The Essential Arts Bisness* Model
of Sacred Abundance & Prosperity
Essential Arts really do reach into the Essence of every aspect of life, including economics. Maybe especially economics - is that surprizing for such spiritual, healing, creative work? It's a vital part of the shift from a competitive, exploitative economic system to a cooperative, sustainable, ecological economy to integrate prosperity and justice, community service and individual expression. I believe every business should serve the well-being of the community and the planet.
For several reasons, the Essential Arts bisness* model truly offers something for everyone from no cost to a reasonable professional rate.
At one end of the spectrum, I volunteer with several local organizations giving Reiki and other support, and I offer free programs like Reiki hands-on demonstrations and fiber arts demos as well as Horse Sense, a summer camp workshop for kids. In January 2017 I will be training for volunteer Pastoral Care at a local hospital. I feel these are, well, essential to my "ministry" or my service in the world. I love the organizations, the people (and other animals) involved, and I learn so much from them all - it's truly a "higher education" I receive by giving my time and being present where needed.
At the other end of the financial continuum is my signature program, Awakening to the Priestess Path, which is actually valued almost at the professional rate I charge for Reiki (I say "almost" because it's not possible to calculate the exact time I have put into developing the program or the exact time students will spend using it). It is an intensive program meant to help students to achieve a very deep level of skill and comfort with their experiences in a relatively short time, with lots of support on many levels. It is a highly unique program in combining information with personal guidance and group support, and also with many actual Reiki healing sessions as well as several days in immersion retreats. It's really quite a bargain when viewed in terms of value and empowerment that will last a lifetime.
In between on the economic scale are individual Reiki sessions and programs such as Women's Wellness mini-retreats for which I charge a reasonable professional hourly rate but also accept barter and sliding scale rates. This allows me to serve a wide range of individuals in various ways.
Toward the low end of this part of the spectrum are the sales of Vt. Boot Bracelets that ideally cover the cost of materials and overhead, which are minimal, and offer the artisan a reasonable, livable wage. Being small (ankle bracelets for boots), they are a relatively inexpensive option for folks who are looking for a truly hand-made product, with the yarn being not only hand-woven but even hand-spun, often from local animal fiber, or my sheep's wool.
I do not believe that money is evil and contagiously dirty, nor that greed is okay and fair. Neither is poverty necessarily virtuous, and we don't need to be victims of our economic system. We need to transform it into a just, sustainable, healthy economy for people, families, communities and the planet. My model for doing this work is charging enough overall to allow me to afford to support local businesses, organic farms, artisans and artists, community organizations and others whose values are in alignment with my own. It can be more expensive to do this than to eat fast food and shop at box stores (all of which I have completely lost my taste for anyway), but I am committed to making sure small business can stay in business, traditional skills are preserved, holistic healing and educated are growing and communities become more resilient through re-localization of economic control within mutually beneficial networks of trade.
Still, I really do enjoy shopping at thrift stores. Then I take a few bucks I saved and splurge on a latte and still come out ahead - and stylishly!
I think of Essential Arts as a "bridge" bisness*, one that spans the chasm of transition from the old economy to the new one. Yes, I accept money for my work, use Paypal and other mainstream business tools, and yet I put them to good use in transforming our communities into healthier, safer, more empowered places in harmony with our non-human kin and the Earth Herself. I am consciously shifting toward my ideal economic system. Here's an Essential Arts affirmation I use: "I am safe and successful within this system, even as I transcend and transform it." Try out this mindset and let me know what happens!
* Bisness = the business of "isness" or aligning our work with our way of being, values, beliefs; akin to right livelihood.