Archives for July 2013

Being In Business Means Being a Warrior – You Must Face Your “New Level Crisis”

2012-09-02 07.52.28You're on the edge of something big, I mean REALLY. BIG.

You can taste it.

And what happens? Suddenly, the biggest doubt or crisis possible comes up for you.

You freeze, and you ask yourself: Why? I'm so close, why is this happening now?

To achieve ANY important result in life, you have to be a warrior. 

If you want something that's beyond where you are right now, 90% is just not going to cut it.

Big Moves Take 100% Of Your Being.

Ask anyone who has achieved what you want to do, whether they've been through this kind of “new level” crisis – and they will emphatically nod their head.

EVERYONE who has ever achieved anything of merit has faced a crisis point, stared it down, and stepped forward anyway.

2012-07-24 22.51.34A warrior is someone who pushes themselves to the very brink of what they can handle, and chooses to keep going.

This is true in any area of your life – but you'll see it the most clearly in business. Because in business, your actions show clearly definable results. As my friend, consultant Garrett Carrara says, “business is about what you do, and what you don't do.”

In business, “should have / would have / could have” don't count for squat. Because those don't get results, and business is about making things happen.

So business is the perfect testing ground to prove yourself as the Strong Heart-Centred Warrior that you are.

You want to achieve something?

Great – do it.

The reality is, whenever you are about to leap into a new playing field, YOU WILL BE TESTED. 

Immediately. Harshly. Constantly.

Because you absolutely will not be able to achieve the new results you're going for with less than 100% commitment.

So LIFE will test you – to see how committed you are. You'll fall. You'll get an injury. You'll get scared. People will criticize or doubt you. Sometimes publicly.

The universe suddenly says to you: “Oh, I see you want to be at this new level. Are you SURE? ……… Are you REALLY sure?

2012-08-07 19.33.01This happens for a reason. Because the new level will take more from you – more energy, more strength, more drive. If you can't even hold your determination through the initial test, then you'll never be able to hold it consistently at the new level. So you're tested.

If you make it through, it gets easier.

If you don't, it falls apart.

I've been through this kind of crisis many times in my life – some times I chose to move forward through it, and some times I didn't. So I know how it turns out both ways.

And I know with certainty, that when you want something new and you're facing intense challenges –


Here are two personal examples; one where I faced a “New Level Crisis” and went through it, and one where I didn't.

1. Crisis I went THROUGH: When Alexis asked me to be the CEO of Eyes Wide Open, I sliced open the bottom of my toe. Badly. Right through the tendon (I actually still can't fully move it). I couldn't walk for a week. It was painful, it was scary, it filled me with doubt. Everything about the experience called me to examine the question: is this what you REALLY want? It was terrifying.

I had to let go of two other opportunities I was interested in. I had to put everything on the line. I didn't know how it would turn out. I had to examine every part of my inner being, my desires, my goals, and fears, because life pushed me – the only way possible for me to take this on was with a 100% commitment. It was challenging. And I chose yes.

It then got MORE challenging – there was a 90-day freeze on the company's merchant account, there was $45,000 in payroll due before the next sales event (1.5 months away), AND Alexis said to me: “I'm done running this business, I need to focus my energy on the other business. If you want to fix this you've got to do it by yourself.” Again it was a huge a test of my will, of my inner alignment to go in this new direction. I kept going.

I made it through that challenge, figured out how to bring in the $45k in time, and that was the breaking point. I passed through the barrier, and arrived into the new level.

For me to arrive as CEO of this company, that was what it took – I had to walk through an intense fire of uncertainty and pressure for months, and maintain my resolve.

I made it through that, and now we are consistently bringing in $50-60k each month into the business. It's still tough, shaky and scary sometimes. But because I passed through that crisis, maintaining this level of results doesn't phase me at all. I'm comfortable in it, and now have new horizons I'm looking to.

2. Crisis I backed DOWN from: This is really personal. I'm a very spiritual person, and my spiritual path is my number 1 priority in life. It's just who I am. When I was 27, I was still working out that inner alignment, and I was deeply attached to desires and concepts about what I should do with my life.

I had a moment (it lasted a few months, but it felt like one “moment in life”) where I was given a huge spiritual opportunity, to apply myself further with certain teachers and in certain practices.

2012-07-21 07.08.08Everything in me knew that if I went in that direction, I would go very far in my practice and in what I want to discover about myself.

Right at that moment, I met a man who I fell instantly. Wildly, devastatingly. In love with.

It was the biggest test life could have possibly presented me with.

My path, my calling, was asking me so clearly: “Do you REALLY want this (the spiritual journey)? Are you SURE you want it?” 

I knew that the only way to go into that new spiritual direction was to do it alone, not in relationship. It was completely clear.

