What If

What if we changed our culture? What if we no longer applauded great wealth at any cost? What if we applauded generosity, compassion, and forgiveness? Yes, it’s easy for me to say these things since I’m not wealthy, but I’m not alone in saying them.

Malcolm is targeting the systems we’ve built, the truths we hold so dear and the possibility that maybe, just maybe, we can produce some more heroes. – Seth Godin in review of Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book.


From ABC news –

At the age of 14, Hugh Evans spent a night with cockroaches crawling all over him. That experience turned out to be life-changing for Evans, now 30. Far removed from his comfortable home in Australia, he traveled to the Philippines with an aid organization that set him up with a host family. Their home was in Smokey Mountain, a teeming slum in Manila. A boy in the family, Sonny Boy, was the same age as Evans. The disparity between their lives struck him hard. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/05/could-you-live-on-a-dollar-a-day/

In some circles we have improved. But there are enough sub-pockets in our culture that keep the generosity movement bogged down. We are a generous nation and so are people all over the world. You can see groups which care about cleaning up oil spills, those concerned about animal endangerment, and many are helping provide clean water for those in need. But we need to start at the bottom, at the base of society. Our desires. Our ambitions. Our vision of ourselves. There is a level of crud and corrosion that we must clean or we will all drown. We envy and want great wealth because we are afraid. I am afraid. If I don’t get that job, that bonus, that raise, that particular car, I’m afraid I will starve. I will perish. I will not exist anymore. I feel jealous, unloved and abandoned. Over an iPhone that I didn’t get. It’s ridiculous. My whole mindset needs rearranged. I live in a rich country. So rich that I have never missed a meal because of lack. Others around me live the same and yet we feel poor because we don’t have cable television. Or internet. Or whatever latest gadget that someone else has.

There’s an experiment going on all across the world now, or I should say it’s a conversation. It’s called by a variety of names, but in essence it’s living at the poverty level for days or months, voluntarily.

The next post in the continuing frugal gastronomy series features a pair of schoolteacher-writers who gave themselves the toughest of all restrictions: All their food had to cost no more than $1 per day per person. Amazingly, if they invited guests over to eat, the guests’ food had to be covered by the $1 allotment. You’d have to really like the guest, I suppose.

Once again, I’ll repeat: Eating on a budget is not a contest; it’s a conversation.

Read more: http://business.time.com/2009/08/18/how-to-eat-on-a-dollar-a-day/

And the most famous instance is probably Ben Affleck and his challenge from April 29 through May 3, 2013.  Could you eat for $1.50 a day?

The challenge is simple: Agree to spend no more than $1.50 on your daily grub from April 29 to May 3. That figure represents “the accepted global figure used to define extreme poverty,” according to The Global Poverty Project, which created the challenge. – Live Below The Line

Some advice from Joe Vigil:

  • Practice abundance by giving back
  • Improve personal relationships
  • Show integrity to your value system
  • Eat like a poor person

Everyday Things

I have people ask me sometimes, why do you bother wearing makeup everyday? Or why do you dress up always? Well, when should I wear makeup or fix my hair? Special occasions only? This seems silly to me. What you want to become, you have to be.

Your life is the total of your daily activities. The effort you put into your life daily, hourly, minute by minute is the life you live. If you only give your days 50% effort, you’ll get 50% back. Live smarter. Live stronger. Put in what you want to get out of it.

I know if I am paying for 10 gallons of gasoline for my car, I wouldn’t keep going to the one that just didn’t get around to fixing their pumps. Especially if I got shorted a gallon each time. I really like to go to the ones that give me extra.

I demand a lot out of everyday life and I am prepared to put a lot into it. I have ambition and I have enough orneriness to back it up.

Missing Identity

I was listening to a self-help guru in the 1990’s and the strangest thing (to me) happened. The man asked, “If you could do ANYTHING and you knew you could not fail at it, what would you do?”  The first thing that popped into my thoughts was to write. I wanted to write. I hadn’t thought of writing since I was in the 8th grade and my teacher circled at least half of my essay and noted it heavily in red ink. Inside, a dream that I had buried and forgotten for dead, clawed its way back to the top.

Listen to your inner voice. Is she happy? Does she want to sing? Does he like the shoes he has on? The color of his tie? How about his activities? Are they something he does to belong or does he enjoy them? If there is one thing she could change, what would it be? Now after pondering this a little while, don’t do anything yet. Let the thought sit inside of you for a time. Like a seed planted in the soil, let it germinate. This is scary. Sometimes the dissatisfaction and restlessness can build up if I ignore some aspect of my life.

