Friday, August 27, 2010

Spiritual Teachings or Healings for Free or Donations Can Be Co-Dependent

“I shouldn’t have to pay for spiritual teachings or healings.” During the past few months, I have heard this statement expressed in various ways, several times. Few people I’ve known have actually ever lived on donations only, at the discretion of the person served choosing or not choosing to donate. I have—for 10 years, so I feel well qualified to write about this and the co-dependency I discovered while I was living on donations.

This is a challenging financial time for many and as people from various backgrounds and beliefs we hold numerous views about what is appropriate to donate, pay, or receive for free in regard to help that is spiritually oriented. I respect that each of us is entitled to determine for ourselves what is appropriate to do, and I look forward to a day when we can accept each others choices without criticism and judgment of those whose choices are different from our own.

Indeed, when it comes to spiritual evolution in consciousness what you seek is inside you already. You don’t need anyone in order to discover what is of you, whether you are focusing on enlightenment or healing yourself as a part of your awakening experience. Receiving help and support is one choice a person can make. It is an option.

No one I have met that was truly enlightened or spiritually awake ever sold awakening. And they couldn’t heal what I was not already healing myself. In my experience, it is simply not possible. They suggested ways to expand my perceptions and held the space for me to unfold myself. My awakening is the most important work I do and when I allow a teacher or healer to help me in what is my responsibility to do, I learned to honor my teachers by paying or gifting them generously for their time and energy.

I found ways to do that even when I was flat broke. Why? I honored the wisdom they were sharing with me, and the sacred space they had become that allowed me to expand my perceptions of reality. There is no greater calling than our spiritual evolution and if I was willing to receive someone’s assistance in my growth, it was certainly appropriate to gift them. Even the most generous gifts were small in comparison to the life-transforming experiences I enjoyed in their presence.

Whether the source of sharing is a payment they determined, a donation I chose to make, or a trade of services to support them in their work, it was appropriate to honor the one I was receiving from. This was even true with my Native teachers. I have discovered that there is a general misunderstanding about the concept of giving freely in Native tradition, so I would like to clarify this. The healer or teacher gives freely to the very best of their ability, and it is understood that the one receiving does the same for the benefit of the one that helped them. Giving freely, as I was taught by my elders, is not about receiving without reciprocating.

It would never occur to me to ask for a doctor’s or therapist’s help without paying them. Even spiritual guides within organized religions are paid for their work. We live in a paradigm in which if we want help, we reciprocate by providing our helpers with the financial means to do their work.

Who among us attending to our spiritual growth is not doing spiritual work? Is it appropriate to pay the people that help us get well and grow if they frame their spiritual work in a secular context, but not if they frame it in a spiritual context? Do we pay someone that has a degree and doesn’t speak about spirituality out-loud with us, but not the one that spent years in deep inner work and meditation, and quietly passed rigorous spiritual tests that speaks directly to our spiritual awareness?

Living by the graciousness of others’ donations works if the ones receiving donate generously. In our culture, if we are given the option, we are more inclined to give to the least of our ability rather than the greatest of our ability. We are a culture that looks for sales, bargains, discounts, deals and anything for free that we can get. There is nothing wrong with this. It is the way we do business, and for the most part it works—unless as in my case, one is living on donations, in a context that is foreign to those receiving

After visions and insights helping me see that I was creating a reality in which I was not taking care of myself while taking care of others, I abandoned my co-dependent model. I was living on feeling good about being needed, while placing the needs of others far beyond my own. I finally realized I wasn’t needed. Everyone had what they needed inside of them. I was merely a facilitator, a holder of space for those that wanted it. If you are interested in the visions that led me to leave 10 years of spiritual work by donation please read this brief article:

After years of living without enough financial means to do the work I truly came here to do, I realized I was the one living in a paradigm that honored everyone except myself. So I changed my model to ensure that I also received what I needed in the exchange. It seemed my clients began appreciating my work even more and even discovered greater benefit from what I was offering in service.

We are all here to learn different karmic lessons. Some of us really did come here to learn how to share without receiving anything in return to balance our karmic wheel. Others of us came to learn how to respect others as well as ourselves through our transactions. Still others came to learn how to receive. In whatever ways we tend to be dependent or co-dependent, the opportunity for spiritual evolution around money is in learning how to be honest and true to our lessons and ourselves. It is my prayer, that together, we will allow each other the space to learn our unique lessons around spirituality and money.

