PROSPERITY 102:Next Steps

My life in the prosperity lane is currently stalling somewhere between Mother Teresa and Oprah, between a life of richly, selflessly serving the "poorest of the poor" as one of them, or richly serving a life of what I call "oprahlescence," where there's plenty materially to spread around, yourself included.

Today, for example, I rode my bicycle to the dentist to save on energy and gas costs. I had also chosen a dentist in the neighborhood with the best prices, to save a little more dough-and make me feel less guilty treating myself to a matinee movie at the local theater -not a necessity, but something my more abundant self wants to indulge in anyhow.

There's more. I am doing some spring cleaning to accomplish two things. First, I want to own less, manage less, live more simply. Second, things have been tight, and I'd like to make a couple of bucks selling some of my stuff, all the while dreaming of my not-yet-materialized country dream home, sprawling over several acres, with antiques and lovely homemade furnishings, luxuriating amongst birds, bees, trees and singing froggies by night.

I vow to be more grateful for what I have, as I head out, for now, to my Valley backyard to prune native grasses and feed the neighborhood doves and squirrels.

Then there's how my rich girl-poor girl indecisiveness shows up in my work. I have chosen to work in the fields of aging and healthcare for the past four years. It is easy to feel the Mother Teresa side of myself there, content to be a joyful, healing presence in the midst of great need (and constant shortage of budgets to pay me more money.) I have no complaints when I am in the midst of the work, no sense of missing out on being the next spiritual guru on tour with her latest brilliant, uplifting book or shamanic artworks, or her one woman power-house performance piece opening on Broadway. (You get the picture). But while my Mother Teresa nun-like self praises God for delivering just what is needed each day to live and love more fully, my Oprah, gee-it's-cool to have 137 pairs of new shoes in my closet-and so much money flowing through my auspices that I can give 137 of you a new pair, too -feels frustrated. So I go out and treat her to a $5 pair of new sandals on sale that I don't really need, but will look great with my favorite skirt. And, I check out of the library a couple more books on How To Have It All, to save the costs of purchasing them.

To have, or not to have, that is surely the question -along with what to have, why to have it, how much of it to have, when to give it away, not buy it in the first place, or buy it for someone else. All these questions have me stalled on the highway of my daily prosperity practices.

In a good moment, I see that both Mother T and Oprah represent for me two sides of having it all: having a beautiful, spiritual, helpful life, and having all you need provided by your trust in the Scheme O' Things. Trouble is, right now, I am embodying neither the have by not-having (or have by not having-to-have) side, nor the have by having-everything-money-can-buy side fully enough to manifest the richness that both of these female mentors demonstrate for me. I am caught vacillating somewhere in the middle, listing left towards the Good Mother, then right, towards the Good TV Star (another thing I always imagined being, but don't actually miss at all when engaged in acts of lovingkindness.)

Perhaps as the dust settles, and with enough gas in my tank , I can get unstuck and transform the duality dilemma. (I confess to being continually on the lookout for a good gas deal these days, in spite of the fact that neither Teresa nor Oprah would worry about it.)

Still, there is some hope in sight. First, I am seeing that either option lays along a Prosperity continuum in which either end comes out a winner (and famous, too!) To the extent that I consider myself wealthy enough to spread healing and joy wherever I can while taking vows of personal poverty, then showing up with utter faith each day to see how God will provide, I will be richly rewarded. On the other hand, to the extent that I trust myself to be a multi-millionaire who can give myself anything my li'l heart desires, including the desire to bring healing and joy to millions of others through my vision-so will it be. Two different, totally opposite paths to prosperity and abundance.

My job now to is commit to embracing my choices with as much kindness, compassion and mindfulness as I can bring to bear, no matter which way I swing. I sense a huge Lesson in the making. -And relief from financial worrying. The faith to surrender is required, to let go of trying to control my outcomes in lieu of trusting the flow of life, allowing my Maker to show the way to peace of mind.

Tomorrow I go to two hospitals where many I visit are dying, or are so debilitated by their injuries that they may never leave their rooms. I want to be able to help those within my reach, those given to me to serve. I pray to emulate either of my prosperity mentors, by finding all the ways I can afford to help them: with my energy, my vision, my sensitivity -and my money! Or my ability to inspire others with money to share more of their supply to help these, my own poorest of the poor.

In the meantime, while I am imaging myself appearing with Mother Teresa's reincarnation on the Oprah Winfrey show, talking about my humbling success stories, I will water my flowers, make an angel drawing for a sick friend and pay my rent. I will continue for now, referring to how I get by as "being on angel time," since it's served me well enough to pay for my basic needs for many years.

Still, I fantasize about mastering the art of manifestation. Perhaps when I shift fully out of neutral, stop stalling about a fully committed choice about the means to my ends, the vehicle of my abundance will simply take me wherever I want to go.

It's worth a shot. Now, should I carefully count all my nickels and dimes for this month's expenses, (leaving open some room for "unexpected fortunes," of course), or just go out and live as if all I need is simply already here? Will mindfulness be enough to ensure success? You tell me.

Addendum: I just received an email version of a recent article by Ram Dass about death and the whole matter of transformation, physical and spiritual planes. Just after forwarding it to a few friends, I received another email, with a letter from Wayne Dyer asking on behalf of his friend Ram Dass, monetary donations to help the aging, ill and penniless guru keep the rented roof of his Maui home over his head. I was taken aback: I had presumed that Ram Dass was wealthy, due to his celebrity. Not so?! Then here, a demonstration of someone, living in vows of poverty, helping tens of thousands of others through his life of service ( a la my Mother Teresa mode), being served by another (in my Oprah mode), to see to it that Ram Dass will be personally taken care of. This is a kind of affirmation for me that my task is to Be all that I Am and leave the rest to Spirit.

Marcia Singer, MSW directs the Foundation For Intimacy. A nationally noted author, healer, life coach and singer-performer (30 years), she humbly prides herself on leading a very spiritual life, and baring her soul as a means to learn and to teach. Credits include creating a "body-centered" approach to hypnotherapy, to medical intuition via "body psychometry," and "green ed" books for children. She anticipates the publishing of "The Tao of Play" book soon.