But I was so confused by the strong pull of my emotions and desires… they overpowered my senses, consumed my awareness, and I didn't have an anchoring in a deeper Inner Presence to ground my choice in. I was too swayed by those outer emotions.

I didn't think I was strong enough to make it through that storm, to the other side of how devastating it felt to not pursue loving him. So I backed down.

I let myself fall in love, went into relationship with him. It was beautiful, it was wonderful, it was the deepest & most tender love – but it also split me right in half inside. Because part of me always knew that I had backed down from my truest calling.

It took me six years to recover from that dichotomy and work it out in myself.

I eventually had to leave the relationship, because the split in me was so deep. It was the most painful, hardest thing I've ever done. It took SIX YEARS of pain, confusion, and depression to make it back to the same point where I was before that “New Level Crisis” moment. Backing down ended up being way harder than it would have been to walk through the fire of the challenge.

LiarBecause – when you do choose to go THROUGH the New Level Crisis – it's hard and intense, but you are supported by all of your inner strength and allies.

When you back down from it, you go into darkness, confusion, and more inner turmoil.

The “backing down” lesson was necessary, and I needed to learn it the hard way (obviously) because otherwise I wouldn't know what I now know about this.

AND, what I've taken away strongly from it is the importance of being a Life Warrior.

Being a warrior means that you're willing to be uncomfortable, to do things that no one understands, to let things die, to let go of your concepts and attachments, even if most people criticize you — and you do it because you KNOW the inner purity of what is calling you forward.

Listen – you know where the old path leads. You've been down that road, you know exactly where it goes. You want to keep doing the same thing?

The DOOR OF OPPORTUNITY Is Only Held Open For You For So Long

If you're standing in front of that open door right now, and you're scared because the winds are starting to gust and blow stormy all around you, recognize it for the grace that it is.

Have the courage to choose what you want for yourself.

Feel the fear, feel the storm.

And step through anyway.

Please share your comments below.


daniellebigAmrita Khalsa is the CEO of Eyes Wide Open Life, and coaches members regularly in our Eyes Wide Open – Have It All program on achieving the results they want in business.







The Simple Path to Manifest Anything You Want

And then, only after you've let go of all attachment, insistence or hope of it happening, the vision you held so clearly and with so much knowing, begins to appear.

At first, like a mirage.

The more you believe in it, the more you say yes to it, the more you live into it, the more solid and real it becomes.

You can't fuck it up.

There are no accidents.

Your only job — to let your desire in and let go of all attachment to when, how or even if.

Women’s Gifting Circles — Secret Scam or Saving Grace? by Ali Shanti

Hands Praying Head Shot
Alexis Neely

If you have been invited to join a women’s gifting circle or been reading the posts all over Facebook and online, you may be asking yourself:

“Are gifting circles even legal?”

“Should I join one?”

“I’ve heard mixed messages. Is this right for me?”

This article presents the balanced view you’ve been looking for.  First, I’ll address the issues of legality, taxation, the math and secrecy.  Then, I’ll give you specific criteria to evaluate to determine if it’s right for you.

Perhaps you’ve heard, or had a sense, that gifting $5,000 to another woman – with the promise of receiving $40,000 back at some point – is illegal because it’s a pyramid or ponzi scheme.

Search online and you’ll readily find evidence for the illegality of gifting circles in the format that they usually take. For example, here are links to articles warning about the illegality of gift circles from the State of Hawaii,  New Hampshire, and a group comprised completely of women naturopaths in Oregon.

The list goes on and on. There are rumors that these circles have been around in one form or another for more than 40 years, starting in Canada, ostensibly as a way to help women out of domestic abuse situations.  Whether or not this is true is unknown.

They’ve shown up under a variety of names — Women’s Empowerment Circles, Women’s Wisdom Circles, Women’s Gifting Circles, and more — a quick google search or Wikipedia search of your own will reveal the prevailing view that these circles are basically pyramid schemes.

While they have been around for years, they’ve only recently begun to saturate our community of cultural creatives.

Even Android Jones, a respected artist, has noticed the impact and created a work of art to express his displeasure with the circles and the pain he perceives this social construct is ultimately having on the sisters who join.

If you do the math, there is logical, rational, left-brained evidence to support his conclusion that these circles are absolutely unsustainable in the end.

There is a mathematical certainty that up to 87% of the women who gift their money into a circle will lose their money.

To see the math in action, see this spreadsheet that my extremely mathematical, linear thinker of a sister created.  You can play with it  and change the variable on the number of times women re-up after cashing out so you can see what happens when women reinvest in the circles after receiving their gifts.

Bottom line: If 100% of women who complete the circle and receive their $40,000 in gifts rejoin another circle 3 more times, 80% of women who join will still lose their money.  The best possible scenario would be that every women who completes the circle rejoins 6 times and you still end up with 50% of women losing their money.

All of this is true.

