Interview with an altruist

Andrew: The reason I wanted to talk with you about finance is because I’ve seen you do some amazing things with money.

You have created possibilities for people that they never would have dreamed of in absence of your generosity and financial capabilities.

In my eyes, you’ve achieved a type of financial freedom, a financial liberation. Freedom to make a profound impact on others in a largely economy-based society.

Do you see yourself as financially liberated?

Diana: Yes, I feel like I am financially liberated. I feel that I’ll always be given more than I need at any time. I am able to give freely. I believe that any time I am in need financially, I will be given more than I need. More than I ask for. Because I am always taken care of.

Andrew: Does this mean that you don’t think you could ever find yourself on the streets and struggling with figuring out how to eat and how to survive?

Or does it mean that if you were on the streets, not being sure of where your next meal is coming from that you would still have faith that you’re taken care of?

Is financial liberation exclusive to money? If you’re broke, can you still be financially liberated?

Diana: I think so, yeah. I think it is possible I could end up on the streets someday, and living without the financial means to provide for myself.

What was the second part of the question?

Andrew: If you don’t have money, can you still be financially liberated?

Diana: Yes, there is more than one way to be financially liberated.

If I ever end up living on the streets, I might be considered by others to be financially “broke,” but I would rather view it as being financially liberated instead.

Even though I feel financially liberated now while having temporary guardianship of some money, I can also feel financially liberated even if I no longer had money. This is because I would no longer feel like I need to make money as a tool to nourish. This means that I would have to expend greater efforts and energy in have others ways of bringing about nourishment, both to myself and to others. Extending kindness and compassion. Being an active listener. Helping others recognize their potential.

Everything I strive to do now, most of which that does not require having money. But I don’t think I would stay on the streets for the rest of my life. I would like to think I would have faith it won’t always be that way. People are kind and giving, and miracles happen all the time.

Andrew: Well, let’s get specific and define what financial liberation means to you.

Diana: It is knowing and believing I have what I need, and possibly more. That I don’t need to worry. I mean, this goes for all parts of my life, not just financially.

Andrew: What does abundance mean to you?

Diana: Abundance is knowing that there is always at least one condition being met at any given moment that can bring about contentedness and peace.

Andrew: So there’s always a way to find peace. Being able to access the peace within any given moment is a sign of abundance?

Diana: Yes.

Andrew: That’s a pretty awesome way of looking at it.

The next question is, is money real?

Diana: Well, when I think about what makes something real, first it has to be conceptualized or imagined. So if you’re able to imagine something, it has the possibility of being real, the potential for becoming real. If you can experience something with any of your senses, it is real.

Let’s say I can see a five dollar bill, and my cat friends can see a five dollar bill. But we don’t experience it the same way. It’s real to us. Cats can sniff a five dollar bill, or play with it. I probably wouldn’t think about sniffing it or playing with it. The money means something different to us. It’s tangible to both myself and my feline friends, but we have a different relationship to it. The way we experience it is different. It is real to us, but it is the meaning we assign to it that makes it especially real.

So I think if you can imagine it, and experience it in some way, it is real.

Andrew: Okay. So, does money matter?

Diana: Inherently, no, I don’t think so. But I think it depends on what you make of it, and your relationship to it. If you’re struggling to survive, and you need money for food, then money matters. But if you’re a billionaire and someone gives you a thousand dollar check…

Andrew: Well, that’s true. But does money matter to you? I mean, that was a great answer. I am just trying to get in your head…

Diana: It matters to me in a sense that it serves as a tool for me to bring service to people, to others and to myself, and it helps me provide a means to maybe bring hope and healing to people’s lives, and to my own life. In that sense, it matters to me.

Andrew: Awesome.

Well, this next question can be answered in any way that comes to mind.

What are you worth?

Diana: Like with all other beings, I think I have infinite worth. It cannot be measured in any way. Not by the amount of money I have, or my status, or by anything.

Unfortunately, a lot of us learn at a very young age that we must meet certain conditions to be worthy, but that’s not true.

Andrew: Why isn’t it true? How do you know that?

Diana: Well, I don’t know that. But I believe it. That we’re all inherently worthy of our own unconditional love.

Andrew: So what would you say to someone who doesn’t believe that? If they don’t have the intellectual, or emotional framework established for that belief.

I mean, they have had experiences in their life that seem to have beaten them down over and over again. They feel used, abused, discarded, worthless. And they hear the words, “We’re all inherently worthy of our own unconditional love” and do not know how to believe that.

What do you say to someone in that situation?

Diana: I would say, I am so sorry.

I am so sorry that you have been carrying around feelings of not being worthy, not being enough, not being loved for so long. And you can let go when you’re ready. You can let go of those beliefs and lies you’ve been told. They are not yours to carry anymore.

