Coming out of Hiding to Let Prosperity Find You

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I am in love with Tonya Parker. Read her post and find out why. Give it the time it needs to receive all the abundance you can from it.  Hers are power words. Please receive these powerful words and use them.


I delivered this sermon on Sunday, March 5, 2017 at Takoma Metaphysical Chapel, an interfaith spiritual community located in Silver Spring, Maryland. I have been a member since 2006, and have served on its Board, various committees, and healing and message-bearing teams. Our Senior Minister is Reverend James (Jim) Webb, esteemed minister, author, spiritual life coach/counselor, psychic intuitive, channel, and one of my spiritual mentors. We use many sacred texts as part of our services, classes, and workshops, and the book A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is one of our primary sources. “Rev Jim “leads a weekday morning ACIM call, and I have been in regular attendance on the calls for the past three years. I have come to truly appreciate the teachings of ACIM, published by The Foundation for Inner Peace.  Per its website, ACIM is “a unique, universal, self-study spiritual thought system that teaches that the way to Love and Inner Peace is through Forgiveness.” I pray that the reader receives a blessing in this message Spirit guided me to speak:

Last Sunday Rev Jim spoke on Preparing for Prosperity by clearing our mind, clearing our heart, and clearing our energy. As we pray, today we call on the most high Mother, Father, Everything God, great creator, great healer, dwelling within us all. We invite you further into this space, asking for your loving healing grace in clearing our mind, our heart, our energy to prepare for prosperity in its many forms, including the message you would have me share today. We are open to receive, as you shower us with the blessings of your love, your light, your wisdom, your grace, and all else we need to come out of hiding to shine brighter to reflect you. Let it be so, and so it is.

Frank Kafka wrote, “All that you are seeking is also seeking you.” But what if what we seek or desire—we’ll call it–our prosperity–is having trouble finding us?

Anyone ever have that feeling? Somehow, there is some barrier, some cloaking technology, some bushel that is blocking our prosperity from seeing us clearly and finding us. And, contrary to popular belief, suppose that barrier is not because of something someone else constructed. Suppose…we are the source of that barrier. We built it ourselves. And prosperity cannot find us because we have hunkered down behind that barrier. We went into hiding. Anybody in here know about hiding?

I’ll speak for myself. I’ve spent years in hiding! The barriers we construct may look different depending on the person or the circumstances. For some, it may be a moving barrier, as we run away, ducking and diving for cover when light shines our way. For others, it’s being silent as we quietly put on a cloak of invisibility…we can hide by not stepping up, and letting others step into the limelight…we also hide when we live a lie, allowing others to see an incomplete or false representation of our true selves…and still others may hide through playing small, playing safe, playing in the comfort zone.

Well, I confess I’ve done them all. Trying to be nice. Trying to be a people-pleaser. Trying not to rock the boat, tip the boat over. Trying to stay humble and not get a big head. Trying to allow everyone else to shine. Trying to play it safe. Trying to ignore the call of the wolves. Trying to ignore the voice of Spirit. Over and over and over again. Listening to the tapes recorded from childhood and adolescence, through various schools, from various jobs, relationships, and experiences over the decades of life. Adding layer after layer of covering over my Light.

I’ll dare to say that we all have hidden in some way at some time in our life.

And when we hide, H-I-D-E, we Help Insanity Dictate our Experiences…instead of let prosperity find us.

Before I share some insights to help us come out of hiding, I’m going to share with you a couple of personal examples of my hiding. When I went off to the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia my initial GPA may not have shown it, but I was an overachiever. Over the course of 10 years there, I earned four degrees: a BA in Sociology, an M.Ed in Agency Counseling, an EdS in Professional Counseling, and then what I thought was the most important–an MRS. Yep, I snagged me a husband from the law school there and got married in the chaotic midst of the blizzard of ‘93, with a plan for my happily-ever-after as Mrs. Tonya Parker-Hopkins. However, there was one little problem. I was running away from, and staying silent about my attraction to other women. Just a little hiding, a little helping insanity dictate my experiences. So, I did what many of us do. I swept my feelings under a rug. When you keep sweeping things under a rug, they don’t go away. What happens? You just get a pile that grows bigger and bigger until it’s impossible to ignore.

I began to learn the lesson: that which we resist persists. Remember that if you have on CNN 24/7, and follow every move of the President, and curse him and call him names on social media. Energy flows where attention goes, so you are feeding an energy and helping it grow, or perpetuate. But I digress. I was feeding an energy, helping it grow and perpetuate. My pile under the rug grew so big that first I kept creating new paths to move around it. But that still fed it–because actively trying to avoid something is still spending energy on it. And then I began to trip over it, because it was constantly there. That was no fun, either. After the death of my father, I did some soul searching, some healing work, and acknowledged it (me), learned to honor it (me), and made a choice to come out of hiding, live my truth, and let prosperity find me. No more helping insanity dictate my experiences—at least in that situation.

