This person was one who had been a member of the group for about four weeks but who had not attended any of the actual meetings. She’s an owner of a local retail store in a non-spiritual field but is not a professional lightworker from what I can find on the internet. I have never advertised the group as totally free, so that was her error for which she was holding me accountable. I have advertised meetings as costing between free and $25 with most being $10. Clearly she read what she wanted to in that sentence.
As I mentioned this to my kids, they asked, “Don’t you have to pay for the space you are meeting in?” Correct! My high school aged children were able to do the basic math of running a meetup group in a way that this business-owning woman could not. Meetup currently charges $180 per year for the first group one runs (and two “free” ones after that). One then has to find space to meet in. Many of the “free” spaces around town require a minimum member of attendees and/or a minimum purchase of food that is often unhealthy and/or filled with gluten. Since 75% of my group has issues around food (including me with gluten and egg sensitivities), that type of option doesn’t work well for us. Many public places also don’t allow for privacy which is necessary for the type of group I lead. Hence, we meet in private spaces to create an atmosphere that is appropriate to the healing work we do. Finally, I do a lot of reading and prep work for the group and give out handouts. All of that creates expenses as well. Even the federal government recognizes that business expenses exist and allows them to be deducted!
If this woman had actually attended my group, she would realize that it isn't actually a group of lightworkers coming together to heal the planet. It's a personal growth group as one might expect from the name, "Your Personal Healing Journey of Austin." People are getting my guidance in a group format for a hugely discounted rate. Instead of paying $100 per hour, they are paying $5 per hour to learn from all I can teach them. That’s a pretty hefty discount and makes my resources and guidance very affordable to those who can’t afford to work with me on a private basis. Most similar groups in Austin charge anywhere from $10 to $25 per session with the majority being in the $10 to $15 range. I am definitely not pricing outside of the market value. Furthermore, if one stops and thinks about it, $10 for two hours of guidance that leads to extensive personal growth is a bargain compared to spending $10+ for two hours to see a movie which one may or may not benefit from at all.
I have encountered others like this woman before on other healers’ sites and discussion groups, so I was prepared for this to happen to me. They subscribe to a false ideology that believes that energy workers don’t deserve to be paid for the work they do. If they do deserve to be paid, then it should be an absolute minimum, and the healers should be struggling to get by. Only unholy people should be comfortable in life. Those who are truly sent from God will live on miraculous multiplication of fish and loaves just like Jesus did. These judgmental people somehow think that energy workers’ electric bills and rents also can be paid with holiness (and not money) as well.
All of that is simply not true. Everyone deserves to be paid a living wage. I am a huge believer that the minimum wage needs to be $15 or greater in metropolitan areas where $15 an hour isn’t enough to support a family. That’s $600 per week or a little over $2400 per month. In Austin, finding a two to three bedroom apartment or home for a family is hard to do for less than $1200 per month in the suburbs; closer in it’s impossible. Clearly a single parent won’t be able to take care of a family on that amount without public assistance even if s/he/ze is working full-time.
The same is true of an energy worker who, when it all boils down, is a worker trying to pay bills just like the rest of society. We all work in different ways as we’ve been gifted. Some of us are teachers. Some of us are engineers. Some of us are salespeople. And some of us work with healing and energy. If the healer is a doctor, s/he/ze will bill starting at $300 per hour. Psychologists in Austin charge anywhere from $75 to $150 per hour. While people may grumble about these rates, no one doubts that these healers deserve to be paid for their work. So too, do energy workers deserve to be paid for their time, energy and skills.
As I have discussed this incident with other healers I know and respect, we’ve all come to the same conclusions. Those who truly need sliding scale and reduced fees approach us with very different attitudes and behaviors than those who are just not willing to pay for the healing work we do. Every one of us has stories of people who have pleaded for sliding scale or free work and then have shown up in a brand new car or had stories of exotic vacations taken weeks before or made exorbitant purchases that are clearly beyond the means of someone who actually can’t afford but desperately needs healing work. The bottom line is that they don’t want to budget their funds in such a way as to pay for what they need. Hence, they want their healers to earn less so that they can live a more luxurious life, not realizing that by not paying their healers the full price of their services, many of those same healers then have to make cuts to their own budgets to accommodate the person asking for financial help. It is completely different than people who are truly low income and in desperate need of help but who cannot possibly stretch their budget any further.
When healers don’t charge for their work, they create an energy imbalance in the universe. All of our transactions with others in life involve an energy exchange. You massage my back, and I rub your feet. You give me groceries, and I give you money. I help you solve problems with your health, and you give me money. In the olden days, you might have given me two chickens and a gallon of milk instead. In other societies, it was a handful of sea shells. However, in our society, we use money as a currency of exchange, and it has come to represent our energy exchange. Every healer I know and respect agrees that there must be an exchange of energy in every single transaction in order to keep things balanced. When interactions occur without an exchange, one part of the equation becomes imbalanced. Hence, as healers, we do charge for our work as we feel is appropriate to the situation in order to keep balance in our lives. In some cases, $5 is the appropriate amount. In other cases, it’s more. All of us do need to charge something for every exchange, though.
I hope one day this misguided woman will understand her value and will start charging for her services to others just as she does for the objects she sells in her storefront. I hope she will also come to understand what kind of imbalance she creates in her life by asking others to give to her for free when she offers nothing but a verbal barrage in return.
© 2015 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC