If you want another mirror to look in, look in the mirror of “money.” Ask yourself the following questions, and the mirror will magically appear: What does money mean to me? What do I spend it on? What do I not spend it on? What does money mean to me? Do I feel anxious when my net worth falls below a certain point? Do I give money to others? Do I consider myself generous?
And keep going.
I’ve been seeing myself, and others, in this mirror of money ever since the diagnosis of my temporary visitor, whose nickname is “cancer.” I have been virtually living by the generous good graces of others, for both my daily living expenses and what medical treatments and supplements I can afford. Still, every day I have decisions to make about what I can afford and what I can’t. But those decisions show me aspects of myself in the money mirror. I notice any contraction, fear, anxiety, or self-pity that arises when I fear I will not have enough for my living and medical treatment expenses. I see how I have been buoyed and lifted up by the generosity of others, and I think of the image they must see if they look in the money mirror.
Money = security, safety, well-being, status, health, abundance, freedom. Certainly it can mean access to the higher echelons of health care! What else? What is it for you? What do you see about yourself in the money mirror?
I peeked in the mirror today, when I got a request from Patricia Michael Melnice, founder of Tough Angels, to join The 5 Principles of Authentic Living Social Network.
Tough Angels, Inc. is a non-profit organization based in Denver, Colorado, USA, under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Our goal is to assist in creating safe havens for women and children of violence in developing countries, providing information to educate them about HIV and supporting them in restoring dignity, hope, and promoting healing.
I was intrigued by Patricia’s Tough Angels email signature, so I went over to her website, which speaks for itself. Of course, I wanted to donate, but all, and I mean all, my money has been allocated to what I consider essential expenses related to my “cancer.”
I read through Patricia’s Tough Angels website again. In the Press Release from Julesburg Advocate, Julesburg, Colorado, I read:
“While in South Africa, Ms. Melnice worked closely with the Zulu people and one woman in particular, named Lady Fair, became Ms. Melnice’s benchmark for grace, gratitude and generosity. Lady Fair is a single mom with two biological children, 1 grandchild and 11 orphans that she has taken in off the streets. Lady Fair lived in a tiny tin shack with dirt floors, no running water or electricity. In an effort to help Lady Fair and the children, Ms. Melnice sold her wedding ring and with the help of friends was able to secure land and build Lady Fair a house. She now lives in a home with a secure foundation, and running water for the first time in her life.”
I looked at myself in the money mirror and saw a face that needed every cent of what I had on hand to off-set my own modest living and cancer-related expenses. I didn’t like that image, especially when I am living on the good graces and generosity of others, who no doubt also need all their money for their own living, and perhaps medical, expenses. Still, they gave to me.
So, I donated $100. And I signed up for the $10 a month auto-pay. No, it’s not much, but I know that those amounts, in African economies, might be worth ten times what they are here in the US. I know those donations will positively impact the lives of people who need more love and assistance than I do. I know that Patricia will see to it that it does.
After doing that, I looked back in the money mirror. I liked the face I saw after donating to Tough Angels, more than the one I first saw, the one of tension, contraction, and fear of my own survival needs.
I am learning much here in the Open House. I’ve written before about the opening, deepening, and elevating I’ve experienced in the past few weeks, since the Bermuda Triangle moment of my diagnosis, and the sudden STOP and re-start it seemed to catalyze. Now, my learning — the opening, deepening, elevating — is around how money can be tied to our solar plexus, the guts of our survival and security instincts. But I’ve found higher instincts, for me connected to the Blog post called Trusting the Radiance of Being. And, of course, through the generous example of those who have contributed to me, and to Patricia and Lady Fair — all of you are my teachers. Thank you. I’ve received donations of $5, and I think that that person’s heart is as big as the person who contributed much more. It’s less the amount, and more the giving. The openness. The willingness to risk one’s own safety, security, and well-being for another. All are my teachers in this arena of the money mirror.
In the past, when I was cashed-up, and when I wasn’t faced with daily decisions that seemingly impact my very life, I like to think I was generous; I often gave money, time, workshops to various individuals and non-profit organizations. But that was easy; it didn’t require that I look honestly at myself in the money mirror when my own “survival” is seemingly at stake. But isn’t it true that if I have only two cents, I can give one away to Lady Fair. If I have one cent, I can give that to Patricia. If I am open, I can give, and I can receive. If we all open, if we stretch ourselves in the money mirror, to proportions that may frighten our safety and survival, what might we see?
With love and respect, and speaking to you straight from the Open House,