Search
Close this search box.

Blog: The Faith to Flourish in 2024

A baby elephant squirts water as a mother elephant nudges her trunk beside him. The baby elephant's heart is blazing with light.
May elephants lead the way forward this year 😊 Elephants have a ‘matriarchal society – mothers are revered, and they recognise that play keeps the frequency high. They practise the divine feminine qualities of caring, devotion and joyous innocent fun. Bull elephants are kept away from the centre of the family.’ (Diana Cooper, Archangel Animal Oracle Cards, published 2019)

15- 20 minute read

How to continue to run a community theatre company based in Newport, Shropshire whilst managing the demands of being a parent and maintaining an income?

These three sentences of Lorna Byrne’s speak a deep truth.  Please also engrave them on your heart. It is these words and our children’s beauty that motivate me. When I die, I want to have a clear conscience that I supported the children by standing up for them in my authentic way.  Writing this blog and sharing my film is my authentic way. 

Okay I have resisted and resisted composing this blog, but I just must – to progress. ‘Do what is difficult’ leapt out of me from ‘the ABCs of Life’ image I’ve posted to my FB page: 

What I wrote in my ‘divine feminine rising’ blog in September rings true – I’ve got to now become more assertive in a traditionally ‘male’ way to become the change I wish to see of divine feminine standing up to the toxic masculine. And my body needs me to speak up – I have had low level headaches, a locked left shoulder, jaw pain, tension all down my neck, lower back pain since November.  If emotions are repressed and not dealt with, their energy stays in the body and the body suffers.  

For me the emotion I am ashamed of and don’t really know how to deal with, as I can get so lost in it, is anger and the exact colour of it can only be labelled as rage.  I was never taught how to relate to anger as a child –in fact, like many, I was taught that expressing anger means you are a horrible person so you get rejected and taken out of the room.  So it’s tough for me to first own up to feeling really angry, and second, fathom how to express anger in the right way so it is empowering (and not whinging), whilst baseline, it’s just tough to get a calm perspective on my situation when a basic human need is not being met.

To cut to the point, I am only human and have a basic need to be paid for my valuable work.  Rage is a natural emotional reaction in response to having to work for free for the theatre company since November, and this being a repeated cycle over the past 6 years (although thankfully not last winter). 

I have composed a whopping great big arts council grant application for free, other grant applications for free, managed our crowdfunding campaign for free, all administration (running the youth theatre, marketing, social media etc) for free.  I work on average 15 hours a week, 60 hours a month on the CIC.  Since November, the CIC has only been able to pay me £75 a week for workshop leading the youth theatre. The skills I am drawing on are based on decades of training, experience and developing my talents – they are worth more than the national minimum wage. The theatre company ‘owes’ me £1000s. And as I don’t have unlimited savings, I am pushed into a state of fight/flight/freeze  which is really tough to manage alongside my sensitivity and neurodiversity (I was assessed in November and diagnosed with ADHD and autism).

I wish to write as honestly as I can to document my experience as an artistic entrepreneur with the intention that, by next winter, my family and I are never placed under the same financial strain ever again, and I help change the world.  I intend to do my level best to talk to you from a place of truth and sincerity, and not victimhood; to get the skeleton out of the cupboard and put it in the light.  I may well fail at points / repeat myself/ not quite find the right words to communicate so please bear with me; this is a multi-layered deep wound.

The problem...

I recorded a film at the end of November to articulate the problem.  I’ve had lots of resistance to sharing it for all the above reasons, and more, but speak up I must if I want to be a part of the change I wish to see in the world.  I also had a butt kick when I watched the sublime Wonka the movie with my son.  You’ll get the butt kick from these lines:

NOODLE: The greedy beat the needy. That’s just the way of the world.
WONKA: I guess there’s only one thing left to do.
NOODLE: What’s that?
WONKA: Change the world.

I believe by posting the film and writing this blog, I speak out on behalf of many others, many of whom are not as privileged as I am (including, of course, our children who I seek to honour and protect), and, on their behalf, I must be brave to help change the world.  As James Baldwin eloquently wrote: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”  So here is the film:

As referred to in the film, the current systems in place by which the arts are funded in the UK are restricted, obstructive and inadequate, and challenging for a highly sensitive, neurodiverse empath like myself to navigate (which, let’s face it, many artists are bound to be!!).  I would say, when it comes to pay, there is no distinction – no pay sucks for all humans. You would have the same mammilian reaction to being unpaid for valuable work. For an artistic entrepreneur, this is caused by a system of haphazard and disjointed patch funding leaving big gaps in stable income.  Even though your work is successful, you have to go back to scratch with a new funder/ new year.  Not knowing where your next pay check is coming from activates fight/flight/freeze, adrenaline, mental ill health, anxiety, insomnia. It activates the amygdala, pushing you into survival mode  – which as we all know is the least effective mode of being, if your base needs aren’t met, you struggle to function in the higher needs of calm thinking according to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

our basic needs need to be met for creativity and problem-solving to flower
Basic needs like money need to be met before we can function in terms of creativity and higher order thinking. See the orange layer. We all need 'security of employment' in order to feel safe.

