Xania's heart staggered in anxious discomfort as she sealed a tenth of her diminutive earnings into a white envelope. She didn't fancy doing this - not even a little bit - but something within her told her to. You know, that little voice that hardly shuts up unless it gets what it wants. Everyone has that voice. Hers was adamantly urging her to chuck away a considerable chunk of money, ten percent of it to be specific, away into some storage place, to be eventually given away as a tithe offering.
Acquisition of this money was not an easy process. Xania labored each weekday as the dreaded telemarketer that people so bloody often delighted in deriding and dismissing. A tireless string of unanswered calls and unintelligible conversations, amid a group of lousy colleagues - loud and lazy they were - made up most of what Xania called her life. Ever so often, her relentless attempts to earn her commission were met with the impatient slurs of inconsiderate bastards and the outright lies of feigners of interest. The general quality of leads was so ineffective that reaching the monthly target of only ten clients was almost always impossible.
She hated it. Hated it. But that job was her only source of income. Her boyfriend, Wayn (if "boyfriend" was even the correct term), had gotten the job for her when she was down and low and had not a penny in her pocket. This job, at least, brought a few pennies.
But were the pennies worth it? Pennies which went as soon as they came, leaving a trail of debt in their wake as her life inconspicuously morphs into one of growing desire and insufficient means to fulfill those desires. This always happened to her. A sudden money-making opportunity would arise out of the blue, which she would then clasp onto regardless of the circumstances surrounding that opportunity, and before she even knows it, she would have signed a contract of enslavement which would see her financially worse off than when she had no job.
As Xania put away the envelope, in a place where she won't see it and get tempted, she considered the deep dissatisfaction bubbling within her regarding her financial situation. It was not fair that she had to give away this much of her money when it could be going elsewhere. She had just fallen pregnant to Wayn, who showed avid excitement for the baby to come. However, he was unemployed and could not afford to nurture the growth of their embryonic life-form within her womb. She was stuck with the task of supplying money to feed his habits, pay for transportation, buy just enough food to get by until the following month, and repeat the process on the next payout. She felt stuck in a kind of hell, a prison, a program, the nature of which she didn't properly understand and therefore could not get out of.
Why should a tenth of her own hard work, of her blood, sweat and tears, be relinquished for someone else to enjoy? Why should someone else reap the benefits of her labor, no matter how small a fragment of it? Was she not entitled to all of it?
Yet Xania, with all of those resentful questions burning in her throbbing, stressed-out head, walked away from the sealed envelope and never looked back. She commenced and upheld the practice (apparently a timeless, principle-based one), taught to her by her wealthy grandfather, who had told her that it was the secret to his own success. Wayn mocked her decisions, but that voice within her, that voice that never shuts up unless she heeds what it says, had repeatedly derided his opinions and urged her to stick to her course.
And so she did.
Nine months later.
Xania's birth giving experience was a swift one. She had been conscious through all of it, and her heart had sung happily when the fluid-covered newborn appeared before her line of sight.
His name was Zion and he weighed exactly two kilograms. If he had been a single unit less than that, Xania mulled, he would have been carried off into some incubator.
A nurse stood by her bed in a ward of six new mothers, a morbid expression on her face. The new, tired mother ignored the way that the nurse's expression made her feel as she yielded a horrid needle upon her throbbing vein. When it punctured her soft flesh, she willed her attention towards little Zion. So little he was, she thought, that he could almost fit into his father's hand.
The tall, rambling figure that was the father of her son stood besides the unfriendly nurse.
"He's so handsome. He looks just like his father," was all he kept on saying for the entire duration of his one-hour stay. Xania withered at the thought of having a baby with someone who did not care much for her wellbeing. Not once did he enquire of it.
The numbing agent which was injected into her wrist to aid with the pain of being surgically cut open and then sowed back up again, lured her into unconsciousness just as her self-absorbed so-call boyfriend finally left. As she descended, a dream about her grandfather materialized before her mind's eye.
It represented itself in the same hospital setting, with him staring down at her as she lay weakly upon the uncomfortable, hospital bed.
"Good lookin fella, that," he began with a smirk towards the sleeping child in a cot next to her bed.
When she said nothing, his gaze fell upon her creased face with moving concern. "What troubles you, Xanny?"
