Money and Fame

We’ve been conditioned to believe that ‘winner takes all’ and ‘if I have money/fame, THEN I’ll be secure, I’ll have friends/be popular, have meaning and feel accomplishment in my life’.

 

This video leaves with a question at the end.  I would add an additional question:

What do I have in abundance?

Often we don’t see our own abilities as worthwhile/abundant because they’re not reflected back as valued in society.  As we wrestle with personal values and the simple things that sustain us – quietly sharing the things we DO have in abundance – the result is joy.  Appreciating what we have begins by not judging ourselves that we aren’t rich/famous/thin/successful enough.  At first our personal abundance may look silly or useless, but sit with the tiny simplicity of it, and it may take on a life of its own, crafting a way to bring joy not just to us but to others.

Here’s an example of a simple abundance from my own life.

Our house breeds clothes.  When the kids were small  I set up a clothes and stuff swap for entertainment in our home.  We moved what we wanted to other rooms, and set up marked areas with signage so guests would know where to place their unwanted things for swapping.

It was hoot! Fun was had by all as friends and family brought over things they didn’t need and we socialized and swapped. The kids pretty much stayed in the toy room and found new toys to take home, the parents socialized and found things we needed, I was able to clear out clutter we didn’t need anymore and found things we could use.  I found a creative and socially fun use for my abundance.  It brought me joy.

My abundance (clothes and stuff that seems to breed in the attic) wasn’t money, or fame, or power.  It was ‘just’ clothes and stuff.  It was something simple. I started looking for ways to be creative with what I saw as my abundance.

To make a long story short, after years of experimenting I created Swap Positive– started with the simple abundance of extra clothes.

Sharing abundance gives joy.

What do you have extra in your life?  What do you have a lot of?  What is your abundance? Are you someone who can’t wipe the smile off your face?  Do you have way too many empty toilet paper tubes?  Do you get a thrill from constantly holding babies?  If you give away your extra, what kind of joy will you bring to yourself and to others? If you smile at people it could make a positive difference in their day.  Maybe a local preschool would love those toilet paper tubes for the ongoing projects they have, and appreciate your steady supply?  A hospital might need someone to hold premie newborns, or a church/school/clinic nursery might appreciate your skills so young mothers can get a short refreshing breather. What you see as ‘not really anything’, or maybe even feel guilty about, might be what you have in abundance.  Realizing and using your abundance creatively could make all the difference in how you see yourself and your place in this world.  Being rich, famous, and powerful doesn’t bring joy, but maybe having too many toilet paper tubes or egg cartons might be the beginning of a new chapter of joy and giving in your life?

Barb

Edible Cutlery

Don’t throw away your disposable silverware – eat it!  This innovative ‘silverware’ is a food item that is baked, and comes in various flavors to go with whatever you are eating – sweet, savory, etc.  Disposable environmentally destructive plastic was ‘innovative’ in it’s day, but we’ve learned now that it’s harmful to the planet and to our health.  With todays technology and understanding we can do better!  (Plus the edible cutlery is nutritious and delicious according to those who’ve tried it.) What a great new business model.

 

The above story is from The Better India a news source featuring innovation for positive and practical change. I’ve just discovered it and bookmarked it.  Good stuff!

Affordable Housing for Seniors and Young Adults

Finland leads the way with another innovative idea: seniors and young adults enjoy affordable housing  – and an enriching community experience.

Honoring Tomb-time

With Easter and stories of new life and resurrection on our minds, I wanted to explore a side of Easter that I’ve never heard discussed before.

I saw a comment on facebook from a friend of mine that said:

“Sick. Depressed. More than I can handle”.

Without having context to that comment, it got me to thinking.  How many of us have felt that way at one time or another? It sucks. Sometimes life gets sucked out and so it just sucks. Lack of health sucks. Trying to keep a smile on sucks. Having a person/pet you love die sucks. Getting out of bed sucks. Watching people just not ‘get it’ sucks. Not being able to do anything about it sucks. Not having energy sucks. About the only things that don’t suck at times might include:

1. the love and kindness of a spouse who cares/close family who will listen and not judge

2. soft organic flannel sheets

3. Hyberbole and a half dark humor

I wonder if sometimes ‘hitting bottom’ might possibly be compared to a place like Christ in the tomb: cold, dark, quiet, a suspended life. And that’s OK. It’s OK to be buried for awhile. In fact, maybe that’s part of the Easter Story? Maybe instead of rushing to the resurrection, maybe it’s OK to be in the tomb? Maybe it’s not a ‘fault’ to be in the tomb? Maybe it’s just part of a – can I say it – healthy life to be in the tomb?  Even if we don’t know how long it will last?  Especially if we don’t know how long it will last?

