Mindful Artscapes: Art Therapy and Money

Is your relationship with money clear or complicated? Is it something that you struggle with or does money flow easily in your life? What attitudes and beliefs about money have you learned from your birth family, culture, and/or religious traditions? Do you feel you have enough money or do you live in debt?

Beliefs, habits, and ideals about this medium of exchange can say a lot about deep longings, fears, and expectations. Money can be a carrier of best intentions.

Spending money can be an expression of self-love or self-deprivation depending on your relationship to it.

We work hard for our money. It is something we earn in exchange for our time, energy and talent. How we use the money we make is an expression of what we value in life, and how we see others and ourselves. Where and whom we choose to give money to shows how we move through the world. Do you support small local business, other artists, environmentally friendly companies or do you shop at “big-box” stores? Do you donate to charities, which ones? Money is an expression of creative energy. Just as how we dress, make art or cook dinner are expressions of who we are, so is how we give and take money.

Art Therapy Exercise for Money

Try this exercise for exploring your relationship with money. Have some paper and paints or colored pencils in front of you. Get comfortable in your chair. Start by doing some deep breathing, or a short meditation. Now reflect on your childhood understanding of money. What were your beliefs? Was it something that came easily to your parents or was it something that they often fought about? Take a few minutes to write or record in images your early memories of money. Now try to remember your teenage attitude towards money. Was money something fun to get and spent or was it important to save it. Record this memory. Now try to remember what was your relationship to money in your twenties? Record this memory. Now fast forward to the present moment. Take a few minutes to note how your body is physically and emotionally feeling. Is this a fun exercise or an emotional roller coaster for you? Record in images or words what your present day relationship is to money. Is it something that causes pleasure or pain in your life? Is this an issue that you need to spend time resolving or is it something that you feel spirituality, mentally and emotionally you have a good understanding?

End the exercise with a closing image. How do you feel about money now? Can this shift your perspective?

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