Here’s the second example of my hiding: When I was a senior at Rappahannock High School in Warsaw, Virginia, we took one of those career inventories. I received three results based on my interests and aptitude: social worker, landscape architect, and minister. I followed a social work-related career path for many years—as a children’s case manager, a mental health therapist, a prevention specialist, and a crisis worker. Now, I never did go into landscape architecture, but I certainly have fed my affinity for Earth mother through foods, herbs, essential oils, and crystals. What about that minister thing, though?

My mother’s father was a minister—both my grandfathers and my step-grandfather transitioned before I was born, so I never felt that connection with my maternal grandfather. Essentially, it was a fact written on a genogram–like a therapeutic family tree–for my Marriage & Family Counseling class.

That minister thing kept trying to show up, though. I would scratch my head when my former officemates kept turning to me to pray at our countless potlucks. No big deal–not everyone is comfortable praying out loud. Other little clues popped up over the years, but I was good at looking the other way. Let’s fast forward to 2007, when, I began cooking for Iyanla Vanzant, Rev. Jim and the faculty of Inner Visions Institute for Spiritual Development. For most of the three years I cooked, different faculty members would strongly invite me to enter the program. And I had checked in with Spirit, and was clear, I wasn’t to do that. At some point they stopped trying to recruit me for the program and started telling me, “You’ve now completed your first year, your second year, your third year. But I wasn’t listening to all those spiritual folk. I had enough on my plate juggling being a healer, a teacher, a writer. A minister?? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

But at some point, I realized everywhere I went, someone was calling me Minister Tonya or Reverend Tonya. I always corrected them. I once even had a gentleman walk up to me at Pathways Natural Living Expo, bow and pronounce “high priestess.” Not listening. Even when my partner entered and graduated from University of Sedona and became a minister, bringing it into the house, I still was running and hiding.

Then Spirit decided to be a bit more obvious. When we don’t listen to the whispers, Spirit responds with a roar. So when I attended our Psychic Fairs and received readings, I was called to ministry, or reminded that I have been doing the work for years, and it was time to stop hiding, acknowledge it, and own it. Very shortly thereafter, on what seemed like a random day in July of 2016, I heard it was time. It reminded me of a Monopoly game—you get the “Go straight to jail card”: “Do not pass Go, Do not collect $200.” I was instructed: do not enroll in Inner Visions, University of Sedona, The New Seminary, or any other seminary or program—various paths taken by sooo many of my beloved friends and spiritual family members. Unless I really wanted to. I was to look online and be guided.

Sure enough, I was guided to Universal Life Church, and right then and there, released the resistance, and with a few clicks of the keys, said “yes” to becoming Reverend Tonya Parker. And then said nothing. Maybe it was embarrassment at my online ordination—essentially buying a credential without doing the work. But that argument didn’t hold up, because Spirit reminded me that there’s nothing about my life experiences, education, training, and mentoring that remotely relates to not doing the work and receiving the anointing. Therefore, I was still hiding—helping insanity dictate my experiences.

Now, I eventually told a few people, hid it in my monthly newsletter, updated the blurb hidden on my Tonya D Parker fan page on Facebook, and still hid in plain sight. That is, until October 15, 2016 when I got a reading from Rev Jim at the Fall Festival. We filled his house that night and had amazing healers and message-bearers. Rev Jim was one of mine. There we were, in his master bathroom, and Spirit spoke through him, calling me out as a minister, basically telling me to come out of hiding, stop covering my light with a bushel, and be the minister that I am. God got jokes. I fessed up to Rev Jim, and the jig was up.

Next thing you know, he is on our morning A Course in Miracles Call saying “Rev Tonya” even when I haven’t introduced myself on the call in that way. But nobody seemed to pick up because he had been one of the ones periodically calling me Rev Tonya in the first place. But I got a little bolder, told a few more folks, and allowed myself to be introduced in that way in a couple of settings. But still small.

So, we come to a month ago, when Rev Jim called me and said it was time for me to deliver the message here at chapel. The Tonya of the past would have said, “Well, if Rev Jim believes I’m ready and I can do it, I must be, so I’ll do it–kind of like he broke through my resistance to teach Reiki back in 2011.” This time, Rev Tonya, Tonya of God, Tonya who remembers, and acknowledges the Christ-light within, knew it was time to come out of hiding. I said yes, not because he knew I could do it, but because I knew I could, and it was time.

