, founder of the Financial Policy Council, founder and CEO of Blackhawk Partners, and author
2. “Work without love is slavery.” ~ Mother Theresa
3. “Life is a game. Play it.” ~ Mother Theresa
4. “If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free. If our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.” ~ Edmund Burke
5. “Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” ~ Ayn Rand
6. “Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, fortune, power, luxury, beauty, fertility, and auspiciousness. She holds the promise of material fulfillment and contentment. She is described as restless, whimsical yet maternal, with her arms raised to bless and to grant. For centuries Hindus have invoked her thus:
Beautiful goddess seated on a chariot; Delighted by songs on lustful elephants; Bedecked with lotuses, pearls and gems; Lustrous as fire, radiant as gold; Resplendent as the sun, calm as the moon; Mistress of cows and horses—Take away poverty and misfortune; Bring joy, riches, harvest and children.
Lakshmi is the divine power that transforms dreams into reality. She is prakriti, the perfect creation: self-sustaining, self-contained nature. She is maya, the delightful delusion, the dream-like expression of divinity that makes life comprehensible, hence worth living. She is shakti, energy, boundless and bountiful.” ~ Devdut Pattanaik, “The Ancient Story of Goddess Lakshmi—bestower of power, wealth, and sovereignty,” Quartz Media
Author: Janine Schoonover
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: Danielle Beutell