For this time period, I am working through Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan’s book Money Drunk, Money Sober before I work through the Prosperous Heart. The following blog entries are in response to prompts and experiences from the book. I see this as an extension of my Artist’s Way work. Some of my entries are jarring and highly personal – any program of sobriety and self-improvement demands admitting dysfunction both personally and in family, and it also calls to admit some painful truths. While not everything I work on appears here, a number of realities do. I have a genuine body of work thanks to my work on the Artist’s Way program, and I can’t ignore the changes the continual commitment has brought about. Because of that, I also can’t ignore what going further into the harder aspects of the program – like facing money issues – has the potential to improve.
Dear Good Orderly Direction,
My money has always spelled A-U-T-O-N-O-M-Y. Money gave me escape from a controlling family, and it showed up from my long-dead Polish grandmother just as my parents would have wrested my future and life from me and forced me into baby making hell. In fact, signs of my financial autonomy and thus freedom from them all still enrages them. There were attempts to shame me for not dressing well at my grandfather’s funeral – I used the money for tuition instead of a pretty dress, honoring a wish he made to me and for me privately, and honoring his wish I finish school no matter what crap my mother tried to pull. There were guilt trips about my not moving back to where my family lived, despite the guarantee of lifelong poverty if I did. There were guilt trips about not visiting my family at all, despite many years where my health conditions depleted my funds and my body could not take travel. When I did visit my family, it almost always ended in violence – screaming, tantrums from my mother and sister, the unpleasant behavior that did not make visiting them appealing followed by guilt trips for not visiting – and taking their abuse – enough. Along with the emotional depletion of these visits came financial depletion, as I spent on them like a mother trying to calm spoiled, horrible children. Vacations I take for myself have never financially crippled me like the visits to my family. Other people would be broken by this, and blame themselves. But G.O.D. has loved me enough to help me see that I am not the cause of their behavior, and that if I were not there, they would target someone else and probably do now. I am not responsible for that next target, either – but I can wish her strength, and a place to go where she is safe, and the sense not to ever let them know should she amass any financial power of her own.
I have since I began this journey of financial sobriety come to understand two things: G.O.D. is there, and my ancestors have always been helping me – because my ancestors want to see progress in their descendants, not repetition of their lives and pasts. Both my grandfather on my mother’s side and my grandmother on my father’s side took measures to ensure I was not trapped by my mother and her demons. There is a symmetry to this, to the genders, to the roles they took, to the quiet ways I received help my family did not even consider giving me.
Perhaps my mother will mature enough to understand that it is arrogant to expect to see yourself in your children, and thus to stop trying to force her children to live her life, but I am not optimistic. I see clearly that I am NOT half my mother and half my father. I am a composite of my parents’ ancestors, going down lines, across oceans and tundras, and cradling itself in a single continent somewhere. I also see clearly that G.O.D is there, and watching, and protecting as much as G.O.D can protect while still allowing free will. I am deeply grateful for this. G.O.D has abundant care for me, and I want to care back, and give back. I am loved, and my good to G.O.D is rewarded – as long as I look to G.O.D for G.O.D and not to human beings who often still need to find their own way.
G.O.D is abundant, and wanting good for myself, freedom for myself, happiness for myself IS the attainment of spirituality.
Amen Amen So Mote It Be.