I am about to go on a rant.... (dragging soap box over to stand on).... feel free to walk away now before I get started.
WHY do we believe that money sustains us?
We can't eat it.
We can't build with it.
We can't wear it (apart from other obvious issues, it would disintegrate in the first rain storm).
It's only value to us is in what it can be exchanged for, yet our competition for it at the expense of each other is destroying our world.
We could blame the large companies that suppress progress for profit.
We could blame the bankers who profit from our debt.
But blaming someone else (no matter how culpable they may be) will not change the dynamic.
Don't we realize that WE have the power to choose a new dynamic?
Sure, change can come about (slowly) by fighting against entrenched establishment, but it's so much easier to change what we already have control over: ourselves! When we change our own relationship to money, we not only free ourselves, but we free each other.
Can it really be that simple?
There is an alternative economy, one that we have totally lost touch with in our society.
It's an economy of kindness.
Each one of us has the power to change the way we look at money, and to free ourselves from the endless treadmill of seeking it, by simply choosing in each moment as it arises to put people first.
Small choices equall big changes:
PUT PEOPLE BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE
Taking time to really notice and respond to the people around us opens our own world up. Suddenly those things that seemed really important to us fall into perspective. Putting people before our own profit is the only way to change the system from the inside out. It doesn't start with banks or big companies. It starts with us.
PUT SOCIAL MEDIA IN ITS PLACE
Pay attention to the people you are with and put the damned phone down!
GET TO KNOW THE NEIGHBORS
We have forgotten that we actually NEED each other. With commutes taking us daily out of our communities, with the advent of the internet and the instant gratification of pre-packaged food, we no longer have a reason to rely on those who live nearest to us. But who calls the fire department when we are asleep and there is smoke pouring out of an upstairs window of our house? Who finds us when we collapse in our driveways? Like it or not, we need each other no less than we did 50 years ago. Do you know your neighbors? If not, bake a batch of brownies and get knocking on doors! Get to know the people you live near. You never know when you might need them!
TURN OFF THE TV
We are bombarded by media telling us that what to believe:
"The world is a scary place and we shouldn't trust others."
"The things we purchase equate to who we are."
We are surrounded by depictions of people insulting each other to get laughs, and people who argue and fight because it gets good ratings, and we wonder why there is no respect in our society.
With the constant presence of televisions blaring in our homes, our malls, our bars and even some restaurants, when do we experience the silence in which our hearts can speak to us? When do we actually connect to one another on any sort of meaningful level? What affect does this bombardment of negativity have on us?
Turn the tv off and play with your kids instead.
Or read a book.
Or sit in your garden.
Or invite the neighbors over for a BBQ.
NEVER PAY SOMEONE ELSE TO TELL YOU WHAT TO DO.
Why are we paying life coaches, astronomers, psychics, psychiatrists and gurus for knowledge we could have ourselves if only we'd make the time to listen to what's in our own hearts?
We ALL have access to an endless font of wisdom. It's right there, inside us, but we have to make space to hear it. The direction others give us may indeed be helpful, but it is temporary. It's the difference between giving a man a fish and feeding him for a day, and teaching a man to fish and feeding him for a life-time. Don't pay for fish caught by others. Teach yourself to fish instead.
When we build meaningful relationships and invest in our own communities, we create resources on which we can later draw. It's a human thing. Not a money thing.
When we willfully disconnect from the beliefs about what we should have, we free ourselves to discover the wealth that is all around us, and we begin to measure wealth in terms other than monetary.
If we valued kindness above profit,
We would learn that we need far less than we think we do.
We would remember how to trust.
We would begin to erase the poverty that erodes our world on so many levels.
We would begin to replace loneliness with companionship.
And we would fill our world up with the things that really matter.
We would realize fulfillment instead of wanting more and more.
Maybe others would notice,
and begin to do the same.
It's not that complicated.
Money is just a tool. It doesn't have to be our master.
It's not money that will free us.
And it's not up to the world to change.
It's up to you.