delusions in love and money

A couple of weeks ago I returned to my hometown after five months living in a much smaller city. I’m happy to be back. Though my time on the Island was powerful, it was also quite challenging. I missed my native city’s buzz and beauty, and my friends and family.

Wherever you go, there you are. It’s true. Moving to a new location may seem like the solution to our frustrations, but once the novelty wears off we often find our old thoughts and behaviours creeping back in, like weeds growing in our minds. The same dynamics appear, but with new faces and places.

On the other hand, new scenery can give us a reset or fresh perspective. Many people are now being guided to relocate. Maybe we’ve learned all we can where we are, and it’s time to move on.

Personally, so many of my own illusions and delusions came to the surface these last few months, especially in terms of finances and relationships. I became aware of how intertwined my views are on love and money, and where I’ve buried my head in the sand about each. Reality can feel too painful or overwhelming to confront, so we make up stories to avoid it.

Some painted tree posts from my Island 'hood

Some painted tree posts from my Island ‘hood

I’ve never felt totally at home in 3D. I’ve preferred to spend time in realms beyond the physical, seeking the bigger picture ‘why’ of things. But I can see that over-spiritualizing – looking for a spiritual explanation for everything – doesn’t always serve. I’ve dismissed physical reality as somehow inferior to the ‘higher’ realms. It’s all just an illusion.

Yet we are in the physical, material world on planet earth, and my struggle has been with scarcity. Survival. Poverty. Not enough. I’m not enough. This has manifested in bank balances and romantic relationships that could do nothing but reflect this lack. I’ve blamed ‘evil financial corporations’ and fantasized about ‘twin flames’. I’ve been terrified that external sources had so much power over me, and that I couldn’t wriggle myself out, despite my best efforts and intentions.

It’s been essential to dive into my emotions and memories to understand where my limiting beliefs originated, and how I’ve created experiences of lack over and over. I’ve been on my self-healing journey for many years, and in feeling the pain and emptiness for so long (especially these last few months), I’m now sensing that it doesn’t mean anything.

All the stories I’ve told myself about love and money, and my worthiness (or lack thereof) to receive them, about lessons and karma and suffering, are simply not true. It seems like a paradox; we must feel the intense realness of our darkest places, our deepest lack and shame, to realize it was never true to begin with. Not for us, our parents, or our ancestors.

There is grief in this. We’ve invested so much time and energy in our stories, hopes, and delusions that we resist letting them go. We have known and loved those stories, even if they’ve caused pain. Letting go feels risky, as so many of our loved ones are invested in these same stories. We doubt ourselves. What if I’m wrong? What if God’s testing me, to show how much I care? What if I’m quitting two minutes before the miracle?

Letting go means we give up our attachment to being powerless. We don’t get to be so sad and moody anymore. A whole new range of experience awaits, and we have to be responsible. Who knows what that will demand of us!

But holding on to what’s not working eventually becomes so draining that we simply do not have the energy to continue. It’s not worth the consequences to our body and spirit. We have no recourse but to throw in the towel and trust the tiny shred of hope that something greater just might be on the horizon.

I’m open to miracles, 5D living, and quantum shifts in consciousness. Bring it on! But I’m committed to not living in la-la land. I intend to see the physical, material world with more crystal clarity than ever, knowing I have the resources to handle it. I’ll see through 3D’s illusions (and yeah, it is all illusion), so that real truth can shine through.

Happy February!

my fiction put me in debt

My first guest blog post, as featured on A Holistic Journey.

A Holistic Journey

Last week my father told me that his local Safeway had closed down, soon to be replaced with a Whole Foods. Normally this news would’ve tickled me – I’m a Whole Foods addict – but I was inexplicably sad. He now scans the weekly store flyers and shops the best deals.

Why did this conversation leave me feeling so tender, so emotional? I realized it was the first time I thought, I want to be like that. Like my father. Careful, methodical. Good with money.

The money story has always been big for me. As a small child I constantly compared myself to others – me often holding the short end of the stick. Everyone else got the best toys, the best food (hot dogs and sugary cereals), the best clothes. I got a dad who seemed to say ‘no’ to everything.

It made me angry. It made me…

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releasing my debt

This seems to be the summer of saying what I need to say, no matter how terrified I am to say it.

A couple of weeks ago, it was calling my family members and acknowledging how I truly felt about…everything.

I’ve long played the role of the ‘good’ daughter, not wanting to make waves or hurt or offend anyone. But because I couldn’t express all parts of myself – the darker, more unpleasant things – I kept them within. And there was a lurking, hard resentment building as a result.

