Saturday, June 21, 2008



Some have issues with the concept. I'll admit I did at first. When I'd see a televangelist declaring that it says in the Bible to plant your seed against your need, make sure it's 10% of your income, and be sure to send it to our ministry, I took offense. I saw it as a blatant begging for money.

It took a long time before the offensiveness wore off and I began to see that tithing is not just a Biblical concept, nor is there any rule that says you MUST tithe 10% or give it to the church. Tithing is merely paying God first—or paying into the flow first, whichever you prefer.

Tithing activates the flow of money TO you. Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive when someone says "I was down to my last few dollars, rent was due, but I gave the money to the church..." You think, well now we know why they can't afford rent, right? Because they are wasting their money giving it to the church instead of to their landlord.

Then you hear the second part:

"...and the very next day, I received a check out of the blue for twice the rent amount!!!"

And the Hoo-Boy! mechanism activates within us. Hoo-Boy, is this for real?

Yes, my friends, it is for real.

The other day I was cleaning out some boxes. I came across a couple of long-forgotten no-expiration-date coupons for a free entree at a favorite restaurant. I called. They said "sure, we'll accept it". I made sure to be extra diligent with my Thank You's to the Lord for the free meal (or two, because the portion size feeds me twice). I was so excited.

On the drive home, I was suddenly inspired to tithe. But all I had on me was a pocketful of change. Remembering that in lean times, it's OK to tithe with a dime rather than a dollar, I opted for the dimes. It's not the AMOUNT that matters—it's the INTENTION. If you're really hard up, even a penny will do, because it's not the value of the coin... the coin is a container for your intentions and gratitude, and it is limited only by the size of your heart and mind.

I filled up that dime with thanks, praise and gratitude. Then I flung it from the car onto the sidewalk of a back street. But one wasn't enough. I filled up another dime and flung it. Then a nickel. Then I went home and ate the first half of my free meal.

About an hour later, I got a call. A woman was answering one of my ads. I currently have a LOT of stuff on Craigslist and posted around town as being for sale. This woman wanted the vacuum cleaner I had for sale. I sold it in the easiest transaction ever. She met me at the storage unit, I handed it to her, and she handed me the money, no questions, no nothing.

Yes, it was only 25 cents. And yes, the price for that vacuum wasn't very high. But it bought milk, eggs, and a few other necessities. It was a small tithe to me, but a big tithe to the Universe.

It works.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On The Verge: Enough, or Not?

A major limiting belief recently reared itself. Apparently, somewhere along the line I got it into my head that before I can allow myself to deserve to be successful, I must first lose everything.

It certainly explains what's been going on in my life these past few months.

Now, where does one acquire such a belief? Well, trace it to my youth. While I grew up in upper-middle-class surroundings and never knew what "true wanting" was, I took on this limiting belief from others. I was and still am set on being a successful commercial recording artist (read: rock star). I read everything I could get my hands on about musicians and their road to fame and glory, hoping to pick up tidbits and formulate a plan.

Unfortunately, I seem to have picked up the WRONG tidbits.

It's not just the musicians, it's everywhere. The hard luck story. The rags-to-riches saga. The tale of how tragedy struck and it looked like the world was caving in on them only to have a miracle occur at the 11:59 mark that saved them and turned their world upside down in a good way. The big break following utter tragedy. Case in point:

Kelly Clarkson—grew up poor. Shortly after moving to LA with her best friend, their apartment burnt down. The only thing that survived the fire were the clothes they were wearing at the time. Because of this Kelly was forced to move back home rather than pursue her dreams of being a singer. A couple of months later, she auditioned for the first season ofAmerican Idol and went on to become... well... Kelly Clarkson.

Joe Vitale—became homeless, lived in virtual poverty while dreaming of becoming the best-selling author and manifestation guru that he is today.

JD Fortune (won the INXS search for a lead singer)—formerly homeless, lived in his car with his dog under a bridge, had a drug issue... he had no money and this was his last shot at living when he competed on the TV show "Rock Star: INXS" in 2005 and won.

