Money and Change and One Day At A Time (ODAAT)

Better get yourself comfortable this might take awhile.

As Thalia of Amused Grace points out in a comment on this post, sometimes money does fall from the sky. It certainly can show up in places you never thought you’d see it. It has for me but I couldn’t prove it by how I feel. And that Puritan Work Ethic, well I just have to agree, it has never brought me any joy. That isn’t to say that I do not feel a sense of accomplishment and pleasure when I have done a really great job on something because I do. I love a job well done. I just don’t like folks telling me how I should actually do it.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the whole I. Bonewits money requests. While I have to agree it’s tacky and I would be more inclined to give money to someone I actually know for no apparent reason, this whole thing has brought up some interesting tangents.

Disability: I know of a High Priestess who is having hard times and they probably are harder now then they ever have been. She did indeed take a vow of poverty from what was at the time a very lucrative business. She lived that way for years. But when she became disabled and it was time to pass her very active “grove/coven/seminary/etc” over to others to run, the reality of that decision hit her. She hadn’t been paying in to Social Security. There were no Social Security Disability benefits of much consequence for her. I think there is a bottom line amount that SSD will pay if you didn’t pay in but it’s peanuts. She has never begged (which is how I see the IB requests, as very good humored begging), however, and the money still comes to help her. There is no retirement for our Pagan clergy like there is for other paths of worship. So it is a good question, what options are there? Since we are our own clergy, I guess it is up to us as individuals to take care of this.

Law of Attraction: Isn’t I.Bonewits doing what I premise to be the right thing? Finding and using every way possible to manifest more money in his life? Granted I myself wouldn’t chose that particular method but short of that I do try all the other methods I can think of. The thing that stops me from asking the interwebz for money is probably pride. Which in this case I determine to be a good thing.

But those two tangents aside (and we could spend a lot of time in both areas) this is what I really have to say about money.

I have struggled with my relationship with money for years. It wasn’t always that way. When I was much younger I had lots of money (lucrative off the radar kind of job) that I simply didn’t spend. I had cash stashed in hidey holes all over my home. Even though I had that money stashed, I still would do things like save up for a new leather jacket or leather pants, say over a 3-4 month period. That stash would still increase. I lived simply. I saved money. I didn’t have too many things. I had a great time and I was pretty darned happy back then. That was when my drug and alcohol use was still considered experimental, social. It really wasn’t but it wasn’t causing me pain yet.

That is not my reality today. Somewhere in there my relationship with money changed. And I know exactly when it happened too. I met my ex-husband shooting dope in a condemned hotel. Our dealer was the caretaker of the hotel and he at least had electricity and hot water but it was a den none the less. Me and the ex fell in love somehow and eventually married. By that time I had quit the dope (it would be years before I stopped smoking pot and snorting coke and even MORE years before I finally stopped drinking and then smoking) . But when I quit the needles I got a job. A real job. A bank teller. Isn’t that hilarious!? And it didn’t pay shit. We lived in a third floor walk up with cold water and no heat. There was gas and electricity though so we found ways to heat the place up. I never did buy a space heater, go figure. I still have a burn scar on my leg from heating the house with the gas oven. But the ex never did work. And he had addictions that cost a lot of money. It was no longer an option for me to pay for them in the way I used to. So it came out of my paycheck. That apartment cost us only $88 per month but I remember days when there was no food. It was me and the cat and a can of tuna fish. No bus fare to work the next day and the ex was missing on a binge. It was causing me trouble now.

Until now I have never been in financial recovery. I have times of progress but it is like two steps forward, one step back. I haven’t used a credit card in years, boy do I screw things up if I have a credit card. Because you know you never have just one. They just kept sending them and I kept using them. I’m still paying that off through the courts. The truth is I’m hitting bottom on financial issues. For most addicts and alcoholics, no matter if your drug of choice is crack or pot or shopping or sex, in order for change to occur you have to hit bottom. And then, once having hit bottom, you have to want change 51%. And I feel as though I might have hit 51% on money. Goddess I hope so. I can’t go on with this.

