FOUR REASONS DO-GOODERS ARE BROKE
By CC Treadway
Working as a healer I am always struck by the murky boundaries around money. In the spiritual and philanthropic circles, there is not much common agreement on the subject. In fact, it’s up for debate on most days. When I used to work as a video editor for corporations like MTV and Discovery Channel, financial contracts were clear. It was generally accepted that you did what you could to get paid as much as possible. When I would work for independent companies, financial contracts were hard to come by, not always honored and more work was expected for less money. The main reason why I “sold out” to corporate America for so many years was because they had better ethics around money. I know this sounds shocking, but I knew what to expect and I planned my life accordingly. I fondly remember spontaneous trips to Puerto Rico, shopping just for fun, paying for healing school and a savings account.
Upon deciding to be a healer, these financial standards were washed away by “Spirit” as they say. The expansion and bliss I felt with my newly found open heart usurped any desire for financial stability. I then defaulted into the financial belief system of the “spiritual” or “do-gooder” template. What was interesting is that I unconsciously took on a whole lotta garbage with it, and I found my financial situation steadily decline. I felt some sort of satisfaction about “leaving the system” and living with very little. I have learned a lot. No regrets. But as I integrate my experience, I have discovered the shadow side’s stinky smell. I had to get honest, because my bigger vision was to make a large impact, and it is really hard to do that when you are in survival mode. This is a huge subject, but I broke down a few major belief systems that prevent lovey-doveys from financial health.
SMELLY GARBAGE THAT MAKES DO-GOODERS BROKE
Garbage Pail #1: CARETAKING
Rationale: Must have compassion. Feeling guilty for charging money for work.
Desire: Love me
Flip side: Overcharging, huge ego.
Positive: Compassion and understanding is a beautiful thing, oftentimes lacking in cutthroat business.
Having compassion and empathy for people is normal. For healers, it can be off the charts. The pain of feeling other’s pain, can lead to caretaking behaviors. Learning how to control empathy will help strengthen boundaries and get clear on your needs and your client’s. It’s so easy to undercharge, or adjust our rates prematurely because we want to help someone. This does not empower them, it creates a set up of “needing the client,” or of feeling like they are controlling your decisions which then leads to resentment. And that makes them feel very uncomfortable and unsafe. If you don’t respect your financial needs, how can you expect someone else to? It is more healing to hold a clear and loving boundary around money for your clients than to be wishy washy for their sake. I personally have had a very difficult time with this garbage pail.
Garbage Pail #2: MARTYR
Rationale: Spirit Servant. Feeling obligated to serve, even if it means self-sacrifice.
Flip side: Not knowing when to be generous.
Positive: Surrendering to Divine will is an essential step in spiritual development.
Oftentimes, when someone steps into what they consider to be a do-gooder profession, they feel it is ordained by God. All of the sudden, they are a servant of Spirit, a servant of the people, with no will of their own. This leads them into situations where they are over their heads and cannot behave ethically, or where they are taken advantage of.
One time, I got an email from someone asking that I heal their whole village, but they couldn’t offer me anything. They described a curse with many entities. Now, for me, as a healer, this is a potentially dangerous situation, and one I was really not qualified for. If I were “going with the flow” or “obeying in Spirit’s call,” or acting from ego I would have gone with it. It would have been a disaster. In the business world, you wouldn’t commit career suicide by taking on a job you couldn’t handle. In the healing world you must be extra careful because a village full of dark magic could really kill you.
I have heard people tell me that if God gave me a gift I am obligated to use it. I wonder where they get these ideas. I prefer to think I am working with the Love of God when I can. But I have seen healers in great distress because they did not honor their own needs and abilities, taking on too much for a good cause and ending up broke and sick. This can also happen while charging tons of money! Of course, as a human being we all can make a decision to offer healings or services for free when it truly feels right. Sometimes knowing when that is can take time to discern.
Garbage Pail #3: REBEL
Rationale: System is Bad. Confusing the dreaded “System” with money itself. I am a victim.
