there is nothing spiritual about being poor

photo by Jennifer Santaniello

I used to sort of think that there was — never in the sense that I resented anyone for their wealth/abundance, and I mean not ever. I never coveted or envied. for some reason. some of my friends did. whatever messages they received about wealth or abundance growing up caused them to side-eye anyone whom they perceived represented something that they could never “be” or have. but the way in which I sort of thought that there was something more spiritual about being poor was feeling the absence of my own entitlement to having things…anything that made me happy or comfortable, really. my challenge was on an emotional level. some folks’ challenge is literally on a physical level that resides in an empty core full of lack mentality. my mentality was not so much lack, but rather “if I am to have, then it is not fair to others”. I had, as my therapist calls it, pathological guilt as well as pathological gratitude. I won’t bother with the spores and particulars of such here, you can read about that in other blog posts.

my pathological guilt was the main culprit most of my life and with the help of certain ptsd issues around money and resources to really light it on fire, I ended up being terrified to have anything at all. as much as this was born from both emotional and ptsd roots, it had physical legs. I was actually afraid that if I ever had or saved money, that it will be stolen in the middle of the night and my bank accounts would disappear. this is an actual fear that I had, as an adult. rooted in fascinating early reality. though my psychological connection to the roots would come much later in life. as my personal issues around experience and personal messaging swirled around me, I became logistically hopeful for a new reality as well as a bright future in which I could pay my rent and eat and actually travel or buy things (regardless of what job I had or did not have)…but emotionally and unconsciously, I was still super committed to another truth…(I will also note that this is/was separate from but often in tandem with the dark nights of the soul I went through, which were periods of time that literally chained me to my immediate surroundings, often unable to do or prevented from doing things, as I processed a number of…processes, lol!).

“I am more spiritual because I am poor” — now, I didn’t consciously believe this. some people ACTUALLY consciously believe this. and it’s total shit. but my unconscious belief was total shit as well, regardless of how it manifested for me. my conscious and unconscious minds were at a constant impasse and battle over whether I deserved anything. I “knew” I did, but I didn’t “know” I did. I could not seem to cross that bridge as my unconscious mind played all kinds of tricks on me via…MY EMOTIONS…

for example. when riding public transpo, I would see many people who struggle and will always struggle. in those moments, my pathological guilt and gratitude toward the Universe and world around me would kick in and my mind would translate that into “if they can’t have, then why can you? no – this is not right, you must live as your fellow wo/man or commoner!”. I had a hard time connecting to theories of relativity as it related to WHY person A would be afforded xyz, and person B would not be. it took years to overcome this, mostly as I battled different personal voices consciously and unconsciously. and during the time I spent overcoming this, I began to understand that: THERE IS NOTHING SPIRITUAL ABOUT BEING POOR…

as I volunteered with non profits and worked with many people who were underprivileged or under-served by the human race in some way, it actually put into perspective the fact that I was not only NOT helping others by resisting what could be available to me in the world, but I was sending a message to them that they are not entitled to their own abundance, whatever relative particulars that reality may hold. I started to think about the fact that I was not taking anything from anyone else simply by living in my own potential, but that I might be taking something from those who looked at me as some kind of an example or reality to aspire to. if we do not allow ourselves to full bloom, where is the inspiration for others who live in contrast with us, and vice versa?

we are all inspired on a daily basis, whether we recognize it or not. we might be inspired by talent, actual wealth/prosperity, or those who have nothing and live like they have everything. we are humans therefore we have contrast — “good” and “bad” around us at all times. living or not living in full potential is a personal choice and it affects not only us, but others who are seeking permission. we are all seeking permission by the way. because we all want to be liked. whether we say that we do or we say that we do not. I wanted permission back when I rode the bus and saw sick, depressed and handicapped people and decided that because of their existence on our planet, I did not deserve anything above the super basics — because I already felt so blessed to not have their challenges!

