By Liz Blood
A conversation about money with Eva Jones
Eva is a queer mother, partner, sensual bodyworker, cannabis dealer (and baked goods-maker), and Reiki master living in the Austin area. (Eva is not her real name; it has been changed to protect her privacy.) Her sensual bodywork sessions, which are her main source of income, include a combination of Reiki, deep breathing, and nurturing touch. “It’s a spiritual healing session that includes the space for orgasm,” she said. “That’s right, I said it. O-R-G-A-S-M. There is no sexual intercourse.”
In her early twenties, Eva lived in New York City and worked as a server at Chili’s. When she announced her decision to quit to a regular, he offered to pay her rent and support her in exchange for her company.
“At first I thought, ‘I don't think so, mister. I’m an Okie, we pull ourselves up from the bootstraps,’” Eva said. “But something paused in me. I had just been having a conversation with a friend of mine about how the universe loves to give, loves it if we just allow ourselves to receive. So, I said ‘Ok, I’ll have dinner with you.’
“Then he started giving me a check for $2,000 every month and I never had sex with him or anything. We would just go out to dinner. But I definitely earned that money. This person was kind of a miserable, unhealthy guy. He had been going through a divorce … and I was young and you know, beautiful—he got a lot out of it, just as much as I did. I felt guilty for so long. Eventually, I realized I wasn’t getting this for free.”
When she realized her “eggs were all in one basket,” Eva looked on Craigslist for a yoga job and found a tantra temple, where she learned tantric healing arts and began her career.
Liz: Tell me what you do to make money.
Eva: What I do to make money. I do a lot of different things—but are you wanting me to talk about all the things I do, or are you wanting just specifically for me to talk about my experience in sensual bodywork?
Liz: Is that your main money-maker?
Eva: Well … oh my god, this is so interesting, Liz. It’s, like, bringing up a lot in me. I realize how so much of the ways that I make money are in secrecy.
Liz: Right—that’s why I wanted to talk to you.
Eva: Ok, so things that I do for money. Well, one of them is selling cannabis and one of them is, well I have been seeing some clients, doing sensual bodywork for seven years and so that is probably my main most-consistent source of income that I’ve been doing for the longest amount of time. I could say that [sensual healing] is like my career path.
Now, that’s branching out into me doing workshops and events and like sensual self-care retreats. It’s branching out into lots of different things. I’ve been doing a lot of women’s empowerment coaching sessions where I get to use my psychic abilities to support women specifically in seeing blind spots that inhibit them from having the love that they want or having the money that they want. So that’s really like my big passion, too, that I’m not yet even making a whole lot of money with. But all these things intersect for me. The one common theme between all of them is that they are medicine. Conversation, community—like what I do with the women—and cannabis is obvious plant medicine, and so is the opportunity to feel nurturing touch. In addition, a lot of the times I’m seeing clients in my sensual bodywork sessions they are having an orgasm.
As I’m telling you all these things I’m like 'Why is this a secret?’ Like, what? This society is so fucked up that these things have to be hidden to keep me and my family safe.
Liz: How do the transactions work? Is it all cash?
Eva: With the bodywork clients, yes. I did just accept my first Venmo payment, but yes, there’s a very specific ritual that was passed down to me in my training and in my apprenticeship from the woman who trained me in the tantric arts. She had also previously gone to Columbia Law School and so that was a very big blessing because I learned a lot about how to protect myself ... I would never use the words "payment," "cost," anything like that. Everything is strictly “donation” and I never exchange hands.
When we meet, we sit down, we do a little bit of talking. I ask them about how they’re feeling physically, spiritually, and emotionally and then we talk about what they’d like to create for the session, like how they want to feel when they leave. Then we do some breathing, eye-gazing, heart-to-heart, and at that point, I’ll give them a hug and I’ll say, “You’re welcome to take a shower and you can leave the donation in the bathroom for me.” Then they do that, they come back, and I tell them to relax and that I’ll be right back and I go count the money.
Count. The. Money!
This is like the biggest rule, Rule 101, always count the money in any type of secrecy field whether it’s sex work or whether it’s anything. Count the money and protect yourself and claim your worth. If it’s not the right amount, usually the person is just really nervous and miscounted, but I was trained and taught if it’s not the right amount you go in and you say "Hi, can you come back and leave more?” Or "This is what it's supposed to be." Then I always leave a gratuity envelope. That’s Rule 102, you have a gratuity envelope.
Liz: Do you barter?
Eva: I am very interested in gifting economy, so, yes. There’s a woman that I recently met in Austin and we’ve been exchanging. She gives me an [Emotion Freedom Technique] session. So, we’re trading Reiki sessions for EFT sessions. But with sensual bodywork? Hell no. No way. Money! Money, money, money. You know, it’s like—it keeps the container clean.
Money, for better or worse—money is just money and people’s projections in this society have created it to be this evil thing. I do think there is such a thing as like … the disease of capitalist colonialism, greed, you know, like how could someone have billions, billions, billions of dollars and yet Flint, Michigan doesn’t have clean water? It's this kind of faceless, nameless, energy monster, you know, like that just devours and devours and devours. So, I do think that that exists but I also know that in order for me to combat that, what I need to do is get some money.
Like a friend of mine shared this breakthrough … she was at Standing Rock and she realized...you know, if I, if we all just had more money than this Dakota Access Pipeline Company then we could do what we want with this land. So instead of being afraid of money or blaming people who have money for not using it correctly all I need to do is get money.
We get what we want in our lives. I very much believe that and for so long I didn’t think it was possible for me. I’m starting to claim my worth and I’m starting to wake up to that. I just practiced raising my rates way higher than I normally would because I’m valuing my time, I have all these other projects, and I’m a wanted woman. So, it’s like, ok, if you want to spend this time with me, this is what I need. And people will pay it! That’s the crazy thing. Somebody told me like, you know, "You get what you ask for, so why not ask for a lot more?”
Liz: What is your rate? Is it an hourly rate or is it based on service?
Eva: Yes, well there are different rates for different services but what I call my Signature Amethyst Healing Session is $333 for an hour.
Eva: 3-3-3. I’m working with angel numbers now.
Liz: What’s an angel number?
Eva: Angel numbers are like 333, 111, 555. They’re magic numbers. Like if it’s on the clock, you know, if I look up and see 2:22, I know that an angel is with me—just a benevolent spirit. You can look up all the different numbers—the 6's have a certain meaning, the 5's have a certain meaning in numerology. I don’t know all of that—the specific meanings—but I know that money is magic and I’m starting to embrace playing with the magic and having more fun with money.
Liz: I wanted to ask about your philosophy toward money, but you've kind of already touched on it.
Eva: I love money and I love working with affirmations with money. I grew up in Oklahoma with a dad who had been very, very impoverished and so I grew up with this Depression-era kind of thinking like, "waste not, want not." "Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.” We never ordered soda pop out at a restaurant … it was strict because the fear was so palpable and real around scarcity for my dad. That got passed on to me, so on my path of healing, I have been working with the energy of money.
Liz: What kinds of costs do you incur in your work? Are there certain things you have to pay for to be able to keep up the work?
Eva: Yes, yes, yes. Some work expenses for me would be getting my nails done, making sure my nails look really good. Or coconut oil—I go through tons of coconut oil. And advertising, especially now with the passing of FOSTA and SESTA, it’s much harder to find places to advertise and to find clients quickly and easily. There are still places, but they’re exclusionary to certain classes of sex workers because [of price]. I was just this person last week—where I didn’t have very much in my bank account. I couldn’t post an ad because I didn’t even have $60 in there. So that’s another thing about money—it’s a dance. I’m not afraid of scarcity anymore because I’m always, always provided for. So even if my bank account says $20, I know that some opportunity will come to me.
Liz: Do you and your partner both contribute to a shared pot of money or do you keep your money separately?
Eva: We are enmeshed. Pretty much like one person. We have been taking care of each other and mixing finances for many years. It has been a source of contention at times. I have projected a lot of my conditioned beliefs about the scarcity of money onto him because he grew up different than me. You know, we have a way different style of handling money for the most part, but it’s coming way more into balance. Traditionally I have been the saver, the "Nope can’t afford that” person and he has traditionally been the person that says “Yes" and did not know how to save money before meeting me. But the tables are truly turning—he is actually becoming a great money manager and just last week I spent like our last $200 on crystals and he was like, "What are you doing?" So, I’m getting more foolish. We’re being more balanced.
Liz: What emotions do you have tied up around money?
Eva: Most especially I feel passion. I love money, I need it, I want it, and I’m not ashamed of saying it out loud anymore. Who is speaking now is my high-self—who’s, like, very clear that energy is in money and what we give out comes back to us—law of attraction. I believe all of that.
And then there’s this other aspect of me that is fearful or mad. I feel so mad at money because I see the system of how poor people are kept poor in so many different ways in society. So, I feel anger and I also feel like a responsibility to acknowledge my privilege as a white person because my family, you know, if I was in a jam and I needed $500, I can go to my parents. They helped me out with getting a midwife, buying a car, all of these things and I take responsibility that that is because I live in a system that benefits off of the oppression of other people. So that weighs heavy on my heart when I think about money. But you know, the light side of that is when we become aware we can start putting our money into better places.
