Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Healer's Testament: Transforming The Filthy Lucre

A challenge that many independent artists face is the challenge of accepting money as a part of the process. I know this challenge well. Learning to accept increasing amounts of money for the work I do is very difficult for me at times because my art is a sacred thing to me and money...well, money is evil, right? But what of those who appreciate me? Should they not be able to give to me as much as I want to give to them?

Sarah B. Tonin is an independent Spoken Word Artist and Healing Arts Therapist. In this piece, she discusses her history and indoctrination concerning money and how she is transforming "The Filthy Lucre" into Support and Abundance. I hope you are as inspired by her testimony as I was.

A Healer's Testament: Transforming the Filthy Lucre by Sarah B. Tonin
I had a conversation with a friend last week, and she asked me some very simple questions that had previously uncharted possible answers. I happen to believe that the solutions you seek usually always begin first with the right questions being asked. I thank God for having people in my life who help me introspect with certain accuracy.

My friend asked me, "What did money ever do to you, for you to dislike it so much?" I was determined that disliking money was not a problem I had, sure as I have businesses that I'm determined to see succeed. Then she illustrated to me my detachment from what I undoubtedly perceived to be "filthy lucre". She asked me again, "Why don't you see it as part of your processes, compensation for your effort, as opposed to a separate offensive entity that you want no REAL association with?" At first I defended with, "I am a healer, and money runs opposite my purpose." I thought after she pointed out, that I would not be able to continue to perform as a healer if I didn't first accept that capital will support my efforts and help sustain my practices (I knew this, but.....) She insisted, "If the universe wants to give you money, why won't you just accept that? It knows that you will not abuse and misuse people to attain it." So, I sat thinking for a moment, with tears in my eyes because we were being real, and stripped down and either I didn't want to admit money's importance to my missions, or because I just didn't want to go that deep into my own psyche at the moment....but I thought about it.

Two days later, after she was safely back in Portland, I was still contemplating. I could not recall ever being set aside for the love of money by the important people in my life. No one had ever stolen from me, or given me any funds that could be linked to illegal activity. I didn't know WHY I was so detached from the idea of accumulation of financial gain. Another day passes, and I think about how many times in the past I've been reluctant to work with money. I wanted NOTHING to do with people's cash. It was not worth the "headache" as I so often recall thinking. I actually made my path more difficult at times, in avoidance of dealing with money. That's when it came to me! I had not been at odds with money because of anything it had done to me. I had watched how corrupt people around me became with the prospect and actuality of money being within their grasp. I had seen the love of lucre destroy friendships, marriages, strain parental ties. I have witnessed people fight over it. Known of those being killed for it. I understood, without actually being in the midst of any of these instances that money could indeed created a volatile and hostile environment....and I was determined to exist in the midst peace and healing. Without ever really considering how far I had removed myself from the reality of things, money and I became estranged.

Today, with a renewed understanding of our misunderstanding, I'm prepared to kiss and make up. I know that I am who I am, and that money will not alter my character, to become like those I've seen descend to the most foul of lows because of character issues in them...not the money. I know that I will not lose my title of being a healer, and that money will work with me to further healing efforts for every single person it helps me to reach. I know I won't risk my individualism and become one in a sea of others, who live in the pursuit of money. And dear Universe, if you're still in a generous mood, I'm more than willing to accept the money you've been trying to send my way. Sorry it took so long to accept your offer of support and abundance. I'm learning how to get out of my own way more, with each passing day. I have long admitted to being an anomaly to myself though...even in all the good I seek to manifest for others. I'm gonna chill with that anomaly shit.

Sarah, let's get these monies!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

On Gatekeepers

On Gatekeepers:

When we do our work, we are undoubtedly confronted by gatekeepers who insist that we prove to them that we have done what it takes to be able to do the work that we do. So who the fuck is a gatekeeper? What the fuck difference does a gatekeeper make? And why the FUCK do we listen to them?

To understand the answer to these questions, we must understand motives. Here are 4 examples of some very common gatekeepers. See if you can identify their motives.

1. The Fragile: she is terrified of following her own path. Whenever she makes a comment or develops a notion that someone doesn't agree with, she changes her story in order to be perceived as intelligent (or at least, not foolish). By the time she's done explaining her goal, it sounds like some cliche shit from a made for TV movie. As a result of never having the back bone to achieve her original goal, she aims to instill fear in all those who display the potential to be powerful. She wants to water down the dreams of everyone around her in the same way she has been watered down. She is known to say things like "I wouldn't do that if I were you," "yeah, but all the work would never justify the outcome," and the famed, "sounds nice, but it's not in the budget."

What is The Fragile motive?

2. The Competitor: she prides herself in being at the top of her field. She is frightened by the truth that with the right mentors and cultivation, you will undoubtedly be doper than she is. She will poise herself to appear stronger and more powerful than she is in order to keep you intimidated enough to believe what she says. The Competitor probably went through the "system" to achieve all the honors, signatures, and tags that would keep The Fragile from having anything to say around her. In fact, The Competitor often surrounds herself with The Fragile in order to appear awesome by comparison. If challenged head on, The Competitor will fight or flee. If she fights, she'll sound ridiculous to a smart person. If she discovers her ridiculousness, she'll try to save face by discrediting her opponent. She devalues all things that lie outside of her institution, and is often overheard saying things like "you may be passionate, but from where did you graduate?"

What is The Competitor motive?

3. The Collector: she is much less interested in the actual work and much more interested in how much she can do before she dies. She can tell you all the schools she's been to, the people she's worked with, the degrees she's completed, the number of stamps on her passport and the papers she's published. The Collector is full of great stories and experiences. The Fragile and The Competitor look up to The Collector because she's living the life they always dreamed. She enjoys being perceived as amazing by those who value letters and accolades, but she's really just having aimless fun. If you ask The Collector what her passion is, the honest answer will have nothing to do with work. It may, instead, be something like "I love to travel and meet new people!" She may seem harmless, but her aimlessness and lack of focus can be a threat to someone who is relying on her for the work she claims to do.

What is The Collector motive?

4. The Hater: she hates anything that looks productive. If she didn't think of it first, it's wrong. If somebody listens to what she thinks and champions it, the hater will rethink her position. There is always a reason why "it just won't work" no matter what it is. She fails at what she tries because she gives up, not because she gives it a go and sees it through to the end. At best, she will reluctantly settle in the same camp as The Fragile. At worst, she will stay sick and look way older than she really is. Then she'll die at 55 from some rare illness. Avoid her.

What is The Hater motive?

Now that we know who the gatekeepers are, let's explore who they aren't. See if you can identify their motives.

1. The Champion: though she may be more decorated than The Collector and more influential than The Competitor, her goal is to find and highlight the awesomeness in others. A compliment from her feels genuine, as you know she's coming from a place of expertise. She has no need to pull others down because she is secure in herself. When finding a new student, The Champion won't withhold information in order to maintain an upper hand. In fact, she does just the opposite: she answers every question completely and honestly and encourages others to live their dreams, research their passion, hone their craft, and contact her if they ever need assistance. The Collector and The Competitor are always curious as to why the largest group of people at a networking event are surrounding The Champion, vying for attention. The Champion could care less because her work and the people she serves are way more important to her than who's who at the networking event. In fact, the only reason she's at the networking event is to find people to introduce to The Philanthropist.

What is The Champion motive?

2. The Philanthropist: she is looking for opportunities to connect people with resources. She keeps a bird's eye view of all the goings on in order to identify where links are missing and how she can be of assistance. If asked what she does, she'll respond, "I'm looking to give resources away." A curious thing occurs when The Gatekeepers interact with The Philanthropist: they either run away because they're full of shit, or they try to make others think that they discovered The Philanthropist...you know, doing that typical gatekeeper dance: "If you wanna get to her, you gotta come through me! Mwahahahah!" The Philanthropist will gladly give you her cell number if you ask for it, and only about 3 of every 10 contacts will follow up, so she's not as busy as one may think. The Philanthropist and The Champion are old friends who work together all the time, comfortably relying on each other to identify and provide resources for emerging leaders.

What is The Philanthropist motive?

3. The Renegade: she doesn't give a shit about any institution and looks very strange to The Gatekeepers. She doesn't dress like others. She doesn't talk like others, and she doesn't spend a lot of time with people who are not directly involved in her work. She has strong connections to the people she serves and she's only interested in whether or not an initiative works for those people. Despite her somewhat odd appearance and mannerism, she knows exactly what she's doing and what she came for. The Champion refers to the Renegade saying things like, "Welp, that's our Renegade!" and is always available to lend a helping hand.

What is The Renegade motive?

4. The Entrepreneur: the entrepreneur is the most auspicious of the non-Gatekeepers and was probably an ambitious teenager. She is a job creator, is usually very wealthy, and has absolutely zero time for bullshit. We rarely see the entrepreneur because she's in an office in a far off land scheming to discover a more efficient method for facilitating production and distribution. When she discovers her new methods, she pops her head out of the water. The unveiling is a big fucking deal, costs hella to get in, and The Collector has a ticket. The Entrepreneur is in the paper a lot and she can be followed on twitter.

What is The Entrepreneur motive?

Now that we know what gatekeepers are and what they aren't, we can gain the perspective we need to cultivate the relationships and motives that will help us get where we want to go. Gatekeepers make no difference when our mind, spirit, and resources are pointed in the right direction: the direction of service. So we don't listen to them. We listen to our hearts. We focus on the population we aim to SERVE because that population is going hungry waiting for us to mind our own business. Explore your passion. Then, see if you can identify your motives....

What is Your motive?

Thug Life,