This article is written by Emily Curtis for Parimukti and consists of two parts. Today part 2
So in the previous post I introduced you to my idea for re-defining currency. How? Imagine if we all came from the lens of equality, and were encouraged to trade our unique values from that base. This would make how we spend currency, a reflection of what we truly value. Perhaps we value things like health, happiness, and freedom, the way we spend our time, how our friends and family spend their time, our environment, ecosystems and species diversity… The choice is ours. I believe that if we empower our currency, in essence we are giving it a soul. Currently, in contrast, we are told how to value things in accordance with what external systems like markets, media, and government authorities dictate. Hmmm…
Ok, so by now it’s clear I’m not speaking of the kind of currency that already exists—sheets of paper or precious metals that get traded. What I propose we adapt towards is not valid in the typical sense. I can’t consume products and brands or vacations with it. Rather I want to echo the need to think in terms of a different kind of currency.
What kind of currency? For me, currency is the flow of energy in life—it is energy. And it gets exchanged in the form of thought, emotions, ideas, and interactions. We get paid cash for our time on the job. Cash exists to fulfill our needs and perhaps to bring us happiness. But we also value more than our job skills, clearly—right? I want to propose a currency, based on the unique values of individuals, that involves the exchange of connection, compassion, and love, and arises from a base of feeling and knowing that we are enough as individuals, and that we are all equal. The new currency hearkens to a shift in paradigm. The beauty is, we can wake up everyday and develop in it. Enrich in it. We can trade it, treat is a valuable asset, and make it go a long way. It can create opportunities, relationships, and happiness.
This resounds many teachings of old: to use the gift of awareness and discernment to shift the emotional reactivity mechanism of the mind in order to awaken to resonance, and harmony. It’s a process for which the limits are unknown. Expanding the definition of currency invites me to truly value my time—and others’—all the time. It invites the sleeping potential in me to awaken and emerge, the potential for happiness, bliss, freedom, and creative choice.
Here’s a real-world example of how I personally experienced this: I’m standing in line at customs and the man takes ten minutes to inspect every stamp I have on my passport, grumbling while he does, meanwhile the tension of the line is building; I wait patiently until he’s finished, and I have the opportunity, and I sincerely say, “happy new year,” and send over a smile. To my surprise, he lights up and throws back one lovely smile. Something I might have thought was deeply hidden under a hardened exterior came bursting to the surface. Haaa. Happiness. Real happiness. Later, a man in front of me in line is upset at the delay in security, spreading stress and tension, grumbling and repeating negative superlatives under his breath. I let myself be aware, to feel, to discern—ok stress, grievance, without judgment. I repeat the beautiful h’oponopono prayer: “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” Free, I choose the joy that is available, and then watch how moments later, the same man is now smiling, chuckling, engaging with ease; others too are chilling down and smiling about the absurdity of it all. We enjoy our interaction. In this way, my experience of standing in line became a currency building moment.
I was telling my friend recently that the more I love myself, and honor the relationship I have with my self first, my time, my desire, my shadow and light, the more my relationship with my partner flourishes. As if the goodness in my partner relationship were a by-product. He said—‘yeah, like it’s a reflection of you.’
So, if I come from the base that we are all equal, trading on a currency of love, from this ground of being, maybe the more my reality can reflect the possibility of that being enough. I think this awakens and opens us to opportunities, to connect, to be happy—to thrive. Isn’t that at least in part what “money” is designed to do?
No one of us can individually solve collective grievances overnight. I know for myself I have to go easy on trying too hard. If I notice I can’t always trade love—that’s ok, that’s enough—at least I notice that, and I remember that awareness is a gift. And building awareness, however long it takes, is the foundation for building a more additive currency. Sometimes I find, as in my example above that the exchange comes instantly, it also may take years—timing is truly a mystery. But that’s my plan. I’m going to love, and reflect, and awaken my way into a changed world. No matter how long it takes.