I recall attending some “spiritual” workshop one day many years ago. as usual I couldn’t understand where all of the “normal” people were? (this divide will soon bridge….). you know, the people who go out into the world, work an actual 9-5, have a healthy partnership and raise kids like status quo America and don’t have a “spiritual” vocabulary. however this one time at this one event, the host was…normal. and, wealthy. I was used to being around super poor super “smart” people at these wacky but honestly informative events. and I tried to draw the correlation between the way that they lived (either in abundance or not) and the agreements in their minds and hearts. I was still figuring out my own. one of my agreements beyond deserving anything was “I have seen all of this before and it does not buy happiness so I will shun this world for myself”. of course this was an unconscious agreement. but it was one of many. and at the same time, I was really trying to reconcile that agreement into a healthy place of perspective because I was always in so much pain logistically (never having what I needed). I noticed at the event I speak of above, the normal and wealthy person who was there could not help where they came from, and perhaps they would serve as an example that people can be super wealthy and….spiritual? this person was an anomaly and they struck a cord within me.

many of the messages that I had received, and I think many of us received, is that there is humility in being poor (in whichever capacity — money, personal life, or otherwise!). that those who have a lot are “this way” or “that way” and not in a good way. or that “you can’t have it all!”. we have either experienced abundance as young people in a way that dictates the above messages (and unfortunately, sometimes “abundance” comes at a cost! for example if we come from wealthy families who are abusive and manipulative with money), or we have simply been influenced by society and politics and media that dictates the above messages or we interpret dictation of the above message. and the message is wrong.

the first part about abundance or money and spirituality is this; many people use the excuse of being poor because they are spiritual when they are in fact simply lazy. period. the second part about abundance or money and spirituality is this; many people use the excuse of being poor because they are spiritual when they are in fact at a true disconnect psychologically between their conscious mind and their unconscious mind. period. I can’t think of any other categories of people’s issues with spirituality and money that won’t line up under one of the above categories. I used to be part of the second category. I made this distinction in the beginning of this post as well.

when we finally begin to understand that there is nothing spiritual about being poor, and that excuses are simply self-serving, we also begin to understand that we get what we pay for. it has never ceased to amaze me that 100/100 times, those who do not even mention or question my fees have the BEST outcomes — and this is irrelevant and I mean absolutely irrelevant to their resources. imagine a multi-millionaire who can’t stomach hundreds per hour, yet the kid who lives in the projects and is footing bills that they deem important with their student loan money? yes imagine. I’ve seen it. witnessed it. experienced it. and it is a MENTALITY. either lack mentality, or a mentality of abundance. and the numbers that appear in their bank account are irrelevant to it. the lack mentality is a lifer mentality and I am allergic to it. I won’t work with people who have it anymore. I just won’t. it’s a cancer. and I’m not saying that I only work with people who have resources because that is not true. I still see a woman from many many moons ago who pays me 150 for two hours of work together, because this is the right thing to do for that relationship (and no I can’t do it all of the time or I would never continue growing). but the lack mentality is really nothing more than an energy. personally, I won’t take discounts. someone I hired months ago to do some work for me recently offered me a “friends and family” discount and I didn’t want it. because it wasn’t clean. because that’s not their fee, and then things become unbalanced. plus I ENJOY paying for value. it’s why I have a sub par apartment but stay in luxury spaces and usually over-tip. because I live in an abundant flow in the experience realm. it’s actually all we have anyhow, experiences. it’s all we take with us. I try to be open-minded but I don’t understand how anyone can expect true abundance in the world and then expect to successfully nickel and dime and discount their way into “important experiences”. the two things don’t go together.

no matter how broke I was — and I was ALWAYS broke — I would take the time to pay for an experience. to flood me with the feeling of abundance and escape lack mentality that many of my bitter artist friends had. I would take the only $20 that I had for an entire week (while missing rent) to buy the nicest Cabernet on the menu at the nearby luxury hotel. because I knew that one day, I could match the vibration I desired. I would sit in that experience and feel/write down all of my beliefs around money, wealth, and…abundance. because at the end of the day, it is not even about dollar signs but it is about having the FREEDOM to do xyz with ease and do xyz in a state of ease due to our surroundings or the person contributing to our experience. understanding this connection helped me tremendously, and I was also able to understand my disconnect around money and self-worth. I was able to understand that for me, for Aryn Elaine, I need to be able to do xyz in order to be at my best to do my WORK. and my work, my ways, my everything, is not someone or everyone else’s. when I made this connection I was able to let go and un-tether myself from the limiting experiences that others have. I didn’t need to live there anymore just because they did.

back to the person who hosted the spiritual event who was “normal”…this person left a lasting impression upon me. that it wasn’t evil to have money. that you can have your shit together mentally and emotionally and not be unhinged, and be spiritual. and rich. and it wasn’t a sin or selfish. I knew that to be true for others, just not for myself, up until that time and even for a time after that. just by existing and hosting us in their incredibly beautiful space and driving us in their fancy car I was able to let go of some of my preconceived notions about wealth and spirituality. this might sound sort of stupid, as I’m not sure I am articulating the experience very well here. at any rate I really began to understand that the blend between “spiritual” and “abundance” was mixing and that one day the world would be able to jointly embrace the two notions.

