15 May 2009

Dollars and Sensibility

Okay, I've tried to keep from writing about these next couple of topics for a while now and it just isn't working for me. The reason I put it off was because I sensed that once I began, it would become torrential. Oh well.

The Economy:

I refuse to grieve the world's current economic woes.

I was sitting in a coffee shop a few weeks ago when someone equated the process of grief she knows from volunteering for hospice, to the grief our country is feeling because of our economy. I love this person but completely disagree.

I believe that sometimes the universe gives us gentle reminders. Little nudges.

My philosophy about money is fluidity and gratitude. I believe that if we handle our money, however large or small an amount that might be, with a deep sense of gratitude and peace, we will always have all that we need. I believe if we treat our spending carelessly and in ways contrary to our true spirit, we will always feel as if we need more. More. MORE. MORE!

We will feel a sense of desperation for bigger and glossier and louder to hold up as evidence of our self-worth. There will always be enough if we do not treat it wastefully or with lack of gratitude. Since the economy has become the headlines for the past many months, there has been an emphasis to cut back, to be money smart, to determine the difference between need and want. (I am absolutely not suggesting that we not spend money on our wants, at times.) But isn't this the way it should always be no matter what the state of our economy? That we not be wasteful and extravagant as an every day occurrence? And if we had been proactive and deliberate with our money, would we be in the economic situation we our in now? I think the universe is reminding us of what was true all along.

Include your heart in your money decisions. Spend from your core. Always treat money with love and peace and gratitude. Money is like sand, the tighter we clench our fist (and gnash our teeth) the quicker it slips through our fingers. But if we hold sand in our open palm, it stays quietly and sweetly right in our hand.

I was born in the sixties but grew up in the seventies. Do you remember the seventies? Gas lines. Energy crisis. Back then it became socially unpopular to drive Lincoln Towncars, Cadillac DeVilles, Buick Electras (do you remember the Electra? And I do not mean Jennifer Garner). We paid attention to the price of gas. (One of my earliest memories was of my grandfather pulling up to a gas station then crossing the street because they were seventeen cents a gallon instead of nineteen.) We paid attention to the mileage a car would get.

Then time passed into the eighties, the nineties and we became myopic and complacent. We fell for the marketing of bigger, faster, bolder. We somehow believed we didn't need to treat currency with respect and appreciation. "I work hard for my money. I deserve to buy myself the new Leviathan 2000. Or better yet the Leviathan 2000 XL." We became spiritually lazy and careless and greedy. "Who lives in a two story house when you can afford three stories? Supersize my life, please. And make it a double." Enough was never enough. We just wanted more. You know the term, 'comfort' food? Filling a void with mashed potatoes and gravy because there's something missing in an area of our life that has nothing to do with nutrition? We've been 'comfort' spending, buying, accumulating, acquiring for some time now and look where it got us. Bank failure and stock market panic. Nudge, nudge.

The Flu Virus:
I think this nudge thing also applies to the recent flu energy. Besides our typical and somewhat predictable seasonal flu that we contend with each year, now we have a new flu strain of the 'swine' variety and we are to take all sorts of new precautions. BREAKING NEWS: NOW we are to wash our hands with soap and water. We are to sneeze and cough into our sleeves. We are to stay home and not subject our friends and co-workers to illness unnecessarily. Okay, good to know. "Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon." But shouldn't this have been the case already. Wasn't it? Apparently not. Pandemic headlines......Wash your hands, people. Nudge, nudge.

So what's next.....hmmmm.......I wonder. It really could be a lot of things. It has been a lot of things already. These two are just the latest..... The global warming thing. Our atmosphere is deteriorating and we need to be more careful and thoughtful of what and how we consumers consume. Wow, great idea. Why wasn't this just expected already? Why do we have to get the universe to use a documentary by Al Gore as a small nudge? I am not crazy about living in such a reactionary space and time in history. Shouldn't we live in a proactive way, to help protect that for which we are grateful (or should be).... our economy, our health, our home planet and so much more? Our peace of mind, for frickin' goodness sake!?!

We should take care of the earth because it's the right thing to do. She sustains us. Live in gratitude to her.

We should be thoughtful and genuine with our money regardless of the headlines or bottoms lines. Spend with grace, peace, generosity.

We should practice good hygiene and healthy personal habits because we are not complete idiots. (Hypothetically speaking.) Live as a considerate cohabitant. Share the best and shiniest of energy, this way.

Because, how else should we live? And where, may I ask, has that other way gotten us?

It is my prediction that the next nudge we get will have to do with entertainment and marketing. At some point the universe will give us a little nudge to let us know we've gone too far. That we have lost sight of peaceful images and energy. Of sweet and calm and inspiring. Instead of being inundated with edgy and dark. Pornographic and offensive as mainstream. Do you remember when not every song on the radio was about blow jobs and rape? I was explaining to my daughter the other day how the music videos in the eighties sometimes included fully clothed people who were not dry humping each other. She scoffed. Sometimes when I see billboards and commercials that are way over my line, I wonder what .... what envelope will we have to see pushed next? Probably coffee service with pasties. (Not pastries, PASTIES!) Oh wait, we already crossed that desert of rational thought.

I wonder what the nudge will look like.....

People! Just because we can, does not always mean that we should.

Breathe, rest, smile, laugh, share, live with grace. Nudge, nudge, nudge....