WE give you HOMEWORK!

I found myself writing homework for five different clients last week and realized: wow! what fun! for me and for them!

RAISING CLARITY may be the only people proud of giving you HOMEWORK. I know, I know, you probably remember homework like this:320px-I_Don't_Know_ANY_of_This!

When you work with us, it feels like this:

320px-ChaliceWell(GB)QuietReflectionSignyou can count on your dollars stretching f-a-a-a-rther by us giving you homework that we review, often for free, in between sessions. Here’s an explanation we love:

I do not advise working with Beth if you do not want to work hard. Beth will do everything she says she’ll do and expect the same of you. She will guide you through a process of clarification which will give you and your group a clear goal and empower you to achieve it for yourself.

This is from our new-and-improved Testimonials page. It’s one of our all-time favorite endorsements: you will work smarter, not harder with us, and we promise you’ll raise clarity. You’ll gain focus, specificity, detail, depth, richness in what you came to us for.

Fear Exercise for Wintertime

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Fear seems to arise more visibly in Winter. Cold stimulates response from the body and energy body. It is the Water season in Chinese five-element understanding.  It’s a time of stillness in us and the Earth but because Water challenges our human Earth-iness, we can get crazy ungrounded and extra-fearful. Especially this Winter with such enormous and difficult cha(llen)ges.

As you become still, however, observe how deep or superficial the fear is. Just become still with the fear. Notice where in your body you are most aware and observe those sensations/places.

What you are doing is “Earthing” the fear.  You are grounding it in the physical–your physical.

You can feel yourself becoming more grounded. You become an earthen space for the fear to root itself–and transform.

Fear is “just” a kind of energy. Rooting fear transforms it.

Into what? I don’t know. But you do: into what? Write in and say, in a comment to this post.

In this way, we return to the stillness of Water. We rest in Winter’s utter purity.

What is Winter For?

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Naples, the Allegory of Silence at the Chiostro of Santa Chiara. Image by and uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Lalupa.

What is Winter for?

The watchword of Winter is silence.

In greatest silence, greatest dynamism–

according to Creating Affluence, which I read daily (as prescribed by the good doctor himself).

Winter is when things happen–under the surface.  We don’t see them with our physical eyes.  But they happen, silently and dynamically. This is true in us as well as in the Earth.

My soul-colleague Mikhael Solenne one Winter posted this encouragement:

Be sweet with your life! Let life emerge through you like a flower – if it’s not spring yet, then rush not! Wait! Wait!

Winter is That.  What?  That. 

It might feel like waiting–if you are doing too much right now. That’s how you can tell if you are. Could you do less?

When? (Nobody ever asks that question: when could you do less? when exactly?)

A Doing-Free Date with Yourself

Do you know that I set aside time for doing-free dates with myself? Here is more information. And more recently, here.

2017 Needs Us BOLD

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Construction of the new Golden Horn Metro Bridge, in Istanbul. Image: Arild Vågen on Wikimedia Commons, accessed via Creative Commons Search.

2017 is a year to be strong and clear about where you stand. Us, too: I’m considering this as our new subtitle:

RAISING CLARITY: your practical and intuitive guide to peaceful organization of money, promotion and life

What do you think? Does that cover what we do, in your experience?*

I’m finally done being awed at the gifts I’ve been given to share (intuitive especially) and ready just to claim ’em and use them.

What gifts are you claiming? Be bold. What is your plan for using them?

The world needs us bold right now. And the New Year is time for change. You can feel it. If you can feel it, you can act on it. If you act on it even a little, you get help from the unseen. And you build your intuition. Try it. If you need our help, ask. Here is more on what we do. If you are serious, we will help you. We will figure out a price.


*We’re reorganizing the blog, too. If you can’t find something where you used to find it, let me know.

Glorious Weaving, Spirit of Abundance: A Guest Post with Dena Gartenstein Moses of Vermont Weaving School

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Dena Gartenstein Moses, Weaver. Founder of Vermont Weaving School: “Glorious Cloth, Spirited Instruction.”