This is so hard to admit. So very hard. But I know that my secrets keep me sick. I can no longer seem to hold on to money, haven’t been able to do so for decades now if I’m rigorously honest. Quite frequently I spend it on things I need, things that have to be taken care of. A lot of time I use my money to get caught up. It’s the reason why I need to get caught up that is my biggest secret. I have to get caught up because I made a bad decision a month or so before. I seem to have this mindset that if I have money I better get everything I need NOW or there won’t be any left to get what I need later. Do you see the faulty logic here? Reminds me of my friend who poured her booze into a clean Breck Shampoo bottle so she could drink in church and no one would know it was booze. Took her years of sobriety even before it hit her how weird that would look to others. What, it wasn’t weird to drink shampoo but it was weird to drink booze? What, if I spend my money now I actually really won’t have it later? Uh.

The shame surrounding addiction manifests itself in very interesting and frequently very bizarre ways. So here I sit, having gone through a lot of money too fast getting things that I knew I would need. I have more than enough food in the house but I also have more fabric than I need. I will use it but I didn’t NEED it. I made a mistake in my check register and a mistake in judgment this past week and it’s no one’s fault but my own that I am in a sticky place right now. I got bit big time when Mercury went direct but ultimately it is not Mercury that is at fault for my inability to have a friendly relationship, a savings relationship, with money. And it’s killing me. Headaches for days. The stress is more than I can bear.  Come to think of it, when I was in treatment for alcoholism I had major headaches then.  Headaches seem to be part of the pain of hitting bottom and early recovery.  Which in a sad and painful way is reassuring.

So. I’ve hit bottom. I hope to all the powers that be that I’m at 51%. I’ve decided that I can no longer be a secret. I’m not going to go into any details, that will be between me and my sponsor, but my story discloses what it has been like in a general way. I hope that talking about it here in my blog will help someone else. I hope that it will bring hope, not only to me, but to others. It’s the only thing that makes this kind of thing bearable really. To know that our experiences can benefit others.

This is a fifth step. I wrote my fourth step and now I’m telling myself, God/dess, and another human being the exact nature of my wrongs. I will have to do another one that is more detailed and more private to really say I’m in recovery on this. I will have an 8th and 9th step in my future. I have a lot of work to do to turn this around and I can’t do it alone. I’ve tried. Goddess knows I tried like crazy to fix this myself. I’ve tried so hard and I’ve failed. Incomprehensible demoralization. Shit.

Typically, I would rather be mad at a client (who, btw, I truly think very highly of, I have wonderful, interesting, and very nice clients) than mad at myself. Anger turned inward is depression and I know that depression will kill me dead so I let anger rule my external life. And what do you know, it’s killing me anyway. I apologize to my clients though they know not what I said or did. They are the one thing (besides my brother) that is keeping me from living in my car actually. I owe them more than I can say.  My brother, who has risen in my esteem even further now, took the risk to confront me on all of this.  I think he’s going to help me anyway, I sure hope so, but after all these years he is the first one to actually have the nerve or the vision to say something.  And while I didn’t like getting the email, I’m sitting here grateful as hell.

I know you all are wondering about last night’s Masquerade Ball. How did it go? Did I talk to Michael? Is he the Chicken Man? It went great and no and no. First and foremost and to get it out of the way, Micheal is not available and he seems to be attracted to women who are, hmmm, sleazy.  The public displays of affection were a bit over the top and inappropriate. He probably would have liked me pre-sobriety but I’m not the gal for him and he’s not the guy for me. And I’m really, really okay with that. I have other things on my mind at this time.  I think that perhaps The Chicken Man is really Michael the Archangel, the one who is the healer. As I heal, bring all those attributes on the man list to me, I will become perhaps my own chicken man.

