Money Drunk Money Sober : What My God Believes about Money

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.

Being something of a Gnostic polytheist, it’s never occurred to me to ASK what God thinks about money. When it comes to human needs, and whether to take them to divinity, I often hear back a “For fuck’s sake, that’s what I’m here for!” I get much the same response about money and asking for financial assistance and provision.

house-drawing

It actually puts me in mind of an experience I had while living in Mankato. My former working partner brought over a girl who was interested in Wicca, to do a full moon ritual with us. He wanted to satisfy her curiosity/alleviate her fear, and while I don’t remember much of what went on that night, I do remember how it ended: as we opened the circle, some clouds drifted right above us – in the unmistakeable shape of a woman’s face. We all saw it, and there were no differences in interpretation among us.

The girl, upon seeing this, said, “Wouldn’t the Goddess have something better to do?”

I didn’t react at the time – at that age I put far too much emphasis on trying to be polite no matter how rude or arrogant I found someone’s behavior – but I was pretty thoroughly offended. I just couldn’t verbalize WHY I was offended.

A decade later, I know why that pissed me off. First, she was being utterly dismissive of a divine manifestation that literally appeared before her eyes. Her fear ≠ my problem, especially as I’d just gone out of my way to give her the hospitality of my hearth and circle. I’d done everything I’d done to alleviate her fear, and there’s nothing you can do about someone who actively fears that God is real.

But it was also the arrogance of false humility that pissed me off. To the God/ess, appearing to us WAS something “better to do,” and while I do question G.O.D/God all the time, to respond as though a direct experience is somehow trivial is basically a combination of humble-bragging (which is douchey) and putting down the gift of an experience not everyone gets – which is just plain rude to the God/ess, who physically appeared, so it was essentially putting her down like she wasn’t there. But ultimately, it was a “For fuck’s sake, it’s WHAT I’M HERE FOR!” moment that I happened to witness. That the girl retreated from it meant a comfort had been taken away from her, and she was rejecting it since the bias she had come to have confirmed went away unconfirmed.

G.O.D has no problem with money that I know of. It’s popular in Wiccan thought to talk about “prosperity” manifesting in ways where you don’t need money – the secondary implication being “ew, don’t touch that dirty stuff.” But for a sustainable life, you do need to touch the stuff – if you live into an old age, you need more than just the prosperity of circumstance, although that certainly has its own value, too. G.O.D provides – and usually that provision comes in the form of opportunity. Seeing the face of the God/ess in the clouds was an opportunity for my house guest to open her heart to a different way of seeing the world, or at least a chance to make her a better neighbor and friend to those who saw and experienced the world differently from herself. She blew that opportunity, and probably a chance to be a better, happier person because of it. People at peace with the differences of others are, after all, the most at peace with themselves – it’s rare to have such a gift offered so early in life.

There are further complications to the money stuff probably more appropriate to my writer’s blog, where magically focused conversations are relevant. A lot of it taps into magical practices that were about survival in extremes, and how we need to frame working with money to ourselves since from the divine perspective, for many of us the wealth is all there and we just haven’t learned how to use it properly.

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Money Drunk Money Sober: last post – how I’ve improved in 90 days

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.

1. The biggest way? I have a savings system for my small but significant goals. Those goals include:

  • Getting into the online Artist’s Way program Julia Cameron runs. Did it – I’m currently enrolled and on week 4, sort of. I already have the foundation practices, so I’m hoping to spend a little more time in the forums and at some point in the future start teaching Artist’s Way classes myself.
  • Enrolling in the Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Course.
  • Enrolling in the Midwest School of Herbalism.
  • Smaller, but just as significant: getting certification from the American Tarot society.

I feel like I should justify not finishing grad school, etc. etc. but I won’t. I haven’t fully decided whether I’m going back or not, and really, I’d feel better if I published a larger body of work before I tried. Also, I HATE asking for letters of recommendation. It’s embarrassing and uncomfortable. I’m generally ashamed to ask, which is a much bigger stumbling block for me than taking the GRE. I feel like I should take a few classes outside a program first if I do that.

