Saturday, December 10, 2016


Note: In this blog, there are references to God. Please interpret the word God in any way that works for you.

by Mary Elizabeth Raines

Noticing a garden gate had been left open, with other plans for my morning today, I went outdoors to close the gate. I wound up spending a half an hour harvesting dried beans. In the process, my pants and shirt got covered with a great many very sharp burrs called goatheads. It took five minutes and a number of ouches just to pull the goatheads off my clothing. Soon I will sit at my kitchen table and shell the beans, a painstaking process that will take another half an hour.

The end result? An hour's work for about 70 cents worth of beans.

I had more satisfaction and pleasure with those beans than I've had in some sessions I conduct where, in the same amount of time, I've earned a couple of hundred dollars.

Many people in contemporary society mistakenly attach price tags or popularity to success. This includes not only business people, but artists, musicians, and writers. It is especially prevalent, weirdly, in those following spiritual pursuits or the so-called New Age, where some of those who are healers or helpers, such as massage therapists or hypnotists, believe that a certain income must be attached to the good work they do. If a reasonable amount of money is not forthcoming, these people believe that they have failed. If they cannot make a living doing what they love, they are crushed.

Newsflash: God does not care whether or not you make money! There are plans for you to use your gifts and they have absolutely nothing to do with income.

Think of God as this large omnipotent guy in the sky (which I do not believe, but bear with me here). I can see him scratching his head at the despair and pleading prayers streaming up from those of us on earth. This God would say, “Why are they so miserable? Why can’t they just use their gifts and do what I ask them to do? What does money have to do with anything?” 

Many give up when they can't make a living by following their dream. They not not realize that money is a man-made commodity. It has nothing whatsoever to do with success or failure. Money is inconsequential in the eyes of the Universe. In fact, some people might even wind up having to pay out of their own pockets to pursue their dreams. That has zero bearing on whether or not they should follow their dream. Success or failure, likewise, is not measured by the number of people we reach when we use our gifts.

Suppose a man has a startling vision where he is guided to become a Reiki practitioner. After going through the various levels of training and dedicating himself whole-heartedly to this work, at most he ends up seeing just one client a week. He feels defeated and beaten. This is because he mistakenly supposed that his vision meant he was going to earn his living doing Reiki, when it really just meant that he was supposed to learn and practice Reiki because there would be people who would need what he had to offer.

An artist lives in despair because she has only sold one painting. Since childhood, she had always believed that she was supposed to paint. The money she has invested in oils and canvas alone, however, has turned out to be far more than she may ever get back. That one painting she sold? It is hanging in a house where a little girl stares at it in rapture for hours on end, and who will, as a result, wind up leading an inspired life. Another little girl somewhere else is still waiting for the painting to be created that will likewise inspire her. What a shame it would be if the artist decides to stop painting because she cannot make a full-time living in art, or because only a few people buy her work!

A man who sets up a little shop has a stimulating time learning about buying and selling. He enjoys every aspect of the business, until it fails financially. He winds up crushed with depression, feeling like a loser, instead of looking back happily on the many pleasant experiences he had in the process. He does not even recognize that rather than being depressed, he could have chosen to view his shop as a wonderful success.

A poet publishes his book of poems on Kindle, with high hopes for prosperity. He is crestfallen by the low sales of his book, and he gives up writing, taking his book off the market--not realizing that among those who bought his poetry was an old man who had been suffering, and who had received a few magnificent hours of respite and peace by reading his poems.

A woman prays about what to do with her life and has the dream of becoming a healer. She is disheartened and loses faith when she is unable to earn a living as a healer. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to her, her life's purpose was to work in a community where those requiring healing did not have the financial resources to pay. 

Yes, the Reiki practitioner, the artist, the shop keeper, the poet, and the healer will all have to receive their income in other ways. That doesn’t mean that they should give up, stop using their gifts, and deny themselves the pleasure of the process. 

Whether or not we earn money doing what we are meant to do in life is not even remotely related to success. God doesn’t care!

What matters is that our gifts be used fully and that we live every aspect of our lives, whether it is harvesting 70 cents' worth of beans or painting a picture from our heart that is intended for just one little girl to see. That is the success!

Article and artwork © Laughing Cherub, 2015
Reproducing or copying in any form prohibited.
Please feel free, however, to link to this article!

About Me

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Mary Elizabeth (Leach) Raines is the author of a collection of quirky short stories ("The Man in the GPS and Other Stories"), novels ("UNA" and "The Secret of Eating Raspberries"), and nonfiction ("How to Help and Heal with Hypnosis: An Advanced Guide to Hypnotism" and "The Laughing Cherub Guide to Past-Life Regression: A Handbook for Real People.") In addition to writing, Mary Elizabeth teaches hypnosis as the director of the Academy for Professional Hypnosis Training. She is a columnist for an international hypnosis magazine, and in the past she was a newspaper reporter and features writer. She has won a number of awards for her writing. Mary Elizabeth attended New England Conservatory of Music in Boston in the 1960s as a piano performance major. Later she pursued independent film studies at UW-Oshkosh. In her free time, Mary Elizabeth plays the piano, creates fractal art, cooks, paints, dabbles with computers, acts, gardens organically, and keeps bees.