Xania regarded her grandfather as though he'd asked the most obvious question in the world. "The same thing that has been troubling me for ages. I just gave birth and have absolutely nothing to my name to care for my son. What have I been laboring for in the past eighteen months? How am I going to raise my son when I can hardly take care of myself? I am drowning in debt, and Wayn has some last minute, minimum-wage paying job. Definitely not enough to maintain just himself, let alone a baby. He doesn't even care much for me. Just flaunts me around in front of people, acting like a decent and caring human being. What have I got waiting for me at home? I can't go back to that shitty job as a telemarketer either, or I'll surely die!
"I feel like the world has closed in on me and I'm stuck in a dark place where no light flows in. I feel cursed, doomed to live a life of want and need, doomed to pass this way of living onto my innocent child. I'm afraid and troubled and have no home I can comfortably go back to, and it's all because there's no money!
I've done your stupid tithe. You said it was for my own good, and so I tried it out. I thought that maybe you might be onto something. I thought that my reward would eventually come. But it's NOT coming. All you left me with was your lousy advice, and it didn't work. Haven't you been around? Haven't you noticed? I'm still living on crumbs!"
The old man regarded his tired, tired granddaughter with so much compassion in his eyes, that it reduced her to sudden tears. He gingerly extended a hand toward her shoulder. "You have done right by me, and by yourself. You have all the money that you will ever want and need, right now, if you will allow it to come. Haven't we gone over this many, many times while you were a teenager, Xanny?"
Following his words, the entire scenery of her dream changed. Its fabric warped and twisted and eventually spat both of them into a different time zone. A different reality. Xania was only fourteen. She'd just come home from school, to be greeted by the two elderly people who, after losing both her parents to a fatal tsunami attack, had adopted her as their own. The elderly couple had been well off thanks to Xania's dear, old grandfather, who'd always seemed to have the money thing figured out.
"Grandfather," fourteen year old Xania began. "How come you are so generous with money, and still have so much of it left?"
The wind had been whistling that day. Xania remembered that exact, same whistle. She would never forget. The memory was one she often visited every time she needed to mentally retreat from the real world. The same pine trees loomed magnificently all around them, swaying about as the wind commanded. The same rose bushes laced the passing air with an irresistible aroma. The sky was just the blue she remembered, the grass just as long. She felt the soft tickle of the soft blades against the soft skin of her sallow legs. The air was just as humid, worsening the condition of her already frizzy hair. Grandfather's garden was a big one, and it possessed ample grandeur.
The best time of the day used to be after school, when the pair would sit together in the midst of his flourishing garden, so rife with life and enlivening energy, and have conversations. Many were those conversations about money, a thing she could never, ever figure out.
She would always wait with eager ears for his answers. Although she never quite understood the full context, she would always be eager to learn.
And so her grandfather spoke. "The thing about money is that it is often misunderstood. The means to acquire it as well as to spend it has been grossly limited to factors that shouldn't even be in the picture at all.
"Take, for example, the month-to-month pay system. It dictates that your lifestyle is subject to the salary that the employer pays you every month. If you spend over that limited amount, and that is extremely easy to do thanks to credit cards, then you end up worse off than if you were unemployed to begin with. This system is not practical if you want to build a mindset of financial abundance. It trains the mind to believe that money is limited, and in cases of low-paying jobs, that money is scarce. It trains the mind to believe that the only way to acquire money is through hard labor and suffering. It trains your mind to function within the reign of a poverty mindset.
"Take Berry, for instance," the old man continued. "He's got several kids and earns just enough to get by. However, the only way he gets by is by setting stressful limits to what he, or the children and wife, may access. Food is bought in bulk and is meant to last an estimated thirty days, implying that the entire household is subject to less-than-satisfactory portions of food for concern of it running out before subsequent provisions come through.
"This type of system fosters the creation of many fears for Berry's children, fears that I have witnessed ruling the lives of many in my time. The fear of running out of money or material possessions because that would have been the case. The fear of hard work because it would then be associated with fruitlessness. It builds a mentality that there is never enough to go around, therefore planting feelings of unwillingness and anxiety to otherwise positive actions such as sharing. It fosters habits of hoarding. One cannot let go of material possessions because the fear suggests that if the palpable things go, that if all of the food is eaten, that if all of the money is spent, then all that there will be left is lack.
"There is no realization of the abundant nature of the universe. The principles of mindfulness and gratitude have been pushed out through the window by the dense energy of false belief systems surrounding lack. The practice of releasing worries about the morrow becomes brutally opposed by this system, which forces one to worry about days and weeks into the future."
