Money Magic: How Living Creatively Has Transformed My Outlook on Life

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{To download the PDF, click here}

One of my guiding missions over the last few years is the transformation of my relationship to the tool of money. I believe the symbol of money resides very near the core of the crises of our time. Because it lives deep near the root, money simultaneously becomes an opportunity with great potential, in my mind, for unlocking the latent creativity within humanity and ultimately transforming the world. Given the challenges humanity is faced with today, it is undeniable that we are in need of creatively inspired and imagination driven solutions. How can we transform money in a way that supports such a world?

moneymaker_grandeMoney is what we make it to be, plain and simple. It is an abstract, intangible concept we have collectively created for a specific purpose. All an ‘economy’ has ever been is the sum total of what a group of people believes it to be – it’s a story (or rather, a collection of stories). We as individuals might not believe we have an effect on the global economy, but we do. It’s our story of how we as a society assign roles and responsibilities (purpose and meaning), organize the flow of goods and services (connect gifts with needs), valuate different forms of work (service), and much more. As we learn to understand our relationship to the symbol of money (what feelings we experience using it, the stories we tell about it, how we use it, what it means to us, etc.) we start to shift the entire world.

I write of my own personal relationship to money often (see: The Spirit of the Gift: A Storymap to Living in the Gift). This essay is about a specific time-frame and has a particular focus, so I will offer only the necessary back drop to my story of creating economic flow through my life.

I have not been employed in the traditional sense since April 2012. You could say I have been working for myself (self-employed) – but that doesn’t sound true to me. It has been a journey of integrating life and work together that ends up feeling more like I am working for others. But not just any ‘others’ – people I have personal relationships with; a community. To cut a long story short, after moving out of Eden’s Cove (a gift-based, community focused healing sanctuary) and into my camper Magic in May 2013 to be nomadic, I was presented with the opportunity to receive what I would call a fairly passive income that lasted until until July 2014. This was the primary means of funding the first 14 months of my travel and this most recent year (from August 2014 on) without any ‘passive income’ is my focus. (You can find a summary of my year’s financial flow below)

How have I survived and continue to travel?

That is a great question and one I am challenged to answer. I do not want use that as an excuse, however, because I also recognize the importance of passing on what I have learned for those whom also wish to experiment living with money differently and to choose a life doing what they love.

To answer a ‘how’ question specifically, we would need to be talking more about a science than an art; and relating to money is most certainly an art. (The study of Economics is our attempt to turn it into a science). People are unpredictable and each situation is unique. Knowing how to act isn’t always something one can know ahead of time. I do consider my approach to the art of relating to money to be scientific in the sense that everything I do is founded on experiment, curiosity, and observation. I find that through such a perspective I am able to remind myself to be unattached to the results and to pursue my experiments with an air of curiosity and play. (If you want more specific ‘how’ and to see what I offer as creative service, check out my website)

Diving a little deeper into the essence of the ‘how’, I want to introduce seven considerations: Observation and Critical Thinking, Generosity (giving and receiving), Trust and Openness, Community and Connection, Gratitude, Creativity, and Transparency.


(Essential Note: this is most certainly not an exhaustive list, nor is it meant to be your specific truth of the matter. Money is an extremely loaded concept and I encourage you to observe what comes up within you as you read these words. What is true for you? What thoughts and emotions do you experience? I do not consider myself an expert. I encourage you to not believe what I have to say and to determine the truth for your self. Consider the questions. Reflect on the answers. That is the beauty of an experiment!)

Observation and Critical Thinking

Our life experiences constantly provide us with feedback between our inner and outer worlds. Money allows us to observe the inner environment of thoughts (stories, beliefs, etc) and emotions (stress, worry, frustration, elation, comfort, etc.) related to money. These are observed in relation to the external environment (dealings with other people, perceiving how much money we have, etc.), and through the feedback loop between both we are able to uncover a deeper understanding of our relationship to the symbol-tool of money.

This environmental observation then allows you to ask, “What is true for me?” and “What story will create the world I want to live in?” Perhaps you are frustrated because you have an unexpressed need. Maybe you are angry because you would like to be generous but feel like you are restricted. Is the worry and anxiety about a potential future moment of not having enough true in the present? Practice tuning into your heart, for the logic of the mind might not always understand the inspiration of the heart. Honour where you are at – there is nothing wrong with charging money or using it in your life – observe how it feels to you and be open to experimenting with alternatives. Our economy is radically shifting and there are many beautiful solutions being explored and mapped.

The Giving and Receiving Relationship

Screen-Shot-2012-05-29-at-10.19.34-AMOne of the symptoms (and causes) of our current money economy is the breakdown of community (through the transformation of gift into commodity, the conversion of people into consumers, relationship into paid service, etc.) along with the underlying bonds that form the collective matrix of relationships. How many of us feel that business and pleasure (money and family, etc.) do not mix?

