So often when we face financial problems, as many of us are currently doing (this seems to have been a rough year for many people financially), our natural response is negative. Why wouldn’t it be? And yet, that negative response falls into a category that I would call, “not helpful.” This is so even if your bank made a mistake, or your credit card was charged twice for the same transaction, or your account was hacked, or you are stuck dealing with a debt that you never incurred. Of course it’s understandable to react with negativity to such events. Of course it makes us feel angry and frustrated.
I so often find myself thinking how unhelpful and impractical a concept justice is. And this is one of those times when thinking in terms of what is fair does not help.
Here is what does help: strong, powerful action.
The cards I pulled today are from Caroline Myss’ Archetype Cards. I asked, “what is my archetype for today?” (Answer: Beggar — well, that was rather pointed!) and “what should my archetype be? what do I need to change my archetype to?” (Answer: Liberator).
These cards list light and shadow attributes for each archetype. So for this two position spread, we have:
Beggar. Light attributes: Confronts empowerment at the level of physical survival. Awakens the spiritual authority of humility, compassion, and self-esteem. Shadow attribute: Dependence on others to the exclusion of effort.
Liberator. Light attributes: Freeing yourself and others from outmoded beliefs. Releasing negative thought patterns. Shadow attributes: Imposing your own tyranny over those you claim to liberate. Ignoring legitimate concerns.
How does becoming a liberator help in the move away from being a beggar? That’s a tricky one! It’s almost like a Zen koan.
First, notice what the cards did NOT suggest. They didn’t say, become a Miser, or a Gambler, or a Prostitute (which incidentally doesn’t refer only to literal prostitution in this deck — much entrepreneurial energy could be described as “prostitution” in a positive sense), or a Student, or a Thief, or a Servant, or a Seeker. But a Liberator. That’s not really a profession, is it?
And, in any case, it’s true that for so many of us, financial problems do NOT stem from being in the wrong profession. Struggles of any kind, financial or otherwise, have more to do with our thought patterns, our feelings, and our tendency to not be proactive on our own behalf, but rather to sit down and have a pity party. (That’s not to say that we’re all at fault for all our financial difficulties — many of us are struggling with medical bills, for example, that are simply unavoidable, tax bills that are unrealistic, or credit card bills that someone else ran up — but our frame of mind STILL defines how we react and whether or not we can react effectively.) That’s not to say a change of job isn’t “in the cards,” so to speak, if you are having trouble, but changing jobs doesn’t always mean changing professions. Sometimes it means shifting to a position in which you are actually allowed to do your heart’s work meaningfully rather than being obstructed from doing it or being allowed to do only a piecemeal version of it. And sometimes it means staying put and finding a way to do the work you already do in a way that will make your soul sing. In a way that is loving. (“If you can’t be with the [work] you love, honey, love the [work] you’re with!”)
But change of any kind takes faith. There is no guarantee that change will improve the situation. There never is.
What is the difference between the beggar and the liberator — really? The difference is hope, faith, and love. Once we have faith and hope, we can act. Because we feel the ground beneath our feet again. Yes, action is key — but before we can turn the key in the lock, we must have some feeling of hope that the key we have is the right key for the lock in question — or we won’t bother to even put the key into the lock. We have to believe the key will actually work.
You can’t act to liberate yourself or anyone else — from financial problems or any other kind of struggle — without love. That’s just my opinion.
To quote from First Corinthians, “there are three things that last” — and not one of them is money.
“There are three things that last: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love.” –1 Corinthians 13:13
And to quote from the Dalai Lama (this quote is from the movie Kundun):
You can’t liberate me. I can only liberate myself.