I found Vermont Weaving School’s brochure at a tourist info center/rest stop this Summer. It was instantly clear to me from the “voice” of the brochure that an extraordinary person had written it. The combined beauty of the work and service to students made for a deeply engaging brand that I just knew delivered even more than it promised. I had to know more, because it was sparklingly clear the School’s founder Dena Gartenstein Moses had teachings to offer about abundance as well as weaving. I only asked Dena one question–and I had a whole blog post.  (Emphases boldfaced in the text are mine.) This post is my sacred holiday gift to you for 2016. Enjoy! And thank you, Dena!


What made you feel like Vermont Weaving School could be a viable business?

I didn’t know at first. I had a vision and a desire, but I have had many visions in my life and many paths I could happily take. I took small steps at first and then watched to see where the universe would meet me.

I think it’s about reading the signs. Combining desire, vision, intuition, flexibility and also knowing when the roadblocks mean you need to work harder or be more creative and when the roadblocks mean you are on the wrong path.

I had been holding the vision of the school for twenty years. When my son turned three, I started thinking about my next steps. My first vision was to have a building that housed a craft school and community studios. I had thought of it as a community endeavor. I didn’t really believe that I could make it happen but I wrote it down anyway and figured that if I didn’t start networking and looking at buildings then there was no chance that it would happen. I know that I am often a more powerful manifester than I believe myself to be and that the feelings that tell me what is or isn’t possible in my life might be my intuition, but sometimes they are the voice of my fear. The trick is either to recognize the difference, or to move forward anyway and figure it out as I go.

The universe responded. Within two weeks of starting the process, I found our building. It didn’t fit the vision perfectly but it had a lot of potential and felt right. I visited many times, sitting and listening.

The building that we found was one that my husband and I decided to buy privately. It was an almost perfect fit for a school, plus it had living space, and extra rooms that we could rent out as art studios. While we loved our original house and weren’t thinking about moving, seeing this new possibility opened up a conversation of ways that our home wasn’t really working for us and how this building would fit our family better. The building had been on the market for years because everyone who had looked at it couldn’t figure out how to change it to meet their needs.

The process wasn’t easy. There were times where it was hard to figure out if the setbacks were signs that I needed to work harder, or signs that this was the wrong path. One example of this is that when we began to explore selling our home, the first realtor we spoke to saw many negatives and suggested asking a much lower price than we had thought. I didn’t settle. I knew that there were so many great things about our home that he was overlooking and found a realtor who loved our home, saw what was special about it, encouraged us to ask top-dollar and then found us a wonderful buyer who paid our asking price.

We had another stumbling block when the building was being appraised. The building had a tenant who was interested in staying on after we closed. She was in her studio working when they appraiser came and he made a note in the appraisal report about her studio. When the bank found out about this, we no longer fell into the category of a standard home mortgage. We were fairly close to closing at this point. I put everything else in my life on hold and spent two weeks following every possible lead. I was told over and over again that because our building was not what the banks were used to dealing with, they didn’t want to take on the mortgage. In the end, I found a very local bank, spoke to someone who knew and loved the building, and had to accept some terms that I wasn’t completely comfortable with in the hopes of straightening it out later. By this point, I knew so deeply that this was our path that I was willing to do just about anything to make it happen.

I believe in growing a business, taking small steps and paying attention. I had many different ideas for how the business could grow and my plan was to plant seeds and see what manifested. For me, the right path is (almost) never about investing a huge amount of time or money into something that is unsure. It is about taking small risks but continuing to move forward. When we bought the building, I worked the numbers and knew that with the added income from studio rentals, the difference in our expenses would be about $500 per month.  I was fairly confident that between having a bigger studio and offering classes, this would not be a difficult amount to come up with. Any additional money would go towards growing my business.

The original equipment had come to me a few years before. I checked my email one day and there was a notice about a weaving school going out of business and selling all of their equipment. I knew that someday I wanted to start a school and that getting the equipment was important. I couldn’t make it to the sale, but called. I was able to secure six small floor looms and a lot of equipment for $500. The equipment sat in the attic, patiently waiting, until it was time.

