I had to take some time to rest after my retreat at the beginning of June. Being unused to being in public spaces and attending gatherings once more, I found myself fairly drained, despite tapping into the elements and doing shielding work. It was 5 days, and in the end, I think even the most skilled person would find themselves exhausted.
For me, it was also a different type of year. I was there in service, and not for myself. I was busy preparing for my workshops, for rituals, for Temple and trying to make sure that people felt welcome, comfortable and weren’t lacking anything they might’ve needed. I didn’t get a chance to attend workshops (a part of it being a “my bad” as I should’ve tried to memorize ritual lines before arriving, but I was distracted.) or even socialize as much as I liked.
This also meant, my focus was on ritual and service and thus, I wasn’t doing a lot of inner work. That doesn’t mean I didn’t get messages or speak to The Morrigan- in fact, it felt the opposite. She was very much there, talking to me, guiding me and making me realize a few things that I had been overlooking. These are the culmination of those conversations and thoughts.
I’ve been struggling to find myself comfortable in my journey, while being fully aware that comfort is something rarely found during transitional spiritual journeys. I tend to be impatient, and also tend to look ahead rather than be in the moment. I use the term liminal space a lot, and I find that I am in liminal spaces more often than I like to admit. As I work towards my spiritual direction certificate, I find myself thinking “but I want to do the things now!” I don’t want to wait, and there’s a growing frustration because I am eager to spread my wings, as well as provide my family with a little bit of extra income.
Finding how to do that by creating a path that’s for me, doing something I love, and transforming my passions into a career isn’t easy. How do I serve my Gods, serve my community, heal those who come to me and still know my worth- my time, my work and skills are all valuable? In the spiritual community, there is a tendency to lean towards thinking money is evil, and thus anything spiritual should not be something charged for- even if it's something someone has done a lot of work for, or used their time and skills to create. You'd be surprised the number of people who demand or ask for free tarot readings and information, as well as free advice. None of these are inherently wrong until you kindly mention that these are normally paid services. It's not pretty to have to be made to feel like you are somehow bad because you wanted your time and efforts compensated for.
I think there’s a balance of honoring yourself and your work, and aiding the community when you can. My mission is to aid in self empowerment, provide inspiration and guidance on those seeking a spiritual path and to provide support and ministry to individuals, as well as to nurture spiritual growth in others. I hope to provide others with the tools and skills necessary to find a spiritual perspective and solution to problems within their lives. But that work is hard, and time consuming- and it's not something to simply handout for free- it has cost me time, and energy, as well as paying for education and learning, and developing myself! It's a fine line to walk, this honoring of myself, and taking into account the needs of those around you.
Coming from a background of poverty, I know how often spiritual services can be out of reach for those without the means to pay. Spiritual care is often seen as not a priority because it’s not affordable. And I see it often that spiritual care is something of privilege, like it or not. That’s why my aim is to provide heart-based spiritual care. It’s not about making money, nor is it about devaluing my own services- it’s about doing what needs to be done to help create and maintain a stronger, healthy spiritual community.
There is nothing wrong with charging for spiritual services, and anyone that thinks differently is wrong. All people have the right to fair exchange for their time and skill. That sort of thinking, that somehow, spirituality is above fair exchange is akin to saying servers at restaurants getting paid $2 an hour is fair because they get tips. It’s not fair exchange, and it’s relying on a system that rewards instead of offering compensation.
But again, there’s also something to be said for making sure services are accessible to those who can’t always afford them. Spiritual care is a form of self care, and it’s not something that should only be available to those with expendable income. And that’s sort of what was on my mind and within my conversation with The Morrigan during retreat.
Where is the balance?
That’s for each of us to find. I have learned recently that I am not as unskilled as I think- it was on a whim that I decided to bring paintings with me and sell them. A little kick in the butt, really. My sacred space was getting so packed with miscellaneous paintings and the only thing I could think to do besides paint over them in some sort of practice of impermanence, was to sell them. I laughed at myself. Maybe I’d sell one. Out of pity sale maybe. I could sell all of them, if I marked them for like 20 bux each.
I was, however, given encouragement to sell. I was given advice by artist friends, whom I respect and think of as super talented individuals, and that advice included how to price my work. And I was given reassurances. My work was worth selling. I gave in, trusting that I’d sell what I needed. And I did. I was shocked, I’ll admit it, but by the end of the weekend, I sold about half of what I brought, which was really good, considering I didn’t go “cheap.” I chose to honor myself, and my work, even though it was really hard. I felt good. I felt seen and validated. I'm even now working on a collaboration with a trusted friend.
This is where balance comes in for me. Finding a tangible skill, something I can do and sell that makes a little bit of money- and leave space for me to show gratitude to the Universe by making sure I have space in my schedule and in my practice for those who need spiritual care and companionship that can't normally afford it. And this is why I chose to continue to sell my art. Each piece I sell honors something within myself, as well as giving me space to keep my heart open and available to those in need.
So yup, this is a bit of an advertisement for visiting my shop and offering a little support if you like my work. It's also to let anyone out there feeling like it's somehow wrong to charge money for your services know- it's not. It's our jobs to not just label money as the root of all evil, but instead, find a healthy relationship with it. It’s also a call to anyone in need of spiritual care services- whether it’s talking out some troubles, finding support as you traverse through this crazy life, or just someone to walk beside you on your spiritual journey. You can email me, or set up a zoom appointment where we can talk and figure out a spiritual plan of care, one that includes a price that honors both of us.