June 17, 2015

Gypsy Economics: Trusting the Tip Jar.


“When everything is subject to money, then the scarcity of money makes everything scarce, including the basis of human life and happiness. Such is the life of the slave—one whose actions are compelled by threat to survival. Perhaps the deepest indication of our slavery is the monetization of time.”

“How beautiful can life be? We hardly dare imagine it.”

~ Charles Eisenstein

This is a story of how my gypsy soul is finding freedom and fullness right in the midst of my extraordinarily ordinary life—and my profound gratitude to the universe for making it so.

It begins with a funny little tale.

When I was fresh out of high school and not yet even aware of college, life gifted me with a full scale nervous breakdown, in which I had the golden opportunity to fall, fully, apart.

Up until then I had made money since the age of 14 as (in no particular order): a singing telegram girl, a rollerskating waitress, a street performer, and a birthday clown. I always felt most at home with a free spirit and a tip jar somewhere nearby, immersed in the spontaneous offering of the moment.

Yet, somehow my beloved, spontaneous life also proved to be unsafe in the context of my myriad soul wounds which seemed to dovetail in a non-ideal manner with a predatory society—and those things called “normalcy” and “stability” kept presenting as requirements. I had deep healing to do that, for better or worse, called for such mundane things as a safe place to sleep at night.

And so, I got a “real” job, as an admin for a snotty boutique ad agency in LA. Somehow, the agency discovered in me an odd gift for writing all things catchy-and-phrasey, and set me to work generating ad copy—all manner of kitschy jingles and alliterations for a grocery-store-that-shall-go-unnamed.

In so many ways, this job was truly a gift; it allowed me to spend a year investing in my own being for the first time ever, including paying for weekly much-needed therapy to sort out the whole mess of darkness called my childhood. Although enjoying the first relative financial stability of my entire life (having been raised on food stamps and the proverbial government cheese), it turns out I was downright allergic to this job.

The task of manufacturing hype for a client that did not make my heart sing, of using my creativity—which was never mine but always a gift freely given—to promote the monstrous maw of capitalism that devours itself for its own gluttony made me, literally, sick.

And mind you, it wasn’t my mind. It was my body; it was visceral. Mind was actually trying to convince body: “Hey you’ve got a good thing here, shut up and behave!” You’d think body would be happy, but no, the grand-canyon sized dissonance of using my time and words and being in this unaligned system literally made me break out in itchy, angry hives. And cry. And vomit.

To be clear, it wasn’t that I don’t believe in grocery stores, nor that I think all goods and services are somehow inherently evil. Not at all. It was the value system in play. Namely: manipulate people to make money. Trick them into thinking they don’t have enough, and you have what they need. Sell them some external promise of happiness that will surely leave them hollow and wanting more—a food that can never fill—because the only true feast must come firstly, from within. And as they get hungrier and hungrier, laugh all the way to the bank. Only, the joke’s on you too, as you look within and find your special places estranged and bereft.

In short, I was allergic to the word-prostitute I had become, which somehow at that moment symbolized all the ways that the collective “we” have been made to prostitute ourselves again and again, across so many lifetimes, to make some excuse for a life. All the ways in which we have delayed or forgoed or sold or bought or projected our fulfillment, assured of a “Heaven” that would surely come some day if only we behaved as we should, bought the right product, had the right “look,” belonged to the right clique, or worshiped the right God.

And that despite all those promises, we lived and we died and Heaven never came, because…it was always, already there. We were just lied to—in some stupid ad or sales pitch—about where to look in the first place.

I couldn’t be a part of that lie. I want to know, and for you to know: Heaven is within. It is here, now.

And so, this gift of a sensitive body that, years ago, just wouldn’t relent to the status quo, drove me to something so much better. It drove me to myself. I decided to answer the inner call and apply to the University of California at Berkeley, and got in against all odds, and had the time of my life there. Because I had taken the chance and gone deeper into my purpose, money magically appeared whenever I needed it.  Thanks to merit scholarships and a little work-study job at the local art house theater on campus, I finished without debt.