Money creates a transaction and severs ties between buyer and seller. If things go sour and the relationship degrades, it is easy to walk away and pay someone else to do the same job. You are replaceable. Gifts, on the other hand, create bonds that endure through gratitude as a relationship takes root. You have unique gifts that others depend on. I work to reunite the two – money and gift – to release the destructive curse and transform money into a builder of community through the essence of the gift. As a means of achieving this, I choose to see money as a gift as much as I am able.

Transforming money into a creative gift involves more than simply giving; it is a two-fold art that also involves the art of receiving. Giving and receiving are inextricably linked; two sides of the same coin, two halves of a circle. You cannot have one without the other and any attempts to do so will result in relational imbalance.

When I offer my services and gifts it is important to me that the receiver is free to reciprocate in a 1912565way that feels authentic to them, that all parties benefit from the outcome, and that the relationship is strengthened. The practice of passing on at least ten percent of my monetary inflow to others, either as money currency or as creative gifts, helps to maintain the flow of the economy through my life and the community. The continual flow ensures gifts are not stagnating or unused, but rather, that they always find places to fill needs and contribute to the growth of community relationships through trust and support. Giving and receiving are always in balance.

There is nothing wrong with giving or receiving anything, least of all money. Can we give and receive money within our personal relationships with intention and meaning? Gift cultures would use beads and necklaces as tokens of appreciation; an expression of gratitude in acknowledgment of a gift. What if money carried the story of gratefulness? Would you use it differently?

Deepening Into Trust

Over the course of the last year, on a day-to-day basis, I very rarely have more than a hundred dollars to my name. There were numerous days with only a few dollars, and even some with none. (And none means none – I hear myself and others often use this descriptor when it isn’t really true). In this financial space you get to learn a lot about yourself. I don’t know what that would be for you; that is where the experimenting comes in!

One of the practices having very little financial capital (yes, there are many other forms of shutterstock_250176199capital) provides me with is a deepening into trust. Each time I experience worry, frustration, stress, dismay, and the whole gambit of emotional turmoil (along with the mental stories) attached to a small number next to the words “Account Balance” or an empty wallet full of receipts, I receive an invitation into a new story – a new relationship with money and life. I am reminding myself that I always have what I need, regardless of any abstract number. I am opening to abundance in all forms, present all-ways in my life.

Now, I often speak of the ‘magic’ that weaves its way through my experience of money. I use the word magic to mean that I have no explanation for the ‘how that happened’ question; it defies my understanding of cause and effect. I do not know how a person ends up sending me exactly the amount of money (or any gift for that matter) I need, right when I need it most, and without my having said anything to them. At the same time, I do not mean to invoke some kind of superstition or other-worldly explanation for this. I want these words to be relatable and grounded for you. One response I have to the ‘how’ of the magic is that it is people who make the magic happen. The trust I deepen into is a trust of others – just as much as it is a trust of my Self. It is because of a community of people I have made it to where I am today.

trust_fallOn a more intimate and personal experiential level, after having experimented with this trust, it becomes more obvious to me each day that there are influences at play that we might not ever understand (hence the magic and unanswerable how). And that is okay. That is part of the fun of exploring and experimenting.

One way to experiment with trusting in the gift is through what I like to call “giving around the corner”. This is when you give a gift in one direction or to one person and open yourself to receive something from a completely different (and unknown at the time) source. Such an experiment will help you uncover deeper aspects of your Self, including underlying motives and intentions (i.e. if you are giving in order to get, the circle will not reveal itself). Generosity fuels gratitude and keeps the flow of the gift circulating.

What I call ‘magic’, others might call a miracle. But what is a miracle? An event or occurrence that is unexplainable from one story, but entirely reasonable from within another. Wouldn’t most technological advancements of the last few decades be considered miracles to others at any point in history? Perhaps one day we will have a better understanding of the technology of being in the right place at the right time or greater awareness of the mechanics of the magic of the gift.

Connection and Community

earthwork2We contribute to the world each day with our dollar votes. With each purchase we are making a choice as to what we are saying “yes” to. As I bring my monetary flow back into my personal relationships through the gift, I become more attuned to the truth that it is no longer ‘my’ money. I am a steward of it, a temporary redirector. As a steward of the money, I aim to align my monetary flow with the world I want to co-create.

I say “yes” to community as much as I can. The more we are able to allow money to flow through community, the more abundance and wealth we all experience. When we share the common-wealth, we discover we all have more than enough. This is the new story of “more for you is more for me”. My vision of a world where the latent creativity of humanity is freed and everyone feels supported to uncover and give back their gifts is possible if we simply shift what we say yes to.

