Change your thoughts, change the world

Somehow, whether it be by genetics, environment, or a combination of the two, we all developed this idea that there is not enough to go around. If I want to make sure that I will have enough for next week or next year, I have to hoard everything I can get my hands on to ensure my survival. This is considered poverty or paucity thinking. We think and react as though we are on the very brink of destitution. Our very lives depend on our ability to hoard and protect the hoard we have collected.

The irony, of course, is that the more people hoard, the more it appears true that there is not enough. We can see that there is not enough. There are people starving (while food is rotting in refrigerators and warehouses around the world). There are people with no homes (while the foreclosed homes outnumber the homeless in the USA). There are people who have no money to even buy a bagel or cup of coffee (while billions of dollars, euros, rubles and pounds sit in banks doing nothing but collecting interest).

How we got to this point is a good question, but I think it would easily lead to recriminations and would trigger the self-defense mechanisms we have all honed to a fine skill. The potentially world-changing question is what shall we do, now that we are here? We have the technology, the intelligence and the networking ability to correct almost every basic problem (food, clothing, shelter) on the planet. What we lack is the will to do what needs doing to correct the imbalance.

Perhaps the most challenging of all is to deal with the fact that those who have more than they need must share with those who have nothing. That goes against the survival instincts of the “lizard brain” we each possess. Just the thought of giving away these keys to survival causes the grip to tighten. As long as we truly believe this is a dog-eat-dog world, our belief will influence how we react to the needs of others, and therefore we make it true.

It doesn’t have to be that way, of course. Have you ever participated in, or even just seen, a trust exercise called “lap sitting?” I have seen it at acting classes and at leadership seminars, and I have been fortunate enough to participate in it more than once.. It is the most amazing thing. Everyone stands a foot or so apart  in a circle, facing in the same direction. On cue, everyone carefully sits down. With no chair in sight, we are all able to comfortably sit on the knees of the person behind us. All it would take would be for one person to distrust the process and everyone would fall. Yet, it works.

Clarkson University students attempt to set a lap sitting record. Image from the Watertown Daily Times, Feb 5, 2010.

Take this mentality and imagine applying it to almost anything. If we would each be willing to be the lap for the person in front of us, we could all sit comfortably. It is more than just possible. We could all eat. We could all have clothing and shelter. Survival doesn’t have to be optional.

We would have to change how we think about ownership and community and social responsibility. Each one of us would have to be willing to integrate this change into our lives. This would reverberate through our culture and alter our economic paradigm, and change how we handle various situations. I honestly believe it would allow people to begin to heal the trust issues we all have with each other. We would learn to be there for each other. “Ubuntu: I am because we are.” This healing would ripple across the world. I am not suggesting this would create an utopia, as we humans would certainly find the next thing that needs our attention. We always do – it is part of our effort to strive to thrive. Even so, this would be a building block for a different world. You see, I believe that we are creating tomorrow with every action, thought and conviction we allow into our lives today. I also believe in the quote by Lao Tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” If we don’t take that step, the journey has yet to begin.

Think on it … and let me know what your thoughts are. Can you imagine what we can do now to help make this happen? Or do you think I am crazy and this isn’t the way to go? If so, why? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Mindful Shopping

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user AMagill – Use of image does not constitute endorsement by the artist.

We are about to hit the biggest shopping season of the year, at least in the USA. This year,  with all the changes that have been (and are still!) occurring in my life, I feel prompted to ask myself to clarify what I value. I have always loved giving gifts and looking for something the recipient will truly appreciate, so I am seeing that this new perspective of mine simply adds another layer to my personal shopping filter.

It is easy to say that I value people over things, intention over object, and ethics over greed. The real question is whether or not I live it out. No matter what words I formulate in my mind or out loud, the real test is in what I do. I am always fond of saying that our lives are much like riding a bicycle in that we always wind up aiming for whatever we are looking at. So, what my heart believes directs the course of my actions as surely as the mythical siren song lured sailors to places their logical minds did not want to go.