Since saying yes, prosperity has been able to find me, because I am no longer hiding my light. Doors of opportunity have been opening left and right, and I am so grateful for the blessings that come when we say yes to our Divine light. Thank you God for showing up over and over again in a myriad of forms and a multitude of people. All that I was seeking was also seeking me–I just had to cast off the bushel that was hiding my light, and align myself with Spirit, so I could be found. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a soul like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind but now I see!

There are so many feeling lost right now, so many blinded by distractions, parlor tricks, alternative facts etc. It’s creating a cloaking, a darkness that can be hard to see through.

This current social, political, and cultural environment is now calling for us to come out of hiding.

It’s time to stand firmly in place, speak up, step up, live our truth, and BE the great light that we are so that we can shine through the darkness and attract prosperity not just for ourselves, but also for our sisters and brothers.

As metaphysicians, we know that we are all connected. We know that we are part of a collective consciousness. We know that we are One with Mother-Father God, Great Spirit, the Universe, Infinite Intelligence, the I AM essence. So, when others suffer, we all suffer. When others are oppressed, we all are oppressed. When others are denied their rights, we all are denied our rights. When others have barriers placed, blocking their prosperity, we all have barriers placed, blocking our prosperity. We need to understand that we are not just our brother’s keeper–we are our brother and our sister! ACIM says God’s will for me is perfect happiness, and it can feel so hard attaining that happiness in full when we look around and see and experience isms and injustice, prejudice and pain, phobias and fear, hate and harm.

I don’t know about you, but that feels more like haplessness, helplessness, and hopelessness rather than happiness. That’s why I call on ACIM yet again and ask God to HELP me see things differently! Help ME see things differently. Help me SEE things differently. Send in the light. Send in the lights. Help us Shine bright and show we are ready to attract our collective prosperity.

Prosperity is more than what’s in our bank account. I am a writer, and I love words! I am always looking up synonyms in a thesaurus. When I looked up the word, “prosper,” two of the synonyms spoke to me: to bloom, and to flourish. Of course , since we are in the month of our Spring Equinox, I began to think about a major element needed for flowers to bloom and our plant life to flourish. Light! When green plants receive light, a process called photosynthesis is triggered, using sunlight to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water.

In basic terms: Add light, create sustenance. Add light, create growth. Add light, create abundance. Add light, create prosperity.

When we come out of hiding and are in alignment with our truth, when we are aware of our light, when we take off that bushel and reveal that light, we begin vibrating at a level where we become One with the divine flow, and are able to attract our highest good. We are able to bloom, and flourish.

We attract the type of love we desire, we attract that ideal work experience, we attract the home we want, we attract the funding for our projects, we attract the contacts needed to take our creations to the next level. We attract whole health and vitality, and yes, we attract MONEY–My Own Natural Energy Yieldcurrency—an energetic flow into our bank accounts, our gold accounts, our bitcoin accounts, our stock portfolios.

And in this lightened, enlightened state of prosperity, we touch people in ways we can’t imagine. We move others from inaction to action. We inspire others to step into their light. We lift others up on our shoulders and prosperity can see them more easily. And like attracts like, and light attracts light, and if enough of us are moving in this pattern, dancing this dance, tripping the light fantastic, vibrating at this level of consciousness, we reach a critical mass, creating a tipping point into this state of prosperity for all. Envision this world where we all prosper, we all bloom, we all flourish in a multitude of brilliant and beautiful ways, as varied as the flowers blooming and flourishing over in Brookside Gardens.

Let’s be clear, not everyone is able to see through this lens. Some will continue to see separation–from God, from our fellow humans, from nature, from herself. But all we need is for that unknown great number to awaken and come out of hibernation, to come out of hiding.

So how do we do this? I have three points.

First, we must remember and acknowledge the truth of who we are and whose we are. Second, shine our light into our internal cracks and crevices. And third, just let our great light shine.

  1. Remember and acknowledge the truth of who we are and whose we are. How many messengers does it take to change a light bulb? Rather, how many messengers need to be sent to this Earth plane for us to remember our Divine light? Buddha, Mohammed, Jesus? How about every person we’ve encountered in our life? As quoted in the beautiful responsive reading by Sri Swami Satchidananda, whom I had the pleasure to meet years ago before his transition, “God, Help us see that same Light, the same spirit dwelling everywhere in everything…as everything.”

I grew up in the Baptist tradition, and was told the light was something separate, residing in and represented by one person—Jesus. Jesus was an amazing lightbearer and way-shower. However, I now know the Christ light dwells inside us all. Even in the Hitlers, the Jeffrey Dahmers. In the Trumps and Pences. Even in you, me. It may be cozily residing in some deeply hidden cracks and crevices, but it’s there.