While none of these things technically improve my career – I can’t imagine how I’d even fit in tarot clients, let alone get them these days –  they’re a nod to my 20-something self who really did want to do all these things. But in my teens, I lived with a mother who felt that a household was only “good” if at least one child was ruled by fear forcing me to pretend childhood while often being the only functional adult in her house, and then I went on to marry a man who bragged about wearing T-shirts that said “Kill All Artists” and who would go ON about how useless creative people were in society. I am aware that without those useless people, he wouldn’t have been able to check out on our marriage with video games, chatlines, and RPGs. But essentially I went from a house of “you’re not allowed to feel safe or be who you are because WE have decided that you’re not allowed to decide or discover your identities for yourself” to a marriage of “you’re not allowed to feel safe or be who you are or be who you are because I have decided that you’re not allowed to decide or discover your identities for yourself.” My ex-husband was far too unmotivated to make it that actively hostile, but the thought was always there with him.

Still, I have a system for it now.

2. I no longer avoid checking my bank balances.

I would sometimes go for weeks without recording expenditures. Now I’m in touch with them daily.

3. I am included in managing household finances.

Mike was handling all of them and we got to that situation because of my health problems.  I’m now involved in recording expenses and can see how the cash flow is or isn’t going. I even did ALL of our bookings and shopping for an upcoming vacation. Without a sense of autonomy, I lose my sense of responsibility. I have a lot of weird guilt issues that go back from before I got sick, where if I’m not carrying the ENTIRE load for EVERYBODY, I haven’t done enough/I’m not good enough. There was the damage from my mother going ON about how much debt she and my father were in/how little money they had (sometimes for entire 45 minute car rides, and at least once a week she’d have a “sit down” with me about how badly we were all doing financially) and there is the additional scar where my ex-in-laws accused me of gold digging when I got engaged to my ex. I’m pretty sure the “gold digging” accusation came up because I didn’t own a car. Or else they were angling for a dowry – my ex and his mother both had some hoarding issues, so there was some damage there that had nothing to do with me, but I still got abused with it. Financial bitterness and manipulation is how my ex extended our relationship in an attempt to get me back – it was manipulation that came from his darkest, nastiest, and most in need of therapy place, because that man is fucked up when it comes to money and having control over his life.

It’s pretty obvious from all the triggers that got tripped that the financial attitude goes straight back to my mother’s financial helplessness combined with how she used money and financial control as one more tool to treat me like dirt. My father also tried to use money to control my behavior at times, but he would realize what he was doing and back the hell off – and he NEVER repeated the weird controlling stuff after he recognized what he did. I can’t say the same for my mother. It’s the crazy/sane thing – my dad had moments of crazy. He had an emotional reaction he wasn’t in control of, and when he came to his senses and sorted out his emotions, he also assessed the damage he did to me and held himself accountable. He would even apologize, and it was a REAL apology. (My mother is the queen of “I’m sorry but I was TOTALLY JUSTIFIED in treating you like shit because I am your mother and that entitles me to behave like a sociopath!”

My mother, on the other hand, seems to unleash these “crazy” behaviors at regular intervals because she wants to produce a result of long-term control. I see a calculating pattern to it. Someone who is unleashing emotional and physical trauma on another human being aiming for a result isn’t crazy – but is evil. Especially since the result she seemed to be aiming for was lifelong control, which is something NO adult should have over another adult – even if it is a parent/child relationship. ESPECIALLY if it’s a parent/child relationship.

Why is the parental thing so significant to the amount of household autonomy I have now?

4. I’m finally addressing my health issues…again.

I sucked it up and went to the dentist last fall. I’m seeing a new allergist today who hopefully WON’T throw pills at me and tell me to see him again in a year, and I’m going to talk to him about possibly sending me to an endocrinologist. I have been seeing an acupuncturist, but he seems to think weight loss is the ONLY way to treat system inflammation, even though logic dictates that reducing inflammation would have the BYPRODUCT of weight loss. He might pound his chest about health, and I know he’s good at what he does – but I do not feel respected right now. I feel like he equates “health” with “looking like someone he might want to fuck,” though I’m sure he’s not conscious of that logic stream at all, and he only seems to be just figuring out that I didn’t get fat by sitting on my ass eating Ho-Hos, or really eating all that much, period. I’m also having a very hard time asserting myself with this guy, and this I consider an alarm bell, too – especially since Mike’s pushing me to be assertive, and I don’t think he fully understands that for some reason I’m missing the ability to, probably because I’m losing IQ points to malnutrition. I avoided most of these treatments because I simply did not have health insurance or the money for them, and being on MN care is often translated by doctors as “give the minimal care I can get away with,” despite that shitty approach LEADING to people overusing the system because they have to keep going back for treatment and thus driving up costs. Diabetes screenings, pap smears, all that – I’m aiming to get that all done by December, so I can start the new year knowing what the hell is going on with my body. It does require drastic change – a diet is inevitable. I’d just prefer one that doesn’t interfere with my ability to write.

5. I feel like more things are possible now.

This is partly a byproduct of the artist’s way. I try things. I do things. I organize things. And it’s fun.

 

 

 

Money Drunk Money Sober: Things I Would Like to Be

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.

  • Happy
  • Healthy
  • Unworried
  • Fit
  • A Conjure Woman
  • a certified herbalist
  • Prepared for emergencies
  • Comfortable
  • Well-dressed
  • Fun
  • Funny
  • a bellydance teacher
  • a lover AND a fighter
  • Well educated
  • As lopsidedly rounded as I damn well please. (My mother claimed she forced me through music stuff I openly did not enjoy because she wanted me to be “well rounded.” That’s bullshit, and  Gods only know what the actual intent was – it was certainly not for my improvement, but very likely for her social climbing. Sadly, until I suss out the actual intent, she would still use the excuse/lie/bullshit statement of “well rounded.”)
  • Free
  • a student of Aikido
  • a member of the library board
  • Successful in a way that has meaning to me – so not the white picket fence 2.5 kids crap, something that is real to me, and that genuinely brings me joy

 

 

Money Drunk Money Sober: Things I would like to DO

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.

  • Travel – which I’m doing, thanks to a partner who is as expansive and as curious as I am.
  • Write – also very much thanks to my partner.
  • Attend some of these blogger conferences. AT LEAST Blog Her and Full Figured Fashion Week.
  • Publish – a zine, a chapbook, the book WILL be published, of course.
  • Go on a writer’s retreat. Preferably Hawaii, in the dead of winter.
  • Dance more. The 5 rhythms workshop pairs well with Shamantra. It’s expensive, but I’ve gotten SO MUCH out of shamanic dance since I started in January.
  • Tell off my family, in detail. I’ve only really exploded in short bursts after being pushed too far. Like most abusive people, my family framed the explosions – the “different” behavior as crazy, when the REAL crazy was tolerating their bad treatment in silence.  I’ve already looked at the Experience Project and see a clear pattern of why confrontation won’t work – it’s not like they’ll ever acknowledge that their behavior is in any way bad, wrong, or hurtful, and if they KNOW it was abusive they’re even less likely to acknowledge the reality and come up with insultingly lame excuses. But a long, detailed, public letter that shines an embarrassing light on them would bring them about a quarter of the humiliation they visited on me and be satisfying to my revenge-inclined Scorpio soul. It just wouldn’t change anything – they decided a long time ago not to take responsibility for their actions, and no one cared that I had no choice about being there for all the crap. I really want to include my mother’s extended family in this, because they have been the worst about a)treating me like I’m not actually a person but that I owe it to them to show up, listen to their boring stories, have them criticize a life they only know about through my mother like I owe them something and b)acting like I owe them a goddamn thing when these asshats can’t even be bothered to send me a birthday card. (With the curious exception of my uncle, who is the generator of most abusive activity – he actually acknowledged my college graduation. Not even my parents did that, and I still wonder if it was a peculiar touche’.) It would do no good. But I will always want to do it.

With the exception of the last item, I’m pretty sure I can do all of the above. I’m actually a little disappointed in myself for not wanting to DO more. Maybe I’m just being American about it.

 

 

 

Money Drunk Money Sober : Wishlist – things I would like to HAVE

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.

  • Good health.
  • I’m starting to lean towards a townhouse, because I’m starting to REALLY want a ritual space of my own again.
  • A second car, or an HourCar membership if it’s geographically convenient (close to a garage.) Would have come in handy today. But their billing system essentially punishes you for using AND not using their vehicles, which sucks.
  • A subscription to Artful Blogging.
  • Another pair of calf boots – mine are starting to wear out.
  • A new laptop, preferably an ASUS with the number pad.
  • A fancier camera that I can use with a remote. I have a high end point-and-shoot now (that might as well BE a DSLR) but it’s looking like if I want to keep blogging, I have to upgrade.

 

Money Drunk Money Sober : what my family religion taught me about God and money

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.

While I consider my experience with my childhood church just fine until I left it, there were in fact some serious problems with the way I was raised to relate to God at home.

My father was a Catholic who “converted”-ish to Catholicism to shut my mother up. My mother was a Protestant who was quite smug about how her “superior” faith had “converted” her husband (it never really did. Dad privately expressed agnostic views to me well into my teens, and was not assured of God as a reality until he became involved in Freemasonry.)

Notre Dame

Looking back from the perspective I have as a priestess with a faith based on God and the dead as part of my physical reality, and not from that of a child who places faith in a parent whether she deserves it or not… my mother was exactly the kind of person Jesus wanted his followers to ignore. Smug + faith do not mix, and a sense of faith should have absolutely NOTHING to do with “winning.” In all things, my mother was a model of morality in our home – and thus a model of being a sore loser when reality did not confirm her rather severe and willfully spiteful racism, classism, and homophobia biases. Looking back I’m convinced she cared more about “winning” / “being right” and looking good to our neighbors than she EVER did about living a good, honest life. She put way too much effort into finding people to hate and avoiding all self-examination for faith to be part of her truth.

My conversion to Wicca was not about feminism, or the environment, or any of that. It was about living honestly. That was what was always missing in my childhood household faith. But I digress.

In the context of my family religion, I learned I was NEVER to ask God for anything. I would hear my mother talk about how the “rich” people at church never put as much in the offering plates as did the families that struggled. I would know – even though I shouldn’t – who used the food shelves. And of course, we thanked God for dinner every night.

But I never heard anyone asking God for anything, unless you count the “give us this day our daily bread,” thus killing any petitioner with a gluten problem.

In my world, God did NOT provide. My parents also did their damnedest not to provide to me – but they did provide, and richly, for my sister. To my knowledge my mother still provides for her. It was all very Jacob and Esau, which explains why Jacob Have I Loved resonates with me to this day. I was never to ask my parents for anything, either – but they were free to demand of me whatever they wanted, no matter how unreasonable, unrealistic, or financially crippling it might be for me. This they did freely, although there was a point where I would say no despite the tantrums because homelessness was NOT worth satisfying my mother’s ego or enduring the living hell she made every Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Notre Dame

Strangely, I did learn that God did answer when I asked for something – or, more specifically, Jesus did. If I prayed to Jesus, prayers were answered. That’s what I did when I wanted to be with my junior year boyfriend more than anything in the world – I prayed to Jesus every night. And somehow my mother relinquished her suffocating control enough for me to have an actual boyfriend that I actually had actual feelings for – and one who did not fit into her social agenda for herself or for me. This really was something of a miracle, because while my mother was much more lax with my sister (despite my sister’s obvious and repeated behavioral issues) with me she really wanted the world to know how much “control” she had over me.  She would even brag about that control to other parents with me standing right there. My mother was a cold, withholding woman, who was too busy being a lousy teacher with me to even consider trying out being a good mother.

The second time I learned that God DID answer prayers/provide was the same year. Yes, I had my first pregnancy scare at 16. The contraceptive sponge I used had flipped over (they were easier to hide than condoms because they looked vaguely like more menstrual supplies) and I was a few days later than normal. “Please Jesus, don’t let me be pregnant,” was a prayer uttered awake and asleep until my period started. As far as I’m concerned, it worked.

