“I want candy. I want money. I want my mommy. I want my daddy.” – Mary Bue
Full disclosure: I am a bit of a self-help junkie. What does this have to do with MONEY??? I’ve been geeking out over a crew of super inspiring self-help-ish entrepreneurs and in the past week many signs from those thought-leaders have been pointing to getting intimate with my MONEY. I’m reading Money: A Love Story by Kate Northrup – the subtitle is “Untangle your financial woes and create the life you really want.” In tandem, another huge inspiration of mine is Marie Forleo and in her latest TV show she interviewed Eat, Pray, Love sensation Elizabeth Gilbert, and there were some serious nuggets of wisdom surrounding money. More on these ladies a bit later.
What does MONEY have to do with my music blog?
Almost exactly a year ago, I quit my part time job of music director at a small venue and embarked on becoming full time music & yoga entrepreneur.
I amped up my live performances, booked tons of shows, as well as continued to go forth as a yoga instructor developing some series classes, teaching corporate classes and private lessons I launched a successful crowdfunding campaign for my new album and booked a pretty extensive west coast tour. I released “Holy Bones” to some of the best fanfare and reviews ever in my career. Took some risks with promotions, buying some sweet new gear as well as the big ass tour. But I was gonna give it my ALL!
Fast forward to now. I have been spending a short staycation going through receipts and hanging out with my money instead of an epic camping roadtrip out west. DANG! I wrestle with anxiety and fear and scarcity mentality around $$$. How to make this WORK??? I’m not going under, but damn, time to stop eating out so much! Ha! How to make this work without cramping the integrity of my art?
In Elizabeth Gilbert’s interview, she said that she made a vow early on with her art (as a 15 year old, with a candle), saying “I will never ask you to support us financially” … That they would have “a love affair not contingent upon monetization.” She says she’s seen it a million times that “People murder their creativity by insisting they are not truly creative unless their creativity pays the bills.”
She said she would work whatever job, be it bartending, serving, what-have-you so that she wouldn’t feel financially strapped and put the pressure on her writing to make ends meet. This way she could be fully present for her work just as her outlet and passion rather than a source of stress to survive in our wild modern world.
This is a question I ask myself. Many times in life, with all of my interests and my “wanting to do everything” attitude, I’ve often thought “If only I could focus on JUST ONE THING, then it would be amazing! Imagine what I could do …” But art, too, is a reflection and a response to other experiences. My most prolific songwriting time was when I was in college, taking in TONS of new material, having myriad things to write about. This is why I’ve decided to continue teaching yoga as well, so as not to take so many of the gigs in the back of the restaurant that might pay decent but feel mildly soul sucking. [However, these types of shows are another lesson – how do you get someone’s attention, even if just one person? And also a way to hone the craft, dial in on being a live performer, adding to someone’s experience … Of course I’d prefer to be selling out theaters but right now, yes, is right now and it’s where I’m at. Start where you are! Ha!] She said that with whatever type of work you choose, it’s just picking another version of a shit sandwich. 😉 Every work is gonna suck at times and be hard, it’s just choosing which flavor of the shit sandwich you can actually stomach. LOLOLOL!!!
Also, Ms. Gilbert said that “Inspiration doesn’t owe you anything.” Just because I’ve put out 6 albums of heart-on-my-sleeve material and bust my ass playing tons of shows for the last 15 years doesn’t necessarily MEAN I’m gonna be selling out stadiums anytime soon. Just because I want to keep writing songs, or draw portraits of cows, or write a blog every week or two doesn’t mean that the world owes me ANYTHING.[This interview w/ Elizabeth & Marie is pretty much a required watch for you creative types!]
But Kate Northrup’s Money: A Love Story is helping me to realize that we can “have what we WANT instead of having it ALL.” Sure, having it all seems great. Fame, fortune, the beautiful house on the sea, the private jet, swimming pool, animal sanctuary, vegan chef … But instead of focusing on the LACK of those things, I can say that I CHOOSE what I have now. What I have now is a sweet apartment with a huge, zen deck. A fun, adventurous husband who happens to be a fantastic musician. A community in northern Minnesota that loves and supports the arts. A super talented group of friends in music as well as health & fitness, my two big passions. I have chosen work that allows me to travel and at least make ends meet and get to share my art with new people all over the country (and soon abroad!), and if I work hard enough at being mindful, I can bulk up the savings, retirement and build that sweet investment portfolio. No better time than now. Kate tells us, pretty much, that “You are your own prince charming.” Save yourself, get clear with what you value and know that “money is a tool to create choice” – Northrup. I am choosing this weird little life, this next moment coming up to put on my running shoes and go hang out in the creek. Then practice some guitar. Then keep writing some songs. And planning out the yoga classes to make them awesome. That’s a bunch of free luxury right there!
May your work be fulfilling, fuel your passions, align with your values and, of course put food on the table. May your community hold you up when you fall. May your money be exchanged for the things that add value & contentment to your life. XXOO Mary