Being the change …

We talk about change and how we want the economy to be less greed-driven, less competition based, more empathy-driven, more service based. I suddenly realized that the idea of being the change I want to see applies to everything, even this. If I want to be part of the solution in terms of changing what drives the economy, then I need to be really clear on what drives me!

How do I decide where I am going to shop? Is it just about prices? Getting the most for your money isn’t a bad thing, but if that is the only criteria I were to use to determine where I shop, wouldn’t that be a greed-driven decision? Do I really need to give multiple gifts, or expensive ones to those I love, for them to know how much I care?

Of course not. Consciously, I know this.

I still hesitate, so I dig a little deeper. I realize that there is a part of me that knows my idealism isn’t shared (yet!) by all those I love. So, I am concerned about how to live out this philosophy of mine. I can make things. I can offer skills. I reflect on the idea that I want to give them things they will appreciate, and my concern is for those who still seem caught up in the consumerism of the old paradigm. How do I find the right gift for them, and still remain true to this shift within me?

At some point, even if it is just for materials, I will need to go out and purchase some things.

In a capitalist society, your money is your sphere of influence

An awful lot of businesses have recently had their leadership say and do things with which I disagree strongly. They have the right to freedom of speech, and I would never want to take that away from them. On the other hand, I too have freedoms. If they are going to do things I perceive to be against my personal ethics, I don’t have to support them and their business by shopping there. This concept of the ethical shopper is one that I have seen popping up all over the place.

Thanks to various boycott movements, consumers are discovering how powerful their shopping habits truly are. If a boycott can influence behavior, then I have the power to bestow my vote of confidence upon any business, simply by shopping there. Realizing this, and wanting to change how businesses are run, I know there are some behaviors I want to reward and others I don’t. Companies that treat their employees like more than just  a resource to be used and discarded need to be encouraged. Those that want to act ethically, do minimal damage to the environment, support their local communities and are responsive to the impacts their decisions make in the world – those businesses deserve my support. On the other hand, those who don’t do these things need to be sent to the time out corner. There are only two practical ways to express my disapproval: one is to write them a letter (and yes, I frequently do this), and the other is to simply refuse to give them any of my money.

Influencing change

This is how any of us can influence the ethics of capitalism. In retail, the people’s mandate is defined in profits. If a company is profitable, they think that we are OK with how they do business. We each have the power to influence that bottom line of profitability with every purchase we make. Frankly, as we awaken into our personal power I believe we will be seeing this trend continue to grow.

I am looking forward to this year’s gift giving, partly because I plan on being extra creative about it. I do admit, however, that trying to determine where a company falls on my naughty or nice list could be a lot of work. I wonder if there is an app for that? Imagine something that gives every store a score based on how they treat their employees, the environment, and their community. Maybe with links to more info if it is available. Too bad I am not a developer. Anyone out there want to take this on? 🙂

The Power of We

I think a solid argument could be made that 2012 is the year of the ‘Power of We.’ All around the world, we have seen average citizens banding together to effect change. We see it all around us: politically, economically, environmentally, and more! We keep seeing anomalous stories of dogs adopting pigs, elephants befriending dogs, and many more. Something seems to be happening, and we are both spectator and participant.

As a shamanic practitioner, I have been privileged to witness the inter-connectedness of life on many levels. As someone who walks the dreamwinds, I know in the core of my soul that there are layers of reality beyond what our three dimensional selves can see and recognize. Is this the Unity Consciousness we hear so much about? I think it is one of the first steps.

I believe that the Power of We culminates in Unity Consciousness. This connectedness that we are finally recognizing as an amazingly powerful dynamic is only the start of the process. We are just waking up and like an individual that needs their morning ritual to be fully awake, we have to go through the stages of the process to get our Unity eyes fully opened.