The problem is lack of secure pay for creatives is seen as... 'NORMAL'.

People just tell me to accept the status quo as ‘normal’ when, if looked at squarely in the face, the lack of stable pay for creatives amounts to the systemic and repeated raping, pillaging, and looting of the divine feminine IN.. PLAIN… SIGHT. That is a shock for me to write but, ever so sadly, it resonates with truth and I couldn’t think of any other way to communicate the societal cruelty/ abuse.  Yes we are cruel to our creatives, from the get go – “you are creative, don’t expect to be paid for your service to humanity”. You and I were born into it – it is a direct oppression of divine feminine by the toxic masculine, and it’s been endemic for centuries.  Looked at head on, it’s appalling that the abuse is accepted as a ‘normal’ part of the fabric of society.  

Please see evidence of the limiting belief already having sunk into my psyche as a child in primary school.  Here I am, aged 10, unwittingly weaving in the ‘poor artist syndrome’ into my story having been socialised into it…

It sucks to read ‘The one thing is I would not have the money!’ in your 40s and realise it came true and has hampered me all my life.  It also made me laugh when I found this last year – it’s darkly hilarious and it’s good to share it with you to help me and others boot out this limiting belief that is repressing society’s soul once and for all.

The financial instability of my chosen career has hugely tested my now 10 years marriage. My husband is a good man – an incredible man with heaps of gorgeous attributes, not least loyalty, patience and dependability (and I’m pleased to say my 10 yr olds’ dream came true – he has a great sense of humour 😉)… but, in marrying me, he didn’t sign up for a life partner who works for free.  It is not my choice either. When we married, I was on a salary of £33,000 per year as a drama teacher in a private secondary school in Kent.  Ten years later, becoming a mother combined with becoming a community artist, and I’ve just managed to earn over £12,000 for the 2022/23 tax year.  To receive over 12K was a real achievement, and does represent progress – the previous years’ earnings were pitiful.  However, my income for the future is insecure and,writing this, sorely lacking.

The childcare wage reduction penalty is a common story for many women: https://www.vox.com/2018/2/19/17018380/gender-wage-gap-childcare-penalty    

Mothers are pulled one way by our children’s natural demands on us, our husband/family’s needs, then the need to earn money pulls another way; it is no wonder our bodies feel the strain, and for me, also, my soul purpose is to be a community artist.  It’s been excruciatingly painful at points to experience letting down my soulmate financially by persisting in following my soul purpose alongside honouring my natural instincts and wisdom to be a present mother.

By the way, my husband and I work as a 50/50 partnership parenting our son, he is a really committed father who supports Barnaby and I in lots of ways – we are not a traditional partnership – he is a man full of divine masculine and divine feminine – I am very lucky and owe a lot to him.  It is my commitment to him that urges me to at least speak out about the financial injustice, rather than just stay silent.  If nothing changes, I may well die early like many others before me – at the hands of the toxic masculine systems that are currently in place – toxic as they repress the balancing wisdom of the divine feminine, the ‘yin’ to the ‘yang’, in their leadership.  The Divine Feminine in us all (both men, women, all gender identities) needs to be allowed to rise and correct the imbalance nationally and globally.

Examples of toxic masculinity:

The solutions lie ahead...

I do not want to lay blame (this is a hugely toxic trait!!); it just is.  I am writing to help change this for the future. Amazing, positive change can happen when you face the dark and bring it into the light. 

Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future?

In answer to Deepak, yes I choose to be a pioneer of the future, not a prisoner of the past.  I hope that by sharing the dark underbelly of the financial injustice of being a community artist publicly, I contribute to positive change happening in my life and all those who my life benefits.  And, by speaking up and doing what is difficult, it helps me personally leave behind wonky perceptions in 2023, such as FINALLY being able to scrub that line away from my 10-year-old self’s trajectory (I totally believe in miracles!) and stepping forward into flourishing financially in 2024 as a free-spirited creative who is here to serve our children and humanity.

Epilogue...

'Stand Up' card from the Christ Consciousness Self-Mastery Oracle Deck created and channelled by Amanda Ellis with artwork by Jane Delaford Taylor (published by Red Feather Publishing)
Here I am holding a candle in remembrance of all our lost loved ones at MA's 6th birthday party on 14th December 2023 (photo taken by Lizzie Bennett Photography)

Please, in whatever way you can, be more vocal and more visible standing up for love and most especially the love you feel for our children.  Be brave – in your authentic way.  Play your part in helping love win.  This is a time for everyone to muck in together.  Like Wonka and Noodle, let’s pinky promise – I’ll keep going if you keep going too 😉. We are all lifted when we see another’s authentic light shine bright. 

If you feel called to, please donate to the MA Rocket Fuel Fund to show your solidarity and honour the light I beam out.  If you are not able to gift some pennies, leave a comment below to show you care or say a prayer or do a dance or light a candle. All acts of love help immensely (and thank you so much for reading to the end!!).