for example. I work with mostly quantitative people. some of them are millionaires or billionaires. and I have noticed them having the same beliefs!: that they are not spiritual, because they are wealthy. they have misdefined the definition of what “spiritual” is, and it has certainly been misdefined for them. sometimes this is a religious teachings result. sometimes it is many other things. and I have worked with them to show them that their platforms are actually crucial to bridging the gap between money and spirituality™…and they can do it…

I write this today because we can all stand to learn from our lack mentality. I had it and I explain how and why here. I feel that the most malignant form of lack mentality is wanting xyz but refusing to pay for it when it is an option. I see it a lot in others, and at the same time they want or expect their “life’s purpose and health and wealth” to flow — and it won’t flow when you are afraid to recycle energy into the Universe because you feel you have nothing within yourself to give and so money is your only tool. good luck with that one! and as I said, I am allergic to this mentality — and I will say it again that the mentality has NOTHING to do with the logistics or particulars

I would also like to point out the following…if you are an artist, healer or otherwise relatively unboxed professional but you are indeed a professional, run from anyone who tries to bargain with you. you do not want the exchange that they are making. I’ve done this before and it has usually not been worth it. in fact, when I finally learned just how not worth it this was to do, I turned down tons of money. and then I attracted way more of it. there is a big difference between someone who truly can not do xyz logistically at this time, and they still have an attitude of abundance (I have been this person) that you can feel and it is supportive still to what each of you wants to accomplish — and someone who can or can not do xyz logistically at this time, and they have an attitude of lack or measurement around it. just the attitude alone is a toxic energy. if you feel this, do not bargain with it ever. it will cost you more than you can imagine. there are plenty of fish in the sea to line up with one another (lack attracts lack), logistics or not, and lining up with someone who thinks (consciously or unconsciously, and you will spot it) “it is spiritual to be poor” (anyone who does not live in abundance internally is one of these people) will cost you because of their ENERGY. “rich” or “poor”.

the personal breakthroughs that I’ve had in the past few years around understanding my value have come through my actual sessions (in which it has been the PATIENT each time who has encouraged me to raise my rates) as well as therapy with my own therapist and it has been quite the journey to have permission. I feel liberated from my own self-judgements and pathological guilt and gratitude, as well as those of OTHERS who have approached me with an energy of pure lack. I almost never attract those people anymore. and I will say it again: THIS IS AN ENERGY. I’ve worked with people in the projects who you would never know came from there, and they found a way to get what they needed from the Universe and from our work together. eventually, energy turns into tangible, one fine day…and we are ALL deserving of a positive outcome when we do the work. during my personal breakthrough journey I reached a place in which I saw the ultimate value of ME. of my work. I knew I could do things that no one else could do, and that is why many people were seeking me out. the “evidence” of my value and the inner work I was doing finally all came together and I began to protect my work and time (ENERGY!) as I would a tiny baby. and I started the journey of never feeling guilt again over my worth. I realize we don’t walk into Stella McCartney and ask why the prices aren’t matched to Walmart. everything has its energy. and we are entitled to whatever that personal energy is. nevermind what the world around us is doing.

there is nothing spiritual about being poor. how are we to help those who need it, if we hold ourselves in suspension and excuses? one of my greatest desires is to give back in ways that no one has ever done. not because no one has ever done them. but because I receive joy from imagining the ways that people could become inspired or benefit that they have never experienced or seen before. I live for the things that can change lives that have never been done before. I have been in and continue to have many conversations with innovators around this subject – blending resources with spirituality and rerouting all kinds of logistical and industry flows. and one day it will culminate. when we are full we are resourceful to ourselves and others. when we become a source of INSPIRATION or a resource to others, we are living in connection with the divine — we are in our active spirituality. in order to do this we must rise up to our best self, and access the inner and outer world gifts available to us. it is in doing this that we access our abundance. and the cycle is available to those around us to repeat…

if you are logistically poor and think that there is something spiritual about it, think again. if you are a trust fund kid who tries to hide it (have met too many of these gems to count, with lack mentality and entitlement to boot, lol!!) because you think there is something spiritual about being poor, think again. and if you are a 7 or 8 dollar-figure person of logistical wealth and you think you do not have a place in the spiritual world (I didn’t say religious), think again.

it is my hope that by 2020 we have some new and incredible examples of humans who truly embody both spirit and prosperity — of all kinds.