I’ve never denied that what led me to Wicca was my financial situation in college combined with my bad love life. Praying for it to be fixed didn’t occur to me, because you didn’t ask God for “petty” things. But in Wicca, where polytheism can meet animism can meet monotheism, the day to day “petty” things were considered spiritually valuable -so valuable that casting a spell to make things better for yourself was allowable and among some traditions of Wicca, accepted. After a summer where my friends were my only relief from my mother’s increasingly creepy control (she forced me through a DAR initiation I expressly DID NOT WANT AND made me wear HER clothing while I did it, for the pinnacle of creepy that summer) I wanted some better outs. With no car, and my parents refusing to help me get one, and thus eliminating my chances of working off campus and earning money for the next school year, I was willing and ready to try anything. No additional income = being forced to move back in with my parents. My mother’s refusal to utter those words made it clear that’s EXACTLY what she wanted, especially when she “encouraged” the other membership of the DAR to ask me for commitments that would keep me past the date when my classes started.

My friends from Indiana AND my friends at school had all started pointing out how “not normal” my mother’s behavior was. I wasn’t sure they were 100% right yet, but I had to get out of her reach somehow. Also, unrelated to my mother, I wanted to have sex more than once every few years.That’s where magic came in.

It worked.  I’ve told the story of provision by subtle disbursement elsewhere, more than once. But it worked. I had to work for a good chunk of it, but there was clearly a helping hand involved too.
In Wicca, there’s actually a weird reversal of my experience with “don’t ask God for anything,” in that people will ask, and ask, and ask – and never give offerings or anything like that. In my case, I often overcompensate with the thanks, and I’m only now working out the right balance of offering to request.

But I do ask God for things now, or the Gods, as the situation may call for it. God does provide, even if the provision is a pathway that still requires you to work like hell.

My childhood God was “You should be ashamed to ask.”

My adult God is, “This is what I’m here for. Ask!”

 

Money Drunk Money Sober: Does my concept of God “do” money?

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.

Yes. ABSOLUTELY.

My first experiences in Wicca/witchcraft were also among my first going to G.O.D/the divine for help – actually asking for help. A lot of the help I needed at the time involved money to stay in college. And I got it. I got it in low-odds ways, but I got exactly what I needed when I needed to get to where I needed to go – and from multiple sources. Some I worked my ass off for. Others did land on me through luck I do not ordinarily enjoy.

My concept of G.O.D is peculiar, a bit Gnostic, a bit not. I transit from animist – polytheist – somewhat monotheist depending on what I’m experiencing at the time. I know there is something intelligent that I really do have a relationship with. I know that it loves me, absolutely, unconditionally, more than my parents ever could. I know it’s WAY less judgmental than that God stuffed in that Bible who kept calling Smithers Satan.

I know on an intuitive level that I am significantly different from my family in thought and behavior BECAUSE I have this relationship to the divine. But what “it” is changes – and no, not always at my convenience.

Money Drunk Money Sober: My Prosperity Prayer

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,

Shalom!

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.

 

With love,

 

Amen Amen So Mote It Be.

 

Money Drunk Money Sober: My Ideal Home

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.

inside

My ideal home:

  • Southern exposure, with balcony in that area.
  • A townhouse or condo. I have no need for or interest in a McMansion, suburban homestead, or 19th century haunted mess. Save the romance and the housewifey dreams for another woman – to me those things are nightmares.
  • A dishwasher.
  • A kitchen preferably with a central island I can hang pots over.
  • A section of open shelves in the kitchen where I can store and see my herbs easily.
  • A RITUAL ROOM OF MY OWN. Mike doesn’t like this, and he generally doesn’t like the idea of me having space that is strictly my own. I don’t care. I haven’t had adequate ritual space since before I left Mankato, and frankly, I’d like to do a working without having to break concentration to accommodate him. It took me two years to get him to stop playing loud videos when I was meditating. Now I want some designated space, so neither one of us has to worry about disrupting the other. He may have some legitimate issues about fire hazards, too. As it is, I’m pretty sure this is why I’ve lost some of my mental focus skills and I’d like them back now. It would require good ventilation, at least one window (preferably in the east or the south,) and ideally NOT have any carpeting. Built-in bookshelves or cabinetry would be a plus, but not required, and highly unlikely given Mike’s and my shared preference for places built after 1980.
  • A shared office for Mike and I – we like sharing an office, usually. Maybe a library-style shared office with a reading couch or chair.
  • Lots of space for bookshelves. I may be narrowing down the print copy books I own, but there are many I use for reference. Also, Mike likes the books and has always wanted a library.
  • One to two good walk-in closets – I want to be able to see all my clothing at once, and Mike would also benefit from space for an electronic valet and the like. Also, a good place for off-season storage is always good.
  • Adequate, decent storage.
  • Lots of sun.
  • Lots of color.
  • A Tiffany lamp somewhere.
  • An in-unit washer and dryer.
  • Room for technological upgrades -a comfortable media room/hangout/library space for Mike and I.
  • Comfy couches, lots of sitting pillows, a few storage ottomans.
  • Near the Mississippi, or near a lake. Preferably near the Mississippi, though. Running water reduces some issues for me.
  • A basement would be OK, but not required.
  • Heated underground parking.
  • Central Air.
  • Central Heat.
  • Windpower available.
  • Solar panels also good.
  • Enough space to grow things indoors and out.
  • Lots of house plants – every house plant that improves indoor air quality I can get.
  • Within walking distance of a library, a post office, a grocery store, and a coffee shop with wireless.
  • Near the train line or near a bus stop.
  • Very near a Nice Ride stop.
  • Within stumbling distance of a decent pub.
  • A place that allows dogs.
  • Near a dog park.
  • Has a fish tank.
  • A few lava lamps and similar things would be OK.

Probably there’s more, but these are the things I’d like in my home, and how I would like my living space to be.

Money Drunk Money Sober explainer text

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.

My Shopper’s Safety List

  1. No unplanned non-emergency purchases. PLAN fun purchases – you can allow yourself a little small something from the museum gift shop. Having a story idea and nothing to write it on does constitute an emergency.
  2. Cash up front.
  3. Pay in full, up front, whenever possible.
  4. Use your Droid to compare prices.
  5. Ask for payment for your services.
  6. Check RipOffReport.com and the Consumerist.
  7. Sometimes you will have to fight for your money. Return things. Call in complaints. Be nice, clear, and firm.
  8. Go ahead and return it if it doesn’t work.
  9. Check what discounts are available to you before you buy. You have your Lucky Rewards subscription, and your MPR membership, for these very reasons. Also, check Retailmenot.
  10. Be clear on what you’re comfortable getting used.
  11. Learn to be comfortable getting new, good quality stuff. Every single thing from your grandmother’s kitchen broke within six months – and your ex kept you from buying a blender for more than six months, which was ridiculous. Don’t create idiotic inhibiting goals around purchases – you spend less when you’re happy with your quality of life.
  12. Do your daily 2 foot declutter – energy out invites prosperity in.
  13. Keep subscriptions to Kiplinger’s AND Money Magazine. Between the two, you end up empowered.
  14. Stick with your $22.50. It’s getting you things you’ve always wanted.
  15. Ask yourself if it’s about time or money, every time.
  16. On many items, hold out for something you really love.
  17. Take a measuring tape with you when you’re shopping for clothes. It will save you wasted time in the dressing room.
  18. Are you upcycling it because you enjoy doing it, or because it alleviates misplaced environmentalist guilt? Does upcycling and repurposing solve a problem, or just create a different annoyance for you?
  19. Are you going with the lowest price because it’s a good deal, or because you think you’ll win approval for being the least burden you can possibly be? (That didn’t work with your parents, they didn’t appreciate or notice the effort. Why are you treating yourself so poorly?)
  20. Always ask: why do I want this? What am I really buying?