Friday, November 30, 2007

No Holiday Blues For Me!

I’m sitting at the Wild Chicken Café in my little town sipping down some tea and noticing how incredibly relaxed I am. In times past, this time of year would have found me with a relentless tape running in the backgound of my mind – a perpetually modifying list of all of the things I think everyone else might want/need/enjoy for the holidays. This would propel me toward the mall in every spare moment until The List has been ticked off, which was generally Christmas Eve, as I would have inevitably forgotten someone.

About 4 years ago I quit. What happens instead is this. In the spirit of the holiday season, our families each kick in what we can comfortably afford and put it into a pot with that sum dedicated to the charity or goodwill gesture of our choice. No more presents except for the very young in the family. Everyone else will have to simply enjoy my company and my cooking. That’s it.

With the monkey off my back, I have returned to loving everything that the winter holiday season stands for: good friends, good conversation, good smells, good music and good food. Those are things worth focusing on – not my contribution to the quarterly retail outlook for Wall Street.

While I still have a loop running in my head, instead of The List it goes more like this - “Oh, the weather outside it frightful, but the fire is so delightful. As long as there’s no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.” The song will be stuck there until well after the first of the year. Never mind that it’s sunny and in the mid-60s outside, it’s amazing how much deeper an appreciation one can have for all of the quaintness and generosity of the season once the Retail Monster has been put to bed!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Spiritual Money Conundrum

The following is a chain of email communications that occurred recently. The essential nature of the communications are in tact, but we’ve removed the person’s name for privacy reasons. It involves the subject of fair exchange for services rendered – CMN being a service to mankind.

We would love to hear your thoughts, as this is a challenging issue for all of us trying to help others and each other.

Hi Regina and Scott

Thanks for your reply. I just LOVE your interviews, the people you choose and subject matters......Can't get enough....regrettably, there are very few great thinkers, scientists and speakers in the field of the changing and expanding human consciousness in Australia.....
Also, you are the ONLY people/website in this field who actually reply to people's emails. E.G. I have sent several emails with various queries to News For the Soul (I'm sure you know it), and - as much as I love their interviews too, they never bother to reply.
And this does make a difference. You are wonderful.
Keep up the great work!
I love you!

Hi __________,

[Thanks for your suggestions and comments.] I have a question for you: Would you be willing to pay $5.00 a month to be able to see the newest interviews while the rest of the interviews and information remained free? We need to change our financial model as we've gone 3 years without a paycheck but we don't know what people like you are willing to do to support us. The alternative may be that we have to stop doing the site. What do you think is fair?

Warmest wishes,

Hi Regina

Hmmm.....I must admit that I am two-minded on this issue. From the business side, yes, I understand that there are costs involved and you would want to have some income happening. From the spiritual side in terms of spreading the very important information and messages to people all over the world, I feel that it deserves to be free. I'll be very honest with you: there are several "similar" spiritual websites out there with access for a fee - I never subscribe. Perhaps I am missing out on some wonderful information. But I always felt that true spiritual teaching calling has no price tag. Most of them I (and many other people) could not afford, anyway. I always have ambiguous feelings about the multitude of spiritual and new age personal development teachers and seekers (e.G. Post- The Secret) who charge people through the nose for their (often great) teachings and products. To me, education of ANY kind and sort should be free. Any teaching, and bringing important information to the masses about the nature of life, the world, all that is and us, humans - should be free. I believe that it is our birthright TO KNOW, to learn, to experience. Those very lucky ones who have accessed this knowledge through science, research or channeling could share it with the rest of us for free. And yes, be rewarded for it somehow, but not through the fees……..

Hi ________,

Thank you for your thoughts on the issue of a subscription. It is always interesting to hear what people have to say when presenting the notion that there might be a price tag to spiritual knowledge as there is with the acquisition of all other knowledge. So, in the spirit of open discovery, I have a couple more questions I'd like to ask about this, as this is really important for all of us to examine as we go into a time where we will need to look after each other and form closer communities in order to flourish.

[We've examined every possible option for a fee based site and the one I mentioned is the only one that appears to be sustainable. People don't pay for the ancillary products, and we can only charge for the things we personally create. That said, I have some serious questions we need clarification on.]

Why do you feel it is a "birth right" to be given knowledge that requires someone else to invest their time, money and talent into creating something valuable for humanity? I don't just mean us, but the wider community of educators, leaders, physicians and scientists. Is it part of our human nature to stand and watch people we say we respect, give away their experience and knowledge freely and go into financial ruin in the process? I do not know of any garden that continues to produce food without nurturing and nourishment.

In truth, education is rarely free. People attend higher education and pay for the privilege. People buy millions of books a year to learn. How many books have you bought on one subject, and, would it compare with the knowledge in about 4 books for $5? People also attend lectures and colleges for the acquisition of knowledge. They buy CDs and DVDs. The great masters of music, art, literature and so forth were compensated by patrons who sponsored their endeavors, insuring that their talents could thrive. Many of those who did not have this support died broken hearted and young.

