Transparency

We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.  – Mahatma Gandhi

I have heard this quote shortened to, be the change you want to see in the world. Either way, it is an important spiritual truth. And one area that it applies to is transparency with all things. Jesus teaches us that it is loving to be open and truthful about all aspects of our lives, even if it means we might offend someone, make people angry, embarrass ourselves, or expose areas that we prefer to keep private, like personal finances.

Most of us would like our governments and businesses to be honest and open about how they spend their money. We would like to know where the money flows because it tells us a lot about how organizations are run. But how can we expect those organizations to be transparent if we ourselves are not? That would be hypocritical. So many of us are now choosing to be the example for change.

The finance topic is a challenging one for me because in my family, there was much secrecy around money. I never knew how much money we had, and any financial challenges we ever had were never discussed. As a typical sensitive child, I could feel that my parents didn’t want it discussed, and I was well trained not to upset them, so I didn’t ask or talk about it. I felt like we were probably middle class. We had a four bedroom house with about two acres, and although it was not fancy, it was in a pretty well to do neighborhood. And eventually, I got to have horses! But neither my mom or dad were ‘spenders’. They were quite frugal, but I didn’t know if it was out of necessity, injury or preference.

I thus learned to adopt a private attitude around money as well. When I feel about the reasons around that, I come up with fear. I am afraid people will feel jealous (which does happen), or want to take advantage of me (which has also happened), or want to take advantage of my family in some way, or judge me because I only had a short time in my life (about 8 years) when I needed to work full time like most people do their whole lives.

During those years I did landscape management, administrative work for the California Department of Education, and owned and operated, with two others, a health food store, in Etna, California, until it burnt down in 1998. But about a year after the health food store fire, my income started to be supplemented by a gift from my family, a trust funded by real estate that my family owned. It was a modest supplement, yet soon after receiving it, I arranged my life so I could live entirely on that small income (around $800-$1000 per month) and not have to work. I always valued my own time, and was quite happy living a simple life doing what I preferred to do, like part-time massage, or my hobbies like gardening, permaculture, spiritual pursuits, rebuilding my house with my husband, and later, music. I am so grateful for this gift, because it allowed me to have quite a lot of freedom in my life. I also got in the habit of having time to pursue things that are important to me, and now that I am attempting to learn God’s Way, that habit is proving very useful.

So as part of this journey towards Love–the way God sees Love–I need to confront this fear of exposure and start to share about my financial situation. So here goes. Here are some links to the last several years of my tax reports, as they are a pretty good summary of my finances. My family will probably freak out, but it wouldn’t be the first time they have freaked out at what I am doing on this journey, and frankly, their opinion is becoming less and less important to me as I work through my family-based emotional issues.

2016 Tax Return

2015 Tax Return

2014 Tax Return

2013 Tax Return

2012 Tax Return

2011 Tax Return

In 2012, I also sold my little house in Etna, California for $104,000 (a loss), but that allowed me to travel to Australia and live frugally without working for several years.

At the present time (August, 2016), some interesting things are happening financially. I understand there is a connection between finances and certain emotions. I have always had big issues with self-worth and feeling totally unsupported emotionally due to repeated judgement, ridicule, blame, and control, among other things in my family life, as well as poor choices I have made. My father used to regularly point out that I should have been a doctor and stop wasting my life. But instead I pursued things neither of my parents could relate to, especially Divine Truth, about which they became quite abusive in attempting to stop me from pursuing what I believe in. Anyway, I have always believed that I didn’t have much money because I didn’t conform to the system, and regularly living below the ‘poverty’ line was part of that choice.

But in recent months, since following my dream and moving to Arizona (see My Dream) I started feeling many different childhood emotions, including emotions of not feeling emotionally supported, and lack of self love. And a big shift has happened for me financially. Could this really be related? I don’t yet trust my interpretations of the Law of Attraction, so I am not sure of what is happening, but its wonderful.

In my first blog post, A Year Of Truth And Following Desires, I mention that I have taken a leap of faith and started acting on my desires. When I took action to find ‘my place’ where I could work on my relationship with God, I only had around $25,000 dollars to my name. I added to that by selling my new car for a 15 year old truck, until I had about $40,000 when I left for Arizona. The property I wanted was $60,000, but the owner was willing to carry a small loan, so I was able to swing it. A few months after purchasing my new home, and having my bank account dwindle to the point of ok, I am going to have to get a job very soon, all kinds of money started to show up. First I received a series of checks from a Law firm that was processing a claim that my mom submitted around the ‘wrongful’ death of my father a few years back, and put me and my sister down as beneficiaries. Wow, cool, that gave me around $50,000 tax free money! Now I can build a new well house, put a new roof on my house, and finish the insides of the house, which desperately needed some love. Shortly thereafter, some property that was owned by my family (the building where my father had his Hydraulic Service business which funded the Trust, mentioned earlier) was sold, and I received a check for, gulp, $330,000. But this amount will be heavily taxed and is estimated to drop to around $198,000, but that is still very useful, and allows me to set up my new home quite well. I knew eventually this property would sell, but there were legal issues with it, so I had no idea when I would receive anything from it. Soon after the check arrived I went shopping at Penny’s instead of the used clothing store. 🙂

Most of this money I will spend on materials and labor to create my home. I want to install water systems like gutters, tanks, swales and small ponds to collect and hold water on the property. I want to install a solar system for power. I want to re-build a dilapidated shop on the property so I can have not only a shop, but also a weaving studio for my art. I want to have a vegetable garden. I want to bring in lots of wood chips to improve the soil. I want to plant hardy trees and shrubs that will bring nutrient and vegetation to the land and its inhabitants. I want to propagate those hardy, nutrient fixing plants and trees until I have plenty to share with others.

And I want to invest * in a solar oven company that I have been following for years, pining over their awesome cookers. This company, called Solar Chef was created by Sam Erwin around 50 years ago. I had one of his early ovens but needed to sell it when I left the USA for Australia in 2011.

Me at my new home with an updated model of the Solar Chef that Sam gifted me (August, 2016).

Solar Chef ovens are the most amazing ovens. And so many people can benefit by them coming back into production. They had been on hold because Sam is in his 90’s, and is no longer building them for sale, and doesn’t have the money to put them into production. He and I have been in communication since this last winter, and he is really excited about the idea of me investing in his dream and getting his even more upgraded creations out to the world. And I am hoping we can arrange something so I can receive a modest but regular income as the company grows, which I know it will.

* [This paragraph is demonstrating my lack of love and understanding about an aspect of God’s Way. Investing and wanting to get something in return is the system that we humans have come up with that God would never approve of. God is all about love, and love is always a gift, not a trade. To gift Sam with the funds to create his cooker without an expectation of return, I believe, would be God’s Way (and of course that would confront some money issues for me). Ideally businesses too would learn to align with God’s  system, and create products to give to the world with no demand attached. Certainly a business could publish a suggested donation amount that covers costs and allows the people involved to have a living wage. But there would be no demand. There are successful businesses that are run by donation, so it does work. I will share this with Sam and see what he thinks. Thank you to my friend Julie for reminding me of this aspect of God’s Way]

[And to finish my original discussion…]

And as I have extra money, I will keep donating to my favorite good cause, Divine Truth.

Note: The ongoing financial reports will eventually be incorporated into an About Me page when I get that page put together, so it an be found more easily.