July 24, 2007

Every expense is paid for with a bit of your time

Money is not profane. If a tree is sacred and a baby is sacred and if even a baby shit is sacred- if everything is sacred- money certainly must be as well. It is part of the stuff of life.
Money is among our most sacred things because it is actually a representation of life force itself. The key to understanding this is to take a step back and ask: what is money really? How do I get it? How do I use it? A particularly insightful question to ask is, “How much do I make?” Your answer will most likely be something like “I a make ten dollars an hour” or “ I make $45,000 per year.” And what that answer would clearly show is that you exchange time its self for money- the time remaining in your life. While it would be going to far to say that money actually is a life force, it certainly represents it and is a primary means by which we exchange our life’s energy with that of other people. It is often how we exchange our life’s energy for the energy of the earth its self. How can money not be a key spiritual aspect of our lives.
When we receive money from our jobs-from exchanging our precious and finite time and energy for it- we don’t hoard it. We use some money for out survival needs and some for special treats. Maybe we save some or invest in a business or in education. When we spend money, we give it to other people in exchange for their precious time and energy to serve us. We pay people to bake us bread, build us homes, teach us, pave our roads, design our web sites, and make us chocolate bars.
When we incur debt, we literally owe parts of our lives: time that we have not yet lived that must be given up to repay that debt. “Wage slave” takes on a whole new meaning. What is paying for a home, or a car loan, or a student loan, or a credit card but literally indentured servitude? How much of hating our job is due to knowing in our bones that we are selves unable to escape our masters.
How Much Money (time, that is) does it take you to live the lifestyle you are living? Many expenses don’t serve us, like that light bulb that is still turned on in the next room where no on is. Right now. How much less would it take to live if you cut out most of the waste? How would it take to meet your needs if you wanted to spend every possible moment working on the truly important things in your life?
We all know how “voting with dollars” affects the environment and society. When we purchase gasoline, we contribute to air pollution. When we purchase a hamburger, we are eating higher on the food chain than is sustainable. But what about how “voting with dollars” affects our own lives? When we spend money on something that is good for us, that helps us grow, and that contributes to our community, we are affirming life. We are focusing our lives energy on adding to our lives and growth. What about when we waste our money? It does not add to our lives to spend money on electricity for a light bulb nobody is using. In fact, it hurts us twice: once when we spent our time working for the money that we wasted, and again with the negative social and environmental consequences that come from energy over consumption. Every expense we incur is paid for by a bit of our lives. Time lost at work, commuting, and job training is time that we never get back, time we cannot devote to what really matters.
Imagine that a rich relative left you an inheritance. There is enough money that you never have to work again if you keep your expenses low by sharing an apartment with roommates, using the bus instead of owning a car, cooking your meals at home and so on. What would you do with your time? Would you work at all? Learn to play the piano? Crisscross the country attending antiwar demonstrations? Be a full time parent? Where do your passions lie? Why aren’t you following those passions right now? Why aren’t you living that life? Is your path in life more important than living a lifestyle that obscures it? Can you make some changes to your lifestyle to rebuild your life around your passions? Will you?

Utne, “A different real on life”. July –aug 2003 no.118

Your Money is Your Life. By Psy
From Reclaiming quarterly a political mag from the witch community.

PSY PO box 14404, San Francisco ca 94114

July 23, 2007

Leaving Stonewall Homestead.

End of an era…

Our time fishing the grounds near the stonewall homestead have ended abruptly with a wave of good fish reports from the north. Thanks to today’s latest technology each boat in our group is equipped with satellite email, so as our five members are spread out amongst the grounds our captains resemble teenage text messengers on their cell phones. No need for secret radio channels any longer. We pulled our net out of the water and have begun the forty hour transition to the Bering Sea Salmon runs.

The hills around us are teeming with bears. One began to pester a nearby village so the locals shot it and cast it out to sea. The next high tide brought it right up on the beach where Keith and I found it. For a Grizzly it was medium sized at seven feet tall. It must have been a thousand pounds with for arms bigger than my thigh. Its wrists were the size of my thigh. Up until finding a bear and getting close enough to smell and feel its fur and gauge its mass I had entertained the idea of fending one off with a fisherman’s knife or out maneuvering one. Hmmm… not going to happen. We tried to cut its arm with a buck knife and were unable to get through the fur and no where near its thick tough hide. Its claws were nearly three inches long with paws like a squash paddle. If it wanted you it could have you.

I just finished Ishmael, a timely book about humans and their relationship to the universe. It is set with a caged Gorilla mentoring a young journalist. The book presents our creation myths in a new light and derives great lessons that inspire an ancient way of interacting with the world. It was timely for me because I am surrounded by a frontier that man has not conquered, and the elements rule your life.
We also capture a lot of our food and energy from our own efforts and local sources out here. The first few years out here I thought this place was beautiful but barren. Now I feel like I am surrounded by food and energy.