Yet, there’s something else going on here that none of these articles, my mathematical sister, Android Jones, or the governmental agencies that call these circles illegal pyramids are saying:

For some women, joining a circle is absolutely the right thing to do.

The rest of this article is devoted to those of you who, despite all the evidence above, are still considering joining a gifting circle, to help you make the right choice for you – beyond the propaganda.


A friend of mine, Morgana Rae, recently posted this on Facebook about another topic:

“A word on legality. Hitler's “Final Solution” was legal. The genocidal Trail of Tears was legal. Slavery was legal. Don't confuse legal with just.”

Yes, it’s true that in the form these circles exist, the government would say they are not “legal.” And, chances are, if you are reading this, there may be various activities that you engage in that are not legal.

1070029_616542835045669_174485993_nVery likely, you consider whether to participate in non-legal activity by feeling into your body for a truth response – toward or against. You evaluate the potential to harm yourself or anyone else. Perhaps you even examine the facts to determine your level of risk and the potential consequences of prosecution. (Which, incidentally, is a recognized stage of moral development – see Kohlberg Stage 6)

There are plenty of cases and news articles threatening negative consequences – in the form of public humiliation, fines and criminal charges if the authorities ever get involved.

That said, the legality of gifting circles is probably not one of the major factors in your consideration. It’s a pretty quick decision. If you aren’t a rule breaker, don’t join. {also: if you are involved at all in public office, you probably do not want to join a gifting circle.}

Now, just because you may happen to be a rule breaker, and proud of it, doesn’t mean you should join the next circle you’re invited to. You have to evaluate whether it’s really right for you.

If you evaluate the circle you are considering joining based on the rest of the criteria I share in this article, the chance of the authorities ever getting involved is de minimis.

Bottom line on the issue of legality: Circles typically only get “busted” when someone complains. People only complain when they feel treated unjustly. If you select a gifting circle that treats women justly, legalities aside, you are unlikely to experience governmental involvement. That’s not legal advice, it’s simple karma.


There is the pesky issue of taxes.

Women participating in circles maintain that the money gifted into the circle is just that, a gift. As of my writing, “The IRS offers taxpayers a golden opportunity to give substantial and meaningful gifts up to $14,000 annually… in 2013 to as many people as desired in cash…”

According to the Internal Revenue Code, a gift is only a gift IF and WHEN there is no expectation of return.

Two women were recently charged with and convicted of evading taxes through the gifting circle structure because it was clear from the way they held their circles that there was an expectation of return by the participating women. As you’ll see in my criteria for joining a circle, don’t do it if it’s about the money you’ll receive. That not only takes it out of the context of a gift for tax purposes, but it also makes it less likely you will receive.

Join a circle if you are ready to learn the power of receiving through giving with NO expectation of return. It’s a paradox. If you don’t get this viscerally, don’t even think about joining a circle because you’re asking for trouble – for you and your circle.

Bottom line on taxes: This non-reciprocal attitude about your gift, and the gifts you may receive in the future, is the determining factor regarding whether you are evading taxes by joining and gifting into a circle.  There is definitely risk here if you are audited and can’t explain where ya got all that money.


As I wrote earlier, mathematically speaking, these circles are not sustainable.

Some number of women WILL lose their money, so I’ll say it again in a different way …  if you are entering a circle for the promise of a $40,000 return, don’t.

Plainly, 12% of women make it to the middle of a circle and receive all $40,000 in gifts and 87% do not. Pin that on the wall next to small business failure stats: only about 50% of small businesses survive past the 5 year mark (and some say that number is much higher, even up to 95%).

There are a lot reasons a business may fail – from lack of experience to a faulty business model and under-capitalization. Depending on your business acumen, one could argue the odds of getting a return on your investment are better putting $5,000 into a circle than putting $5,000 into starting your own business.

In a circle, depending on how many women who “cash out” re-join another circle, your risk of financial loss could be between 50% and 88%, not that different than your risk of loss in business.

I’ll take it a step further … if joining a circle is in alignment with what I call your Entrepreneurial Archetype (more on that in the “criteria for joining” section below), a circle could be the very best “business model” training you could possibly get and make it far more likely that any business venture you get involved with in the future will succeed.

Just don’t join it for the money. Have I said that enough times yet?


There’s no doubt that secrecy (or, as women in the circles insist it be called, privacy) is a key component of participating in a circle.

I’d like to change that.  What I don’t know is whether it’s a vital component and bringing circles out of the shadow and into the light would somehow do more harm (for the women they do benefit) than good.

I have a personal belief that “we are only as sick as our secrets” and transparency is one of my highest personal values, so I could be admittedly biased in such a way that I am blind to the power of the privacy.

I’ve never been part of any cool secret societies or clandestine collectives, so I can’t speak to the power of it.  If you can, have at it in the comments.

