I ask a simple question of my Facebook community. “What is the biggest obstacle or block to your creative passions?” I receive an overwhelming number of answers that all share a similar theme: fear and money.
With the boob tube in front of me, I gape at the current administration’s attack on the arts. As they viciously call for the elimination the NEA, it isn’t surprising that fear and money are taxing the minds of my colleagues and friends.
In childhood I was taught being an artist was frivolous. My father repeatedly advised me to become a lawyer as “I loved to argue” and “I’d make good money”. Similar to his wish for me to learn to play golf, that wasn’t going to happen. To be fair, he has since recanted, and is incredibly proud of my accomplishments. So, why haven’t I come around? I have always made a living as an artist, but there is a fiscal ceiling that I have not allowed myself to penetrate.
This month I’m chanting the Lakshmi mantra. Lakshmi is the hindu god of abundance (Wealth, fortune and prosperity). In a financial transition from a steady stream to the unknown, I’m taking a leap of faith and have been calling on the energy of abundance to support it. Is that magical thinking? Maybe it is. Does it help? Yes, it does. It allows me to focus on a spiritual perspective of my finances. And the meditation practice has provided insight.
In many spiritual and artistic circles we have collectively bought the narrative, “If you are truly spiritual or truly an artist you should live a life of poverty and suffering”. I know this idea is bullshit, but a part of me must still subscribe. In acts of “generosity” I often impart my knowledge and skills for free. Or I down play my worth and undercut my fees to secure a job. Money is energy exchange. As such, this is a self worth issue. My biggest obstacle is overcoming me. The best way for me to break through this ceiling is to believe I am worth it.
Exercise: Write down everything you take in and everything you spend in a notebook. Even the $1 for parking and the $2 pack of gum. You might be surprised by what you discover.