Many of us grew up and came through life putting on a pedestal those we considered holy. We had an amnesia of sorts in which we lost sight of the truth of who we are. We bought into the belief that we are sinners, wretches, abominations—lowly men and women who needed saving. We seem to have this attitude about presidents, too—waiting for someone to save us. Well in case you have forgotten, I will remind you. YOU are holy! You are the light. You are the savior. And so are THEY. Because they hold up a mirror and give us plenty of opportunities to see our EGO at work, where we are Edging God Out. Thank you God, for helping me see things differently, using those we often see as other to be our teacher.

So, In case you have forgotten, I will remind you. In case you have forgotten because the trauma of going through the birth canal was too much, I will remind you. In case you felt your memory was stripped away along with your innocence, I will remind you. In case you’ve forgotten because you’ve been repeatedly bruised and battered by words, fists, or circumstances, I will remind you. As Rev Jim reminded us last week on our ACIM call: There is an indwelling power of God that connects each of us to the Universal power of God. So, I will remind you, if this Universal power of God is full abundance, and we are connected to God, then therefore so are we. We are abundance. We are abundance. We prosper. We bloom. We flourish. It is in our spiritual DNA. As Rev Jim says, there is no lack where God is at. It’s not grammatical, but it’s right; there is no lack where God is at. The Christ light dwells inside us all.

Now, a word of caution…Just because we remember who we are doesn’t mean we acknowledge it. Many are still in hiding, as Marianne Williamson wrote in A Return to Love:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

When we come out of hiding and remember who we are and whose we are, and acknowledge our light, prosperity will have a better chance at finding us, AND our sisters and brothers.

  1. Now that we remember and acknowledge our light, let’s Shine that light into our internal cracks and crevices.This is powerful healing work that ain’t for the faint of heart. And we’re being called to do the work. No longer can we point a finger at others—we know too much—we know we’ll have three fingers pointing right back at ourselves. Shining the light within not only allows us to closely examine our stuff, but also heal our stuff…and take responsibility for what we have been creating.

Thank you Donald Trump for becoming President. Because in the ensuing darkness, we are being forced to turn on the light, and shine it within. What we see reflected is that the devil didn’t make us do it. Our parents didn’t make us do it. Our boss didn’t make us do it. Our boo thing didn’t make us do it… Looking into your internal cracks and crevices, what do you see just waiting for healing light to transform it? Is it pain? Lack? Shame? Doubt? Judgment? Abandonment? Fear? Not enoughness? Too muchness? Is it a belief that God is so far away and doesn’t have love for you?

Just breathe… connect to the God within…and send light to that hidden place of hurt. Invite this mistaken belief to come out to receive even more light, more love, more healing. Do this once, twice, as many times as you need to in order to transform it. Talk to it and remind it of the truth. Talk to God, and pray for the healing. Write a request and leave on your altar for your ancestors, angels, and guides to help heal. Work within your energetic system and shift it through tapping. Work with a coach or therapist. Pay attention and affirm everything unlike it that appears—once again, energy flows where attention goes. And be in gratitude for it. We can more fully appreciate the beautiful, glorious light when we’ve been in a place of darkness. So shine that light in those dark cracks and crevices, and give thanks.

  1. Finally, just let your great light shine. It’s not a little light. Trust me, I can see from this vantage point an amazingly brilliant light emanating around you. That’s why we will sing this great light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Speaking of songs, Elton John sang “Turn on your heart light, let it shine wherever you go.” I learned this lesson—I had on my heartlight and let it shine. Others knew before I did that I didn’t have to call myself “Rev” to minister. Neither do you. We are all the ministers of God. We are beautiful, unique, individual manifestations of the great light. And when Dominion Power, Baltimore Gas and Electric, and PEPCO lose power, we don’t. No matter what circumstances we encounter in life, we got the power to keep shining our light. Turn on your heart light, let it shine wherever you go. If you work in the Post Office, shine your light! If you work in real estate, shine your light. If you fix cars, shine your light. If you counsel others, shine your light. Shine your light as you take classes, walk in the park, write books, do hot yoga, go grocery shopping. Every breath is an opportunity to connect deeper, shine brighter, and serve as a beacon for those who are seeking more. Every breath is an opportunity to connect deeper, shine brighter, and serve as a beacon for prosperity to find us. And when it finds us, we shine brighter, and attract more light to us, and create a world of spiritual photosynthesis where when we add light, we create sustenance, in many different forms.

In closing, let’s all Come out of hiding and no longer Help Insanity Dictate our Experiences. Let’s remember and acknowledge our light. Let’s all shine that light in our cracks and crevices for healing. After that, it will feel effortless to just shine our great light wherever we go. And when we are shining our light, we help create a world where we all bloom, we all flourish, and there will be no need to seek prosperity —it will be able to clearly find us.


