Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Abundance, fabrics, 12x15" (?) '91(?)

Sandy has long followed a family and cultural tradition of reviling the wealthy--people who "don't have to work for a living." She knows a woman named Anne who owns mansions and horses. When Anne complained that she broke a fingernail cleaning the kitchen on her housekeeper's day off, Sandy fumed behind fake politeness. It made a great story to share with other have-nots or have-to's (work-for-a-living) who enjoy eye-rolling and saying, "Oh, geez, tough life! my heart bleeds!"

Hating the rich is a popular sport. I have one friend who works 80 hour weeks and has something highly disparaging and comic to say about "Trust Fund Babies" almost every time I see him--his sense of humor is a priceless asset of his. Today I heard someone else spout off with vigorous (apparently humorless) judgment on "these trust-funders--hedonists who take and take and never give back." Neither of these people would probably want to question their treasured opinions.

Byron Katie sometimes asks, "Do you really want to know the truth?" because her Work only works when done with an open mind. Sandy did really want to know her own deeper truth about this. Nothing blocks real creativity, not to mention abundance, like resentment. Maybe there was a connection between the persistence of her painful idea that she and her successes are not ever enough for her, and the envy she channels into rich-bashing jokes. So she brought the belief "Anne shouldn't complain about not having enough" to the process of self-inquiry of The Work.

What she found surprised her. She saw how stressful it actually is for her to hold this belief, how she reacts to it with frustration, tension, and alienation, feeling cut off and artificial around Anne and separate even from herself when she attaches to it. And she saw that her complaint about Anne's complaint could not lessen the amount complaining on the planet, much less bring about economic justice.

Sandy asked herself what, if anything, this story really does for her. What would she lose if she didn't believe it? Suddenly she saw: "This blows my whole gig! It pops my bubble of believing that if you have everything, you'll be happy. I want her to stop complaining so I can keep my illusion that getting more, more money, more time off, more anything, will give me peace." And how could she safely accept the abundance she does want in her life, if she's busy thinking having means deserving to be hated and envied?

Without the belief, she saw Anne as an equal, a person she in fact likes; and she felt herself expanding in gratitude out of the tiny victim-suit she'd stuffed herself into with the idea that she "has to" work so hard for her money. In reality, she doesn't actually want mansions or horses. She wants her own abundant, free, life. She's the one who shouldn't complain about not having enough--because she sees that she actually does have enough, in the present, in reality. As it happens, none of her fingernails are even broken.

Katie says, "Reality is always kinder than our story about it." And she invites us not to take her word for this, but to test it for ourselves. Read Loving What Is by Byron Katie with Stephen Mitchell, and go to www.thework.com, to learn how to do The Work for yourself.

Abundance Bag, fabrics 6x10" '93(?)

I was tangled up about a business decision recently. I heard this wisdom from the incredible Molly Gordon, coach to Accidental Entrepreneurs, whose newsletter and blog are a treasure trove: "Either way, you'll be happy and rich!"


I went through a phase of making Abundance Bags--little purses with moneyish designs that were supposed to magically make you rich--in color at least--even if you had nothing to put in them. Naturally, I tried to sell them. And one of my favorites was stolen. Sometimes those cosmic jokes can get a bit heavy-handed, no?