Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mind, Body, Spirit...and Money

"Enough is not an amount. It's a relationship to what you already have." -Geneen Roth

By: Stephanie Horton

One of my favorite female voices, Geneen Roth, visited Boston yesterday for a public reading of her new book Lost and Found at the Boston Public Library. During her captivating reading, Roth discussed one the least talked about subjects among women: Money.

I read Roth's book Women Food, and God a few months back, and it definitely influenced my perception of my relationship with food. As someone who loves cooking and eating and all things food, I consider my relationship with food to be a decent one, however, definitely not lacking its ups and downs. For a long time, certain foods were "bad" in my mind while others were "reward worthy." But after some soul searching, which included reading Women Food and God, I soon believed that all food is good, all food is nourishment for the body, and the food I choose to eat is nourishment for my soul.

Food is love

In Roth's Women Food, and God, she beautifully discusses our relationships with food, our bodies, our lives, our happiness, and how they are all intricately intertwined. One of my favorite lines from Women Food and God: "When you begin to inhabit your body from the inside, any other option except taking care of it is unthinkable." This line is consistent with how I've been thinking (and counseling) lately. If you love your body, you'll respect your body, and the decisions you make about your body will automatically be good for it. This is the idea behind self-love. Roth's inspiring novel encouraged me to stay body-positive, and to appreciate my body and the food I put into it like I had never done before. Roth is, without question, a guiltless icon. And now she's embarking on an even more difficult subject (certainly a difficult one for me): Women's relationships with money.

Geneen Roth

It seems the lovely author is at it again with her new book Lost and Found. Our relationships with food can be a lot like our relationships with money, and this is a concept that is seldom understood or discussed. In her new book, Roth explores this relationship by discussing her own personal catastrophes and journeys with her own relationship with money. After her financial manager deceived her for so many years, Roth and her husband Matt lost 30 years of life savings to a ponzie scheme. By reaching deep into her thoughts and emotions on this event, Roth inspires her readers to think more about their own relationships with finances. Roth describes her purpose in writing Lost and Found:

"I hardly have the words to tell you what it was like to see the exact same patterns with money as I'd once had with food. I splurged the way I once binged, and budgeted the way I once dieted. I lied about the money I had in the same way that I once lied about how much I ate. I rationalized buying sweaters on sale in the same way that I once rationalized eating broken cookies (because when the cookies break the calories break)."

Gosh, this sounds scarily familiar.

She continues to explain:

"I wrote LOST AND FOUND because..I wanted you to be able to have the knowledge and the tools to not only come out of the darkness with money, no matter how much you have or don't have, but to turn the light on inside your own mind, your own heart. Money, like food, is something you touch, think about, and deal with every single day, and so its effect on your well-being is profound. And because of its presence in our lives, it, like food, is both an expression of our beliefs about worth, joy and enough and a doorway to the heart of your heart—and what you are truly worth."

Our relationships with money are incredibly important to our futures, just as our relationships with food are. We have the love we need inside. It's just a matter of locating it and actually feeling it, and allowing it to settle into our daily lives and behaviors. The goal is for the love to become the foundation from which we thrive (and in this particular case, eat and spend). It's books like these that will accompany us on our journey.

See Geneen Roth speak about Lost and Found in a location near you: Geneen Roth's Book Tour Schedule.

How does your relationship with money influence your self perception? Does it? Should it?

Do you see a connection in your own life between your relationship with eating and your relationship with spending?

Thank you. Be well. And enjoy the day.


  1. I think myrelationship with food and money are inverse. While I am willing to eat, and indulge, and binge with food I scrimp and save all my money and am very thrifty.

    Maybe holding back with money makes me feel that I can indulge in food?

  2. It's such an interesting relationship to explore! I love Roth's take on the parallels:
    Budgeting is to Dieting as Shopping sprees are to Binging.

  3. very very interesting parallels-i look forward to reading the book!

  4. Thank you Stephanie for drawing this parallel. It's a tricky thought: where should we invest our energies? Into today or tomorrow? Does it have to be that black and white... or can we have both at the same time? This idea always throws me for a loop.