Poverty Consciousness and La Bohème

Gay-Purr-ee-animated-movies-16058904-853-480For some reason, I was always attracted to an old world Paris.  When I was a little kid, I fell in love with Mewsette from the animation Gay Purr-ee; and the time of Degas, can-can, and the Paris Commune all held a particular sway when I got old enough to value art, showgirls and revolution. There is a major thread that defines these images and ideas, and my own sense of self in this world.  I see myself as one of the masses whose life is defined by struggle, strong feeling, and walking the path of liberation from the chains that bind.  In my world, art, romance, passion, and revolution are the tools to break us free from the shackles of oppression and limitation that make up the Poverty Consciousness.

Now, with all my talk of abundance and prosperity, you might think that I would lay claim to a consciousness more highly vibrational and evolved than Poverty, but I am speaking to you from a place of shadow exploration, rather than the realm of perfect possibility.  Also, the Collective Consciousness emphasizes poverty and I am totally invested in that.  Besides, it’s my utter knowing of poverty that lets me speak of it, not from the intellectual standpoint of ‘thinking’ poverty, but from that very powerful place of ’embodying’ it.  Folks who know me intimately might say, “But you grew up in Palos Verdes, and you have never been hungry, and you are traveling the world with daily maid service.  How can you claim to embody a Poverty Consciousness?”  Uh-huh.  I see your point.  But while all of those make up my experiences, I still have a poverty mindset that is fearful, limited and locked-down so tightly that very little light seeps in.  You cannot judge poverty by what you see on the outside, you have to look at what is functioning on the inside because the outside is an illusion, and the inside is what’s real.  If I was not so invested in the Poverty Consciousness, I might have a mansion on every continent and I might jet around in my own plane instead of watching SkyScanner for price drops in airfare. Poverty is a consciousness, and like all consciounesses, it has many manifestations.  And there is not ONLY Poverty functioning inside of me.  There is also the consciousnesses of Money, Connection, Excellence, Creativity, Art, and Beauty.  Phew!  And it’s Money and Connection that are making me show up with a beautiful, secure and prosperous lifestyle, in spite of the limitation that the poverty mentality brings.

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Consciousness is the beliefs and the values that you hold along with the actions that you take and the habits that you develop.  It’s what you think, believe and know, and the actions you take because of them.  Poverty Consciousness is having a set of beliefs that support a mindset of scarcity and lack. The Poverty Consciousness sees a lack of value in its own essence.  The Poverty Consciousness experiences itself as disempowered and creates a whole way of living based on inability and an absence of support.   There’s a real, live, active belief in your head… actually, NO.  It’s not a belief or an attitude.  It’s a KNOWING.  There is a real, live, active KNOWING in your head and it knows itself as a limited being living in a world where it has limited choices and limited resources.  And you, buying fully into this consciousness, build your whole system of life and living on this paradigm.  It’s like being a religious fundamentalist who has a KNOWING in their mind that their religion is true and right.  And that knowing has written itself into their very being.  There is little or no room to allow for another way of being.  A belief is light and can change with the right messages and enough evidence, but a knowing is deep and might require a full-blown lobotomy to change.  In the Poverty Consciousness, you have a view of yourself as deficient in some kind of way.  We tend to think of this in terms of money, but in my case, the issue is not money.  For me, the issue is my own inherent value and self-worth which have nothing to do with money.  In my mind, my offering is impoverished, so it does not have value.  That’s my knowing.  Some of the many examples of the beliefs that have emanated from my Poverty Consciousness are:

  • I haven’t worked hard enough.  I haven’t paid my dues.
  • I can’t have this until that…
  • There’s a price to pay for that so I won’t commit to it.
  • I don’t have the resources to accomplish what I want.
  • I won’t ever be able to control my eating so why try.
  • I will never be able to keep up with or manage all the wrong charges and financial errors so I won’t even bother to check.
  • My dreams and visions aren’t important enough to attempt.
  • I don’t have the resources to accomplish what I want.
  • I probably won’t get a scholarship so I won’t bother to research.
  • That handsome man is probably not available, so I won’t bother to reach out.
  • My life is predestined.  There’s not much I can do about it.
  • I’m sure there’s a way to get rich quick!
  • It’s all or nothing.  If I can’t have this man all to myself, then I don’t want him at all.
  • I’m never going to finish it, so I won’t even start.
  • If I do it, it has to be really good, or else it’s just not worth doing.

It’s these limiting beliefs that define the Poverty Consciousness.  You can imagine the actions (or inactions) those beliefs inspire.  Here are some of the things I did not accomplish because of these attitudes:

  • Higher education.  I want a Master’s Degree, but I’m too stuck to even begin to apply.
  • A book or two.  I want at least one!
  • A healthy relationship with food. I want to be satisfied with what I need.
  • A great relationship with a man who adores me and lets me shower him with love.
  • A bank account with more money than I need.  I always have just enough to do what I need to do, but never more.