What will the stages be? That is something I don’t pretend to know. I do believe that individuals have been awakening for years. They have been trying to help us, but there are none so blind as those who will not see. We each have to come to it in our own time and in our own way, otherwise our minds shy away from it and refuse to recognize it for what it is. As more and more people awaken, groups of people begin to recognize the threads that connect them are strong enough to change the world.

At some point, we started to ask ourselves what we wanted this world to be? We stopped accepting that the status quo has to stay because it has always been. We begin to recognize that light is both particle and wave, depending on our intent. Accepting that as true, then we hypothesize that can control the outcome by controlling our intention. I think this is where things are at now. We see that we have power, and that we can remake the world in the form of our dreams … only we have to decide what we really want, as a group.

I am not sure what the next step will be, but I do believe there will be a next step. The people attempting to define the dream are out there and working hard. That Facebook page I set up, STEP, is a collection point for stories about the dreamers impacting economic change. I had a friend email me recently with a very detailed explanation of how he thinks the business corporate environment might be recreated to empower the individual and get rid of all or most of the hierarchical mess people currently have to navigate. He is one of the waymakers.

The world is changing and the “power of we” is the springboard that will catapult us to a new earth. I am so excited to be alive now and witness to this amazing worldwide event. I am glad to be part of the “we” that is bringing about change, and to have come to know and work with so many more!

STEP it up!

This image is used as part of the Artistic Commons License, and was created by DragonArtz (http://dragonartz.wordpress.com/tag/market/). My use of this image does not qualify as an endorsement of me or this page by the artist.

Hello Folks!

I just wanted to give you a head’s up on a new page I have put together on Facebook. It is called Shifting The Economic Paradigm (STEP). The purpose of the page is to gather together information related to the upcoming shift in the economy and in how we think about money. I really believe that this is a key piece of the upcoming world changes, and we are going to all be right in the thick of it!

This is both an exciting time and a frustrating one. I have been told that there is an old Chinese “curse” that states, “May you live in interesting times.” Whether you see it as a curse or a blessing, the times we live in are surely interesting. Things seem to be changing faster and faster, as I mentioned in my last post. So, I was thinking about how nice it would be to have one place to gather information about the possible futures that we are shaping. I am focusing on the economy because I believe that is the lynchpin of this puzzle. Once that shift happens, everything and everyone else will follow.

We look around us and we see an economic system based on greed, competition, and consumerism. Many of us have already recognized that this is simply not sustainable. Others are hanging on to what they know for dear life. They are terrified of what may come. When the old paradigm transforms, those who are comfortable in it are going to feel pretty lost. As lightworkers, we will need to be ready to help them as much as they will let us.

So what are our options?

I am reminded of an old Bellamy Brothers’ song, “He’s an old hippy and he don’t know what to do. Should he hang on to the old, or should he grab on to the new?” Whether you are a hippy or not, that is the key question, isn’t it? We don’t want to be indiscriminate in our disgust over the old system. There may be concepts and processes that can be repurposed, reused, or recycled. The links I am collecting on the STEP page include some drastically new ideas (how about getting rid of all the money?), and lots that are trying to transform things we already know (how about funding through microloans or crowdsourcing?). It includes links to people offering courses, books or presentations on changing your ideas about money. There are things having to do with heart math and a burgeoning field of study called The New Economy. It is all pretty world-changing stuff!

I make no claims as to the probable success of anything on the page, but I know that this all fascinates me and I want to learn more. So, I naturally thought other people might too! I don’t want this to be just the ideas that I catch, though. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the circumstances – LOL!), there is only one of me. If you would be willing to send me any links you find that might be appropriate, I would love it. Or, feel free to post it on the page, yourself.

I can’t give you a link to the page, because it doesn’t have 30 followers yet. The Facebook gods now require 30 followers before they will allow you to have a page link that is directly accessible from the Internet. So, you can be a great help in getting the word out about this page by going to Facebook, looking up ‘Shifting the Economic Paradigm’ and LIKE the page. I would love it even more if you shared it with your friends.

Thanks to all for your help!