“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt,
Positively powerful is that four letter word and indescribable emotion – fear. We humans respond strangely to it. We wage war because of it or even worse allow our true selves to be manipulated because of it. Remove that fear and we can reach higher than our minds can imagine.
Our world has been shaped by fear in the form of organized religions and tyrannical governments. Powerful people early on realized that keeping people in a constant state of fear made for an easily manipulated congregation or population.
I have been reading the news and hearing all about the crisis in America, Europe, the world over etc. The fact is that as long as we react from a place of fear, our future doesn’t look so bright.
I was taught to fear many things unknowingly as a child. Fear was taught in my religious classes, my schools, the news, and as a result I believed that the country of my birth was the safest most desirable country in the world to live. After all who wouldn’t want to live in such a wonderful land of promise? Although I do agree the can-do spirit of America is wonderful and infectious, the flip-side of the coin is the can’t-do spirit which is also alive and well. The world is suffering from to much acceptance of out of control lifestyles being the norm.
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
― Marie Curie
Let me start by saying loud and clearly to everyone reading this blog, “THERE IS NO FINANCIAL CRISIS!” Okay we got that out of the way. Now start writing your replies in your heads, sending comments and emails telling me how of course there is, I can’t make ends meet, there are no jobs, they’re cutting back on this and that etc.
Okay, sorry let me say this now also loudly and clearly, “THERE IS A CREATIVITY CRISIS WELL AND TRULY ENTRENCHED IN OUR FEAR LADENED MINDS!” Now start forming your replies telling me I need to wake up, live in the real world, stop being so Utopian, get a grip etc.
Our most abundant resource on this planet is all around us. We are one with it and it us. That resource is humanity. Our communities are full of different skills, ideas, languages, talent, and untapped energy waiting to be unleashed. Tomorrow, or maybe tonight, start searching it out.
Don’t be afraid to be different. How many of you live in neighborhoods with lovely wide empty streets? How many of your kids play in those streets? How many of us pay for people to look after our kids, and how many older people whom you trust live in your area and are home alone and lonely? How much of your lawn is laid to a veggie patch? How much time is spent running from the biggest investment you ever made in your life? Houses and neighborhoods sitting empty on weekends because of what? Travel soccer, hockey, baseball, music and dance lessons all over the place.
Stop sending your kids to universities that lead them into a lifetime of debt while keeping you there as well. If higher education is important, put faith back in the community colleges. Be creative. Stop believing those who gain from your financial woes. Take hold of your life. Stand up and say no way, not anymore. Yes of course there are people who benefit from university educations, and our societies in turn benefit from those same people, make a conscious choice about it and explain the benefits and financial consequences to your kids, they’ll understand.
Not everyone needs to go this route. Our communities also benefit from having carpenters, cobblers, plumbers, welders, mechanics, bakers, small business owners of all shapes and forms etc.. University degrees are not needed to excel at any of these professions.
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men (women) are afraid of the light.” ― Plato
Europe now follows America slowly into a paid higher education being the norm, but not without some positive backlash. In the UK where a free education to the university level was the norm years ago, would-be students are becoming apprentices and finding themselves in work and out of debt at the end of it, and what a great start in life that is.
Look around, there are many options for yourselves your communities, your children. Sometimes it’s not the obvious choices that make sense which will lead us into a brighter future. It’s the well-hidden choices, the paths less taken, the alternative economies of trust, barter, and paddling against the tide of the mainstream that will breathe life back into our neighborhoods and our lives.
Downsize, sell off the excess bogging you down, start a game of two-hand touch with all the neighborhood kids on the street. Search out locals teaching piano, violin or guitar from their house, if they aren’t put up notices. I guarantee there are people in walking or bike riding distance who will be more than willing to do so, and maybe they’ll even be open to accept some sort of barter as payment.
If still possible support the small hardware store, the local grocery shop, second-hand and consignment shops. I understand it’s nearly impossible to do all your shopping in these places, but love them or lose them, a country full of Walmarts, Home Depots, and big supermarkets does not benefit anyone near or far.
Share your talents, get a knitting, painting or dancing group together, sponsor a pot luck dinner and film once a month, start a family oriented bicycle ride to the local nature spot and a picnic. Does it sound silly and old fashioned? Well not really, it’s just all the things we have become trained to pay for, or look elsewhere to do. Be part of the worldwide Transition Towns movement.
Stay close to home more often and magically watch your cash grow, your wants diminish, and your neighborhoods flourish. Park the cars your hands are cuffed to on the weekends and see and appreciate the neighborhood you live in as a place of endless possibilities, human and natural resources beyond your wildest dreams, and that is exactly what it will become!
Crisis, what crisis?
Enjoy the journey, Joe.