Andrew: So how do you let go?

Diana: It’s when you recognize that you don’t need to continue suffering, and that you want to start healing. Letting go of the need to suffer and to hurt.

Andrew: The need to suffer. The need to hurt. Powerful and sobering to realize we can have those needs.

Diana: Sometimes we feel like we should hurt because of that ingrained belief that we’re not enough, not worthy. So we believe we deserve to hurt and that we should be hurting. But when we let go of the desire or the need or the belief to hurt or suffer, we can start accessing our love for ourselves.

Andrew: That’s beautiful. Thank you.

My next question was going to be, what am I worth? But I suppose you covered that because you were talking about the inherent infinite worth in everyone.

But just to stick to the program. What am I worth?

Diana: Your worth is infinite. I think of you as a light being, and you cannot be measured in any way. Light is never-ending.

Andrew: So that would also be the same for the person reading this interview right now? They are also infinitely valuable. Is that what you’re saying?

Diana: Yes, that’s right.

Andrew: I believe that too.

Now Diana, do you remember any events in your childhood that formed your perception of money? Formed your beliefs and attitudes about money? It doesn’t have to be childhood. Any circumstances in your life, that impacted your beliefs, attitudes and perceptions about money.

Diana: I used to be very frugal. I taught in South Korea for six months, and my goal was to save as much money as I could. During that six months, I did not nourish myself well at all. The apartment I was staying in was very cold, and I did not turn on the heat or eat much.

I was brought up to believe that you don’t give money away to others, we must keep it for ourselves first and then family, second. But others in need, we don’t give to them.

I was expected to have a home, have a family, all of that. But that’s not what I feel driven to do.

I see now that money is a tool to nourish, and to make good choices when I am able to. I don’t always, but I strive to make choices that nourish myself and others.

I didn’t do that in the past. It was about saving money for a future I had no vision for. It was other people’s visions for me that I was trying to live out.

Andrew: So your generosity, giving and compassion for others is largely due to you finding your own vision for yourself and growing apart from the vision that was planned for you?

Diana: Yeah, growing up, I wanted money so I could buy stuff. Toys, or things to bring me artificial fulfillment for a very short time. But that did not feel meaningful. So now I want to use money meaningfully and purposefully.

Andrew: Well, that’s awesome. You do a very good job with that.

Diana: Thanks.

Andrew: Is there anything else you would like to add? Anything you’d like our readers to know about you, or about themselves?

Diana: You, dear reader, are awesome. You are light. You loved. You are enough.

Andrew: That’s beautiful, I agree completely.

Whoever is reading this. You’re more than enough. You’re so much, it’s ridiculous, in the best way.

Diana: You’re so enough that it’s unbelievable how enough you are.

Andrew: I can’t believe it. I can’t believe how enough you are, people reading this. It’s beautiful. You’re flowing with abundance, and it kinda turns me on.

Diana and Andrew: (both laugh)

Diana: You probably shouldn’t put that in the interview.

Andrew: I probably will.

Diana: There is one more thing I’d like to say.

There are some lyrics, from a song called Taste. From the band Sleeping At Last.

It’s for the people out there who feel like maybe it’s hard for them to get themselves away from suffering and the need and desire to hurt. I found this song to be very healing for myself.

“I propose a toast/to fists unraveling/to glass unshattering/to breaking all the rules/to breaking bread again/we’re swallowing light/we’re swallowing our pride/we’re raising our glass/till we’re fixed from the inside/till we’re fixed from the inside”

So keep that toast in mind. We don’t need to shatter glass anymore. We don’t need to make fists anymore. Just let it all unravel. Let it all unshatter. And share your light. Because you’ve got a lot of it.

Andrew: I am not exactly sure, but I might only be able to use those lyrics in the blog post, but not in the book. I’ll have to look into it.

So if you’re reading the book and the lyrics are omitted, be sure to check out Taste by Sleeping At Last. You can probably buy it for $.99, or pirate it or whatever, but my official advice is to buy it. You can invest $.99 in yourself. Probably. If you can’t, sorry for assuming.

OK, so Diana, I have one more question for you. This is by far the most important question. I need to know the answer to this. The fate of the universe hangs in the balance.

Diana: Uh oh…

Andrew: What is a hedge fund?

Diana: So… you find yourself a family of hedgehogs, and see that they have gathered some, I don’t know, food and stones and sticks. Leaves. Whatever they gather. They are pooling up a fund. Saving up for their future.

Andrew (laughs hysterically for a solid five minutes)

(The penultimate chapter of my forthcoming book, Overcoming Financial Failure: A Peace Treaty with the System. Coming January 3, 2017 in paperback and ebook formats. Pre-order the ebook at Gumroad for any price you wish, even $.04!)