Yes, resurrection does come, and we celebrate that, but maybe there is also a place to respect the times in our lives that represent tombs?  Why do we fear the cold, dark, quiet, suspended times?  Is it because in American culture those are seen as ‘weak’, or ‘useless’, or ‘bad’, or ‘unproductive’…and we feel shamed for them?  What would happen if those times of depression/grief, or “tomb-time”, had a different, purposeful meaning in our culture?  Do other cultures have a place of respect for those times in a person’s life?

How can we incorporate a safe, honorable, and healthy place for those -including ourselves – who are experiencing tomb-time?  If we had a different perspective, maybe we wouldn’t feel the cultural need to deny, try to cheer-lead it away, or shame it?  Maybe tomb-time is an important part of a healthy life?

Some possible resources: the book Tear Soup , online helps from Tear Soup.

Barb

Four Steps To Economic Recovery

The news is full of articles trying to figure out a way to save America:  how to bring back the middle class, create jobs, help stop the disparity between the few rich at the top and the majority falling (or fearful of falling) toward poverty, and what to do about increasing homelessness and food insecurity.  American society seems gripped in fear, as many young people wrestle with college debt and little or no living wage work prospects.  Middle managers in their 40’s/50’s/60’s have been downsized/laid off, and haunt monthly job fairs featuring door-t0-door commission sales work (to try to reach those who don’t want to open their doors to strangers and/or don’t have money/need to purchase their products anyway).  An undergirding of fear is sweeping our nation just under the surface for those of wealth (and those hanging on by their fingernails to their wealth), a daily reality for many more.

The conversation is here.  People are awake and aware that this growing soup of problems are encroaching on us as a society, not just ‘the fringe others’.  This involves all of us.  Some of us who have not yet lost our job/home/health respond with self-protective denial.  Some of us in frustration and fear blame the ‘other’.  Some of us become clinically depressed and use pain medication/drink/drugs to hide.

I believe there is a practical way to turn this poverty of economy and spirit around. Here’s my idea outline for a Four Step Plan To Economic Recovery:

  1.  Living wage jobs provided by the very corporations and businesses that have taken living wage jobs away, as well as innovative business models such as B-Corporations and worker cooperatives that balance wages, community building, and benefits with profits.
  2. Mortgage companies/banks/developers et all to sell/rent housing that is affordable to wages earned in area said housing/businesses reside.  Seed Seattle is an example of an organization creating partnerships and inspiring investments in affordable housing, arts, and economic development.
  3. Medical health care that actually provides health benefit – not high priced/high deductible insurance that doesn’t cover any type of actual care.
  4. Education tied with industry jobs, so instead of graduating with a 4 year degree and $30,000-$200,000 of debt and no income/job in sight, the education/training is included in most businesses/jobs as part of the training package of said business/job. This would also be helpful for those re-entering the workforce and those who’s jobs have changed/no longer exist.

These four steps would in practical ways help turn the economy around with innovative business and industry leading the way by creating living wage jobs and incorporating training and benefits back into the business model.  Add to that affordable housing, fanning innovation, creating community building opportunities, rebuilding a middle class and giving tangible tools to bring disenfranchised into the middle class, and the result would be uplifting all of American society for a better future.

Barb Hughes 2013    Barb Hughes

Gravity Light – free energy source powered by gravity

This light source powered by gravity produces clean, free energy for lighting. No sun or batteries needed. No breathing kerosene fumes, no danger of damage by fires, only safe, clean, off-grid energy.

Tiny Banks – A return to traditional banking (Plus, how to start your own bank!)

Tired of the hassles of big banks? Dave Fishwick brought banking back to its roots:  local banks for local people, by the community for the community.

If you’re interested in making a positive difference in your community, Dave Fishwick shows you how to open your own bank: