Creative Careers in the Arts
The Portable Blessings Ledger
An interview with Naomi Rose
by Molly Anderson-Childers
for Creativity Portal
Can you tell our readers what first inspired you to create The Portable Blessings Ledger: A Way to Keep Track of Your Finances and Bring Meaning and Heart to Your Dealings with Money, and how working with that book can impact their financial situation?
The Portable Blessings Ledger came to me during one of those lulls that self-employed people sometimes experience. I had been writing a longer book on the subject of bringing money and compassion together called The Blessings Ledger. And, as can happen with long works-in-progress, I was feeling frustrated. The book was taking so long to write; yet, I didn't want to rush the writing process and complete it prematurely.
At the same time, I wanted to share the essence of what I had learned from writing that longer book about connecting the inner life with money — a frequently thorny and, in my eyes, essentially unexplored topic — so that readers could put these lessons into practice in the world right now.
It came to me to take "just the cream" of the learnings from The Blessings Ledger and put together another, related book. I wanted readers to be able to quickly grasp the concept, be inspired by modeling stories from my experience, and take The Portable Blessings Ledger out into the world and have their own experiences transforming money into a blessing.
I believe that readers who work with The Portable Blessings Ledger will experience a positive change in their financial situation. Anything we give ourselves to wholeheartedly, even if just for a week, not only shifts what we become aware of but also brings a whole new wealth of possibilities into being. So if a person is open to seeing how money can be a blessing in their life — both receiving and giving blessings — then the likelihood is that blessings will indeed show themselves.
This is a great thing, because an awareness of blessings brings us closer to our true being. We realize that life has more good in store for us than we may have been conditioned to expect.
And I think this is particularly true around money, which — though we are all affected by it — tends to remain a mysterious, cut-off aspect of social existence, as if it has nothing to do with what's inside us. The Portable Blessings Ledger is designed — for anyone who makes the commitment to use it for even a brief period of time — to show us the direct connection between what lies within us and what we experience on the outside. And that can help to heal us — as individual persons, and as a whole culture.
For another thing, The Portable Blessings Ledger includes a way to keep track of every dollar spent, earned, worried about, received out of the blue, and so on. That's the "ledger" part. I always had trouble keeping a "spending diary," because the facts and figures — devoid of a more human context — ended up boring and even confusing me.
It's been said that we create what we ourselves need, and this was true for me. When I — out of my own need — came up with the idea of a Blessings Ledger, in which the dollar amounts and attendant circumstances (e.g., place of purchase, reason for purchase) existed within the context of who I was and the human situations I encountered, then I became interested. Each purchase, each bit of income, had a meaningful-to-me story connected with it.
And so I was willing to keep track of every penny spent, because that tracking also showed me: where I had come from in my life story; who I was in the moment of the financial transaction; and what healing might be opening up.
And, a bonus: it enabled me to keep exactingly accurate financial records. I recently did my taxes for this year based on my Portable Blessings Ledger records, and my accountant said, "Well, you are very organized! You made my work much easier than many of my clients do." This never would have happened except for keeping this Blessings Ledger.
I'm sure that readers who work with this book can have equivalent healings, if not well beyond. I'm thinking of putting out a Readers' Stories version at some point down the road.
That's a very interesting idea. So you aren't done with this topic yet, and the Ledger is expanding. This is amazing! Congratulations. You have written quite a lot on the topic of money and the inner life; and claiming your true inheritance. Could you tell our readers about these different projects?
I appreciate your asking me about this — it's so dear to my heart, and, I believe, so needed in our world.
I never planned to write even one book on the subject of money and the inner life, much less 2-1/2 books plus an article. But life gave me the assignment, back in the 1990s.
During a difficult period of my life, in which the need for making money clashed with my need to just go inside and heal, I felt that there must be some inner understanding that would open up the opaque, oblique, and mysterious subject of money.