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Tonya is a holistic healer (her alias is the “Throat Chakra Shaman”), teacher, writer, radio host and gourmet nourishment master who lives near Baltimore, Maryland. I met and received healing from her at a gathering there one Spring Equinox a few years ago. Her blog is here. Her book, Diary of a Witch’s Daughter is here, or click on the title. And Tonya’s CD, Meditative Morsels…Prayers & Meditations for Feeding Your Mind, Body & Soul is here, or click on the title.

Educate, Generate!

RAISING CLARITY blog readers will remember Arianna Groover-Landis. She and her friend Bella Zucker co-star in this post about fundraising. When Arianna hired me for guidance on her fundraising campaign Educate to Generate a Better Future, I immediately knew you’d be fascinated to hear what she was up to at the ripe old age of just barely 14!

For me, what’s most exciting about these two young women’s fundraising campaign “Educate to Generate a Better Future” is that Arianna and Bella
Arianna Groover-Landis and Bella Zucker

Arianna Groover-Landis and Bella Zucker. Photo by a fellow Mountain SOL School student.

came up with the desire and the idea to do it just because

they love the environment, and education, and what their chosen beneficiary Mountain Stewardship & Outdoor Leadership School (Mountain SOL) is doing for kids and the environment.

I asked each young woman to tell us a bit about herself. Here’s what they shared:

Arianna wrote: My name is Arianna Groover-Landis and I live in Terra Alta, West Virginia, on a farm. I love to be outdoors, hike, play in streams, music and read. I am homeschooled and in 8th grade. Some of my future goals are to be good at archery, trapping, and tanning pelts. Some of my achievements are that I can herbally treat wounds and I am a walking calculator (most of the time).
Bella wrote: My name is Bella Zucker, I live in Morgantown West Virginia and I love music and the outdoors. I am homeschooled and in 8th grade. Some of my future goals are I want to go to medical school, play piano with an orchestra and I want to travel to all seven continents. Some of my achievements are that I ran a half marathon and I can speak part of 6 languages.

One cool thing I want you to get from this post is that

if they make fundraising look easy, fun, and like anyone could do it with a little stick-to-it-iveness and simple organization, that’s because it is! This is our view of fundraising in a nutshell. The more simply you’re organized, the easier it is to put the fun back into fundraising and the better your campaign will work.

Of course my first question about their campaign was what made them want to take it on?

We both want to help the environment and we decided that the best way was to raise money to donate to a local environmental organization that educates people so we decided to have this fundraiser.

And I thought we should know a few basic things. For example, the name of the campaign is

The Educate to Generate a Better Future Campaign

Their campaign starts today–March 8th, and ends on May 31, 2017.

They intend to raise $2000.

Arianna and Bella at first considered splitting donations they raised among five different nonprofits. I asked why they chose just one organization:

We chose just Mountain Stewardship & Outdoor Leadership School because it is a new organization and we want to help it grow and it is a meaningful local organization. All of our donations will go to them. Here is a link to their website. It is a local organization that focuses on the education of kids of all ages on the environment and builds their love of the outdoors through hiking, backpacking, tracking, climbing, and much more.

I think they’re going to be wildly successful, so I asked what happened if they raised more than planned?

We will give all of the donations to Mountain SOL.

And I asked what they’ll do if they raise their goal before May 31st,  which I think is likely?

Still keep fundraising until the 3 months are up.

I wondered why they had chosen Mountain SOL. Bella responded,

We chose Mountain Stewardship & Outdoor Leadership School because it is a new organization and we want to help it grow. Mountain SOL School has been a part of my  life for 3 years now. It has taught me countless things and helped to develop my love for the woods and sense of duty towards protecting the environment. It has done the same with all of the other students that are a part of it.

Arianna added,

Likewise, when Bella told me about this program, I wanted to go and see it. They bring out the adventurer in kids and teach kids to be leaders. It is a program that teaches kids to love the environment and learn to live in it and make the most of nature without abusing it. This program helps kids be the best they can be.

These are beautiful reasons to want to raise funds. We can learn from this example to do it too!

If you are interested in donating to The Educate to Generate a Better Future Campaign to benefit Mountain Stewardship & Outdoor Leadership School, you can do so by check or credit card. Here’s what you do:

1. Please make checks out to “Mountain SOL” and send to

c/o Arianna Groover-Landis

1771 Oak Grove Rd

Terra Alta WV  26764

OR

2. If you would rather donate by credit card, click on the link below:

http://www.mountainsol.org/about/donate/

When you get to the box asking where you heard about Mountain SOL, say

“Arianna and Bella”. 

Trump Takeover Feel Like It’s Taking Over Your Life? Four Sanity Strategies for Humans and Nonprofits

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Flikr image by Wade M accessed via Creative Commons Search.

Nonprofits: the italics are for you!