I do know that the secret nature of the circles has the power to corrupt, but perhaps it also has the power to bond at a deeper level and the women being supported in and by the circles are able to receive more as a result.  The jury is out on this one for me still.

Even with all that — the illegality, the tax issues, the math that indicates women down the line will lose money — for some women (maybe you) joining a circle may still be the right choice for your personal path.

So, how do you decide?

The Criteria for Whether You Should Join a Women’s Gifting Circle (or anything for that matter)

So, it all comes down to this.

998724_618457371520882_1323645379_nIf it’s right for you to join a gifting circle, it’ll be the best thing you’ve ever done. In the process of writing this article, I’ve interviewed a number of women who have benefited tremendously from their experience and process in circle, even many who have not yet received a single penny of financial return from the circle.

Nevertheless, for the women it’s right for … they have experienced things like:

“It is about MUCH more than just the gifting as I have yet to receive any gifts but shifted everything about my relationship w abundance including buying a house and brand new Prius because of the energetic shifts and collective prayers it has brought into my life”


“I've known of sisters who are quite sick or were the caretakers of others who are ill and have joined gifting circles, received the abundance that they provide and not gone into extreme debt. They also received the support of a circle of women who care and love them and are willing to stand by their side, no matter what.

I have known sisters who have gone into debt and owe a bank much money to start a business (and end up not actually owning their business due to selling equity to shareholders in order to raise capitol).

Then there are sisters who join a circle, receive abundance to birth their dream, therefore being full owner of their vision and product AND are part of a group of women who will midwife that dream.

I, as a court advocate for sexually and physically abused women, have seen MANY sisters go into shelters and homes with their traumatized children, and receive little support, financial or otherwise, from a cold and overwrought system. The spiral downward from here can be intense, including children in foster home, forced prostitution and much more.

Then there are sisters who I have heard of coming from violence and are empowered to leave those situations and rebuild their lives (and their self-love and learn their gifts) due to the abundance that a circle provides including the sisters who are willing to ally with another when the rest of society would simply go about their day.”

When it’s right, it’s right.

Of course, there is a flip side.

If it’s wrong for you (or you join a circle for the wrong reasons), it’ll be a karmic mistake you’ll pay for in a variety of ways.  Clearly the case for this woman and these women and these.

pyriamid-2So, When Is it Right?

A gifting circle may be right for you under the following circumstances:

1. Your entrepreneurial path includes the Star/Connector Archetype*

and it’s either where you are now on the map OR where you are going and you are ready to stretch for it.  A fundamental part of your success in the circle will be your ability to invite other women to join your circle.  This is the classic Star/Connector business model — inviting people you know to do what you are doing.

This requires you to learn how to connect, communicate and invite.  You are going to have to sell.  If you hate sales, this could be a fairly non-intrusive way to learn to like it better, but if you are unwilling to learn to sell, do not join.  It’ll be bad for you and the other sisters in the circle.

2. You want to receive training to embody the Sage/Guide Archetype*

and the Circle you are joining will actually provide it.  The Sage/Guide Archetype is the one who holds people through a transformative process.  She is a coach, consultant, healer, guide.

If you make it to the middle of a circle (often called the “dessert” position), you will need to learn to hold a container of at least 15 other women in order to keep your circle together.  You will need to learn to hold the projections of those women, keep their energy high when they flag, maintain your energetic boundaries, and so many other things that are necessary when you are supporting a group of people so intimately.  Especially around money.

According to Lindsey Vona, a woman who publicly renounced her circle participation on a post-Lightening in a Bottle blog post, there is no training in the Circles.  At least there was not in her Circle.  So she left and gave up the whole thing.  I imagine that happens quite frequently.

I connected with a good friend who also abandoned ship after making it to the middle of a circle, into the coveted dessert position.  She didn’t know how to hold the circle together when women began losing energy for it.  And rather than seeking support, she let it go.

If you are joining a circle, ask your current Dessert contact (woman at the middle of the circle) how she is held and supported to hold the women in the circle and keep the circle together.  Feel her response.  Ask to speak to the people holding and supporting her as they will be the people holding and supporting you if and when you make it there.

This needs to become part of your criteria for investigation and due diligence.  How is this training provided? What sort of support structures actually exist? How can you tap into those support structures when you have made it to the “Dessert” part of the circle and things feel as if they are falling apart.

Because they will feel as if they are falling apart.

That’s part of your learning, actually.

How can you learn to lead if you aren’t given the opportunity to be a warrior?


3a40907ce21cdded4243c3e0da200df9If and when you finally make it there, to the coveted role of “dessert”, the center of the circle, you will be in perfect position to hold the guru projection (in which all the women on the outer rings of your circle project their gold and their shadows onto you), and hold it well, without taking it on.

If you can do this, not over-inflate your ego, take anything personally and keep remembering your role at the center of the circle — to lead from a place of presence, you can keep it going.