I have tried many different things in the past eight years. I have paid close attention to what is working and what isn’t. Most of my marketing has been inexpensive to free and very personal. I talk to potential students while exhibiting at craft fairs and occasionally I demonstrate at events. I applied for, and received, a grant from the Vermont Arts Council to help create my brochure. When I had it, I put money into creating a beautiful website. I listen to my students about what their needs are and have based my offerings on what I hear. I have sold all of the original looms and slowly replaced them with newer and better equipment. As my students have looked to buy looms, I have become a loom dealer which has brought in unexpected income. As my income from the school increases, I am able to let go of work that is not serving me. Sometimes there is risk involved, but I pay attention to how it feels in my body and move with that.

It is important to me to treat each student as a sacred being who is coming to me, looking for something. Often it is about weaving, but sometimes it is about something much deeper. I keep my classes small so I can work with each student in a very personal way. Twenty years ago, my prayer was, “Please God, help me find my gift and give it to the world.” I feel incredibly blessed to have seen this path and to have had the universe meet me strongly and clearly.

I added one question after reading her story:

If you wish to, tell me how you came to pray that prayer, and if you have a mentor or a guide who has inspired you.

I really don’t know where it came from. I have had teachers and mentors along the way, but I don’t think that was it. It was very deep and clear inside of me…there were so many times that my path was confusing, unclear, filled with drama. I had a restlessness that I didn’t know what to do with. I quit a truly amazing job where I was highly paid, working with a group of people I adored with almost no thought. I moved out of my dream apartment in the middle of the night because of personal drama; I was engaged and had it fall apart with almost no notice. I knew I wanted to have a family but had no idea how to make it happen and it felt like my time clock was ticking fast. In some ways, that prayer was what got me through.

For more information: www.vermontweavingschool.com

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To read Dena’s “Artist’s Statement,” click here.

RAISING CLARITY on HOW to be nice to yourself at the holidays

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“Pampered Pitbull,” by remitaylor on Flikr, accessed via Creative Commons Search.

It’s the holidays. Surely you can take some time off. You maybe can’t go out and buy yourself anything. (Why not?)

Give the gift that keeps on giving: Take time off for yourself!

Many voices tell you to do this. Few tell you how. BELOW is our simple three-step process for giving yourself the best gift of all–time:

Step 1: Schedule it.

Step 2: Protect it: keep your date with yourself!

Step 3. Enjoy it.

(Repeat)

For more ideas, click here. (You’ll find posts like this one I revised especially for you this season!) And I won’t resist pointing you to more posts on the three steps if you need support:

Step 1: Schedule it. 

Also: Appropriocrastinate!

Step 2: Protect your mental space.

Also: Date yourself.

Step 3: Enjoy it! (Now if you need help with this one…! Instead of me adding more of our posts for you to read, how ’bout you write to me about how it went, your gift you gave yourself of time?)

Putting Your Money Where Your Anti-Racism Is: Post #27 in our Series, What One (White) Person Can Do

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This photo of a wall at the King Center is by my soul-colleague Michael Brickler.

If you read this blog, you know I see money as flow. It’s “just” flow and not more important than other kinds of flow. But it’s also not less important because we use money to symbolize and channel those other resources: our love, energy, and attention.

This Winter, you’re being asked to give again and again. The season of fundraising has begun. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about; as a fundraising consultant, I help my organizational clients pay close attention to using the energy of the season to generate generosity. As a money coach, I do the same for individuals. Giving is part of what Winter’s about.

This post thus gives you an abundance perspective on “what one (white) person can do” this Winter: I invite you to join me in directing your “just” flow to justice. Definitely, you can give to #BlackLivesMatter, Standing Rock, SURJ (Stand Up for Racial Justice) or other organizations I hope you’ve been hearing about recently. (Let me know if you need help finding them.)

But you might also give to a much older and more time-honored anti-racist solution: Reparations.

Reparations means money compensation for the effects of slavery on African-Americans. It’s controversial only because we don’t want to deal with it. There are no good reasons for not implementing it as law, as Michigan Congressman John Conyers has invited us to do for over 25 years–year after year, in his historic HB 40, named for the legendary “40 acres and a mule” which never materialized. Most of the economic advantage we enjoy as a “First World” nation originates in the forced, uncompensated labor of African-Americans.

Redressing this injustice with our “just” flow makes abundant sense to me. Reparations are not only feasible for us as a nation, they were recently declared owed by the United Nations.  The only question is how to do it.

