Yesterday I had two big AHAs in one 5-hour workshop — a personal record, I think. And as I begin to write this, I realize it’s the second time I’m writing about money, and I don’t write many posts. Hmmm.
The name of the workshop (thank you, Susan Shloss of moneywisdomcoach.com ) was “The Inner Path to Prosperity.” While I’m generally not drawn to talks about money, show me something with “inner path” in the name and I’ll probably follow you almost anywhere.
Not long into the workshop, Susan asked us to sit quietly and imagine money. I saw gold coins in a treasure chest, piles of green bills, checks floating above my desk, and then, bam! A female figure completely fashioned of greenbacks appeared smiling, laughing, and coming toward me with her arms outstretched.
Her arms, I noted, were strong and lithe, unlike my relatively unexercised own, whose upper flaps make me think that Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” — with anesthesia — might be just the ticket. Her breasts were round and full, her legs were strong, and, like her arms, lithe, and I knew that she would be able to leap over mountains and chasms like a walk in the park.
As she came forward to embrace me, she said, with the relief of someone who has wanted to say something for a long time and finally gets to say it, “I’ve always wanted to be closer to you, but you’ve held me apart.”
AHA. She was right. I have always thought of lots and lots of money as something not really in my domain. Enter the famous New Age meme, “Energy follows thought.”
Later in the workshop, as my response to another prompt, I remembered a very old recurrent vision: I am a small girl, maybe eight years old, a member of a tribe of people with gold-red skin, dressed in skins and feathers. I am crouched on the ground in soft, red dirt, and I desperately want to sink into the ground and disappear, because I ruined the food supply for my tribe. I didn’t mean to do it, but I was careless. I was hungry, and lifted up the lid of the box that held the grain. I ate some of the grain, and then didn’t secure the lid. Rain got in and spoiled all the rest. The tribe was decimated. Those who were left stood around me in a circle. I felt their punishing disappointment and anger. I dared not look up.
This was the version of the vision for many years. Then maybe ten years ago, I worked through it, determined to find forgiveness or learn how to heal my shame. In the vision, everything was the same until the point where I was aware that I didn’t dare look up. I knew this was my cue. Slowly, I first looked into the eyes of the chief. He was looking at me as if he had been waiting all that time for me to look up, and his expression was kind and pitying. He knew that I had been tormenting myself with my shame. I slowly looked at the next person, and the next, and the next. Every person in the circle around me — the tribe’s elders and those others who had survived — were looking at me gently, with kindness, love and understanding. I almost could not believe what I was seeing. There was no blame. The chief said, “We never blamed you. You were just a little girl. We knew you had not meant to cause harm. Get up. You are not to blame.”
When this scene came back to me yesterday, I heard the voice in my head say, “She is completely forgiven and was never blamed. Rise into the free access to the whole universe, yours for the taking. You knew this when you opened the food supply and felt free to take it. You were right then and and are still now. Breathe!”
AHA. My own self-limiting thoughts and doubts about my right to abundance have been at work.
Now onto Mom. My mother was, in her life, prudent, rational, and careful. She was not stingy and was generous in many ways, but her idea of how to spend money was conventional. In our early years of marriage, Lee and I had enough most of the time, but were house poor for a few years. When we could, we went a bit into debt (after all, we rationalized, we had many years of earning ahead of us and would eventually come out OK, and we were right) to go on vacation or buy a work of art. All our furniture was a hand-me-down or from thrift stores, and this lack of matching, modern furniture caused my mother to utter in tight frustration one day, “You spend money on the extras, but don’t have the basics.”
In 2010, she died, certain that with the death of the body, all consciousness ended. Five hours later, she appeared to me with a sudden whoosh in my head. She was turning around and around in the middle of a bright white field, an expression of beautiful amazement on her broadly smiling face,saying, “Wow! Wow! Wow!” My father (who’d died in 1977) sat in the background, grinning. They both looked about 19. She came to me three days later, wrapped in mummy-like herringbone gauze up to her collar-bone, and she said, “I’m wrapping things up now and won’t be able to communicate for a while. But I’m going to be sending you wonderful things.”
Five years later, as I was driving across the country in my Big Move to California, I was looking for a inexpensive motel for the night, and suddenly saw her looking at me the way we look at our toddlers, urging them to walk. She looked at me with wide eyes, lifting her eyebrows, and said, “Spend more money! Be good to yourself! Who do you think is paying for this trip?” Truthfully, I had a lot of money (for me) saved up and could have stayed anywhere I wanted, but of course, I had an eye on stretching my resources as much as possible. So in fact, I was paying for the trip. But I understood that what she meant was that she was arranging things for me to my advantage much more lavishly than I was imagining and there was no reason for me to worry about money.
She occasionally still does visit, wafting blessings and encouragement to be generous with myself. Last winter she told me to get a luxurious, expensive new bathrobe. I’ve been looking but haven’t found the right one.
So now, in addition to loving my mother for all that she was to me as my flesh and blood Mom, I now know her as my Lakshmi, encouraging me to be generous with myself over and over again.
And this reminds me of the song I tried to sing but couldn’t, so I spoke it at her funeral. The original words by Reverend Karyl Huntley and Karen Drucker are slightly different, but I sang it as I had learned it:
You are my face of God. I hold you in my heart. You are a part of me. You are my face of God.