If not, your circle will die.  And then you’ll be left with that.

3.  You really aren’t doing it for the money.

I know it sounds weird that I would tell you that it’s right for you to join a gifting circle that is about you receiving $40,000 in gifts back, only if you aren’t in it for the money.

But, it’s the truth.

If you are in it for the money, you are likely to be disappointed.

If you are in it to stretch your abundance muscle, to learn how to receive, to learn how to manifest, for the sisterhood, for the leadership training, for the emotional support to get through a tough time in your life, great.  You cannot lose.

Yes, it’s a paradox — you learn abundance by giving away money with no expectation of receiving it back.

If you go into it for the money, odds are that you will. Lose.

One of the hardest to learn tenets of the law of attraction is the concept of getting crystal clear about what you want and then letting go of all attachment to actually getting it.  Another is the concept of giving more than you think you possibly can so as to create a vacuum that the Universe cannot help but fill.  A third is the idea that all giving must happen from the overflow with no expectation of return.

All three of these concepts can be practiced and experienced through the gifting circles.

Things to be sure of if you do join a circle:

Whatever you do, make sure you are not joining a circle that is rushing to split and has gifted women into it so the split can happen sooner.  This is the A-number-one sign that the circle is about to fall apart.

You must confirm that every single woman in the circle has gifted her full gift.  And, that she has done so and released all expectation of return other than the benefits that come from the support of the sisterhood.

If you sense anything otherwise from any member of the circle, either find a different circle or don’t join one at all.

The giving of the gift begins an alchemical process that cannot be activated without the giving. It begins as soon as a woman commits to join and then sets out to find the money to gift.  She explores resources she hasn’t been willing or able to tap into previously.

As soon as she does, a portal opens that up until then was invisible to her. (note: this exact same portal opens when a women invests in herself via an investment in her own business creations that are focused on giving her gifts in the world.)


If a gift is not made in full, the portal doesn’t open.  The alchemy doesn’t get activated.  The circle is on its way to disintegrating.

Period. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

If you are offered to be gifted into the circle or to come in at a discount, run.

Being “backed” into a circle, however, is acceptable and can activate the alchemy.

What is Backing and Should You Back a Woman Into a Circle?

If you are interested in participating in the circle economy, but don’t have the time, energy, desire or right entrepreneurial archetype to participate, you can support another woman who is right for circle via backing.

This would meant that you loan another woman part or all of her gift to participate. She then makes the gift into the circle, opens the portal for herself and works the process.  If she makes it to the middle/top and receives gifts in return, you receive the loaned amount plus additional money (to be agreed upon by you and the woman you backed) back.  If she doesn’t make it to the middle/top, you could be out altogether.

I have a friend who backed a friend of hers for a ½ share.  This means that she made a gift of $2,500 and at such time (and if) the gal she backed makes it to the center and receives the gifts back, she will receive back double her gift.

Of course, the risk for the backer here is significant. And she really has no control.

There’s only a 12% likelihood that the backed woman will make it to the center and receive gifts back, so it’s important that the backer either give his or her gift with no expectation of return OR expect to provide emotional support and coaching to the person he or she has backed, with the intention of increasing the chances of return.

Before backing a woman into a circle, ask yourself this question:

Would you make an investment in this woman’s future without any expectation of financial return? Would an investment in her growth be worth it to you even if you never saw a dime back?

If so, go for it.

One Last Point on the Math

Much has been made of the math of the circles. The math is undeniable IF the circles are in a hurry to split. I’m not a mathematician, but it seems to me that there is a timing issue here.

If women join, not for the money, but per the criteria I shared above — for the sisterhood, the training, and the support — I believe there’s a likelihood that the circles could sustain themselves if they move slowly, in no hurry.

The right women will join, and the circles will be moving slowly enough that more and more women will become eligible. I’d be interested to know how slow a circle would have to move in order to truly make it a circle and not the pyramid structure that so many are railing against.

In a future article I intend to explore alternatives to these circles that could replicate the support women are receiving without the illegality, tax issues, or privacy.  If you have thoughts about alternatives, please share them in the comments so we can explore together.

Author’s Note: While I have been invited to join a few circles and back a few women into circles, I have chosen not to for a few reasons. 1) I wanted to keep my perspective totally pure so I could write this article without any risk of personal bias; 2) now that I have written the article and applied the criteria to myself, I cannot in good faith join because I would be joining purely for the financial return — I have plenty of sisterhood, entrepreneurial and leadership training already; 3) joining would not be in alignment with my personal Entrepreneurial Archetype.

* the Entrepreneurial Archetypes are a set of archetypes I have developed that key your personal archetype to a business model that is right for you based on where you are now and where you want to go in the future.  By understanding your current archetype and your future archetype(s), you can map a business model progression plan for your personal path to financial sovereignty in the new economy. Learn more at

 I invite you to share your thoughts below and to share with any woman who may be in the process of consideration as to whether a gifting circle is right for her.

