|Artwork by Sarah McMurray|
**Welcome to the She-Tribe Project's first round of six month guest bloggers, an opportunity for women's voices to inspire, share and create community through the written word. Please be sure to stop by our guest blogger's links to their websites/blogs etc. You won't be disappointed! Xo - Sarah**
Last week the ever awesome Rhiannon Llewellyn (she of the many f-words) was talking about love offerings in her Love & Money Revolution community. Love offerings are services that would normally have a fee attached, but are offered instead on a pay-what-you-can or pay-it-forward basis. In theory, I love love offerings. It's such a beautiful expression of generosity and overflowing gratitude, right? I've offered them in the past in my own business, but faced with taking up such an offer for myself, as a paying (or rather, non-paying) client, I hit a huge block.
As beautiful as love offerings are, I feel weird about asking for a service on the basis of paying it forward, or offering a non-monetary exchange, or receiving it as a gift. There's a great deal of complex and sticky emotion bound up in it. It feels vulnerable. The lack of equal or equitable exchange means that I am, in my mind, in the giver's debt, and thus they have power over me. It feels shameful, too, to get something for nothing. It triggers beliefs that I have nothing of value to offer, and that my own pay-it-forward gifts will inevitably be worthless in comparison. And how, if there's no monetary value attached, could I possibly know if or when I'd done 'enough' to pay-it-forward 'properly'?
These are the kind of hamster wheel tracks my mind gets stuck in around money and value. I know, in my heart, that money and value are different things, but I get so confused in the relationship between my heart and the world. That's why business is my soul's training ground right now. When I step back and look at the big picture, I realize that all my life I have received and appeared to accept what is offered me, but that apparent acceptance has always been accompanied by guilt and shame.
It goes deep, right down to the original gift, the gift of life which I received from my mother's body and will, and from Life Herself. Deep down, I hold a fear that I can never do enough to justify my existence. Isn't that ridiculous? As if such a thing were even possible. Fear and guilt and shame are ridiculous. They have an important role to play in our lives, as alarm signals and pointers that something's not right. But when the same fear and guilt and shame come up, in non-life-threatening situations, again and again and again, no matter what we do, it's time to call a halt. So how can we do that?
In the area of my own fear and guilt and shame around money and value, those feelings are pointing to a lack of trust. The fearful part of me doesn't trust someone offering pay-what-you-can, or pay-it-forward, not to hold the power of debt over me. It doesn't trust me to have sufficient value within me to be able to pay-it-forward sufficiently, ever. And at base, it doesn't trust Life to support me and my existence unconditionally. So what can I do to turn this fearful part of me around, to enable it to trust? I could dig around in my past, excavate the source of those fears, guilt and shame. I'll do a bit of that, certainly; it can help to know which part of me is holding onto things. But excavation of the past won't change anything by itself.
There are two things, both aspects of love, which I find, together, help me to navigate and melt these issues when they inevitably arise. First is tenderness. Facing myself, my past, my fears and my unloving beliefs about myself and others with tenderness and acceptance is deeply transformative. Healing tears flow. What was tightly held gently dissipates. I can breathe again and see more clearly. Second is gratitude. Opening to gifts and those who offer them to me with a heart full of thank yous enables me to receive without fear, guilt or shame. It enables deep connection with others, and between the parts of myself.
How about you? Can you relate to these issues of money and value, in your life or your business?
Elinor Predota is a heart-centred rebel who teaches people to find the sparkle in ordinary life and to embark on a new adventure every day. She's intuitive, nurturing, incisive, and lots of fun :-) She loves animals, chocolate, hugging, dancing, singing, laughing, nature, music, making stuff, vibrant food, breathing, magic(k), science fiction and fantasy, and awesome people. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Pinterest.