And now for the ladies in the next room

By coincidence, at that summer’s week-long sessions of New England Yearly Meeting of Friends being held at Bowdoin College, a workshop in the classroom next door was addressing similar issues. Somewhat sheepishly, I introduced myself to the two women who were leading it. “If I’d known you were going to be offering this, maybe we could have combined them,” I said.

That’s how I met Barbara Potter and Mary Hillas, both from Portland Friends Meeting in Maine. They laughed and bid me to join them over food that night in the dining hall. They were soon plying me with material they’d been applying in their own presentations and encouraging me to continue.

One thing they observed was that mostly men had signed up for my workshop, while theirs attracted mostly women. I’d soon see why. By the way, they’d been at this a lot longer than I had.

They had begun facing these head-on through the upheavals of mid-life passage, the kind that can arise through divorce, the death of a spouse, loss of long-term employment, remarriage, relocation of grown children, retirement, an inheritance or endowment, and the like. The insights they gleaned soon led them to lead workshops where money was explored as a central dynamic of each participant’s spiritual journey. That’s right — faith. They, too, worked to uncover primal feelings and family messages that shaped individual relationships to money. Many of the exercises they designed sought to make conscious the ways our beliefs about money impact our self-image, our work, and the living out of our deepest values. Their mission, they proclaimed, was to bring money out of the closet and into the Light.

Whew! And then they told me to use whatever they had, if I found it useful. You’ll encounter much of it in upcoming posts.

Do you think women handle money differently from men? How?


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