Lovingly held in the universe’s arms, I threw myself into the deepest exploration of consciousness and healing from every possible perspective, paced up and down library hallways and dirty streets looking for the theory of everything, wrote and danced like mad, and dug for the truth of my soul in every possible archeological context, literal and metaphorical. I only came up for air when absolutely filthy with gold dust, having unearthed long hidden pieces of not only myself, but also Her.

And now, flash forward to the present moment many years later, and I am a mother, in the suburbs, playing at normal. And still: a writer, and a lightworker, and a passionate embodiment of my truth. I want to use my words and gifts in service to Her, and the All. Only and always in service. I will not push away monetary abundance, in fact I am very open to money because I will use it to expand this work, but service to love must come first.

As yet, I don’t make a ton of money for what I do, and have historically given my services and writing for free, because…love. That is changing now as the universe reminds me that it is time for fair, loving two-way exchange. Time, not to be monetized per se, but to be counted. Valued. That feels right to me.

Sometimes I receive, unsolicited, such well-intentioned yet potentially toxic advice as:

“Use commands and imperatives in your marketing.”

“Build scarcity into your business model.”

“You’ll drive more traffic and increase sales if you [x].”

“Brand yourself.”

And with each piece of such advice that I am exposed to, even if/when my mind says yes, my blood curdles and my toes recoil as every cell in my body says, in chorus:

F*ck, no!

And so. I promise you that, in being valued, which is actually valuing:

I will never use that old sales pitch of falsely projecting scarcity or lack so someone “buys” me. Because you don’t need me; you need you, whole, free and alive.

I won’t use my sacred connection with Spirit to manifest a shiny new car or any other idol, because the hell with six-figures unless it comes to me by way of love. Which, perhaps it will; and if so, bonus.

I refuse to be capitalistic—or even “practical”—if it means my service to love plays anything even close to second fiddle.

I will not cater my content to artificially please and/or manipulate my audience. I will be the perpetual anti-formula.

If I start to become a “brand,” you will please remind me to set that on fire, right away. Thank you.

Lastly, I do not care if my articles trend, or if “only” four people read them. Those four people are holograms of the entire universe, and heck, that is good enough for me. You, dearest universe reading now (yes you!): I bow to you.

Now: does that mean I can’t look pretty? That I don’t want to be successful? That I’ll reject piles of money thrown my way? No, it means none of those things. It only means that my relationship with love and my truth is far stronger than any idols, and if they must burn, they’ll burn. Every single time.

All to make way for the a torrential, raging river of Love that collides joyously, ultimately, into the ocean of All, having flowed with as much beauty as humanly possible.  All to live the most beautiful life of all time; it’s my only goal.

Oh and it means one more thing: restoring my gypsy roots, and trusting that love will fill my tip jar, magically.  The universe made a great joke of reintroducing this concept to me when I got a funny call about a week or so ago from someone calling me to help out with a school fundraiser that put straight me into a gypsy caravan, with a deck of tarot cards, and a tip jar front and center. Roger that, Spirits; I’m listening, and yes, I’m having a laugh right alongside you.

That’s why I’m letting those I’m honored enough to work with, my beloved healing clients who are also my friends—unique, worthy universes each—the chance to pay whatever they want, or can, to receive what I can offer. And I trust the universe to provide, and those I encounter to exchange fairly and from the heart, and am doubly blessed in the giving. No sales pitch, no lies of scarcity or manufacturing of false lack.

And so: here’s to your fullness, the spontaneous offering of the moment, and the deliciousness of this free, blessed exchange.

May these gifts blossom in your heart and mine.


Relephant Reads:

Peek Inside My Gypsy Soul.


Author: Sara Sophia Eisenman

Editor: Travis May

Photo: Author’s Own

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