Today, I tallied them up: in just the past 5 days, I’ve received 18 emails asking me to

as well as

  • Donate (6 emails, two from the same organization, all of whom shall remain nameless). I believe in asking for and giving money. But right now it’s like the Christmas season never ended, plus a whole lotta trauma. Combining action alerts + fundraising in the same email might be a smart strategy.  I also got an email today from MoveOn telling me specifically what they were going to do with more money right now–rather than assuming urgency and emotional turmoil would do the trick.
  • Revel in progress!  Nonprofits who do things differently really get my attention just now. Miracle of miracles, Jewish Voice for Peace (which I just joined because they are Jews, like me by birth, who love and support Muslims, as I do too, sent me a totally inspiring list of early progress just since the election without a request for money. They’ve done a good job welcoming me as a member at this traumatic time without overwhelming me even though they send a lot of emails because they keep it emotionally real and treat me like I pay attention and am smart.

I’m also in receipt of a fabulous response by fundraising’s fairy godmother Kim Klein to a question from a small local arts organization about how to keep donations coming in the door at this time of national turmoil.

Basically, in Times of Attempted Time and Money Takeover…

You know from my “getting organized” posts that we need to set aside time. Yes, s–t happens, but if we want something other than s–t in our lives we need to set aside time for it.

In a world in which we schedule everything, nothing unscheduled ever gets done.

So, I mean schedule (especially now): time to meditate, time with loved ones, time for reading and writing and art and art-making, time for self-care, and time for what you really enjoy with apologies or accounting to anyone.  Each of these is as important as time for work and political action.  “Bread AND roses.”* 

Time is our true wealth.

Four Sanity Strategies

  1. Set aside time for action: I responded to all of the above 9 action requests to call my senators, email them as second-best, or on occasion, sign a petition (petitions aren’t cutting it anymore, it seems). My senator’s staffer said he recognized my name, we’ve talked so often. (And I hope because I always talk to him like he’s a real person.)
  2. Streamline: Put your senators on speed dial. (Your representative too, for that matter!) AND if you have three things to tell a legislator, keep a list, then call once about all three.  It’s allowed: they work for you! It builds your sense of power and accomplishment and is easier for you than making three phone calls, which also means you’re more likely to take action on more things!
  3. Refuse pressure to give: Set a budget for giving, and keep it. I have not given any money during the past 5 days because I keep a budget and I have used it up until I make more money to put in it.
  4. Set aside time for inaction: give yourself breaks from the news, including Facebook and other social media. Consider using your breaks consciously and intentionally to counterbalance news with equal time to restore self. Make sure you are keeping up with your day-to-day responsibilities that may not be as dramatic as the news; earn income, ground yourself in your work of service. This, too, builds the Beloved Community. Finally, set aside times to support others. This gives us strength.

Last week, I mentioned a Beloved Community Accountability Group. Many people over the next four years may need a space to check in, get support, gain strength, recover from grief, and take action.

Try out the BeLOVEd Community Support Group in a telephone session this Sunday, February 5th at 8pm Eastern, 5pm Pacific.

It’s a conference call, no Internet needed. The call-in number is 641-715-3276. The access code is 187944# .

I’m taking suggestions of ways RAISING CLARITY can support right now. Write in with suggestions; join us on this Sunday’s call; join the Beloved Community Group if you like. Find out more about how it works here.


*Judy Collins’ is my favorite version of the song by this title.

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

mourn-and-organize

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.

chinese_word_for_crisis

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.

Fundraising as Building Friendships

friends

Friends. Image by Jaume Ventura, Barcelona, Spain uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, accessed via Creative Commons Search.

As this is published, I am in Beverly, West Virginia at an historic preservation conference. My workshop is Any Place We Love Can Be Saved Fundraising as Building Preservation Friendships and if you click on that link, you’ll be able to download my detailed proposal for the workshop.

The purpose of this post is to advance the idea that

fundraising IS primarily the act of what those two women are doing in that photo: building friendship.

Primarily in the way they are doing it, too: Relating. Discussing. Considering. Responding. It’s such a subtle photo.

Fundraising is NOT primarily crowdfunding,  asking for grants or large amounts of money,

although we’ve posted (click and see) on how to do each of those things.

Those things are merely vehicles for people to pour money into your cause, project, organization. They will not build your friendships for you. Only humans can do that. Here’s an example as it applies to marketing.

Please remember this as you raise funds for your non-profit (or even investments in your for-profit).

If you’d like the agenda + handouts I designed for this workshop, they’re here. If you’d like me to design a workshop for you, just say the word. Here is a list of all the areas in which we have already designed workshops.

PS: Happy New Year! Today is the Fall Equinox.


*This post’s title was inspired by Alice Walker’s Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer’s Activism.

