I was having a conversation with my Dad when he was up on a recent trip to Vancouver, BC.
While we walked the beach I was telling him some of my ideas about free 'price pointing'and the gift and love economies.
After listening (patiently!) he said quite plainly: "But Cliff you have to make a LOT of money!"
"But what if my definition of success is different? What if creating positive change in the world, and affecting people's lives individually is my 'set point' of success?"
He told me that he was proud of my motives and of the success I have had helping people but not to look past financial success too. He went on to say that "You may have to support me and the family!"
My father was not born in the lap of luxury, in fact far from it. And he has had to struggle to create the lifestyle that he now enjoys (and my Sister and I were part of that struggle growing up) and so I can see and understand that his set point of success is perhaps more defined by monetary markers than mine.
Now of course (and any of you who have had the pleasure of meeting him will know!) that my Father, like myself can say many things with tongue firmly placed in cheek and his statements were definitely thus...and designed to get a 'rise'out of me! But...there was also some truth and inquisition too.
You see we all fundamentally align with groups or 'tribes'.
We all have communities that we belong to in increasing scale and in greater and greater circles of acquaintance.
We seek to preserve the safety, comfort and security of those closest to us (in our closest circle of acquaintance or our 'tribe'). We do this to have a sense of belonging, love and to provide social currency by which we in turn will be looked after. There is an expectation from those in our tribe that we will work for the good of the tribe and not against it in our day to day actions.
Our family is the closest and most evident example of our 'tribe', and in the modern world it can be the only real, stable and lifelong 'tribe' that we have, as community and actual tribal (hapu, iwi etc) connections are not self evident for many of us.
I'm not suggesting that the family unit is necessarily a bastion of lifelong stability and support, because unfortunately for many it is not, but it remains as one of the last potential, enduring tribal units, and where there is a supporting and loving environment the expectation (and I think rightly) is that you look after your tribe.
This can provide a conundrum for those amongst us who define ourselves less locally, less tribally and more globally (in terms of having a 'universal family').
In spite of universalism though there will always be a special connection with those in our closest circles of connection.
And so there is a channel of security and protectionism of those that we love most that needs to be recognized in striking the balance between financial security and philanthropy; which of course is not a negative but a pragmatic recognition of the way things are.
In terms of our human spiritual evolution it may even be considered a crucial starting point.
The security and comfort of acceptance and belonging within your tribal unit is equated with the 1st Chakra, without which we can feel fragile and alone in the world.
So how do we handle the conundrum?
Here is where I stick to my guns (ironically like my Dad taught me.)
I embrace the notion of creating abundance in ANY aspect of your life, and the financial/monetary realm is part of that. Money after all is just another form of energy (information = specifically encoded energy) and is in no way negative, merely the inappropriate use of it is.
The basis for action however should be motivated by what our passion and purpose in life is not for money in and of itself. The financial rewards we reap from exercising love, creativity, passion and purpose is what we can then engender support, security and a degree of comfort to not just ourselves but our tribal unit and as we distribute excess and what would otherwise be largess to others less fortunate, to the global community as a whole.
The intention to do what is right dictates what we should in fact do. Financial reward is the end result of doing 'the work'.