Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Locked in my own monastery


Financial alchemy.

The title of the session listed in an e-mail the day before startled me. I would have never – in a millions years – put those two concepts together. Dirty money and mystical transformation? There was no way to make a reservation, so I just showed up. Early. Early enough to meet the presenter alone and make a deep connection ... over turtles, a symbol that adopted me a long time ago, no less.

Jenefer noticed I was wearing one and said they represent an old soul. I told her I was attracted to them after collecting stories of people's experiences of the Divine and believing a mere paper was not the proper container for something so precious. The idea of a "turtlebox" [ www.turtleboxstories.com ] jumped into my heart and head. Later a friend informed me they symbolize the meeting of heaven (the domed shell) and earth (the belly) – the perfect place, besides my heart, for these sacred stories.

"So you just asked people to talk about those experiences?" Jenefer asked almost in disbelief. "Yeah," I responded, "although it was within a spiritual context." I have not thought about them in such a long time, but it was such an amazing venture – to actually sit with others while they explained their dance with Spirit. I told Jenefer I'd like to be able to walk into a room of strangers and ask the same question. She said she desires to get to the deep stuff quickly, too. No small talk for us. We went right to turtles.

Another person joined us and we had a cozy group. My heart almost leapt out when Jenefer explained there is a bridge between spirituality and money. "What the heck?" I could hear myself thinking. "How's that?"

First off, she asked me to take my wallet out of my purse. I played along. She said it was "pretty." I hadn't the nerve to confess that I had only recently purchased it, the first that wasn't a gift or strictly utilitarian. The purpose of the exercise was to show that money should be respected and honored. That, yes, it was a tool, but not an evil one as I had described my love-hate experience with it. She said to carry more cash than you think you should and you will feel its abundance. I balked when she said how much she carried as well as what she paid for her favorite purse years ago. The day before, Lily, my youngest, had been watching Let's Make a Deal, and I detest game shows [especially game shows centered around money], but she convinced me to watch. I could not understand the pregnant woman obsessed with the $500 purse she was offered. She wouldn't trade it for anything. "Just think what all you could do with $500," I thought.

At financial alchemy, however, I gave it another thought. I would never let myself spend that kind of money because ... well, I assumed I was not worth it. Yep, Jenefer said our views of money are extremely tied to our self worth. I am beginning to see how right she is.

We had two pages of "messages" to read through and hone in on those that spoke to us. I resonated with most all of the spiritual messages, but a couple others stuck out:
1) I want to change the frequency, or the vibration that I may be sending out to the world and the universe.
2) I want to move beyond my survival needs, into my spiritual yearnings.
3) I want to be free of the judgment that I throw toward people who have a lot.

Number one scared me because of its truth. I know my spiritual and creative vibrations reflect the true me, but others, especially those money-related, do not. I have been living in scarcity mode, fearing there will not be enough. "Fear," Jenefer says, "is a faith issue, not financial." I agree.

Number two is the bridge she spoke of earlier. It is a tool I must understand and can employ in a positive spirit. Somehow I have imprinted in my mind and body that living a pure spiritual life involves deprivation, sacrifice and suffering. I've gotten good at those. Think it's time for me to step on that damn bridge and cross it.

Number three I did not initially understand. I know I am an extremely tolerant person when it comes to the have-nots. But the haves have little place in my world. "Envy and jealousy," Jenefer says, "are your GPS. You can't see it [in others] unless you have it [yourself]." Compassionate me jealous? No way. Maybe yes way. I had read my feelings more as disdain, not realizing they tie into that notion of deprivation and suffering.

The Universe, Jenefer said, wants us to thrive AND prosper. What a radically freeing and delicious notion!

I have been restricting myself, fighting money, when I need to open to its abundance. Quoting from Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, Jenefer said one quality of the rich is they know how to receive, not just give.

Fighting myself, now that seems to be a common thread. I had a dream recently about being pursued by thugs and an awful one in particular. I was running to a high spot away from the urban area and its violence when a stray and powerful tornado touched down in the city and destroyed everything, bringing stunning silence. The message I received was to replace violence with silence ... maybe abundance as well. Thanks to Jenefer, I can see that piece now and continue working on completing the puzzle of my wholeness.

• How do I feel about money?
• Can I give AND receive?
• Are there inherited attitudes or patterns I can or should shed?
• How can I incorporate the practice of gratitude and abundance into the way I interact with money?
• Can I tell myself I AM worth it?

I have locked myself
up in my own monastery

thriving in some areas,
depriving myself in others

thinking this is what
purity means

when, in truth,
I need to just be myself
fully, wholly and with

... and some extra
cash in my wallet

Jenefer Annenberg is a life-empowered catalyst and can be reached at jenefer@radiant-esence.com


  1. Dearest Cathy, You SO rock! I have showed this to so many who have cherished the way you have been able to write so eloquently about the struggles we go thru on our way to 'True Wealth Consciousness.' You are a pioneer and a Way-shower who is shining the light on a path to healing and wholeness that the world so desperately needs concerning issues of true abundance, thriving and prosperity. Realizing that most of the planet lives in near misery, it is time to take our rightful place as limitless, boundless, and perfect reflections of the Divine.We are born possessing this knowledge, but over time, most is lost in a society that has chosen to worship fear over love. Yet as we move into the age of 'conscious Man' or as some say, the 'ascension of the planet', we are beginning to excavate the Truth that feels so familiar because we Know it to Be. Thank you for this post. I want to ask your permission to blog from it and to put it on my (newly live!!) website; Radiant-eSense.com.
    Please let me know how to contact you directly I would love to continue this further!!
    In Prosperity and True Abundance,
    Jenefer Annenberg

  2. Wonderful to hear from you, Jenefer! Of course you can link to this. I'd be honored. It really was a pivotal meeting, you know. I am glad my experience resonates with others, which is why I started to blog. I am still stumbling, but beginning to really open to abundance and prosperity as what Spirit/the universe desires for each of us and cast off my inherited and old patterns and beliefs. You can reach me directly at cathybarney@the-nose.com or cathybarney@hotmail.com. Hope you hear from you and I will check out your newly live site.
    -- Cathy

  3. Great writing and communication here, Cathy!

    Interesting...in my current context of ministry/raising support/etc...I find that I have a lot of 'head trash' about money and have had to work though that.

    Often times I find it difficult to invite people to give and support our ministry b/c I probably question whether I'm worth their investment. That's one of those mirror moments in life that will cause you to dig very deep to find the core wounds or longings which have resulted in unhealthy relationships (to money, people, religion, whatever).

    Anyway, your "space" here was helpful to me today. Thank you!

  4. Ahhh, money and emotion. After a long journey on this topic, including much reading on Quakers and money, I think they have it right: live simply, invest the rest in what you believe in...thoughtfully and mindfully. Investing results in growing it like a farm field. Investing in businesses that do the right thing, businesses that employ people and treat them well, or invest in education and action, like Pendle Hill. Pendle Hill wouldn't exist without investment from Quakers. Just giving it away means someone else will take it (maybe after the hungry person you gave it to used it to buy food) and use it as THEY choose, which may be totally against your values. Nurturing money for the right purpose is no different than planting a garden, I think. Then use the proceeds in part to feed people, in part to feed yourself, and in part for more seed. So money is like dirt in that way!

  5. Wow .. how did I miss these last two. Both are so incredibly relevant and helping me learn. Thanks so much, Chris and Carol.