One of the great things about last night’s $20 cover charge (which I paid in advance some time ago, thank goodness, or I wouldn’t have been able to go) was that it covered all kinds of divination. Card readers, tea leaves, and a guy who takes pictures of you in candle light and incense smoke and then you study any images that show up in the smoke. He calls it spirit photography.

Do you see the horse? This lady’s deity is Epona. Pretty cool huh?

So I got there early and did a lot of set up. Worked hard because the headache was causing me trouble (still have it this morning) and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stay and clean up. Got into my costume, ran into all kinds of friends I knew and friends I didn’t know until last night. Had some really interesting conversations with some folks. Had my spirit picture taken, which is kind of cool because if you recall I’m wearing puritan clothing with a noose around my neck. When I get them, I’ll post them. I saw a couple of them and I do look rather puritanical.

I won the prize for historical costume. I had no choice but to enter. If you were in costume the crowd made you get up in your obvious category. Folks were actually shouting out for The Hanged Lady. I don’t think they got I was a Salem Witch, not all of them. No matter. It was awesome. All the entrants had their eyes closed as someone walked behind each one and put their hand over the costumed. She didn’t walk down the line but did it randomly. While it was a close vote in that category, the wench gave me a run for my mone (I’m pretty sure it was the wench as she got a lot of cheers when she walked up), I was victorious. The prize was a book on Irish Ghosts and Witches and a DVD collection on Alfred Hitchcock shorts. It’s funny, when I got my costume together I had no intention of even trying. I was glad my dress was done and that I had something to wear. But I was just too tired to give a damn. And I got some much needed strokes. I was clever, spookiest costume there, stealthy, lots of fun. I’m the baby that isn’t going to be thrown out with the bathwater folks, I do have some redeeming qualities.

There was a very cute fae woman who did a healing dance.  In a circle of candles she called the directions with dance.  One of the freest spirits I’ve ever seen.  And I found myself close to tears because I was so sad that somewhere, somehow, I lost that part of me.  Falling in love with The Forgiven was part of my work to find her again.  And I’m closer than I was but I realized watching her how far I have to go.

Then I got my cards read. From a fellow who I like quite a bit, he goes to OLOTEAS a lot, even shared his booth with me at Beltaine. And he was doing readings for free last night. But he earned himself an embroidered bag and will get to choose any bag from my selection next weekend.

He uses the Symbolon deck. Not one easily found these days, another very cool but out of print deck. I’d never seen it before. He uses the layout that came with the cards which was a very cool method. That would be an entire post on its own so I’ll wrap things up.

The stuff that is holding me back? Shame (man attacking a unicorn) that keeps me from flying (A woman on a crane flying above her friend and a reminder of the healing dance earlier and my thoughts on my inability to fly) and my poor relationship with money (a woman counting stacks of money in a little locked room). And handcuffs in hell (the equivalent of the devil card, a man and woman in hell handcuffed to each other). The symbols were so obvious to me and I was so ready for the bare truth that I easily saw what was going on.

The stuff that is trying to influence me now, the place of the work that must happen if I want the outcome. Hermes, just standing there looking at me. Evidently Hermes (one of his attributes is the God of general commerce and he is also, not so coincidentally, known as Mercury, spooky, and then there is whole healing thing Hermes does!  I’ve not been paying attention indeed.) has been trying to get my attention for some time. The second card? The second Hermes card (this was huge to get the two Hermes cards together like that, BIG MESSAGE), waking up a woman who was sleeping on a bench in a garden. Are you getting that this was pretty powerful stuff?  The third I don’t remember but the fourth was Fortuna, a man standing with his arms raised and stars of gold falling from the sky (now isn’t THAT interesting you all). Evidently I am going to do the work and the results will be good. Oh, and the lovers. The exact opposite of the handcuffed couple in hell. Not that I will have a lover or have been handcuffed in hell with one but I suppose if you like literal translations you could say I was handcuffed in hell with my angry feelings towards The Forgiven, that is true but only the tip of the iceberg, but wasn’t what I was really being told. Basically the result of the work I need to do will be self-actualization, integration, joy, with all parts of my self. I will be the lovers.