Nothing has to be done or changed or removed or even happen immediately. I’m not saying that your life will even change dramatically, but I am saying make time for you. It’s time to see the beauty and strength that is in you. There is gold and jewels underneath all of your restrictions. There is talent that has been dormant for a long time because a parent or sibling told you not to show off.  I think you should let some of it show. Just a little peek for now. The process will also involve learning to trust your own judgments. You will learn how much is too much or not enough, of food, of activity, of friendships. Do you know what you value? Whether it’s people in need or friendships you value; or if it’s caution or even reckless abandon, only you can decide what is right for you.

Dare to Be

When I was very young I didn’t think about who I was or what I looked like. I played. I sang. I danced. I argued. I cried and I laughed. I lived.

All of these are names given me by other people, but not names I would have given myself.  My name is not mine, it’s theirs.  It’s a series of costumes put on my life by other people. Robert Fulghum (1937 -)

Source: Maybe (Maybe Not) (Maybe Not : Second Thoughts from a Secret Life)

Psychologists tell us that the ego is the part of us that makes us aware of who we are. They say that until the ego has developed we just are, like a tree or a flower.  We don’t think about who we are or if we even should be as we are. If our voice is too loud or our hair is too red. Before our ego has developed we don’t sit and wonder if the other kids would like us better if we shared or if mom would give us chocolate cake if we wore the pink dress and looked cute. More likely we would cry if we didn’t get the chocolate cake. And the funny thing, that’s a healthy childhood.

If you were born in a household with violence, addiction or abuse, you would develop other coping mechanisms, add-on behaviors to “work around” getting your needs met. These actions might even appear normal or beneficial to outsiders. The extremely calm child is sometimes one of them. He may sit quietly in the doctor’s office and not cry when the needle goes in his arm for his immunizations. The nurse pats him on the head and tells him what a good boy he is. Mom needs him a big boy, just like at home.  He has seen what dad will do when he or his mother misbehaves. The little girl who hides from strangers and won’t take the candy offered may be shy, but she may also be unsure if mom is with her behavior. When you’re two feet tall and  three or four years old, the world is a foreign land. The language is obscure and people say things that you don’t understand. You learn early to be agreeable, don’t you. This is an unhealthy childhood.

Good behavior is just that, behavior. We learn early to watch our behavior. Watch our speech and our inflections. We keep things hidden so people don’t see our ugly parts. We learn these things and adults that are in charge teach it well. The difference between the healthy childhood and the unhealthy childhood seems obvious, if you are reading it on paper. If you are the adult looking back at your own, it’s not nearly so easy. The difference is the overcompensation that you learn to do, that little extra that you know keeps people liking you or ignoring you.

But we are the adults now. In a perfect world, the ego would develop naturally in the child and by the time you have matured it would become less and less. Unfortunately none of us have our citizenship in that perfect world. We have learned to put on a show for others, go along with dad’s rants, don’t step on toes or say what you really think. And as you get older, instead of this ego getting smaller over time, it becomes more complicated. The facade get’s heavier and the resentment gets darker. Sometimes we develop depression and anxiety because of our facade.

It’s time to unlearn and to relearn some very important lessons. Being good is not the goal anymore. Mommy doesn’t need you to stay quiet and sit still. Those behaviors that helped you before, now need to drop off just as the training wheels on your bicycle came off. You have outgrown them. Dare to BE. You are in charge of your life. And it’s time to give yourself the permissions you need. Your ego is there for a reason. It is your training wheels. We can now let our personality fully integrate and the ego will either become one with our personality or it will adapt to a more reasonable structure.

There are several authors I would recommend. You may have heard of them already. Caroline Myss and Pia Mellody are a couple that I enjoy. There are many blogs and sites available on the internet. One of my favorites is Meadow Devor.  Another one I like is Bravegirlsclub.  Whatever allows you to bloom and be strong; whoever encourages you and inspires you; anyone than tells you that you belong and that you have a right to be here, that’s the ones you need to listen to. I also like hypnosis New You.

Safety First?

My wants.  Safety.

I thought it was prosperity?

No, I want to feel safe. I’ve tried many things in order to feel safe. Some have worked, like buying my house, my car and having steady job. My savings and paying off my debts haven’t been as effective.

But even then would I feel safe?  No.

Is SAFETY what I need?  Maybe I need to get past the need for safety.

Success comes from having a clear goal. The things I have accomplished readily are the things I knew without a doubt that I wanted, clearly and for their own sake. I wanted my own home. I absolutely knew what I wanted. I had the criteria written down.

So, to clearly define my wants is my aim right now.

This need for safety is tripping me up. It may be even in the wrong direction.

So what do I want?  To earn a living without giving up myself. To prosper and be in health.