Fear, Energy Exchange and a Fair Price
I have been offering empowerment and learning circles for girls for several years now. It started off as my give-away to the community. I wanted the circle for my daughter, a friend wanted the circle for her daughter, and so we decided to co-create something amazing for our girls. And we did!
I am also a Reiki Master and should have known better. Always, always there must be an exchange of energy in order for the thing being given. Without the exchange, what is being given has no value to the recipient.
“You cannot give free Reiki, unless of course there is some emergency. It may end up accumulating karmic debt for both healer and the client. The circuit is only complete when you give and receive. Generally, things given for free lose… value and importance. So respect Reiki and always ask for energy exchange.” Link to quote.
This is the truth of energy exchange. If we give without receiving something in return, we are expending energy without taking energy back in. This wears us out, depletes our vibrancy, dries up our juiciness.
Over the past couple of years I switched to a ‘love offering’ donation, asking each family to give what they believe the experience to be worth. Generally, this has been about $20 per family, which is my suggested minimum.
For one, three hour gathering, I generally spend somewhere between 5 and 20 hours doing research, planning, putting music and meditations together, finding stories or short films or articles to read. In all, I’m spending at least 88 hours (a very conservative estimate) prepping and instructing, during the course of a program. This program runs for about 3 hours per meeting for 8 meetings.
This breaks down to $2.50 per gathering, per girl, except that I split this with my co-facilitator who receives 1/3 of the donations. So really, I receive $1.66 per girl, per gathering. There are many things I provide without further charge, such as journals or folders, paper for writing and drawing, print outs, and the things which I purchase and keep such as music, films, books and etc. We also go through a lot of toilet paper and hand soap!
No wonder I’m losing my juice.
Before I go on, I want to say that none of this is the fault of the participants or the parents who bring their girls. The problem here lies in my own inability to ask for what I need and to believe that what I’m offering is worthy of asking a fair price for. For anyone who may be confused by the way I’m using ‘energy exchange’, it comes down to this: money is energy. Money is a symbol of the hours worked to earn it and the places where we spend it are symbolic of what we find important. It’s a simple equation.
I recently learned from a friend who offers similar circles in another part of the country that she charges $45 per girl, per gathering for a 3 hour circle! $43.44 more than my ‘love offerings’ are bringing in.
Interestingly, I have no issues charging for my Priestess circles. for those, I spend about 20 hours per weekend in circle and at least 2 more hours each of those days prepping and cleaning up. I’ve spent hundreds of hours gathering materials, studying and apprenticing, traveling and answering questions, offering Previews and sharing information on social media. Stunningly, women still expect me to offer this work free of charge! It is mind boggling.
It is time to find a solution in which I can continue to offer this work to the girls while being paid enough. I like that word, “enough,” it indicates no greed nor does it echo with the boney sound of scarcity consciousness, it is simple. Final. Enough.
The ideas running through my mind are these:
>Do circles as a summer camp. Half days for two weeks. More expansive, open to more girls from the wider community, complete with waivers and a part-time lifeguard so they could swim. This would mean more play time, more bonding time with other girls, and a larger fee, say $450 for the whole camp.
> Offer the circle, in an abbreviated form, at our homeschool co-op where I would charge my normal fee of $150 per semester. This would be 15, 1-hour classes. Much of the magic would be lost, however it would be much more convenient for most of the families who now participate.
> Continue to offer the program here, at Four Oaks Sanctuary, and charge $215 per semester. This would be 8 weeks, about once per month through the school year, in 3 or 4 hour increments. (And this is where I get stuck in self-doubt. Will anyone choose to continue?)
> Find a marketing consultant and get the word out locally about these circles and reach out far beyond the small community where I’ve offered them thus far, offering circles here and in other locations in a format of either 8, 3 hour meetings or 15, 1 hour meetings, as above.
It’s time to make some changes and I would love any feedback that the reader is willing to offer, especially if you are one of the parents or young women from my circles.
I feel like a toddler who really wants to know how to walk before she steps out and takes the chance of falling down. This is not a normal state for me! I do so many crazy wonderful things and while I don’t always feel confident, I rarely feel this sort of wobbleyness, this kind of fear of failure. I suppose this is all linked to how incredibly important I feel like this work is, to how I’ve seen it change these girls and how I know there is so much more, so many more girls and young women who can be reached and changed for the better, who can be empowered through this work. I suppose this is the feeling of wanting something a LOT.
Reader, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. Blessings on you. ~Be