Rick Dutrow (trainer of 2008 Triple Crown contender Big Brown)—was living with the drug-addicted mother of his toddler daughter when the mother was murdered (in front of the child). He had no money, but he and his daughter moved into a 12x12 tack room at the racing stable where he worked. Now, of course, he's miles from there.

And of course, just about every musician you'll ever meet has a hard-luck-before-wild-success story to share. Except maybe my favorite guitarist, Steve Vai. He grew up in a nice neighborhood in Long Island. Took guitar lessons. Went to Berklee School of Music. Spent time in the school’s library transcribing Frank Zappa’s works by ear, then, on a lark, mailed transcriptions of Zappa’s guitar solos to him. Zappa arranged a meeting, and was so impressed with Steve's abilities that he hired him to transcribe his "seemingly endless array of experimental symphonic rock". That's a ballsy story about guts and audacity rather than luck, but it's more of a rarity to find this type of story than the other.

My brain put two and two together and decided:

Poverty and hard luck is the key to success.

Yeah. You read that right.

My nasty little brain has been attempting, quite effectively, to drag me down to the depths of despair, THINKING IT'S HELPING ME BECOME SUCCESSFUL.

Last night, this deeply buried limiting belief surfaced. I stared at it in disbelief. "But..." I cried, "I don't WANT to lose everything!!! Isn't it enough to be on the verge?"

The shock of this realization had me reeling, because there at the end was the exploitable truth.

I DON'T have to lose everything.

The important point was that I thought I needed a "story". Something to justify it to the masses when I finally get my big break and am commercially successful, something that points to my deservedness: Did she work hard enough? Did she truly suffer? OK, then she is deserving and we accept her success.

Yes, I realize those point to other LBs. But the point is finding my "story". My brain was trying to write my story for me according to what it had determined is the key to success. You must lose everything, you must fail, THEN you deserve to succeed and can do so.

But something else spoke to me in that moment. This voice sounded like the nudges of inspiration that always lead me to wondrous things. The voice said,

"Does anyone really pay that much attention to the background stories? To the details? Are semantics necessary? Do you... really have to go all the way... or is it enough to have been on the verge?"


Yes. It IS enough. As long as there is truth in my story, nobody will dispute it, nor are they likely to feel compelled to researching the details not covered. Background stories are two-second sound bites... and they are all spin-doctored, anyway. In fact, I'd bet half the hard luck stories are just that—stories. Spin-doctored out of a couple of facts to sound as dramatic as possible. Which is fine. Who really cares? If someone is talented, isn't that enough?

It's enough to say, "I had $500 left in my bank account, no job, and I was on the verge of losing my house and having all the utilities shut off when my big break came and..."

Because NOBODY will pay much attention to the phrase "on the verge of" and read into what it really means, especially if the emphasis is on the word "LOSING" when it's spoken. And it's doubtful anyone would look into it and find out that:
  • Yes, MY account only had that much in it, but I was due to inherit a very large sum from my parents' estate in a short while so...
  • Yes, my mortgage was late a couple times and I was requesting forebearance to save myself but it was at the beginning not the end and I had time to salvage it and...
  • Yes, it was my house, but not the one I was living in at the time, it was the old one that was on the market anyway and...
  • Yeah, they probably would have shut off my utilities if I didn't pay them.
  • And I didn't have a job. Yet. Unless you count playing in a cover band (which surprisingly few people do count as a "real" job despite the fact that the money is the same color).

Yes, I've been ON THE VERGE. But I DO NOT HAVE TO actually GO all the way "there". I'm comfortable with where I've been. I have enough authenticity in my "story" that I feel I am NOW truly deserving of any and all success that is coming my way. (And it was quite silly to put myself through this kind of torture for nothing.)

Besides. Maybe the inheritance money cushion is God's intention for me, and IS my Big Break. Maybe it's there to allow me the space and time to give my full attention to my music career without being distracted by things like day jobs and mortgages. If so, then I've been allowing this ridiculous LB to encourage me to DENY it for me. I've been refusing God's Gift to me.

And that is just wrong on so many levels.

So today, I'm processing this and revamping my belief system accordingly. I've also had some major revelations regarding my music career and God and the devil, but we'll save that for another day.