Crowdfunding: Letting A Thousand Flowers Really Bloom/Part Six: BLOOM!

daisies

Giant White Shasta Daisies. Image by and uploaded to Flikr by Swallowtail Garden Seeds with a Creative Commons license.

Bloom!

Let’s look at the word “bloom” a minute. It’s Old Norse for flowering–and prosperity! Humans have connected blooming, thriving and wealth for a long time. This post teaches you how to take the crowdfunding you’ve done in parts one, two, three, four, five and CONNECT them so they EXTEND into your fundraising future. (IF you were only crowdfunding investors for a new gadget, congrats, you’re done, you don’t need to read this post.) IF you were crowdfunding to take your organization to a new level of prosperity, please do read this post.

What people seldom tell you is that your long-term rewards come AFTER the crowdfunding campaign. This post sketches the steps to take. It is not a complete detailed listing of every step. (I tried that. It came to the length of a Russian novel.) If you want the detailed version, contact us for a free scope of work session to find out how little it would cost to have our help translating your crowdfunding campaign into long-term dollars and relationships.

  1. You’ve received gifts from new donors. (If you can’t tell your new donors from your existing donors who also gave to the campaign, G-d help you, but contact me).  Assume they know nothing beyond your campaign.  But know this: you’ve earned these new donors and they belong to you, not your crowdfunding platform!
  2. Build their loyalty by showing them loyalty. Find out about them! Build them into your records. Include every scrap of information you can find out about them from the crowdfunding platform. At minimum, this should be each new donor’s
    • name
    • email address
    • perk(s) they chose
    • notes to you and yours back to them.   Also add their
    • geographic location
    • postal address
    • and other campaigns they funded…. if the platform tells you this information.
  3. After you build them into your records, build them into your work. Thank them upon completion of the campaign. This is a second thank-you beyond the one you sent with their perk, Remember: you can’t over-thank. Yes, I do mean each of them. It’s like your teeth: only take care of the ones you want to keep.
  4. At this point, take a breath. Enjoy having stopped the campaign.
  5. Now start up fundraising again committed to increase the time you spend communicating with your people. (It will be less than you spent during the campaign but more than you spent before the campaign.) You will start setting aside time to communicate with all your (segmented) existing donors AND the new donors you got from this campaign–and from every future source, like petitions and event sign-in sheets.
  6. Use some of your set-aside time first to tell your new donors a bit about your organization.  Email them a short, snappy, and visually rich piece customized just for them. Give them a flavor of the work you do, not the whole meal. In your email, ask they do something simple, specific, and online to show support of your work. Here are some ideas: sign a petition, Like your Facebook page, sign up for your blog.  Small, specific, and online because you want to see if they are willing to do once more what they did for you during the campaign OUTSIDE the campaign platform. Make it easy and fun for them. Remember: they are not loyal yet. You are building loyalty. It’s your job (your opportunity)–whenever you get a new donor.
  7. Make sure you can tell which of them do this small, specific, online thing. You can do this: (1) manually by comparing new blog or petition sign-ups or Likes to your new donor list or (2) by tracking them automatically if you have the tools or savvy.
  8. Thank each of your new donors who does this small, specific, online thing. Most people who give via crowdfunding platforms like to be noticed. Don’t worry, you won’t have to notice them this much forever 😉  Soon some will become care more about you getting your work done than recognition. But you are helping them transition to that kind of loyalty.
  9. Make a note in your calendar to reach out to these new donors at least once more and possibly twice more. Make a note that you want to customize your outreach a bit specially to the new donors who have taken the action you asked. Invite them to join you in something, for example.
  10. Finally, invite them to opt into your permanent donor records. OR simply add them, and let them know so they can opt out if they like. This decision depends on your organization’s culture and how you already handle this kind of thing.

That’s it, our series is complete. Again, just a sketch but it gives you RAISING CLARITY’s take on crowdfunding details too often unmentioned. Questions? Comments? Thank you!

Crowdfunding: Letting A Thousand Flowers Really Bloom/Part Five: Really

daisies

Giant White Shasta Daisies. Image by and uploaded to Flikr by Swallowtail Garden Seeds with a Creative Commons license.

Here you are at part five out of six in our series on crowdfunding. You’ve read all the other parts carefully: you remember to budget time to let the platform work for you after you choose it carefully and design your one of a thousand flowers. This post is about how to make your flower REALLY STAND OUT.

Really

Here is a checklist for how to keep your campaign a standout:
  1. post short fun updates (every day is not too often; every few days essential)
  2. post new pictures (every few days at least)
  3. posting new, short (=under 30-second) videos of
    • the campaign’s success (and also what you’re raising funds for–in that order)
    • animations or memes or graphic cutenesses that are great to share–sort of like online fridge magnets we talked about last post
    • (interesting, animated) people talking about the campaign
    • what you’re raising money for happening, or starting to happen, or needing to happen.