The support, security, and freedom I experience are made possible through the collective power of community. Creating gift relationships within a community of people help me to see all I have in my life as a gift (which is easier when it is actually received as a gift). I know the truth: I am where I am, able to do what I do, thanks to the generosity of others. I do nothing alone. I am all my relations.

How do we support each other and co-create a world that knows it is supported in every way? What beautiful use can you find for your money? Can you afford to be generous? Can you ask for help? How do we learn to find security in each other? No one has ever gone broke from giving. For the mind steeped in logic and a world of economic separation, inspired generosity from the heart without a guarantee or calculable return is quite unrealistic, idealistic, and impractical. (Which is perfect because we have tried practical and realistic for some time and it is not working anymore)


In my experience, gratitude is the glue that holds the whole thing together. Gratitude is the feeling of having received a gift and the desire to give in return. It is the desire to give in return that creates the ongoing movement and amplification of the gift as it travels through a community. Gratitude inspires me and endures the passing of time. I am helped in my time of need and I do my best to help others with their needs. Can you feel into your gratitude as you give and receive money? (click here for a presentation I gave about gratitude)


Transforming my creative gifts into a sustainable service has been a challenging process. The last year has been a haphazard, flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of experience. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, what I loved to do, right out of the gates. I am still exploring and learning, playing and refining, listening and adjusting. Finding the balance between what I love to do, what the world needs, and what other creative-treepeople will support me to offer. When it seems like I am out of ideas to generate economic flow, my imagination and creativity saves the day (as well as the inspired support of others). I have babysat, landscaped, busked, made calendars with my art, painted, delivered cars, crowd funded for various missions, provided oil changes… the list goes on. My dream is to thrive through my creativity and have the freedom to be of service as people need of me. This is where the latest evolution of my website has taken me.

Rather than ask, “How can I make money?” I aim to look to where I can create value for others, while expressing my needs and being open to reciprocation. I will often receive money from people that is timed immediately after I dive into an ‘unpaid’ service for someone else. The value I create may not be directly paid (as in a reciprocated exchange), but combined with the previous practices I discover that it is often reciprocated around the corner.


This is probably one of the most surprising results I did not expect. For most of my life I had difficulty tracking and planning my money flow. I was reminded of the frustration and begrudging effort as I watched two of my friends dig through a year’s worth of financial records to file taxes. They were visibly stressed out and were not enjoying the chore.

I was inspired to keep detailed track of my monthly monetary flow in May 2014. Not only do I track it, I also share the record in transparency with the world. The impulse to do this was born of the inspiration received directly through the shift in my relationship to money – namely, the reintegration of money into my personal relationships. Never has this recording and sharing felt like a chore. I really enjoy it – not only for others – but for myself as well. It’s a nice little check-in with my Self. Recording helps me to see where my money is going, how much of it I am using, and feel into any adjustments I might need to make. Since the money I receive is given to me in freedom and as a gift from people I know personally, I feel compelled to be open with where it is going.

Below you can find my last year’s financial summary. It is fairly self-explanatory, with notes at the bottom to give more context. The in-flow has been relatively non-specific in the past, and I just started breaking it down further (i.e. labour, creativity, etc) in the past two months.My financial transparency experience was quite a contrast with the resistance my friends had with their taxes. Something tells me it has to do with the nature of the impulse – taxes are forced under threat of prison (and financial information is extremely personal, so it becomes an invasive experience) and we have little influence as to where it is spent. I am fueled by gratitude and aim to build a trusting relationship where the people supporting me know I am putting the money to good use.

Skye Financial Summary AugtoJuly2015

Wrapping the Gift Up

In closing, I share these words so they may help others shed some light on their own relationship to money with the intention that we collectively transform it into a tool of beautification and creative support for everyone. Every observation we make to understand, and every choice we make to change the story of money is one that contributes to halting the current world-devouring machine – along with its endless conversion of the Earth and relationship into money. Every thought about money we examine and reflect upon transforms the global economy. Every emotion we observe that money exposes brings us closer to the more beautiful world our hearts whisper of. Every gift we give and every need we fill contributes to a planet where all thrive. The world is waiting for your gifts!

I hope you enjoyed reading this essay. I will have another blog coming soon as a continuation; whereMoney-Tree-1000x1153 I will be diving into how money relates to our experience of time, how time is now creativity (not money), and the important teachings that water can provide humanity as we move into a new era of global transformation.

If you wish to connect with me and explore some of these topics as they relate to you, such as I offer through my dream mentorship, I am open for a dialogue!

— Skye

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