I’m getting that when I feel such resentment towards people, they know it on some level. They feel it. And no amount of smiles or sunny disposition can cover it up. And that hiding, that suppressing, is way more harmful (to everyone) than expressing myself outright.

When I shared with my family that I had blamed and resented them for things from the past, it was said with such a desire for love, peace, and harmony with them in the NOW. And they could actually feel that, because in that moment I was expressing all of me. They could feel that authenticity and, in turn, they welcomed what I said with love.

It’s the time to stop playing roles, and live who we CREATE ourselves to be. Not who we, or others, have thought we are. I feel that a huge weight’s been lifted from my shoulders. Like something that was struggling to get out of me is finally releasing.

***

A few nights ago I did something that I never thought I could do. I told a group of 30+ people about my financial debt. I gave them the breakdown of how much I owe, and to whom. I stated the total amount.

My money situation has always been my ‘dirty little secret’. The thing I’ve keep hidden. The shame has kinda paralyzed me. It’s the story I’ve allowed to rule my life.

I revealed all this on a coaching/leadership call as part of a workshop series I’m doing on integrity (an extension of the Landmark workshop I did a couple of weeks ago). Now that I won’t be receiving a regular paycheque – I’m starting school next week – it is time to really clean up the money stuff.

It’s not that being in debt equals a lack of ‘integrity’ as most people define the word, i.e., integrity in the ‘moral’ sense. It’s more that the stories we have about ourselves (because of our financial debt) reinforce our feelings of shame and powerlessness.

Integrity is wholeness and completeness. Powerlessness and shame are not.

If my underlying feeling is that ‘I have no willpower’…how empowering is that?! No wonder most of our efforts end in self-sabotage!

My debt had become loaded with so much. It was weighing me down. Being able to share the numbers with a group of relative strangers, especially those I couldn’t see, was…well, I can’t say it felt good at the time.

But – in the hours leading up to that call, I couldn’t wait to get it off my chest. And now, knowing that once again I’ve had a conversation and spoken words I would have never fathomed speaking just a short time ago, I’m feeling lighter. Seeing those numbers as ‘what is’, and not a negative reflection of me.

I know that more and more of these conversations are possible. And it’s those conversations that facilitate real transformation.

It’s like I’m pushing myself to see how far I can go. How much I can trust people. Ultimately, it’s showing me that I feel safe with myself. Knowing my world will not fall apart when I say what hasn’t been said before. Love will still be there.

Boundaries are good. Barricades are not. I’d isolated myself in many ways, and gotten used to going at it alone.

This sharing feels good. It’s kind of addictive. It’s letting life in.

working for joy

I was very inspired and moved by the supportive comments from my last post on quitting my job. It seems there are many of us who are disconnected from our work, and we are longing for something more.

I was also happy to discover those readers and friends who’ve jumped the employment ship and never looked back! I’ve heard stories of challenge and uncertainty, yes…but not one of regret.

One thing’s for sure – quitting my job has definitely brought up my up core beliefs surrounding money.

I often hear things like ‘Money is energy’ and ‘We live in an abundant universe’, where ‘There is more than enough to go around’ and ‘It’s our birthright’ to have everything we desire. Being a big Abraham Hicks fan, I’ve found myself thinking and speaking these same thoughts. And I have felt the freedom, joy, and expansion in them.

But in many moments I don’t feel this way and I wonder…on a deeper level, do I really believe these concepts? I mean really, truly believe them?

I’m being very aware of my money stories – those deep beliefs I’ve carried my whole life – because I’m so vulnerable to their powerful influence right now. Beliefs like ‘There’s only so much to go around’ or ‘You can’t get paid for doing what you love’ or ‘To have a lot of money isn’t spiritual’. And ‘How can I ask for more, when most others have so much less?’

It’s as if there are two Aleya’s battling it out inside me. The one with the limiting thoughts, and the other who sees those thoughts as reflections of old consciousness. The latter me would like to believe that as we evolve and transform, so do our views and experiences of abundance – not just individually, but for humanity at large.

When we live in scarcity consciousness, it permeates everything. But scarcity is not just about money. It is also about love, trust, and security. ‘Not enough’ becomes our dominant paradigm when something fundamental – beyond the material – is missing in our lives.

Noticing and appreciating all my abundance, in its many different forms, is essential. For example, last week I received a ‘random’ email from an acquaintance offering me a complimentary invitation to an event featuring women discussing shakti (divine feminine energy, power) and ahimsa (non-injury).

I brought my notebook and took notes as each woman spoke. I felt inspired and in awe to be in their presence. I would love to do more of this, I thought. To find similar events and interview such women, sharing their wisdom and insights.

As soon as my mind turned to how I could ‘get paid’ for this, I tensed up. And I realized that in doing more of the things I love – enjoying them for the actual experiences and not the result – I probably wouldn’t focus so much on money per se. And this, in turn, would allow more of these experiences to flow into my life. Money can never substitute for the deep meaning and satisfaction that comes from feeding our soul.

It’s good to examine our core beliefs. But there comes a point where we’ve exhausted our analyses, and we know that nothing new or revolutionary is going to come from repeating our old stories.

I don’t know that my core beliefs can disappear overnight, but I’m hoping that shining a spotlight on them releases their hold on me.

if i do what i love, will the money follow?

Last week I was scheduled to participate in a focus group discussing a legal case, for which I’d be paid $100.  It was a no-brainer for me to sign up; now that I have an overseas trip to save for, every penny counts.  When I arrived at the session, however, I realized that I once worked in the same office as the focus group facilitator.  Since this was a no-no, I was promptly sent home, no cash in hand.

I was a little disappointed, but got over it quickly.  The situation was out of my control, so it was pointless to get too upset.  And in a way, I was kind of relieved. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and I could certainly see the benefit in spending the next couple hours outside, rather than within the confines of a dark office, discussing an intense case that would have probably left me feeling drained for the rest of the evening.

As I walked along the seawall home, my relief grew.  There was abundance everywhere.  In the sunshine. In the breeze.  In the warmth. In the water.  In the ducks (pictured below) just doing their thing in the water.  In the happy smiles of passerby. In the parks lining the seawall, filled with families and dogs and people-watchers and sun tanners getting ready for their Saturday night.

In noticing this beauty surrounding me, I felt expanded.  I could breathe.  It was blissful. When I thought about the focus group I had left behind, I felt constriction.  Bored. Grey.

I knew that what had happened was not a meaningless coincidence.  It was a clear message about abundance and money.

I have a dear friend who teaches yoga almost daily and has a popular musical gig a few times a month.  She truly loves what she does.  For the most part, she can arrange her day any way she wishes.  She doesn’t have a lot of money, but her ‘work’ is so aligned with her values and spirituality that I know she is infinitely happier and more fulfilled than she would ever be sitting behind a desk all day.

This is deeply inspiring to me.  It seems there are many of us out there who are more than ready to break out of the cubicle and start something new of our very own: something meaningful, imbued with our personal values and marked with our unique creative stamp. There’s a growing number of social media sites devoted to discovering this new, higher conscious way of living.  And that’s a very good thing.

But it can also be a new and uncomfortable road, one that seems risky and fraught with unknowns.  And it brings up all kinds of limiting beliefs and perceptions.  For example, I personally have struggled with the notion that creative self-expression and financial abundance are mutually exclusive.  Because I’ve believed that for so long, I see my belief played out all around me.  (Which only reinforces the belief!)

It is time for an upgrade.

IMG_0929

Is there another way?  Do we have to choose between doing what we love and financial abundance?  Do we need financial abundance if we are doing what we love?  In other words…does money matter and, if so, is it possible to have it all?

In the late 80s, the book Do What You Love And The Money Will Follow was released.  This text, still hugely popular, is a forerunner of many premising that when we follow our hearts, all areas of our life – including money – flow as an extension of that.

But to me, it’s not necessarily that doing what we love means money will automatically follow.  It’s that the deep fulfillment and inner peace that comes from doing work we love is infinitely more rewarding than the paycheck we receive from doing work we’re not remotely connected to.

The focus group experience really crystallized this for me.  That $100 didn’t hold a candle to the immense gratitude I felt on my walk, in truly appreciating my surroundings.

And the ironic thing is, we’re more likely to attract money into our lives when we’re already in a contented state.  Abraham Hicks teaches that focusing on that which gives us joy brings us in alignment with our (limitless, non-physical) Source – Who We Really Are.  In that place of alignment (love, appreciation, gratitude), our desired manifestations can more easily become physical.

It takes conscious practice to keep ourselves aligned.  It requires trust, surrender, releasing resistance, letting go, and allowing.  Ultimately, true alignment means knowing that we are inherently worthy of all we desire.   Once we really get that, the flow is unstoppable.