Money, loot, coin, dough…

Hi Friend,

I get inspiration in the weirdest of places. Recently, I watched a TV series called “The North Water” with Colin Farrell and Stephen Graham. A British whaling expedition into the arctic circle in 1859 is the setting for this psychologically challenging series. The value of whale blubber has taken a nose dive due to the arrival of petroleum and kerosene which are much better substitutes for whale oil. Personally, I think avoiding the smell of whale oil burning alone would reduce consumption!


What struck me was a conversation between the ship’s owner and its captain in the first episode (at approximately 25:00 mins in). The expedition is an insurance scam. The owner wants the captain to sink the ship to receive a payout of 12,000 pounds which he will share with the captain and first mate. Arrangements have been made for a second “passing” ship to save the crew.

But, the captain, Arthur, is a whaler. His pride has him stuck in the past when whale blubber was a high priced commodity. He wants to fill the bowels of the ship with a record blubber haul.

The owner tries to explain to the captain that what is happening is history. Whale blubber is no longer as valuable as it once was:

“The money does what it wants to. It doesn’t care what we prefer. Block off one passage way and it carves out a new one.

I can’t control the money Arthur. I can’t tell it what to do or where to go next. I wish I could.”

Good money after bad

We do this all the time with our possessions. We over value them because they’re important to us. We think we can make money out of the possessions we’ve paid “good” money for.

“Good” money. It’s an extremely interesting concept, because money is money. It’s a medium of exchange. Money isn’t good or bad; it just is. And what it can buy us today may not be the same as tomorrow. It isn’t animate. It can’t be mean or callous to us. We can fight against governments for their inability to handle money and control the rate of exchange but at the end of the day we are at the whim of the market.

We call it good money because it was damn hard to earn for the majority of us. But, it’s very easy to spend.

It’s scary to be hit with the realisation that most of the items that surround us cost money that we can never recoup. It makes us feel shame and anxiety. It runs deep. Deep enough for us to stubbornly hold on to possessions that have already lost all their value due to the passage of time.

When we think about our stuff we remember finding “treasures” that we felt at the time would be “worth something”, we remember buying something we thought we could resell at a profit, or something that was extremely expensive at the time, but is now obsolete, damaged, or worn, we want reality to be different. We don’t want to admit we made a mistake especially if the objects have sat in our homes for so long without realising their value and are now unusable AND unsaleable.

It’s easy to look around and remember acquiring amazing things as well as the emotions, hopes, and dreams that went along with them. But, unfortunately the hoard is not careful with our stuff. By its very nature it’s in decay. Unless we purposefully preserve things they WILL get ruined, thus making our efforts to save pointless.

Rescuing for profit

A recent session with a client also raised the problem of acquiring items that need to be “revived” or “resuscitated” by us in some way.

In this case it was vintage clothing. My client had taken steps to preserve these items but when push came to shove they made the realisation that they’d moved on. They didn’t have the will, patience, time, or capacity to revive these things. They now recognised that more important life-expanding activities were beckoning and being dragged back into old patterns was unsatisfying, perhaps even regressive for them.

The realisation that what might have been a passion and a money-making proposition 10 years ago was no longer a priority for my client. They were then able to let go of those items. Someone else can do the work but it wouldn’t be them.

What a powerful reflect, right? This will change the way this person makes decisions about saved items in the future. This is what real change looks like. And, I couldn’t be prouder.

Facing what money has cost us

I know money is an emotive topic. Talking about cost and value of possessions provokes a great deal of discomfort and defensiveness in most of us.

Many of our arguments with loved ones have been around the over valuation of our stuff versus the value of our relationships with them.

Admitting we made a mistake when we put possessions before people seems to go against everything we have ever done or said in all those moments leading up to this one.

But, it’s not too late. There is hope and we can change. Admitting we were wrong and asking for help can start trigger a transformation. You deserve better. Your loved ones deserve better…

Journal Prompts

  • When you buy or pick up things to re-sell, how do you estimate their potential value?

  • How do you feel when you find an important possession in the hoard that is destroyed?

  • What can you do to preserve your most precious things?

  • What are some of the ways you can let go of the idea that you can recoup your money and make peace with it?

Until next week :)

Jan <3

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