8/1/2013 UPDATE: Since this writing, there have been more discussions you will want to be aware of. This one from Adam Apollo Amorastreya: Women's Wisdom Gifting Circles — Illuminating Light, Investigating Shadow. And significant discussion on Philippe Lewis's Facebook wall about Gifting Circles, which you can read here.  Philippe has called into question this article because he says it does not address the negative impact on the community from participation in the Circles.  To that I offer this:

When women join a Circle for the wrong reasons there will be a negative impact in her life that reverberates through her community, just as there is whenever a woman does anything for the wrong reasons.  To the extent that distrust and hurt feelings are created this is an opportunity for the woman who has lost trust to look inside and investigate her own motives for becoming involved in such a way that has caused her to lose trust for herself and for her sisters.  This is an opportunity for women who have lost trust in another sister – perhaps because she is making invitations inappropriately or excessively — to lovingly communicate with her what they see.

It is not the Circles that are harming our communities.  It is the way we behave that is harming our communities. Yes, perhaps it is true, as Philippe says, that the Circles are exacerbating it and bringing to light what's already there, under the surface.  So why not use it as an opportunity for growth and awareness so that instead of blaming our sisters, or the Circles for our hurt, we instead use the opportunity to discover the source of our pain, heal it and grow as a community.

Here's my offer to ANY woman who feels hurt by her participation in a Circle or by an invitation into a Circle:  Message me directly at and I will sit with you at no charge to find the nugget of gold you are so close to discovering below this hurt.  Private coaching with me is $1,500/hour (and totally full), but I will charge you nothing.  Let's find the gold in this shadow. I'll help you do it.

Moving: 2013 Edition

2012-07-24 19.55.09It's moving week over here and I'm going to share something that will either leave you thinking “boy, that girl just can't settle down” OR “wow, I would love to be that free.”And, if it's the latter — some tips.

I haven't lived in the same place for more than two years (except in law school when I was too busy to move the whole three years I was there), since I left my mama's house more than 20 years ago.

That's a whole lotta movin'!  You can read about my gypsy life here.

Tonight, in the midst of yet another move (thinkin' this one will be my last for the next 5 years or so), I am feeling particularly grateful for the freedom to move.

Particularly fitting because this is independence week in the US (plus Canada's birthday!), isn't it?

I've been able to live my gypsy life, with kids, while maintaining and growing my businesses, because I've built my income around my highest value of freedom (or as you've heard me refer to it, sovereignty).

I can work from anywhere, on my own schedule, doing work I absolutely love.  My life really does often feel like a permanent vacation.  Not because I am partying all the time, but because my schedule is crafted by me. My time is my own.

To me, this is what freedom is really all about.

2012-07-21 07.08.08When I think about the real meaning of freedom, I think of a life where every rule is a rule I've created, that I can break if I choose, and in which I am not at all governed by anyone else's “should.”

That's my life.

It can be your life too.

Of course, it requires breaking free of the conditioning holding you in a pattern of “have to” “should” or “must.”

For just a minute, imagine what you would feel, be or do, if you did just that.

What would be different right this very moment?

How would you hold yourself differently? What would you be thinking that would be different?  What would it feel like in your body?

I experience it as liberation.

Being able to move every couple of years is just a small part of it.  Two weeks after getting moved in, we'll be taking off on a 6-week journey.

It'll begin with a visit to San Diego and Sedona for two separate convergences of the High Priestess Sisters I align with.  Sandwich'd in between will be a jaunt up to Chicago for Eben Pagan's Accelerate meeting where I'll be seeing some of you.

Then, back to Colorado to load up the RV with Craig, our kids, and my ex-husband for a trip to California, camping with some of our soul family, and then up the coast to Burning Man.

All told, I'll be on the road about 6 weeks.

If we weren't moving this year, I would have added on two weeks of speaking at Lightning in a Bottle and Kyle Cease's event, but a girl can only do so much and I made the decision not to squeeze those two in.

That's quite a lot of movement.

Freedom.  Sovereignty.

Happy on the BeachIt's what I want for you.  Even if you are a homesteader and you don't want to live the gypsy life, like I do, I want you to have the possibility of it.


  • I want you to know that if you wanted to, you could.  
  • And to know that goes for everything!
  • There are no limits on your ability to say yes to your desires, no matter how weird, off the wall, or strange they feel.

Here are some tips that have really helped me tremendously and I've learned along the way …

1. Don't expect to do it alone.

I couldn't have the businesses running, the kids well-cared for, the house getting renovated and be moving without A LOT of help.
Back in the day, Anna & Corey (two of the most amazing supporters a gal could have) would pack me, move me and unpack me all while I was out of town. Now, they are three states away and running their own business, so that's not possible anymore, but I've got replacements here in Colorado.