The outcome if I do the work. I should have written this down last night as my recollection of the outcome isn’t as clear. I was much more focused on what work I have to do. Basically I got the happy family, the analytical thinker (good in this position I was told), and some other very nice cards.

But there is no doubt I have a lot of work to do if I want that outcome. Work that I’ve not been doing. And I know that if I don’t find a way to work out my money relationship I’m going to continue being at the mercy of it, feeling powerless, angry, and fearful. This has got to end. We create our own reality. It’s easy for me to see as I type this all out that every step of the way I created this. Good bad and ugly. From choosing that condemned hotel and marrying the junkie to not buying a space heater and buying his drugs. That I have no one to blame but myself. I don’t get to blame the slow clueless but kind client, not mercury retrograde. Just me. Ouch.

Done. Just done. One day at a time. It worked for everything else, why not this. I see this winter being a time of great change and introspection and working with deity to get some balance in my financial life. It’s hard with money. Booze and drugs you don’t need but food and money you do need. I don’t need to find balance with booze and drugs I have to stop completely but that isn’t an option with food and money. So I find it much more difficult. But that has been the problem. I keep trying to do it by myself. Done.

I seriously considered turning off the comments on this post. I’m extremely sensitive about all this. I really can’t take any more criticism. Believe me, you’d be a rank amateur compared to what I say to myself. (btw New Year’s Eve?  Recovering alcoholics call it Amateur Night HAR! but I digress) And I’ve tried it all, really, your ideas are most likely not novel or untried. This is a God/dess/Spirit sized problem, my sole solution to this is spiritual. What I really need is some words of support. I’ll take atta girls and go girls and thanks for sharing, no really, thanks. I’m feeling like the pits right now. But you folks matter to me, I know you care, and that is more than very welcome.  Just be more gentle with me than I am with myself today?

5 thoughts on “Money and Change and One Day At A Time (ODAAT)

  1. What a beautifully profound and poetic manner you have of expressing yourself. I am so touched when I read of your struggles, and I think to myself, such unflinching honesty – can I emulate so great and strong desire to state the truth?

    The poignant story you told of how you and your ex survived touched me to the very heart of my soul. I had to turn away from the computer for a while to think about what you had written. I turned to the never ending work of dish cleaning and the sun started to stream in my kitche window, which I have filled with cobalt blue and silver cups and witches balls, including the tiny disco ball type Christmas decorations. They were dusty and when I cleaned the largest and placed it back in place, the kitchen exploded with rays of light and then I knew what I had to tell you.

    In that cold apartment, when you were choosing to support a man, even in a way that was ultimately desctructive, I think you did it because there is a core of you that is the Goddess of Love. That you were too young to know that the Goddess chooses not to give for the better good is part of the lesson. Even with needles in your arm YOU COULD NOT SILENCE HER. She is fruitfulness, truth, love and light. We all have our struggles with connecting with the inner divine, and you, free spirit, had to feel, touch and taste the entire experience. Now, as you approach the half century mark, are you able to look again at the early life experiences, gather them in tenderly as early attempts to understand your power, even if they were accomplished with a descent into the underworld as an innocent? From where I stand you are powerful indeed, and wise as an ancient from what you had to overcome.

    The money is a trifle. This is just a point where you will need to draw on your wisdom to accomplish what you have visualized. Rarely is the path what we imagined, always different, always with lessons we never dreamed we even needed. I have no doubt whatsoever that you will figure out a way to manifest your dreams, and do it in a fun and classy way to boot!

