February 14 is coming up and it is a time to celebrate Chinese New Year (and the prosperity of the New Year). I have received a few of these red envelopes and it is quite fun and meaningful!

This is the explanation of the red envelope that came with this photo. “In Chinese and other East Asian societies, a red envelope or red packet / red pocket is a monetary gift which is given during holidays or special occasions, such as weddings or Lunar New Year. The red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits.”

Someone wrote to me this week, challenging me to take a look at my views around spirituality and money. What they couldn’t have known is that in recognizing that my soul purpose centers around facilitating people in their journeys of spirituality and healing, I have needed to search my heart regularly about this topic. I wrote a rather lengthy letter in response because this is a challenging issue during challenging times.

Like me, you may be finding yourself called to serve others with spiritual messages and support, and you may find yourself being asked to work for little to no money in the name of spirituality. After years of struggling with my own ethical views about this, I have finally come to some decisions about what I need to do at this time in my life. Here is the story of my journey with this issue that I shared the other day in regard to spirituality. I expect you have your own opinions and I welcome a discussion about this topic.

Those who know me well, know that I spent 10 years of my life sharing my gifts and living only from the modest donations given to me. If anyone knows what it means to live very humbly and to give freely of my gifts, I do.

I was privileged to serve a few wonderful people. I have no regrets about that time and I limited my ability to serve because I had a limited perspective about the value of my work. Because I am living in a world where we do not, in general, know how to exchange in balance for what is freely given, I was choosing to play by a set of rules that did not serve me well.

I had a difficult time fulfilling aspects of my calling because I rarely had enough money to support my purpose. In my struggle, I prayed for clarity and Spirit brought me a vision where I saw an ancient ceremony in which a curse was made that the people of Spirit would give too much of themselves. They set this curse into motion because they knew those of us with great hearts and willingness to give, would do so without making sure our own needs were taken care of. They knew we would give to excess and that would become our weakness.

I knew I was being called to make a change that would be difficult for me and difficult for some of the people I served. I chose to begin charging for what I believed was the true value for my services.

Then a second vision came. In this one, I realized that each of us has within us the Divine spark that allows us to see for ourselves, heal ourselves and become our full potential. I realized it is each person’s own responsibility to awaken our own powers. If a person receives help, then they are truly blessed, but in truth, the responsibility to awaken is each our own.

What I realized then was that it is up to each of us to decide when and how we will help. Personally, I have been helped for free and paid significant fees. I have never assumed someone’s help was greater or less because the help did or did not have a price tag associated with it. I never assumed they had done something wrong because they offered their gift to me freely or asked me to pay. It is not mine to judge.

In an age when spiritual traditions and practices around money, healing and spirituality are coming together, as each of us creates our own unique spiritual journeys, I believe each person must determine for themselves what lessons they are here to learn, who they are here to learn them with, and how they are going to learn them.

Each person must decide for themselves the worth of their gifts. Each person must determine for themself what they are willing to give in return for the help they receive. Each person must decide what gifts they will offer freely and to whom, and what they feel needs to be remunerated in exchange.

The majority of my writing (some of my most significant service) is absolutely free. I speak on the radio regularly for free. I sing daily for people in need and have facilitated many, many ceremonies for which I was and am not provided for financially. I answer e-mails out of my care and love, and share many insights without ever asking for anything in return.

It is my belief that no one NEEDS a reading, a healing, or a class from me in order to further their spiritual journey into Divine consciousness. If they feel strongly about receiving my services or I feel strongly about serving them, and they do not have the means, we work something out together.

Gratefully, I am now privileged to serve many, many more people. Each day, I must make decisions about whether to share more of my time serving a few people one-on-one through private sessions, or many more people through writing and classes. I am the only one that can determine what that balance needs to be for me. And you are the only one that can determine what that balance needs to be for you.

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