If this topic intrigues you, my co-host Cheryl McDaniel and I did a special radio program on this called, “When Spiritual People Should Not Make Money,” at

Friday, August 20, 2010

Elder Recognition and the Longing for Respect and Recognition

A few weeks ago, I was having an eye-opening conversation with Elder of the Water, Ariann Thomas. We were discussing our views about respect in relationship to elderhood. I just hadn’t realized how significant an issue this can be for some of our more mature New Dream members.

I remember being taught by my parents to respect my elders. I gave up my chair if an elder came in the room and there was no other place to sit. I spoke respectfully to my elders even when I disagreed with them, though I must admit I crossed that line during my teenage years when it came to my own parents. But I certainly spoke to my grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, clergy, shop-keepers, and bus drivers with respect. I was even respectful to elders that hadn’t particularly earned my respect. The good news is that I learned to be respectful even if my elders weren’t doing the same.

The danger was that respecting your elders also meant doing what they told you to do. If the elder was coming from a balanced and appropriate space, and in my case they generally were, then life is safe. But if they are telling you to do something that is harmful to yourself or others, and you have been taught to mind your elders, you are in trouble. You have some tough choices to make.

As if in a pendulum swing reaction to the more dangerous aspect of respecting your elders, some younger people have been raised without the instruction to respect your elders and as a result some of them demonstrate very little respect to anyone, including themselves. In reaction to demonstrations of little respect, and our own childhood upbringings, we may find ourselves demanding respect, which doesn’t work very well. True respect just can’t be forced.

Acknowledging all of these dynamics, I realize many mature men and women are longing to be respected. They may have grown up in families where they were expected to give respect, but didn’t get very much of it. In reaction to that phenomenon, they may have raised their own children a bit too liberally and therefore, received little respect from their children. Their spouse may or may not treat them with the modicum of respect they would like to experience, and hence they reach their elder years hungry for respect.

There is a way to fill the desire for respect and end the cycle of disrespect. It requires one point of spiritual focus—respecting yourself. What does that mean? Well, it depends on what respect means to you. Does respect mean being heard, understood, appreciated, accepted as you are, or some other distinctive quality? When you identify specifically what respect means to you, you can begin doing it for yourself. You listen intently to yourself, or accept yourself as you are, or appreciate what you have contributed.

When you are committed to respecting yourself in new and more satisfying ways, you will already become fulfilled deeply within. You will become one that recognizes yourself through your acts of self-respect. As you approach life from this centered place, you become a woman or man standing in your true source of power. In response, the rest of us will simply honor and recognize you as you already recognize yourself.

Because so many of our elders today have not experienced the respect and honor that is truly theirs, preparation for our elderhood quests and ceremonies at New Dream Foundation include a degree of emphasis in discovering the qualities of self-respect that fulfill you, and then we support you in living more consciously from that beautiful and powerful place of self-awareness. We know that from this place, your gifts to your communities as an elder have their greatest positive influence and strength. Furthermore, they will be received with the gratitude and respect due to a person of your wisdom and experience.

If this speaks to your heart, New Dream is preparing elders for questing and/or Elderhood Recognition Ceremonies beginning this September. You can discover more at:

As your needs become fulfilled, the elderhood quests can then be a place in which you delve deeper into the purpose and meaning of your sacred work during these golden years of your life, without the encumbrances that longing for respect and recognition can bring with them. The elderhood recognition ceremonies then honor your life of dedication and commitment to creating a better a world, based upon a clearer sense of purpose and service.

The journey to being recognized formally as an elder is a journey in which you fulfill yourself in every way. You lovingly fulfill each desire within you until life fulfills you as it is. In this true place of power, your presence in the world is a precious gift that will be respected and recognized.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Intuition and Decision Making

Continuing reflections on the power of intuition.

Have you ever felt just plain stuck about a decision you needed to make? You are looking at all the options and feeling more and more overwhelmed by the minute.

Maybe you are looking at options for your healing and can’t quite figure out the approach that will be best for you. Perhaps are you multi-talented and needing to choose your best career path, while also considering how to better support yourself in this economy. Or you have some expendable income and are trying to choose from a variety of tempting opportunities that could help you 1) make more money, 2) heal your body or 3) attract the ideal partner.

It can be mind-boggling to sort through all the pros and cons of any given option. Furthermore, given the data available for any given option, it is pretty easy to develop a decent case argument for or against any of those options depending upon your mood. (This is something first year debate students learn.)