The old man looked down at her with a kind smile, the sun behind him perfectly outlining his thin, wrinkled face. "That is not to say that having a job is a bad thing. It only becomes toxic when one, quite unawares usually, embraces the belief that there is never enough money. It is the mindset of poverty which attracts you to a job that does not pay well, thus enforcing and perpetuating the effects of that belief in your physical reality.
"It would not even matter if Berry had a high-paying job or if he were to suddenly win the lottery. How many stories have you heard of overnight millionaires who fell right back into pauper-hood after their short-lived, lavish lifestyles, doomed to live with chasms of desire that can no longer be satisfied?
"Xanny, the reason that I am so well-off is because am aligned with the energy of abundance, with the energy of money. I believe that there is always enough, and therefore my physical reality reflects that belief. I have a positive mindset about money. I believe that it can be acquired from many sources. I believe that the more I give, the more I receive.
"Now, with regards to the principle of the tithe, that is not only for the benefit of its recipient, but for yours as well. Money is energy, and the law of energy is causal in nature. You get what you give out, oftentimes multiplied. It doesn't matter matter if you give it away to a church or keep it untouched in your savings account. Take a tenth of your salary and spend the rest as you see fit. This is an act of self-preservation. You are paying your future self with those small portions instead of mindlessly chucking your entire life's work into the hands of other business owners.
"The tithe is literally an investment for your future and the future of your offspring. Once you reap your reward, you will be all the wiser on how to spend it, because it will have been the collective fruit of your labor, a sheer product of your self-discipline, and only you will have claim over it. This kind of wealth is borne from the natural and timeless law of the Universe. Simply follow it, and keep on following it, until the time to reap comes, and it will, Xanny. It will."
The fabric of space and time warped and gurgled and sucked the pair into another time, a different lifetime. A past life. Suddenly, Xania was not fourteen anymore, and they were no longer in grandfather's lovely garden. The nature of the dream changed, and the pair became observers of a brief scene which Xania instinctively knew dated back into the BC. She was a male slave, willed by his superiors to lift tons of rock. A target was expected to be reached by the fall of each day. Consequences were dire for those who failed to meet that target, as the enslaved, male version that was Xania would soon find out. The scene quickly fast-forwarded to a blade swiftly coming down on his neck, the ultimate punishment for underperformance in that time, before a vortex materialized once again and thrust them into a different reality.
There stood Wayn, her so-called boyfriend. There was only space around them, a color mash of dark green and black. The black dominated, visibly eating away at the gradually darkening patches of green.
Grandfather spoke again. "Two things, Xanny. One, you need to break the trauma from your past life which imprisons you to a life of lack. Two, you need to let go of all negativity in this current life," he used his arms to gesture at the grand, energetic space around them, a virtual image of Wayn standing on display in front of them, dark ooze surrounding its form.
"The black smoke you see is a combination of the energy of the trauma from your past life, as well as the energy of the man in your life split into two categories, namely, your unforgiveness of his ways and your fear to let him go.
"The green smoke is the energy of money. Do you see how the density of the darker energies of trauma, unforgiveness and fear are stifling and ultimately overtaking the energy of money? My dear Xanny, once you remove all the dark smoke from within your being, let go of all toxic relationships, and change your mindset about money, you will be in perfect alignment to attract an abundance of it into your life. You have already taken the first step by producing your tithe. The energetic law of cause and effect has already created a ripple which must return to you. It is already there, waiting to materialize into your life, if you will allow it."
The eerie mash of color all around them whirled and twisted once more until Xania found herself back on her hospital bed, staring wistfully up at the smiling face of her grandfather. She knew that this was a dream. She was well aware even as she dreamed. She also knew what lay waiting for her when she woke.
"Will you stay with me, keep me here with you? Teach me how to do all those things?" The plea in her voice was apparent.
Grandfather smiled compassionately. "I cannot keep you here, my Xanny, but I will teach you. Just keep on listening to that little voice within that never shuts up unless you do what it says."
Upon awakening from her dream, there was a broadened understanding not only of the nature of money, but a proper understanding of the principle of the tithe. By helping others with her portion, she was simultaneously building future wealth not only for herself, but for her future offspring as well.
Her eyes opened to the stirring baby in the cot next to her, and despite the hideousness of the pain and discomfort that was beginning sear through her body as the painkiller wore off, she felt a renewed sense of hope.
A lone tear trailed down her temple. "I miss you," she whispered ever so slightly.
She felt a gentle, invisible squeeze upon her hand as the scent of roses, just like the ones in grandfather's old garden, wafted into her nose.