I understand the fear that comes from being in the midst of a world-wide financial meltdown. I understand seeing the stocks fall and knowing that your net worth is falling. My husband and I, at one time in 1989, lost millions of dollars in one day in the stock market. But we realized, at one point, we never had that money anyway. It was all kind of fiction, it was all a mythology. After our loss, our life was the same; we still loved each other; we still loved our children; we still had incredible gifts, bounty, and blessing in our life.
And that’s what’s to be paid attention to, especially in times of fear like now. You want to pay attention not to what you could have had if the stocks had gone up, but what you do have–which is not your possessions, actually. It’s that which you love – it’s the friends you have, the simple pleasure you enjoy and the things that inspire you. It’s the bounty and blessings of your life in health and well-being.
It’s also an important time to actually look at your investments to see, “What investments am I making?” that are about a sustainable future for myself and others?” And “How do I start withdrawing investments that are extractive and exploitive of others and the planet?” These investments, that are ultimately destructive, can be fast money but they’re not going to last. Those are the things that are falling apart, and they will continue to fall apart. Look at what nourishes life, and invest in that. Really, no kidding. If you pay attention to what is consistent with a sustainable future for all of life, what is consistent with nourishing the very source of the economy– the Earth herself–you will find that that is a long term investment that actually will pay off both for yourself and for the planet.
This is the time to do the things that we always thought we should do but we never did before, like carpool. This is the time, instead of calling the caterer, to have a potluck supper. This is a time to actually demonstrate those actions that come from honoring community, that come from asking everyone to share their gifts–rather than providing some expensive experience for other people. This is the time to model collaboration, cooperation, doing things together, and bringing our talents and gifts to the table, to the event, to the moment.
This is the time to actually act upon those ways of being that environmentalists have been telling us we must do for the past, maybe 10 years. This is the time to ride our bikes to work. This is the time to use public transportation and appreciate how great it is. This is the time to actually follow those guidelines–that maybe we thought were too inconvenient before–and discover that they make your life richer or better. They don’t just save energy, money, or time. These positive, sustainable actions can bring richer meaning to our lives
Finally, this is a time to live from a place of appreciation for what we DO have, and what IS working in our lives. One of my favorite sayings is, “What you appreciate appreciates.” When we direct our attention toward being counting our blessings, they accumulate. How about investing in a daily practice of gratitude or giving thanks for the incredible bounty of our lives, regardless of circumstance?