You need that.  As much help as you can afford.  And, if you can't afford it, asking the people you love really helps …

2. Ask for help cleanly.  

I didn't used to be so great at this. In fact, I was a hot mess when it came to asking for help.  Two moves ago, when I went from the big house to the farm, I so wanted community support, but I hadn't yet learned how to ask for help.  So I held a garage sale and invited people I knew to come take things for free with the secret motive of asking them for help moving when they got there.

I could have just asked straight up. It would have been far more appreciated by everyone.  Had to learn that one the hard way.

This time, we've got movers coming, a few friends already committed to helping, and I've created a Facebook event for the other community support we are looking for, said exactly what we would love and have no expectations if anyone shows up.

Independence starts with interdependence.

3. Breathe & make space

Despite having done it so much, I'm not good at moving.  It's requiring a huge amount of deep breaths, and saying no to things I wish I could say yes to, like concerts, festivals, parties and even launching a new program that I would love to do, but will need to wait.

So, this independence & freedom week, how will you cultivate just a tiny bit more independence and freedom for yourself?  How will you stretch just a bit to allow in more of what you want, say no to what you do not want, break a rule, go over the top, let it out, say yes to the strange, weird, off the wall … that is the truth of your desire?

Let me hear about it.  

That's where it often starts. Just saying it (or writing it) out loud.  The blog is a great place to do it.  See you in the comments.

The Gypsy Life – On the Move Again!

2012-09-11 07.52.27I haven’t lived in the same place for more than 2 years since I moved out of my mom’s house when I was 17. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I lived in the same apartment in DC for all three years of law school. I was studying too much to move.

But since then, I’ve moved just about every year, or two at most.

I never intended it to be this way. I had no idea I was a gypsy.

Looking back, though, I can see it’s true.

Next month, we move again. This time into a house I’d like to stay in for at least 5 years.

I say that every time.

It hasn’t happened yet. I’m hopeful, though, that this one will stick. I just invested in a big, fancy dining room table, thinking that maybe if I have a big, fancy table, we’ll be there longer.

I’ve thought that before. But the reasons to move were always more important than the furniture.

The reasons:

After law school, we moved to Miami for a year so I could clerk for a Judge. We knew that would be temporary, so we got a condo on the beach where I could give birth and my baby’s daddy would have access to the beach and Lincoln Road.

Then, we moved to Los Angeles. Rented a place in mid-LA with the Hassidic Jews for neighbors because it was affordable and the commute downtown wouldn’t be too bad while we figured out where we wanted to live.

Baby daddy was a surfer, so he dragged me down to Manhattan Beach one weekend, just to see. I was sure it was too far from downtown, but as soon as I saw it, I was hooked.

We bought an 850 square foot little blue house on the corner of Robinson and Green in North Redondo. It turns out a mile and a half from the beach is too far. And when I got pregnant with our second, 850 square feet was going to be too small.

Using all of my best, newly acquired skills of manifestation (thanks Jan Stringer & Alan Hickman), I manifested the perfect house on the walk streets of Hermosa Beach. 3 bedrooms, wood floors, and a washer/dryer.

We rented out the house in North Redondo and moved to the actual beach. I thought I would live there forever.

A year later, we were getting divorced. He wouldn’t leave. So I did.

I rented a teeny, tiny two bedroom two streets over so we’d be close. Plus, I was hooked on the walk streets and didn’t want to leave.

I found an ad on Craiglist for bookshelves and when I got to the gal’s house to buy them, it turned out she was selling everything I needed for my new single mom’s bachelorette pad.

I knew I wouldn’t be there long. It was on the alley and way too small, but it was perfect for the transition from married mom to single mom discovering herself as an adult woman for the first time ever.

I was there a little more than a year when my landlords decided to sell the place. I was in a new relationship, making great money and decided it was time to go big.

So we moved up the hill a 1/2 mile into a big 4 bedroom with room for a massive trampoline in the back. The rent was insanely expensive, but my boyfriend was going to split it with me.

Turns out he wasn’t really an actor, but a porn addict who would occasionally go on auditions. I ended up shouldering all the rent for that place myself. And I longed to get back to the walk street.

A year later, friends of mine down by the beach gave me a tip that the man in the house next to them had died and his son’s might be willing to rent the place to me (and I could even buy it when the time was right), so I ditched the trampoline and moved back down to the walk street.

It was my dream house. It hadn’t been touched since 1955 and the man living there for the last ten years had alzheimer’s (the bedroom smelled like urine), but it was perfect. I put $30,000 into it to fix it up, certain I’d be there forever.

Eighteen months in, I had my “third-level awakening” and knew it was time to leave LA. That, and when I went to speak at Martha Hartney’s Denver law school class, we saw a 3800 square foot house, on a lake, two houses down from her at the end of a cul-de-sac and the rent was half what I was paying in LA, I decided it was time to go.