Let’s say you are person trying to decide between three different programs that could all impact your life in dramatic ways. You need to make more money. You desperately need to heal and you’ve been looking for your ideal partner for years. They all feel like priorities. Furthermore, finding solutions to any one area of your life could positively affect all areas of your life, but you just can’t figure out which one should take precedence right now.

Then someone offers a very persuasive argument that makes complete sense to you, and since you don’t know what is best for you, you lean toward their argument. A part of you wonders if this is the prime choice, when yet another person makes a case for a different option. Now you feel like you have whiplash and you are more confused than you were in the first place. So how do you make a decision?

Intuition right? A good intuitive insight will allow you to cut through the arguments going on in your head and make a choice that you know is perfect for you. So, how do you recognize your intuitive guidance amidst all the chatter in your head? Particularly, if you are feeling a bit desperate, it is really difficult to quiet yourself down enough to know when intuitive guidance is coming through.

You know the intuitive knowledge is inside you, but it’s just darned fuzzy, and you are feeling pressured to make a decision, so you lean on what you know and make the best logical decision you can without the aid of your intuition.

Sound familiar? Most of us have been there. I certainly have. It took me years of practice to:

1) recognize how my intuition operates in me

2) trust the wisdom of my intuition and

3) act on my intuitive guidance consistently.

Intuition is different for everyone. Some people sense, some hear a little voice. Many get physical or emotional feelings about choices that are or are not best for them. Some people get intuitive guidance from their dreams. Still others have visions or see a path with choices that don’t or do fit. For some, there is light that accompanies certain options. Many choose to use some form of divination tool, such as a pendulum or cards to help get clarity.

One of the ways you can begin recognizing your intuition is to reflect upon a time in the past when you are quite certain you received intuitive guidance. Ask yourself how that information came to you. Did you feel it, dream about it, have a physical reaction, know what was coming, or hear what was important?

Intuition is how the Divine speaks through you, so getting to know how that happens is going to make your decision making process much easier. But do be patient. If you are not used to using your intuition, the process is going to take time and practice. As you become more proficient, making choices really will seem like an opportunities, as you know with confidence the best options for you.

For regular weekly meditations on topics like "developing your intuition," sign up for free Guided Meditations at:

Friday, August 06, 2010

Creativity—A Doorway to Intuition

Next article in our exploration of intuition.

If you aren’t certain about where to begin accessing your intuition or you want to be able to tap into more of your intuitive guidance, one of the best and most enjoyable ways to access you inner wisdom is through creative expression.

Why? Inspiration and intuition are kissing cousins. Ask a gardener why she planted certain flowers together in a bed, and she’ll tell you about how they are compatible, of appropriate heights and widths and then she’ll end up telling you she just thought they would look good together.

Ask a composer why he wrote his musical score the way in which he did and he’ll talk about the technical aspects and motivation behind his score, then ultimately confess that it sounded right to him. He was inspired and from that inspiration, he created.

Have you ever done something because it just plain felt right—you know, those gut feelings that won’t let you alone, so finally you give in and go for it? Have you ever been inspired to cook something different, explore a new hobby, take a class on a topic you were always curious about? Were you inspired or was it intuition guiding you?

When you become involved in a creative endeavor, say pottery for example, you learn certain basic principles and techniques, and then it is up to you to follow your inspiration to create something unique of your own. You find yourself creating something that expresses a hidden part of you and now you are wondering if you were simply inspired or if your intuition was leading you to insights about yourself.

Intuition and inspiration are so closely connected that I have met more than one person who chose to follow their creative inspiration or intuition and in the process discovered gifts related to their purpose.

Take my friend and colleague, Krystalya Marie’. Since she was a little girl she had been told she could not draw. Yet, when she learned she had a golf-ball sized tumor in her breast, she asked for divine guidance and was led to begin drawing. Without thinking, she drew. Then she took the drawing into meditation. Twenty minutes later the tumor was gone, and she has been drawing symbols for healing every since. You can learn more about her wonderful work at:

I know another woman that wrote in order to help her process her own healing journey. She later discovered that her prosaic writing actually helps other people heal as well. She now shares her writings in special healing tele-conferences.

When I listen to my husband do improvisation on the piano, I can hear spirit-led inspiration flowing through his hands. His busy mind quiets down and inspiration carries him to an intuitive expression of the Divine within him. He allows himself to be led, which is the essence of intuition.

So imagine where your creativity could take you? Is there some creative desire that has been knocking at your door that perhaps you have been putting off because you are so busy? Consider making it a priority so that the doorway of your inspiration can carry you to a more satisfying experience of Divine expression as it demonstrates itself through your intuition.