While organizing these days the first online "loom integration workshop", I encountered a challenging comment and a very interesting topic. When I put the invitation on facebook, I decided this time the simplest scheme of contributions-reciprocity that I have managed to design.
The mysterious subject of money, how we relate to that subject in a beautiful, honest way, without hiding ulterior motives, etc. A pretty thick one.
I'll describe it. First, I put in a US$30 Commitment fee, which does not represent the workshop value. At the end of the workshop, each participant decides freely, according to his or her feeling of gratitude, generosity and possibilities, his or her contribution to my person (in addition, those who register in advance pay US$20 instead of 30 to facilitate the organization).
It turns out that in announcing the workshop on facebook, one person made the following comment, which I greatly value and respect because it has given me this opportunity to share all these reflections:
"A small paradox, obviously the workshop must be very interesting... but here's my question: Isn't it profane to use money as an entrance? Shouldn't we trust the sacred as the true energy and not the secularity of money? It is not to confuse it as the energy of exchange since it undoubtedly made natural disasters, sounds to me like the tithe churches need to survive. I am interested to see my contradiction in this. With the utmost respect and in the hope of understanding, I approach my opinion in this way..."
First of all, I must say that I have quite a bit of experience offering my work unconditionally, without any fee. And that, in our current culture, means wonderful things and things that are not so wonderful.
It is a passionate cry from my soul to say the following:
Money IS NOT ONLY an energy of exchange (I invite you to read The amazing labyrinth of abundance to go deeper).
Rather, there is a great responsibility to change the institution of money through profound changes in our Great Unconscious Neuronal-Cultural Institution of Separation and Control.
However, that does not mean that money is "bad"! Separating the world into good and bad is the deepest root of the Great Neuronal-cultural Institution of Separation. Do you realize that? We are always seeking to separate the good from the bad! If you think that money is bad, guess what, it goes away from you! That is why the call is to love everything, to accept everything as it is so that it can change.
The new world, the new story, the new culture that is being born is not born separated from the present one.
It is born completely linked, promiscuously intertwined with the present one. Linked to the toxic waste, the excessive ego, the nuclear waste, the industrial pig poop, the abuse, the war... All that we call "evil" is the placenta of the new world that Pachamama is giving birth to.
Nothing is wrong. Everything is good. There are thousands of gifts hidden in the dirt, in the storm, in the collapse.
This system of contributions for the workshop is as simple as I have been able to foresee, given my experience. And it is much more complicated than charging an ordinary price as most people in our society do today. It is interesting to note that people are accommodated by this simplicity: tell me how much you charge and I can easily decide if I want to attend or not.
If you tell me it's at will, you're putting me in trouble. I have to decide how much to put in. I may be embarrassed if I have little money. Or I could get all kinds of guilt. Guilt for having/putting lots of money, guilt for having/putting too little, and all combinations. In short: my decision of how much to contribute will expose certain details of myself. Or I'm going to have doubts about whether I'm doing it right or not. If I stand well. For these reasons, many people choose not to go because they are not willing to visit those places of being.
This is so: the culture of the gift IS more complex than the current culture where everything is monetized. It is more complex precisely because it involves the heart, because it links us, because it cannot be separated from all the traumas of the human being. I also like simplicity, and I also like to keep details of my intimacy: Who accompanies me in trusting life, in making us vulnerable, in opening our hearts?
US$30 is a value that represents a declaration of commitment to the workshop. As I have argued in the post Towards the Culture of Gift I, the culture of gift is unknown territory that we are opening up with our steps into mystery. So one thing we know is that in our current culture when something is offered as an unconditional gift people might take it less seriously. They might not value it as much. Perhaps arriving late. Or they take a passive attitude during the workshop, when the act of WELL-RECEIVING is actually a totally active act: it requires the presence, the will of the awakened heart, ignited, for well-receiving any gift that life offers.
(A homoeopathic doctor wanted to fully enter the culture of the gift by offering her consultation at will. It happened that no one came to her office. People didn't believe her. They didn't take her seriously. She decided to charge again and the patients came back).
In my opinion, this value of US$30 does not represent the value of my work. Value is not really measured in money, we know that. But if you ask me how much I would like to receive, I declare myself with a completely open heart to receive much more than that number. 10 times more, 100 times more. Why not? I know I deserve it. However, I am aware that people have different possibilities and I do not want to exclude anyone. With all my heart I would like to alleviate any embarrassment anyone may have for not having money. It's very simple: I don't want someone to be excluded from participating in my workshops because they don't have money. Nor do I want the offering of my work as a gift to represent for some a permit to fuel the mentality of scarcity.
And here is a key theme: when we think that the money we have "available" allows us certain "possibilities" and excludes us from others, we are creating a cultural reality that IS NOT THE REALITY OF LIFE. It is the cultural reality that we live in, where we often think "no, I can't afford that experience because my budget is not sufficient". That' s a lie! We tell ourselves a lie that if we decide neuronally that it's true, we generate that pseudo-reality.
That phrase: "I can't afford it", please realize, IT'S NOT TRUTH. In your heart you know very well what I'm talking about.
When we believe in that reality in which some people have more money and others have less, guess what? Everyone thinks they're in the wrong group! People who travel, who eat and dress well, people who have access to private health care: they all think they have less money than average!!!!! And that is the reality they are generating for their lives.
So, in short, we are moving from a culture in which what is valuable is worth because it is worth money, to a gift culture. We are in the space between two cultures, "the space between stories" as Charles Eisenstein calls it. Something very profound to understand. How do we navigate in that space? Is there only one path?, of course not! Are there many paths then? Not even! To find a path to walk one must first forget what we call a path, because otherwise we return to the known story of "problems and solutions", of control, of believing that the steps to be taken are more or less known, when in reality they are towards unknown places and spaces. The places where there is no way out: there we have to go, without expecting to solve the labyrinth.
Really, what we need to do is to be LOST, urgently and with a big smile.
Well, there with those words I hope the analytical brain (mine and the reader's) gets a little dizzy, stop getting in the way with its preconceived ideas and schematics and maps of the possible, so that we can visit these more interesting places.
(And if someone does not have the US$20 registration fee, then please write to me and feel very welcome).