I had a past life regression when I was 21 years old and was surprised to see, very vividly, two distinct stories.  One was of a young African girl who strayed away from her village in search of adventure, only to return to find her village completely consumed by fire.  I remember standing atop a hill and seeing the entirety of my village engulfed in flames.  It was night time, and the orange flames gave tragic shape and form to the darkness.  I stood there weeping in sorrow at the demise of my people and the life that I had known.  I looked down and saw my feet sky clad, and I turned away from the village and the devastation and walked slowly back in the direction from which I had come.  I walked forward into a wall of mysterious darkness, my heart heavy with the sorrow of loss of family, heritage and structure, while behind me the fire burned on.

From that revelation I was lead to another lifetime.  In this one, it was the mid to late 1800s and I lay dying in a cramped room with a young man sitting next to me wringing his hat in his hands.  He was so sad, so devastated over my condition and I was consoling him with gentle words of cheer to ease his burden of sorrow and… guilt.  (I didn’t know until today that it was guilt.  But that is a different story.) With the past life memory of me lying in bed came images of ma vie en rose.  There was lots of laughter, song, and dance.  I had been a poor chorus girl dancing can-can with enthusiasm, although I was a bit inhibited outside the theater.  I had met the young man, who was of a different class, and we had fallen in love.  My love for him was whole and complete, but his for me was conditional.  Because of our differences, he could not bring me home to his family and so I remained a secret and someone that he would see only when he could steal away from his real life.  When I became sick, there was a very visible absence of him, which made me profoundly sad, yet my commitment to my love endured.  In my last days, I reached out for him and he came at the final hour.  He was there with me when I died and it did my heart some good.  And yet, when I look back on the scene today, I am filled with rage and a grief that I cannot begin to describe.  When I was 21 and I had this ‘memory’ of a past life, I did not know that it would be a theme that played through into this lifetime.  My past life relationship with the man would be echoed in a relationship where I would hear my Beloved tell me that he would not be available for me if because he wasn’t strong enough.  Impoverished relationships are the offspring of the Poverty Consciousness, as is an impoverished bank account.

fireIn my first past life– the one of the young woman turning away from the demise of her heritage, there is a feeling of emptiness.  Tabula rasa.  Whether you believe in past lives or not, the archetypes and symbolism of my psyche are clear:  fire destroys, cleanses, purifies.  It leaves an empty slate.  There was, for that young woman, an obliteration of her past and an opportunity to begin anew with only the content of her consciousness as her companion.  This theme of emptying has been present for me since my mother died back in 2013.  Twice in the last three years, I have sold all that I own and ventured into The Mystery with just a few basic necessities and the consciousness that I harbor.  If that first memory of the peripatetic African girl is the original mother of who I am today, then she might have been carrying the consciousness of Poverty.  But I don’t think so.  In fact, when I tune into this lovely woman, slender and long, strong in body and resolute in her focus, I find someone who is abundant in her connection to Earth and Mystery.  When this woman returns to find her village aflame, she is not surprised, yet she is not hardened.  She feels her emotions and walks with them with wisdom.  She does not run willy-nilly into the fire in a vain attempt to rescue or resurrect what is lost.  She turns her back, not to block out what is gone, nor to deny it.  She turns her back because it is what has to be done to move forward.  She knows to her core the cycle of life and the consequence of fire.  The fire is her heritage now and it forms a portion of her consciousness.  But it is important to remember that this woman had already been out exploring the Mystery.  That was why she went away from the village in the first place!  I would even say that she went out venturing into the wilderness a girl and came back a woman.  She was called into the Mystery and she willingly went, and when she returned, all that she had known had been destroyed.  This is the nature of Mystery.  The subsequent return to the Mystery becomes a comfort when you have walked it before.  It becomes a salve for your wounds and the unconditional love you need during your time of mourning.  And the Mystery becomes your greatest teacher of abundance because it strips you clean of your dependence on things outside of yourself and forces you to turn to the one and only 100% reliable truth:  your connection to Source.  That is the job of Mystery.  At first, it seems as if you are sinking into poverty with only the clothes on your back, but as you surrender the old paradigms and walk into a new reality, there comes a sense of fullness… eventually.

In response to a post I made on Facebook a few weeks ago, a friend recommended that I watch Barbara Streisand in The Mirror Has Two Faces.  It’s the story of a woman who perceives herself as unattractive and so experiences the world through these eyes.  When she decides to break that consciousness, she starts making different choices for herself and she starts to experience the world in a different way.  She starts receiving male attention and having the romantic encounters that she thought that she wanted.  I really enjoyed the movie because it totally highlighted my own inner dialogue and showed me where I could find a path of healing.  The thing is, in the movie, the comment was made that when you fall in love, you hear Puccini.  That stuck in my mind, and of course, anything that sticks in my mind is Spirit trying to get my attention.  So I pay attention and keep my eyes open for synchronicities.  That was a couple of weeks ago in Jerez de la Frontera.