Desire: Accept me, I want to trust
Flip side: Making money into freedom, power and Godliness.
Positive: Creating new and better ways of living.
An Apache told me I would be a better healer if I didn’t charge. A Spaniard told me I would be punished with illness if I charged. An American woman at the gym eavesdropped and warned me that I better watch out or I would have another James Arthur Ray sweatlodge situation on my hands! Wow. Time to go back to garbage pail number two.
Most do-gooder types feel so rejected by the system that they associate money with that system, making money bad itself. This is a very stinky garbage pail. There are good reasons for smelling this one however. Many healing and philanthropic professions do not generate large incomes. Financial education in these fields is almost zero. The backlash when a healer or do-gooder tries to make money off products or services is enormous. This can lead to overcompensating by charging outrages prices, or becoming invisible and under the radar.
To my knowledge, some form of currency, whether it be paper based, gold based, seed based, flower based or bartar based, has always been used in organized societies. And, all societies are organized. It has not mattered the system: totalitarian, tribal, socialist, communist, democratic/capitalist, money is there in some form. I know so many wonderful artists and healers who feel rejected by the system who then blame money, act like they don’t need it and end up in survival mode, unable to help anyone. I have been in this category from time to time.
Money has nothing to do with the current system. Money is an ingredient to life that you can work with if you choose to create. If it changes form when a system collapses or grows, that energy will still be there to work with to amass power and help you achieve goals.
Garbage Pail #4: DENIAL
Rationale: Associating being close to nature/God as not needing or wanting money.
Desire: To be safe
Flip Side: Total lack of integrity & responsibility with money, separation, homelessness.
Positive: Reconnection with Mother Earth, Father Sky.
The denial creeps in when we honestly believe that living with nature means we don’t need society. We reject money, the system, people and taking it one step further, outcast ourselves. Now, returning to nature and being one with God are my passions in life. But the subsequent removal from society creates a hermit complex, a separatist attitude and usually has as much to do with childhood wounds as your own empowerment. That being said there are of course some people who will live out their purpose in a quieter way.
Denial forms when we don’t feel strong enough to handle the truth. The truth is we have allowed ourselves to be victim to our leaders, our systems, relying on them to save us or empower us. Even the most conscious people have this going on. This over-delegation of power to our leaders has allowed financial mismanagement on the largest scale. And we have let them. Stepping out of denial means taking responsibility as human beings, as divine beings, as natural beings and a members of the community. It’s painful, but like it or not, finances are a part of community living, they are a part of society. If we, the supposed ethical, moral and spiritually empowered ones do not infuse our knowledge into our financial reality, we are allowing ourselves to be overtaken by those who seek to control us. And they are out there, completely consumed by their goal. We must financially educate and empower ourselves so we can be a part of the solution, not the problem.
PIONEERING THE NEW EARTH
I recently had dinner with a lovely Russian couple. Boy did that give me some perspective. They relish the opportunities and the feeling of freedom here in the United States, have a clear understanding of the dangers of Communism and do not want to go back. From their experience, while there is corruption, we have it very, very good here. It could be a lot more corrupt. My own experience living in a third world country showed me that as well. Despite the world’s problems, and the United States’ role in it, we, as the people still have the ability to create what we dream of. There are other countries who also are founded on this template. But there are many more where the oppression is so strong they truly are held captive. We are the lucky ones and if our freedoms are in danger like they say, we have to work on all levels to make sure that doesn’t happen.
As pioneers, we are learning as we go. We spend a lot of time working on ourselves, developing consciousness, mindfulness and community… things that our new earth desperately needs, but the shadow side prevents us from truly making the impact we desire. We are not victims to anyone as long as we are free and able to do for ourselves. Coming out of denial, rebellion, martyrdom and over-empathy means learning a new skill that is hard at first. Combining the blissful energies of spirit and nature with the slower, more left brained skills of financial responsibility is no easy task for most. It is a new language and most of the time not an overnight success story. But more freedom waits on the other side. As we become fluent in the language it is effortless, the creative possibilities then limitless.
(c)CC Treadway 2010