Gifts of Meaning


I remember how excited I was with my first round of earning power when after what seemed like years of saving from our newspaper route, my sister and I had $ 45 to spend on my parents’ anniversary. Finally there was an opportunity to give back to our dearly beloveds. I thought this was really going to make a difference, and was just the start of my plan to rescue them from the poverty that bound us. Oh exuberant youth!

Lisa and I rode our bikes down to the neighborhood drug store, our first mistake. The money in our pockets elevated us to the status of needing to ask the storekeepers to open the locked glass case to view our chosen items. One was an ice crusher, which I imagined would really elevate my parents’ coolness at their now much less frequent cocktail parties. There was another equally inane item we gave them that I can’t quite recall right now – I’ll have to check back with Lisa.

I’ll never forget my mother’s face as they opened their presents. I was expecting a bit of unbridled joy at this obvious foreshadowing of their future prosperity. Instead, pain of some kind flashed across her features. I didn’t really register this completely or understand it at the time, but it brings tears to my eyes now as I try to describe it. She knew how hard and long we worked to earn this money, and obviously the ice crusher wasn’t quite hitting the treasure button. The whole thing seemed to express the pain of our lineage, of the struggle to raise and feed children amidst challenging economies, of the limits to love and fulfillment that money would never impact.


Last year I decided to go cash free for the holidays, and get creative with my gift giving. This coincided with internal guidance I’d received – a clear request from Spirit to bring my psychic skills forward, an area I’d been practicing for a decade, but hadn’t really offered publicly. I was more than a little nervous as I approached my peeps with this idea to see if it would be acceptable, and to ask if they had any other suggestions for our mutual holiday happiness. To some I offered massage or other nurturing/quality time. To my relief everyone was willing to adapt to my experiment.

Not only was my gift giving more meaningful, but the season was much less harried than it might be with shopping forays and lists and such. Additionally, I see how spirit was stealthy in getting me to express something personally meaningful, and collectively needed (more and more people are being asked to open to these kinds of skills). The response I received to the psychic/intuitive healing work was very encouraging, and I continued to have opportunities to offer the work. Then this led to my long delayed pursuit of channeling, which started last spring. (More on this coming -.after six months of regularly practicing channeling alone, I am now about to offer this in a group setting.)

So not only was this a fun healthy wealth experiment, it benefited me, my friends and family, and the local traffic. (My other sister Meagan is my biggest raving fan – surprise!) Plus, it moved me along in unexpected ways in terms of that ol’ lifelong learning plan. Who knew? And speaking of sneaky – how cool is that, that decades after I hoped to get my family into therapy – well they can at least have intuitive healing sessions, hee hee.


Whether or not you’re curious about cash-free giving, is there a way you can increase the meaning and heartfulness of gift giving this season? Many of you are already skilled here – there are ways to give gifts through nonprofits that send resources to third world countries, or donate services etc. It’s not too late to approach loved ones with this novel idea and (potentially) disruptive experiment. I know when I first began this tack it felt awkward, but now it’s as comfortable as business as usual.


Talk soon to your peeps. Prepare a script of sorts, after you’re clear on your heartful intention for your own unique experiment, e.g., wanting to give more creatively or less cash dependently or more meaningfully. Anticipate and prepare for objections. Cash gifting isn’t automatically meaningless per say, but you might share that you’re curious about what this can teach.

Perhaps spirit is whispering to you to use or share or express more of one of your gifts, and this can be a part of what you offer. Watch out, as you may know, spirit always has a little coyote streak ready to play. Then again, maybe it’s cool with you if this leads to more work using your gifts.

In some families, it’s not OK to ask for what gifts you want or need, while others share wish lists. You can be sensitive here. Ask permission to share an idea for a different or more inventive way to gift this season. Take some time to ask them what would really gladden their hearts in an exchange with you. Is there anything they’d like to do together, any help they might need with something they’ve been struggling with? Any research you might assist with, a project that some hand holding or support from you would enable them to complete?

The possibilities are endless, and I’m excited to see what you and I can create. While we may enjoy the prosperity of unlimited funds for gifting, the current world state also is supportive to this exploration of trades and other alternatives. Quality time together is such a gift, and finding creative and even productive ways to play together can be so memorable.


I’ll list a few inspiring items I’ve come across recently that could be meaningful for soul savvy loved ones.

Inspiring books for business owners and entrepreneurs:

Do Cool Shit: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business and Live Happily Ever After, Miki Agrawal – Miki worked at the WTC 9-11 and uncharacteristically overslept that day. We’re not all made to be fearless warriors like she became, but we can dream and read about it ; )

Delivering Happiness, A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, Tony Hsieh of, Inc. Tony became a millionaire at a young age, and while that didn’t make him immune to losing it all, he was able to put meaning and love before money. Of course it’s funny too, like most of my favorite reading.

Happiness at Work: Be Resilient, Motivated, and Successful, No Matter What
Are you ready to succeed? Unconventional strategies for achieving personal mastery in business and life
Both by Srikumar Rao – Professor Rao created this course for Columbia and Harvard biz schools, after seeing that the majority of his co-workers either hated their jobs or passionately despised them. How to strive with passion and serenity. Pulls the best of east and west spirituality and has changed many lives. Give it to your favorite CEO. There is also a dvd set that Sounds True puts out that may work even better for gifts – tell them Denise Barnes sent you.

Get Clients Now, 3rd Edition, CJ Hayden – timeless marketing smarts and the critical element, structure and accountability. Team up with a friend and watch your clients grow.


And speaking of clients… I have been thinking of you  🙂
If you have been waiting for the right time to work with me, let’s talk this month or early January before prices shift.

Coaching – 3 spots are open in January – then no openings til March 2014
Let’s have a no pressure conversation – just reply back and I’ll send my calendar for a complimentary 30 minutes. Even if we decide it’s not the right time, it always helps me to see what challenges you’re facing, and I’ll always share suggestions and resources in these chats.

Coaching with me includes access to Healthy Wealth and Business development resources, as well as intuitive healing for any block busting. Yes, due to extenuating circumstances (like unending personal evolution) – I’m quite adept at helping you sidestep doubt and fear, while remaining sensible about how to increase meaning and passion in your life.

I am offering $50+ off my usual single session fee for Healthy Wealth and More Meaningful Work strategy sessions ($97), for you or friends. Again I have limited openings for this so if it rings, just email me and I’lll reserve space.

Soul Savvy gift certificates are also available for Intuitive Healing and I’ll keep current prices through 12/15. There is a place you can note your gift recipients name (note to seller) on the Paypal payment. If you can find a Paypal amount for what you need, just reply back to this email with instructions.

Don’t forget to gift yourself!

And this is a great time of year for tithing to those who feed your soul or offer you spiritual support.  If Soul Savvy is one of those churches of the heart for you, I welcome your gifting. You can reply back and I will send a Paypal invoice for the donation amount you name.

There has never been a better time to get off our collective butts and get our gifts going, or up the ante on sharing our light. I hope you have a wonderful month!

Blessings on your Solstice,

Denise Barnes

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