I have a confession to make. I did something this week that I would never have thought I'd do on a million years: I made love to money -- and I liked it. I know, I know! It seems to decidedly un-spiritual and is so unlike me. Or so I thought.
First, a bit of my background concerning money: I come from very simple beginnings. My family was quite poor for all of my childhood. I was conceived into an atmosphere of the fear of never having enough. My mother had five children, close together and my father's employment history was spotty. So mom was overwhelmed a lot and worried about her survival -- something she also grew up with, and, my father, while a hard worker, had an attitude of doing enough to just get by. He was not driven or ambitious. He loved his family, but was just not cut from the cloth of the traditional ideas of being motivated for financial success.
Consequently, in relationships I chose men who were constantly worried about money, were overwhelmed by their financial responsibilities and usually had just enough to get by, or less. Sometimes a whole lot less than enough. So, I spent a good deal of my life anxious about not having enough money.
About fifteen years ago, I was in a very dark place both personally and financially. I fell into a deep depression that lasted for over six years. During that time I was unable to work more than a few hours here and there -- just enough to keep from being homeless. I made a decision somewhere in the midst of all that darkness, that, though I didn't know what the future might hold, I had to do something to get out of it, even if it was wrong. So, I began the long, slow road out of depression and destitution. It was painful and embarrassing and I had to let go of my pride and, in humility, ask for help.
I slowly recovered to a point where I became more financially stable. I led a very simple life and learned to live within or below my means. I regained my credit and, for the most part, remained out of debt. I got involved with a man who was much more disciplined financially that my previous partners and he also lived within his means. After working for several years at a "regular job", I decided I'd had enough of the stress and working for someone else's dreams and started my own landscaping business. It was a huge decision for me. It had been over twenty years since I last owned a business.
Initially, the landscaping business did well, but then, due to normal seasonal fluctuations, business slowed, then stopped. Completely. I watched myself become nervous, and then anxious, and then totally immobilized by fear. But, in the midst of this anxiety, I decided to confront my fears about money and my ability to support myself. So, since I wasn't working anyway, I decided to use my time revealing and healing my issues around money and my ability to manifest. This was not an easy choice for me to make. I quickly blew through my little savings and went into credit card debit.
My significant other did not support my choice to focus on my financial healing as he was feeling the effects of my negative cash flow on his own budget. What I was doing seemed totally unreasonable to him. Friends and family thought I was floundering -- "doing nothing". But, I made a commitment to challenge these old, encrusted and debilitating beliefs. Perhaps I will go into the details of this process in another post, but for the purposes of this post, suffice it to say that it was a difficult, but rewarding process for me and I emerged more confident and better able to manifest financially.
That was over three years ago. And, while I am not wealthy by any means, I was able to pay off my debts in full and have lived a comfortable life. Recently, As many of you know, and in keeping with my life-long need to push my comfort edges and grow, I realized that, though I had made some very positive changes in my financial situation, and was happily growing spiritually, I wasn't feeling the rich fullness in my emotional and sensual life. I wasn't overflowing with joy, and, while I had my moments, I wasn't deeply depressed either. I was stuck in a state of having "just enough" in my emotional life. (I am getting to the making love to money part, I promise!)
While at Summerhill, and actually prior to my Soul Coaching training, I had begun to realize how I had put aside my personal happiness and experience of pleasure in favor of becoming more financially and emotionally independent. I was really getting more than a little tired of not feeling my passion. At Summerhill, I found a tremendous sense of peace while there and and many moments of great fun shared with my Soul Sisters, but, I had concluded -- incorrectly, that after the third major romantic relationship in my adult life had ended, happiness was a fleeting emotional state, that depended on life's circumstances and was not to be relied upon. It was what my mind had tried to convince my body of, anyway.
But, as I was awakening a richer, deeper spiritual life, filled with relationships with amazing women, my body also began to awaken. And, after such a long slumber, it wasn't exactly bounding out of bed ready to embrace the day. My body has been grudging, at best in my reawakening and downright cranky at others. Maybe I wasn't happy, but I was comfortable, my body reasoned to my mind. Just let me sleep!
Fine, my spirit whispered, but you're the one who said you were ready for a new relationship. Do you think you're new partner will want to spend his time waiting for you to coax your body to wake up?? Aw, crap.
One day a few weeks ago, while listening to Hay House Radio, I heard Dr. Christiane Northrup talk about how we as women deny our own pleasure and satisfaction, sacrificing it on the so-called alter of serving others. During her program, she interviewed Regena Thomashauer, or Mama Gena, and she goes by. I checked out her website and the more I read, the more I was intrigued. She speaks some fabulously outrageous truths about women and our ability to change the world through experiencing and being in command of our pleasure.
Now, Mama Gena has written some fine books on women and pleasure and I ordered some of them that day. (Hey, it's research!) I was particularly interested in Mama Gena's Owner's and Operator's Guide to Men since I was preparing for my new romantic relationship. Even if you're currently in relationship, this book has some excellent ideas in taking responsibility for your own pleasure and for interacting with your partner.
On her website, one of Mama Gena's Sister Goddesses (Don't you just love that term?) Elvira was talking about her visualizations and exercise for bringing money into her life. (You can listen to it by clicking here.) Here was the idea she and one of her Sister Goddesses concocted: First they created a special ambiance in their bedrooms -- made it a sacred place of pleasure. Then they covered their beds in -- are you ready -- cash. And then they self-pleasured in the middle of that pile of cash. Well, it sounded so outrageous I just had to try it! I went to the bank and withdrew a thousand dollars in cash. I decided on smaller bills so it would have more volume. You'd be surprised how little space $1000.00 takes up. As I was waiting for my check to be cashed I kept my head down, silently praying they wouldn't ask me what I need it for.
Now, let me tell you, this exercise challenged all my ideas about what money is and was used for. And, it challenged my very serious image of myself as "spiritual teacher". I just could not bring myself to carry it out. What did this say about me and my ideals? What sort of images did I carry about money? (i.e.: Money is dirty and is connected with selfishness, greed and lust.) And further, if I had such negative judgments about money, wasn't I pushing financial away by not wanting to associate myself with those negative judgements? If I developed a more friendly relationship with money, wouldn't I just be distracted by having it instead of following my spiritual path? The money sat in the bottom drawer of my desk under a stack of envelopes and mailing labels for over a week.
But, what I want to teach others, and women especially, is not only to be empowered, but how to have fun doing it. I knew that if I wanted to realize my dream of one day owning a retreat center for healers and to travel and speak around the world and assist others in their own empowerment and healing, it would take money. And, I could no longer remain in the dark about my judgments about it. So I was ready to play full out in this little experiment.
I decided to reframe my beliefs about money and make it sacred and an energy gift that would allow me to better serve myself and others. I took a shower and carefully prepared my room. I lit a candle and burned some sweet smelling incense. I had my luxurious 800 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets on the bed. Selecting some soft, sensual music. I pulled back the covers then took the cash out of the bank envelopes and spread them across the top of the bed and stood back to look at it.
I noticed what I was feeling. First, I was grateful to be able to have enough cash to withdraw for this exercise, and I remembered that creative energy and sexual energy are intertwined in the body. I found my body to be surprisingly responsive and in the mood of the moment. Holding out my hands, I blessed the money and all it had done and all that it would do. Then I slid into bed and laid there, noticing the coolness of the paper against my skin. I rubbed a few bills across my body and found it to be more pleasurable than I expected. I let the music wash over me and just stayed in the sensations of the moment, not judging or trying to reason what was happening.