Remember that you need to budget time. See our posts on Time for our unique, contemplative approach to time-sculpting. You can remain perfectly calm while crowdfunding if you plan for many small work-periods throughout your campaign to post your updates. But you will be even saner if you set aside time for weeks before the campaign preparing perks, taking “new” photos, making little videos, and pre-writing or at least drafting post.

Honestly, I learned this from the brilliant organizers in the article I keep wanting you to read. It’s here, linked in this first post in our series.

OK, time to wrap up. And let your flower BLOOM! Part Six is far more than a recap: it’s all about “where you go from here” after a crowdfunding campaign!

NOTE! The soul-colleague who inspired our series on crowdfunding is taking this online crowdfunding course to prepare. He showed me the link and it is wonderful. I have reviewed each preview-able section and really like the work of instructor, Eli Regalado. I learned a lot just from the previews! Instructor Eli says he “has a degree from Hard Knocks University on Social Engineering and a Masters in The Art Of The Hustle.” I can tell he is a master. I only disagree with him about crowdfunding being the thing for “nonprofits who’ve realized the old way of doing things isn’t working anymore,” because the old ways of doing things work very well. What’s needed is how to integrate old ways with new ways. We hope to have made a dent in that with this series of blog posts .

Crowdfunding: Letting A Thousand Flowers Really Bloom/Part Four: Flowers

daisies

Giant White Shasta Daisies. Image by and uploaded to Flikr by Swallowtail Garden Seeds with a Creative Commons license.

Welcome new readers! I bet we met at the Communities Conference this past weekend! See the * at the end of this post.

Your crowdfunding campaign is the first thing some people will ever see about you. How do you make it stand out? (If you want to know how to prepare for this question, read Parts One, Two, and Three of this series.)

Flowers

All crowdfunding platforms woo you.

The platform makes money from you.

They know you have choices. They appeal to you by

  1. promising lower fees (fees are similar and not a wise top priority of yours)
  2. easy set-up
  3. super-great customer service.

That’s all fine.  It’s just that YOUR DONORS HAVE TO BE ABLE TO FIND YOUR CAMPAIGN FOR IT TO SUCCEED.

When you shopped for a platform, did you notice how hard it is on some platforms for new donors to find you?

All platforms are not created equal when it comes to the donor’s experience.

As you choose a platform, examine how hard is it for you to find a campaign at random, one that’s not featured on the platform’s home page. How easy is it to browse all their campaigns? Second, how easy is it to find a campaign by category? Suss out what categories your campaign fits. See who else is in your  category. Maybe experiment with another category; what other campaigns are in that one? If all the other campaigns in your category are (for example) gloom-and-doom or a medical emergency and you (and your campaign) are revolutionizing health, your best bet may be another category–or another platform.  Check out the platform comparison articles I gave you in the last post for help with this.

It’s not all on the platform, however. Not by a long shot. True, new donors must be able to find your campaign with only a small amount of effort if you want that crowdfunding magic we talked about to kick in. But your current donors also need to find your campaign! And that’s on you.

Your current donors find your campaign in every old-fashioned fundraising way you already use: personal email, social media posts, events where you announce the campaign, hard-copy postcards, refrigerator magnets you send out when you launch.

You get the idea. These are all discussed in the article we referred you to (and shared with you) in Part One.

Want your campaign to “go viral”? Ask your donors to promote the campaign by sharing your posts, forwarding your emails, sending your postcards to their friends, talking up the campaign when their friends come for dinner and see your eye-catching magnet on their fridge.

Reward sharers with perks if you like–but most important is simply to thank them very publicly on your campaign page–and of course personally.

You can’t over-communicate with your donors, I promise. You can over-ask them (maybe; most askers err on the side of being too reticent) but you cannot over-thank them.

Crowdfunding really is just a fancy channel for your (existing) donors to give you money. So please make sure they know where to find your campaign.

You also can not over-communicate your campaign. And yes, you end up doing the same kinds of communicating we have always done. But you gain some new donors (I’d guess no more than 20% of your total) plus new and extra gifts from your existing list.

Everyone involved (you included) gets to feel excited and part of something bigger than ourselves and very modern and all of that’s good too.

How do you keep them excited? On to Part Five.


*If you’re reading this blog for the first time, welcome!. Please browse the other posts in our six-part crowdfunding series if you feel like you’ve arrived in the middle of something. You have! And please know yourself invited to join our Promotion with Integrity coaching and support group.  If you are promoting a cause or a community, I hope you will apply. It starts in November. You have to apply by October 3 and I encourage you do so a lot sooner. Here is the Application form + information. For my series of posts on doing promotion with integrity, click here.