Let me ask you another thought provoking question. Do you believe that what you currently do for a living is doing some good for people? If yes, why aren't you doing it for free? If no, why are you doing it at all? Even if you are working for a company that is offering a product or service that provides some good to people, why are you not working for them for free? The answer is simple, most people put their survival first, above helping others.

We are certainly not wealthy people and are less so now. We have done this from the generosity of our hearts, a commitment to going up against the traditional media, which required a significant amount of personal financial risk, which most people are not prepared to attempt in order to help speed the education process for others for nearly 3 years. We distill the equivalent of 5 books of information a month through to provide 4 interviews, a radio interview and thought provoking features, which we add to our site every day for others to access easily, without effort on their part other than the click of a mouse.

It is interesting to see how many people are prepared to spend money on alcohol, coffee, SUV's, television, cell phones, clothes, magazines, DVD rentals and other things that are consumable or throw-away, yet when asked to support something valuable you hear the mental screech of brakes coupled with the suspicions and outrage that it can't be good if I have to pay. Is this site just another freebie, another entitlement in life? Would you honestly stand in front of David Icke, Byron Katie, Peter Russell, Russell Targ or many of the other fine interviewees on the site and tell them point blank that what they do should be given to you for free whenever you want, without any compensation? What do you think the response would be?

Would it be for the “ highest and best good of all” if we shut CMN down and took jobs as bank tellers? Or would it be worth re-evaluating an internal belief that all good things must be free?

The harsh truth is this. You mentioned that you considered doing what we do once upon a time. If you were told up front that you would have to put in about a quarter of a million dollars and the combined 6 years (mine and Scott’s) of your personal time into it without pay and without any other form of income, would you be willing to do it? Add to that being faced with the decision to sell your home and leaving your friends behind to continue financing the project. You would probably not choose to do this because most people immediately go to the reality that they have bills to pay and the question of "how do I support myself doing this" would arise. It takes someone with at least a small degree of courage to ignore that consideration in order to try and make a difference. That is what we’ve done.

It is always an interesting debate to see where people are coming from on the money issue and it is one that needs to be aired, discussed, clarified and acknowledged. If the truth of the matter is that people only love you if you give them what they want for free, then the spiritual principles of a nurturing relationship are not being honored. In any relationship where one partner is constantly putting the needs of the other above their own needs, the relationship will fail and die through lack of mutual nurturing.

While it is true that the worship of money for it's own sake is an empty victory, this is using money to indicate the fair exchange of value.....which IS a basic spiritual law.
Last month, 60 people out of 81,000 - less than 0.07% - donated to our site to help keep us going. To them we are truly grateful and honor their love and commitment to supporting not only us, but the other visitors who cannot, or do not choose to, donate.

All my best,

There you have it. This is the basic question and argument the spiritual community faces. What do YOU think? If you would like to comment, click on the word "Comment" below. If you want to send this to a friend, click on the white envelope.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

"Cash" Problems

While I am not stupid enough to think I’ve seen it all, I must say this one was one of those “Oh My God!”moments.

Some friends of ours were visiting and, naturally, the talk turned to one of our mutual concerns – the invisible hand that is controlling us all through the media, food supply, medical profession, drug industry and so forth. You don’t have to be a “conspiracy theorist” to be aware that this Hand exists anymore – it’s everywhere. By the way, this might be a good time to add that another term for “Conspiracy Theory” is “Unspeakable Truths”.

One of our guests, Bruce, said “Stand-up. I want to show you something.” He had us stick out our arm to do traditional kinesiology testing. Once he got the basic Yes/No responses, he handed us a $20 dollar bill. He placed it in our hand in a random position, folded or flat. Each of our arms tested strong. He then handed it to us again with the instructions that our thumbs were placed in a specific spot and tested our strength again. Each of our arms went weak. We did not have the strength to resist the same pressure he had just exerted on our arm a moment ago with the randomly placed $20 bill.

After we giggled and looked perplexed, he showed us what our thumb had been placed upon. It was the Illuminati “Eagle” type image you’ll find over the right shoulder of Andrew Jackson on the face of the bill.

Next up he said “Let’s try this again with quarters. Quarters are popular because we need them for parking meters and such right?”

He tested us by having us hold a stack of three quarters. Each of us remained strong. He tested us again on a second stack of three quarters. We each went weak. The difference? The second stack of quarters was comprised of the new “States” series.

The insidiousness of the attempts to weaken and control our lives hit me with a deep, dull thud. I thought I was pretty aware of the “Unspeakable truths”, but it goes way beyond what I had imagined. I wrote to David Icke and told him of this experience and he wrote back saying, in effect, “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell people!”

I don’t have any answers or suggestions here to this tiny reflection of a problem of such enormity other than to put your money in a titanium case and handle it with asbestos gloves when you whip your wallet out at the checkout counter. Meanwhile, I think we need to take an even deeper look at what surrounds us that we’ve have been asleep to. Here’s a fun one. Watch your favorite television program and just do a casual count of the types of commercials that pass by in a hour. When I do watch the tube, I find myself doing this for my own amusement. “Drugs. Drugs. Violent video games for the holidays. US Army Wants you. Drugs. Hummers….” And so on. You get the picture really fast that the media is very bad for your health. Apparently, so is cash.