So, being a writer, I began to write a book: The Blessings Ledger: A Journey to Find the Union of Money and Compassion. The usual dictum to writers is "write what you know." In this case I was writing what I didn't know. It felt unknown, unsure, and highly precarious in the beginning.
Looking back, I think that all quests are like this. We begin in not-knowing; and uneasy as it initially feels, that provides the space for going where we have not been called to go before, and finding what it is that we are seeking.
I'm glad you asked me also about the matter of claiming your true inheritance. Because this is where the writing has eventually led me: the "pot of gold," as it were.
In the very beginning, I wrote about money as if I were in exile from some socially contracted understanding that seemed to uphold everyone else but that I felt myself to have been left out of — like a kid looking in longingly through the candy store window.
It wasn't only money, and money know-how, that I was looking for — though I didn't know that until I'd entered more fully into the writing; it was a sense of belonging to life, of being upheld by some good inheritance.
Originally, I meant a financial inheritance; but the more I wrote, the more I began to realize that there was a larger Inheritance, to which — in my heavy conditioning within my own family of origin, and the culture in which I'd been raised (and still live) — I had no real connection.
Only by going deeply into the dynamics of the loss of my real nature, growing up in my family, did I begin to see that no matter what the amount of money in the bank, no matter how savvy an investor a person might be, I was hardly alone in having taken my adapted, false self — the one I "created" as a child to survive in harsh circumstances — as the only reality.
The more I explored through my writing, the clearer it became that we are all children of a profoundly loving Source that wishes us well; and that as we clear out our wounds, our self-centeredness, and our conviction of separateness, we cease being exiled, and have the keys to the Kingdom.
Naomi Rose is the author of The Portable Blessings Ledger. For more on this book, click here.
Surely, money is not more powerful than our Divine Inheritance. There is wisdom in the saying, "Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all else shall be given unto you."
As a writer, although I am deeply inspired by universal spiritual truths, I find that my real learning comes through my own experience. And so I tend to write from my own experience about money, and finding one's real nature and claiming that inheritance.
Can you talk a little bit about the things you have learned, or the insights you'd like to share with our readers about money?
Money is a relationship. Essentially, it's an internal relationship, on one level, based on the experiences of support we have and haven't had in life, and the stories we tell ourselves about what life does and doesn't hold in store for us.
And it's a relationship with our ancestors, since we have inherited beliefs and customs and habits and values as well as (in some cases) money; and to the extent that we are not conscious of this human inheritance, we tend to play it out again and again.
When an entire society colludes in a certain set of wounds and extrinsic values, it can be very hard to clearly see what we are dealing with. And that's why it's important to bring a deep exploration of the inner life into our dealings with money, and to begin to spend our souls as well as we would wish to spend our money.
Money is also a relationship with God, and with other people. This is not something I knew in my bones, initially. I first learned it by reading the profoundly thoughtful book, Money and the Meaning of Life, by Jacob Needleman. In this book, Needleman declared that money was actually a spiritual idea, initially invented by ancient wise people to teach humanity about its utter dependence on God, and its interdependence with one another.
Well, I was a struggling seeker, looking for some light on a dark and stormy sea — and there it was. I took this then-amazing idea as my beacon, and followed it where it led me.
Money is the culture's god, but what are we really dependent on? Even our breath has a source. So we are, in terms of money, used to living in a state of forgetfulness of our true nature and true Inheritance. We can remember.
That we are breathing, even in this moment, shows that we are cared for. We can allow ourselves to soften, to open, to acknowledge how much we have within ourselves. We can breathe the breath of prosperity, and seek to work together to bring about harmonious prosperity (a phrase that came to me from my experience of singing in choruses: there is scarcely a greater transcendent joy than to be both creator and beneficiary of a body of beautiful music).
To make money a higher value than God's care, to elevate it above breath, tells me that we have gotten very far from what we are capable of as inheritors of the Kingdom. We can remember. We can help each other remember. This sounds a bit abstract. But what upholds it is very real. Hopefully, my books, in context, will bring it home.