Just because we don’t know how to do something perfectly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.

If you are intrigued at the idea of setting things right by investing whatever you have to give, you can make a gift and subscribe to the newsletter of this beautiful organization, the Southern Reparations Loan Fund.*  They say,  “SRLF is a different kind of loan fund. We lend to democratically-governed enterprises that meet the needs and elevate the quality of life of African American, immigrant, and poor white communities in the US South.” Any and every amount is welcomed, and subscription to the newsletter is free. You can find out how to borrow/whom they lend to here.

If you enjoy a one-to-one approach, use this genius portal, whose motto is “there is something you can do.” It was created by a multi-media conceptual artist who says, “Reparations began as a social media experiment on Facebook on July 15, 2016.”
Reparations in every resource flow–love, energy, attention and money–are all that can be asked of us to heal the legacy of racism–and exactly right to be asked of us.

*I contacted SRLF’s investment officer to ask about investments. The minimum investment SLRF are set up to take now is $25,000. They hope in the next few years to be able to take smaller amounts. Here is how to invest.

What Abundance with Clarity Looks Like Right Now

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I wrote this! I’m so proud.

90% of the nonprofits whose petitions I have signed for years and share on social media; whose newsletters I have read; and whom I’ve supported financially; are lately trying to inspire me to give out of fear and anger with the uncreative rationale is that “our work is needed now more than ever.”

People! We are not stupid!

But we are grieving. We are hurting. We are exhausted. 

My sanity is what is needed “now more than ever”–not your organization.

Right now,  two nonprofits who have refused to pander to fear and anger stand out:

who won my love by sending me a survey immediately after the election whose first question was: “How are you doing?

and NOT asking me for money in the same mailing. I will remember them when I have money set aside to give away! And

who sent a newsletter beginning and ending with how thankful they are for their members’ fabulous progress + a reminder to think of them on Giving Tuesday!*

Do you think for one minute they don’t know Trump was elected? I will think of them when I have money set aside to give away!

Notice I am not complaining about being asked to give. I am complaining about being treated without compassion and respect and being asked to give out of terror, scarcity, and rage. THIS IS NOT ABUNDANCE, PEOPLE. (But thank you for the counter-example.)

If YOU you plan to be fundraising anytime soon, think and remember.

Fundraising is friendship-building.

We are going to need each other especially fully in the next four years. Our thoughts about money should be full as well. Money, friendships and organizing that make a difference are not a quick buck or a flash in the pan.

To help you write inspiring fundraising copy, try this post on hunger porn and this post I’m proud to say inspired one of my national clients to shift their holiday appeal 180 degrees in an uplifting direction.

Of course you can ask us for a consulting scope of work session free, to find out if we can help you, how, and how much we think it will cost. And in closing, here is clarity about abundance. Here is how to put yourself back in the flow, which is what “abundance” means. For more totally amazing fundraising articles like ones we’ve published in their pages which you can download free on our website, subscribe to the Grassroots Fundraising Journal.  And if you want financial organizing or counseling, try our beloved guest-blogger West Beth–financial organizer and counselor Beth Crittenden of Love the Zeros. Her latest post is on how to tell if you are “financially medicating.” She can be especially supportive at the holidays.


*Giving Tuesday” is the national grassroots giving holiday that follows what we call “Thanksgiving.”

 

 

 

Using a Crisis to Build Power

This post was written days before the election. Devastation, like crisis, breaks us open. We can use that openness to acknowledge all the help we have and work it!  Note we are making ourselves more available than usual at this time with our devastation special.

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This is the famous “Chinese word for crisis,” which does not mean “danger + opportunity.” Image by and uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Tomchen1989. The left character is wēi, the right is the unsimplified form of jī . I cropped this image to showcase the traditional form because I loved its intensity. Wēijī does mean “crisis.” It apparently means “danger + turning point,” as in English.

This post is for a group of beloved soul-colleagues experiencing a fundraising crisis and another looking at a deeply held dream through the far end of a tunnel, wondering how to walk through that tunnel and achieve that dream by raising the large funds needed. The individual’s not in crisis–except etymologically, as the word has historically meant “turning point.” You never see yourself the same after you have raised a large amount of money for your dream!

“Crisis” originally meant “decision,” and came to mean the point in an illness when an important change takes place (thank you, Google)  and there are only two outcomes: recovery, or death. It is difficult not to be motivated by death–not to focus, in other words, on fear–in a crisis. It is our challenge to use a crisis to build power.

The first thing to do is change how we see “recovery.” Recovery never looks backward; recovery does not care where you came from. Recovery is all about where you’re going. When your world breaks apart, the new you emerges: you had better pay attention.

Every crisis contains within itself the seeds of its healing.

Healing means wholeness.

Breaking apart means trusting a much larger wholeness–or death.

I do believe it is that simple. And you know if you read me very often that “simple” is code for very, very hard. Utterly demanding. A crisis demands everything we have, all hands on deck, and the invisible Hand helping. It doesn’t really matter if you believe in the invisible Hand, it just helps if you stay open to Its help.

Rumi compares our crying out for help in crisis to a baby crying for its mother’s milk. The help we receive is as inevitable as the infant’s mother’s physiological response of milk coming into breasts called “letdown.” Rumi also calls our need “burning.” (Thank you, Coleman Barks.) Christian and Jewish mystics have also written about this “crying out to G-d.” A secular word for it is “crowdfunding.” :)

Yes, there is paradox here: if we go running toward help, help comes running toward us. But only if we go running.

Help comes when we are burning for it.

When we have put nothing in between it and us. Because that was how we got into crisis: we put sooooo much in between ourselves and what was needed:

  • we got busy
  • we forgot
  • we were distracted
  • we were addicted
  • we were seduced
  • we were deluded

into believing we could get what we wanted by will, profit, secrecy, manipulation, abuse of power–or simply by ourselves. We cornered ourselves and then! our need grew too great. And we ended up in crisis.

So how do we access healing in a crisis?

  1. Ask for help.
  2. Ask repeatedly for help.
  3. Ask organizedly, structuredly for help: if people wanted to help you, could they? Make it easy, inviting, direct, humble. Analyze your pathways of outreach, support, recruitment, and marketing: are they easy to use? direct? clear? You can ask for our help with this.
  4. Clear away any and all obstacles within to help. Notice how hard it is to ask for help: where is it hard? what is hard, specifically? those are the places for healing
  5. Remember what you have done well. How have you built friendships? Use them. They will use your friendship in future: be there. Make a commitment to be there for your friends so you recover.
  6. Make sure every single person in your inner circle has given to support your recovery. Everyone. It doesn’t matter how much, it matters that it is a “significant amount” for each. That’s the language I use and teach.
  7. See how you are made bigger by your crisis: what new level is it calling you to? Do not fundraise for an emergency; fundraise for your new level. That bears repeating:

Do not fundraise for an emergency. Fundraise for your new level. Ask for help becoming the new you.


You don’t have to wait for a crisis to become the new you. You can invent one! I’m teasing, but you can dream a great big dream, like my individual soul-colleague, and go after it using the same principles in this post. For more on what we offer you as an individual, click here.

For our “devastation offer,” click here.

Seeing Into Our Own Darkness & Post #26 in Our Series, What One (White) Person Can Do

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Dark Light. Image by and uploaded to Flikr by darkday, accessed via Creative Commons Search.

Simply acknowledging our own darkness is a step toward resolving it.

Not all darkness wants resolving. Much of it is mystery, perfectly fine.

Sometimes, however, we obfuscate: we cover up something that needs airing.

AirBnB recently had this happen. They are the online company that helps room-seekers find room-offerers to stay with when traveling. Some room-offerers use the AirBnB website to commit racism, for example saying “yes, we have a room” to prospective room-seekers, and then “no, we don’t” when the room-seeker turns out to be a person of color.  The company had not meant for this to happen, but they had made it possible, even easy.

So what did they do? Ignore it? Blame it on the individual room-offerers?

No, they saw into the situation and began doing some high-level things to change it. Here is a great description of what they’re doing.

Meanwhile, what does your darkness conceal? Mystery only? Or things that need airing? Now is a great season to see into your own darkness. If you want help, contact us.