[And] taking responsibility for where our money comes from, like the guy who was my benefactor in New York. I don’t know what his job was but it had something to do with the military. I think he supplied weapons and resources for war—and this was who I was getting my money from. Or like my dad, I grew up with him working for Phillips Petroleum, so like oil stuff. We’ve gotta get really clear about the sources of our money and is it in integrity with how we want to live on this earth? So, money is very deep.
Liz: Do you budget?
Eva: I don’t really budget but I—no, I don’t budget. The way that I budget is just sort of like—no, I don’t think I budget. What does budget even mean?
I work typically with just so much cash … after every session or any time I get money I will take a little bit of it and put it towards my savings. Usually what I do with my savings is I will tape money to my wall because I believe that whatever I’m visually seeing is multiplied in my consciousness. Like, I’m seeing it so I'm bringing more of it in. I’ll do that until it gets to be like there’s too much money on the wall and then I’ll put it into the bank. This is a very simple—like Pollyanna or whatever—kind of way to save money but it works.
I’ve been able to save lots of money that way. Six thousand dollars is usually my cap because then something will happen. Either I’ll go on a big trip or I’ll go on a move, you know, and then it’s like trickle, trickle, and I start saving again. What I want for my life and my finances right now is to break through that cycle. I want to be able to generate huge amounts of income and not have to be concerned.
Liz: Do you know how much money you make in a year?
Eva: No, oh my god, no. But I want to have a legitimate LLC and be able to make so much money that I’m having to claim more taxes and you know, all of that.
Liz: Do you plan for retirement?
Eva: No. I don’t and I’m not worried. I see so many people—this is the trap I think that so many people get in—is this fear because their parents worked really hard at one job, one company their whole life so that they could get the benefits and have retirement and all this stuff and it’s basically to me an illusion of security. My time is not worth that. I would rather be at home with my son right now while he is a child rather than be working at a job to make enough money to have retirement so that I can be with him later.
Maybe that means I’ll work forever, I don’t know. But at the rate I’m going I really do make more and more and more. The older I get the wiser I get, the more in demand I become in my field. So, for me, retirement means just like, I feel retired right now. I am free. I’m living my life.
I’m doing what I want to do with my time right now and so that feels good to me. But of course, I have a child and I want to be able to always provide for this child and to have something to pass down. Right now, what I want to do is figure out a way to buy this land that’s for sale. If I bought that and I was able to build like an earthbag home, that is living the dream. The thing is about money—the more self-reliant I am, the more in tune with the earth I am, the less I need money. That’s kind of the gateway out—coming back home to the earth … and like you were talking about the barter system, all of that. I’m playing the game, I’m trying to get money, get money, get money, so I can get out of it totally and give something totally different to my child.
Liz: What is your ideal money situation?
Eva: My ideal money situation is that money comes to me from so many amazing, unexpected sources. Every single day I am having money come to me. I want to make money mostly by doing retreats and traveling to beautiful places in the world and collaborating with my amazing community of teachers and healers and every single day I open my eyeballs I look at my phone, somebody’s just put another $5,000 into my account.
This has been my mantra this year: I make more doing less. I make more doing less. The less I do, the less I try, the more comes to me.
So, I’m working with that one.
Liz: Have you read books about money, or are there other resources that you’ve used for learning?
Eva: Oh tons! Like when I was working at the tantra temple in New York we had an amazing library. When you weren’t seeing clients, you could be educating yourself. One of the books was called “The Game of Life and How to Play It.”
A good thing my friend told me one time, the words go, "Divine love flowing through me blesses and increases all that I give and receive.” Ever since then I say that. Like when I go buy food at Natural Grocers and I give them the money I say that, like a prayer or an incantation with the money.
The biggest money-making tool I know is to use my moon blood. I will paint it on money, I will write words or write something I want on money. Sometimes I’ll even bury it. So that one’s really good too.
Liz: Do you spend money that you have painted?
Eva: Yes. I used to get really crazy with it. When I first learned about that I would have my Diva Cup and paintbrush and would write, like, "pussy" on a hundred-dollar bill and then take it to the store.
Every once in a while, a cashier would be like, "Is that blood?" And I totally was like, "Oh, I don’t know, I just got this."
Liz: Is there anything else you want to talk about in terms of money?
Eva: I would just really encourage people to patron [sic] sex workers. You know, they’re doing important work whether that’s a stripper or an escort or a cam person. Invest in these people because—especially when you can get a trained professional, like a somatic sexological bodyworker—these people are so amazing.
I would also say if you want to make more money, go visit a sex worker. They’ll help you get your juices flowing and juice is really a huge part of vitality. I think when people are sexually fulfilled they are happier, their vibration is higher, and therefore they’re able to manifest and attract what they truly desire.
We will be back next week with our second interview.
Money, Money, Money, posted 8/27/18