In recent weeks, several friends who are experiencing financial challenges have posed this question to me:
Why is that so many aspects of my life seem to be flowing, but when it comes to money, I feel so stuck?
Why is it that when I’m meditating, creating, writing or “in the zone,” I feel alive and vibrant, as though I’m living at the highest of frequencies, but when it comes to finances, I come crashing back to earth?
These are important questions and the answers are both simple and complex.
They remind me of a time in my life of profound financial struggle, a time when both these questions were constantly on my mind.
The “Olinda Effect”
We were living on Maui then, in the coastal community of Kihei. Here, in this amazing Pacific paradise, money was a constant challenge. And despite my two jobs and our weekends selling crystals at the island’s flea market, there was never enough to cover all our bills.
Kihei was supposed to have been a landing place, we thought, our first stop on the climb to prosperity. Our desired destination was the tourist-free — and pricier — uplands of Kula.
Every couple of weeks we’d drive up the mountain, often to the lush hills of Olinda, where we’d gaze admiringly at the handsome homes and go walking in Olinda’s serene experimental forest.
While strolling among the stately pines, anything seemed possible: infinite abundance, an Olinda mansion, work that impassioned us… It all felt within our grasp. Easily.
And then we’d drive back down the mountain to Kihei, down to our tiny condo with its overdue rent and overdue bills, back to the jobs I hated, back to a life that wasn’t in flow.
By the time we reached sea level, the “Olinda Effect,” as we’d dubbed it, had fully kicked in: We were anxious, fearful and no longer in that anything-is-possible Olinda resonance.
Money and Flow
I’ve thought about that story a lot as I’ve reflected on my friends’ questions and on my time both on Maui and now in Albuquerque.
It’s said that if you do what you love, the money will follow. But money follows, when it does, not because we’re doing what we love. It follows because in living our passion we are living at a vibration where lack cannot exist, where flow is infinite.
But — and it’s a big “but” — unless we can hold that resonance when the bills come in, we crash back down into a consciousness of scarcity.
That’s what happened on Maui. That’s what’s happening to one of my friends. Let’s call her Julie, even though she’s a composite of several people.
Julie loves her work. When she’s in the midst of it — and in much of her life beyond it — she’s one of the most powerful, conscious and aware people I know. Through most of her days, she breathes light and enlightenment.
Then rent day approaches. Or the car payment. Or some other bill that she doesn’t, in the moment, know how she’ll cover.
Fear and anxiety roll in like a heavy fog, casting a pall over the passions of moments earlier. Like I did on Maui, she comes down from the mountaintop of infinite possibility and finds herself in a swamp of doubt and apprehension.
For as long as she lives in that place of doubt and apprehension, it will be harder for the money to flow.
I’m speaking here about money. But I could be speaking about love or peace or health or any other aspect of our life that doesn’t seem to be working.
Whatever it is, the more anxiety we attach to it, the more our fear keeps us from living in the fullness of our highest potential around it.
Our fear will always keep us from living that potential.
Passion and the Present Moment
Back in December 2004, I left Sedona, Arizona on what would ultimately become an open-ended road trip. I left with limited funds and no idea how I would be supported.
In those early months, I was very much like Julie, dropping into a state of panic whenever my car payment — then, my largest singly monthly outlay — was near due.
In those moments, that still, small voice we can all access would ask, Are all today’s needs taken care of? Food? Gas? Accommodation? My answers were always “yes.”
Then let tomorrow and tomorrow’s bills take care of themselves, the voice would say.
Somehow, through more miracles than I could possibly list, tomorrow and tomorrow’s bills always did take care of themselves. Not always in my preferred timing. Not always in my preferred manner. But in holding myself to the present moment and in knowing that I would be taken care, I always was.
Today, my life is infinitely more complex — and expensive. Yet the basis for how I live it has not changed.
Even as I still don’t know how I’ll be supported from day to day, I live each moment (to the best of my limited human ability) knowing that by holding the resonance of my passion, I will always be in the resonance of flow.
Many of us maintain a meditation practice of some sort. We carve ten or twenty minutes from our day to spend in the higher realms.
But meditation can be like Olinda. Sure, it can carry us into a place where everything is possible because in that frequency everything is possible. Yet when our moments of altered beingness come to an end, we can find ourselves back in our wordly life of bills, traffic and conflict, and the Olinda Effect can kick in.
We’re called to do more than meditate our way into higher modes of being. We’re called to reside there. Full-time. Even in the midst of all that life would throw at us. (See Rule #6 in “Mark David’s 10 Rules for Living” at http://markdavidgerson.com.)
Photo of the Sandia Mountains by Mike Pedroncelli
Today, I live in the Albuquerque equivalent of Olinda — in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, 1,000 feet above the city’s lowest elevation. And in many ways, it feels as though I’ve achieved at least some of what I thought I was seeking as I gazed longingly toward the Kula uplands from Kihei.
What I’ve achieved, though, has nothing to do with money. What I’ve achieved, most days, is an ability to live in infinite possibility full-time and to know that by living my passion, living in the moment and not freaking out at the latest stack of bills, the Olinda resonance lives within me wherever I am.
Ironically, the Hawaiian word kihei means “shawl” or “cape.” Even in the midst of that Kihei energy that felt so constricting and impoverishing, I was always embraced in a protective blanket of divine love.
Regardless of life’s externals, that kihei is always and ever present for us. The more we acknowledge it, know it and live it, the more we will experience it in all aspects of our life, including the financial. And the more that the Olinda resonance will show up — and remain present and alive — in our lives.