The next night this same powerful group of people went to dinner together at a restaurant in the area, all 40 or so of us at two tables, and we couldn’t manage to just pay the bill without a big problem. I was profoundly disturbed by this. How could we have created such a powerful spiritual expression of gathered wisdom and the next day not be able to pay the bill at the restaurant? How could we have with such care and attention to the details of the ceremony and all that was involved in a collective transmission into the Universe that would forever change all that we know and then the next night struggle for an hour with waiters who were trying to make it all work for such a large group and were coming up short? It just didn’t make sense to me. It doesn’t make sense that we can take responsibility for all of life and the sacred nature of the human and can’t take responsibility for a restaurant tab. I was all aflutter during the figuring out and wanted others to step forward and take responsibility all the time knowing I could easily do so, but I always do that and we had just transmitted. So as I sat on my hands for a bit and others got up and scrunched and scrambled trying to work out the left over amount and seeing what might have happened and the waiters got more and more nervous that they were going to have to fork over their tips for the remainder of our bill I finally stood up with a couple of other people and threw a little more money on the bill to make it right. I paid 3 times what I owed, like maybe 60 or 70 dollars more then my bill and some one else threw in 20 and another threw in 10 and we were covered after 45 minutes of scrunching and figuring. Of course I would have thrown in the whole thing plus something for the waiters a whole lot earlier in my life here at home and I really wanted to see if this powerful community could make it work. I went back to my room bewildered and a bit angry. How could this be?
Why do we get so messed up around paying the bill? You can probably tell that I am looking at this question from a larger context then just a restaurant tab. I am looking back at the recession and the debt and taxes, not to mention the environmental bill that we humans owe this planet. We are so willing to unconsciously consume and buy and eat and play and then when it comes time to pay the bill we get all weird and somehow think that we shouldn’t have to or that we should pay what we want to pay and not what is asked of us. We think we are somehow entitled to just take, take, take and then somehow we can do wonderful magical gifts that will change everything and that maybe that lets us off the hook somehow from giving back by way of paying our own hard earned cash money. We’ll give energy instead. There is something not evolved here. There is something not being faced. Is it me that isn’t doing the facing? Is there something out of integrity with me and once it’s aligned in me the universe will change? Is there something for me to pay attention to pointing around Paying up that I’m not seeing?
Another aspect of this has been some very tough decisions we’ve had to make around CTI to make it possible for us to pay for things, pay off debt and be able to pay people in our world for what they do and hopefully provide more for them to do to get paid for. In order to do that we have had to restructure things and that has meant that we have had to not pay people to work for us anymore (lay them off) and to put them on the reserve bench (so they work less, so others can work more). These people are my friends and family and I love them dearly and I have to say no to their brilliance and their wisdom and their enthusiasm. At some point in order to take responsibility for paying for things there is going to be some pain and disappointment, I guess.
And yet I am holding out for a future where that isn’t the case. A future where things just get paid for and we take less, a future where generosity rules and paying for something is more in the context of giving something for something.