--body + mind + spirit--
Its hard to turn on the T.V. or radio, pick up a paper or turn on your computer without being inundated with headlines about the bad economy. Gas prices and food prices soaring as the housing market is on the slide - the picture seems grim. Just today CNN featured interviews with Memorial Day travelers complaining about the increased cost in gas and how it is impacting their travel plans. The message everywhere is filled with worry, and angst and prospects of a lesser life seem to linger behind every corner. But is it, really ? I for one think that the bad economy might actually be good for us....if we stop reading the headlines - we can actually see some of the benefits we are reaping from the economic downturn.
1.With less money to spend, we are re-evaluating the value in what we do choose to buy. Purchasing compulsively is the stuff of luxury - with less money, we are forced to stop needless and mindless consumption (and the inevitable waste). Who knows, the bad economy might actually be good for the environment.
2. With less money to spend on gas, and prices of gas going up, we are required by default to do what good green consumers do anyway - be methodical about every trip we make with our car. Price of gas has forced us to actually plan why and where we need - versus want, to go. Who knows, the bad economy might help cut down on emissions.
3-With less disposable income parents are forced to stop the needless indulgence of buying endless "stuff" for their kids. These days too many parents are conditioning kids towards mindless consumption by buying too many of the "newest and coolest" toys and gadgets. Parents are teaching their kids that buying into marketing gimmicks is a good thing and having the latest "thing" is a need. Less money for parents means cutting back, saying no, and teaching kids that not all things that are sold need to be bought. Who knows, the bad economy might be good for our kids.
4-With less disposable income couples get to see who they are beyond their financials. As they say money strains relationships, perhaps its because we place too much value on it. Less income asks couple to explore who they are beyond their income. Who knows, the bad economy might be good for your marriage.
5-With less money families are asked to find joy and pleasure in simpler things - that are often free, and mostly priceless. Without that extra money to pay for movies, trips, toys, and other distractions families have to find the joy in simply being together. From trips to the park to bike rides and picnics, families now have to find simple ways (at no cost) to engage, entertain, and reconnect with one another. Who knows, the bad economy might be good for your whole family.
6-With less money, we are still far richer than millions who have nothing. With issues like "less disposable income" or "cutting back" we are still operating as a highly privileged class. Millions are living in extreme poverty, where its not so much about having less but having simply enough to survive through the day. With all our new worries, we are still amongst the richest people in the world. Perhaps at least, we can somehow feel a bit more connected to people who have always lived "without." Who knows, the bad economy can help us see just how much we have, and how little others have.
7-With less money we are forced to be more creative in all aspects of our life, from how to generate extra income, to how to make the food we do buy go further. Like many cultures today, and those of generations past - creativity of stretching resources is and has been a way of life. With less resources we are asked to think "out of the box" about most parts of our life.
Who knows, the bad economy might be good for our creativity.
8-With less money, many of us will have a spiritual crises - the great brick wall - before the "re-awakening." Yes it's true, many of us are simply too damn materialistic and define ourselves by what we have then who we are. We hide behind our things. For many, this economic downturn will be a real "wake up call." It will force thousands to ask themselves who they are without the dollar signs behind their name. Spiritual inquiry and personal character analyses is always a promising beginning. Who knows, the bad economy might be good for you soul.
9-With less money, you can figure out very quickly who your real friends are. For many money is about social real estate. The number of zero's at the end of your pay check guarantees a certain social position. Reality is that these relationships are nothing but "dead weight" for the spirit. For some the economic downturn can do a sort of "social housekeeping" - cleaning out the false relationships from the real ones. Who knows, the bad economy can be good for your social life.
10-With less money, we all finally have at least on a superficial level realized we have something in common. With rare exception, the state of the economy has impacted everyone...perhaps it is the first step for many to realize how much more alike we all are then different. Who knows, the bad economy might bring us all a bit closer together.
While million are busy worrying about cash flow...perhaps a little perspective check is in need. Nothing comes to us without a lesson to be learned and without joy to be extracted. Find the great moments in the bad economy, and perhaps find a better, happier and yes even richer you.
Have a great long weekend (for those in the U.S.). See you next Tuesday...after Memorial Day.