    I feel the world is in turmoil because we are living in an artificial way. For me, I don’t think I have a work ethic, but rather choose to do what my father advised, to be actively engaged in a good cause. It’s no good for me to sit and expect the world to share if I don’t do my part. In my mind, I think that some are taking more than their fair share, but not everyone thinks the same way I do. Somewhere, deep inside, I see a community of people where all are fed, all are kept busy doing things that help others thrive, even if it is growing food with love, where the young are loved and schooled, the mothers are protected and the elderly honored and cared for. We have a distribution problem in the world – it is a great challenge. A wise boss once told me it is merely filthy lucre. I just hope that from all of my angst about finances that if my idea of a perfect society can’t be realized until this one has self-destructed, that I will either survive, or be privileged to pick a world where this kind of harmony prevails the next time around. Meanwhile, I try to figure out ways to manifest my dream of a better world by acting where I can.

  2. Oh Beweaver, you do deserve hugs and support and I shall send what I can over to you. I can’t honestly say that I know how tough it was to write what you did, but I admire you and I truly wish you the stamina to come through it all.

    I’m sure you probably do say some harsh things to yourself – but it’s not a good thing to do. You will hurt your psyche and make it harder for yourself. I know I’m no expert, but why not try the “would I say these harsh things to my best friend” test and if you wouldn’t, then you don’t deserve to have them said to you, even if it is by you.

    Look, you’re an amazing, strong and wonderful person – whatever you believe – so cut yourself some slack, be gentle and know that we’re thinking of you, sending you love and strength and hoping you get through it. Hugs my dear xx

  3. I am honored I could help.

    You said:

    “Quite frequently I spend it on things I need, things that have to be taken care of. A lot of time I use my money to get caught up. It’s the reason why I need to get caught up that is my biggest secret. I have to get caught up because I made a bad decision a month or so before. I seem to have this mindset that if I have money I better get everything I need NOW or there won’t be any left to get what I need later.”

    It seems to me that spending money on things you need or might need *when* you have it, and saving money for later are really sort of the same thing. Both are a kind of insurance against the future; but the first is borne of more desperate circumstances, a place of being up against the wall; a place where you have more faith in the things than the money itself. I don’t know if it’s fair to label it a “bad” choice if things are immediate enough that saving isn’t really an option.

    I’m only 39 years old but my parents are in their 80’s, which means they grew up during the Great Depression. My father, not surprisingly, was a hoarder of a severe type. So I recognize the impulse, the logic behind wanting to get everything you can *when* you can. It’s fear of scarcity driving it, and the certainty that it is *always* a desperate crisis, and that the banks *cannot* be trusted. I don’t know how old you are or if you were in close contact with anyone who lived through the Depression, but I know from experience that that mindset is easily inherited.

    And as for cloth not being a “necessity”, well you know you can make clothes from it, and those certainly are necessary. And even if the cloth is for projects, for quilting or embroidery or whatever, the *soul* must be fed. That is *also* a necessity.

    Also, I would say, that though it is important to be able to look at yourself with clear eyes and absolute honesty, that part of looking at something clearly means doing so without judgment. Try to remember to treat yourself as you would treat your best Beloved, with compassion, forgiveness, and understanding. You have to start from there. It will make you stronger than you would imagine. This I also know from experience.

    Now, in legend Hermes is a psychopomp, literally a Soul Guide, one Who leads the dead to the Underworld. But as a metaphor any dark journey will do; and I think perhaps He is offering His hand as Guide to you now. I know that in His other aspects He has a (perfectly deserved) reputation as a trickster, but as a Guide He is to be trusted.

    (And oh my Gawd is that Epona photo cool!!! That is so, so, amazing. I’ll bet I could give it a try at home, if I can find a tripod.)

    (And, this is random and rather silly, but I suppose I should let you know I tagged you for that Six Random Things meme over at my blog if you’d like to give it a whirl; I did change it up a little, though.)

    Blessings, blessings, blessings!

  4. Hey, Beweave, I want you to know that you helped me with my relationship with money. Your honesty with me, at a time when I was just beginning to face my money issues helped me more than you can ever know. Big hugs to you, Dear.

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