Packed up two U-Hauls, Corey, Anna, my kids, my ex-husband, my boyfriend at the time, Dave, our two cats, dog, snake and off we went to Colorado in my fancy Mercedes.

I was the Queen of the hill.

Most expensive house and car in the neighborhood.

It never felt quite right.

Something was off.

Turns out, it was me. alikids

I seriously considered buying that house and locking myself in to life in suburbia (because isn’t that what I was working my ass of for?), but bought the farm (New Earth Farm Project) instead, never intending to live there. It was intended to be a business for my ex-husband and then, after that didn’t pan out, a community space for new economy exploration. Spirit had other plans for me though.

Just shy of living there for two years, I gave up the house, the Mercedes and most of the stuff I had toted to Colorado in the two U-Hauls and moved to the Farm. Reluctantly. Full of fear. Through lots of tears.

But I had to sort out what it was that didn’t feel right. And something told me that I wouldn’t figure it out unless I gave up every single “trapping” of success and surrendered to that which I could never have otherwise imagined.

Truth be told, it wasn’t “something” that told me. It was Craig. He insisted it was where I would find my salvation. I hated him for it. And loved him for it.

The kids and I moved to the farm.

A 2 bedroom farmhouse on 2-acres with a partially finished basement. No housekeeper, no personal assistant, no one to cook for us, no paid support at all. And no xBox for distraction.

Just us.

For the first time ever, I learned to care for myself. I cooked dinner, did laundry, and stopped working at 5p. I entered into an investigation of what I really wanted my life to look like when money wasn’t an issue. My expenses were lower than they’d ever been before. I could no longer hide behind my work.

I found myself.

One night, Craig said to me, “Ali, make sure you really feel what it’s like to be here, and soak it in, because it’s very unlikely you’ll be back in this place again.” So I did.

And I came to love it.

I discovered myself there in that year on the farm.

I faced everything I was most afraid of — being alone, running out of money, taking care of myself and my kids without paying anyone to help me.

But I missed Boulder.

At 45-minutes to an hour away, the farm was just too far.

I wanted Kaia to go to a charter school in Boulder, Noah to make friends, and to bike to yoga, the farmers market and activities at the Integral Center.

One year was enough, it was time to bring my newly integrated self back into a new world.

So we moved to Boulder. I was scared. I had come to love the farm. I was worried I’d get sucked back into my workaholic ways.

We’ve been in our condo for a year. 3 bedrooms. My ex-husband, my two kids, Craig when he’s in town and me. It’s a lot of people for a condo without a backyard.

When I rented it, I imagined I’d be here for five years. Just me and the kids. I didn’t imagine their dad would be living here with us. Or Craig.

So quickly we’ve outgrown it. And, it’s taken us this long to grow into it.

I look around this space and my heart cries at the idea of leaving so soon. I like that it’s cozy. We just bought a bunch of plants from Cheri, who is embarking on her own gypsy journey, and I wonder why we waited so long to put plants in this space.

My desk just found the perfect location in front of the fireplace.

And within 30 days, we’ll be leaving.

Moving again.

It’s happened like this every time. Within 30 days of moving day, it all feels like it finally settles in. And then, it’s time to go.

We are moving into a house. On a park. With a backyard. Walking distance to the Integral Center.

It’s not huge, but it’s big enough that we won’t all be in the same room when I’m working, Kaia’s playing her piano, Noah’s gaming, Todd’s in the kitchen and Craig’s making a smoothie or on his computer.

That actually makes me sad. I like that we are all in the same room. And I recognize that we need space too.

And Todd is ready for his own place. And Noah’s ready for his own room. And Craig and I are ready to create our life together.

So, once again, we’ll move.

I’d like to think we’ll be in that house for 5 years. Long enough to get Kaia through high school without moving again. But I know the truth now, I’m a gypsy.

If we stay, it’ll be a minor miracle. Almost certainly, if we do, it will be thanks to the grounding that only a Taurus man (Craig) can bring to my life.

With all this movement, you may be surprised to hear that transition is actually hard for me.

I am anxious. Just like I was this time last year as we prepared to move here. And I know it will all be perfect.

My prayer: this time next year we are preparing for (or have already embarked upon) our summer on the road. We are so settled into our home and not planning to move again so instead we can travel from festival to festival, spreading the message of financial liberation, sovereignty and the new economy.

I’ll very likely be anxious about that too.

But I’m a gypsy and it’s when I’m on the move that I feel most present, most alive and most free, so I’ll remind myself that the anxiety will pass as soon as movement has begun.

I’ll revel in the freedom this life has brought, relaxing into the awareness that the only true stability is within. My job only to be the calm in the midst of the chaos.

Remind me when I forget.

For tips on how to handle moving with ease, you'll like this post.