So while doing some shadow work here in Barcelona, I did a tarot reading and I asked about how to heal some wounding around disconnection.  I got a card indicating a new romantic relationship, and then another indicating romance and partnership.  That felt really exciting, and so the next day, when I went out walking, I found myself falling in love with this city!  I thought to myself, I’m falling in love– where’s the Puccini?  I turned a corner and looked up to see a banner advertising La Bohème at El Gran Teatre del Liceu!  I decided right then and there to go see the opera.  Strangely, with all my love of Paris and cancan, I had never seen La Bohème nor did I know the story.  Imagine my shock when, after booking my ticket and sitting down at a cafe to do some research, I read the story of Mimi and Rodolpho!  I felt myself crumbling inside, like all that I had known was being flooded right before my very eyes–my past life story told in this beautiful tragedy!  Had La Bohème been brought to my awareness more powerfully when I was young, I would have found myself embracing Mimi with the passion of the beautiful martyr, but seeing her now, and recognizing the consciousness that we both hold, I looked at her with compassion tinged with a subtle anger.

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The story of La Bohème is set in Paris in 1830.  Mimi is a young seamstress living in a tenement apartment.  She is suffering from the early stages of tuberculosis.  She and her upstairs neighbor, Rodolpho, fall in love, but he senses the intensity of her illness and feeling helpless, he pushes her away in the hopes that she will find a wealthy benefactor who will take care of her.  The couple breaks apart, but in the end, Mimi returns to him in the hours before her death because she wants to die with him at her side.  If this isn’t conjuring up images of my own past life story, then I’ve done a horrible job of describing it.  Come on!  1800’s Paris, a poor girl dying of tuberculosis, a lover who was not there during her illness but there at her side at her death?  Puccini is telling my story through song.   (By the way, because I set my clocks in 24 hour format, Spirit LOVES to have me glance at my iPhone at 18:30. I get this uncontrollable urge to look at my clock and voila:  1830– La Bohème.  To the oblivious soul, it’s 6:30pm, but to the blossoming spiritualist, it’s a powerful clue showing me yet another lesson that I have yet to learn. And yet another synchronicity, I have been plagued by a terrible cough these last five days.  Even in the theater watching the performance I could barely contain it.)

The version of La Boheme I saw did not feature a black Mimi, but I have to say that this London version featuring Angel Blue was pretty synchronistic. Tell me Spirit isn't urging me to get the point here!

The version of La Boheme I saw did not feature a black Mimi, but I have to say that this London version featuring Angel Blue was pretty synchronistic. Tell me Spirit isn’t urging me to get the point here!

Anyway, the point of all of this the Poverty consciousness that has plagued me all of my life and that has been an issue, clearly, in other lifetimes for me; and why I was compassionate, but irritated by Mimi.  The characters of La Bohème all suffer from that consciousness of Poverty.  We see it in how the boys are quick to spend every penny earned on extravagance without a thought for tomorrow, we see it in the wonton Musette who chases the wealth of men like a panther does a buck.  And we see it in Mimi, who sacrifices her own health for Rodolpho’s love.  It’s this act of ‘love’ in the form of denial of self-preservation that is important for me to realize about my own consciousness.  Mimi, in her desire to nurture Rodolpho’s poetry and to expand their love cannot make her own well-being a priority. It’s not until Rodolpho forces her out of his life that he does this; and even then, Mimi rejects the wealthy benefactors that could have provided her the care she needed so that she could survive (albeit short!  Tuberculosis was fatal in the 1830s.  Fatal and prevalent. Let me also note that it was also highly contagious.)  Other aspects of the Poverty Consciousness is the inability thrive and the inability to produce and be fruitful.  With the Poverty Consciousness comes a disconnection from the long-term survival instinct.  Survival is not just about living from moment to moment, but the ability to live on in your offspring and in the great works that you leave behind.  Poverty leaves only itself as its legacy. In the Poverty Consciousness, one’s actions emphasize immediate gratification with little emphasis on planning, strategizing and building for the future.  With Mimi, she was very willing to give over her person to her love affair with Rodolpho and neglect her own right to thrive.  And as mad as I was at Rodolpho for urging her to go find a more capable man, I am also commending him for the role he’s playing of wise old sage.  Mimi needed to save herself.

And I need to save myself.  I am in my three-dimensional reality.  The time is 2016 and I have discovered a lump and my lover will only respond with a phone call.  Will I repeat the past, my last words consoling my guilt-ridden lover?  Or will I rise up and handle this shit on my own?  Will the Poverty Consciousness follow me into my next lifetime?  Or will I find the key and make the necessary adjustments to set myself free?  These are the questions for my book, The Root.  These questions are driving my evolution.  They are indeed my Grail Quest.  I will keep you posted here and I beg your support during my awakening.  I leave for Farerra tomorrow morning, and that’s when the real awakening begins.

 

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