I’m listening to an audio version of Geneen Roth’s latest book, Lost and Found. She has written numerous thoughtful books about women and their relationship with food. This book is about money. Roth and her husband invested their life savings with Bernie Madoff and lost it all. She used this crisis as an opportunity to thoughtfully explore her relationship with money, and to apply her own spiritual practice to it. Roth began a process of inquiry: what did money mean to her? How did she learn this? What was the relationship her parents each had with money and how did that influence her? And she began to ask other people, including other Madoff investors and students in her compulsive eating workshops, about their connection with money and how they thought and felt about it. I appreciate her vivid writing and her candor – she tells the story of almost spending $1000 on new glasses right after the Madoff debacle.
I’ve spent the last year or more working on my next book about churches and money – which always gets back to families and money. This work has stimulated my own process of inquiry about my thoughts about money and what my family thinks about money. I’ve also had many conversations this year with my father and brother about spending money on assisted living. I’ve enjoyed listening in on Roth’s experiences. She’s caused me to think further and ask more and deeper questions. I’ve enjoyed listening to the audio and hearing her voice, too. Not everyone can view losing their life savings as a spiritual opportunity, but Geneen Roth did, and I’ve learned from her experiences and reflection.