Thursday, April 24, 2008

Healing in an Economic Downturn

Gas prices are going up, and so is the cost of groceries. Money is starting to feel tight, or maybe it's just the fear of money becoming tight that we're feeling. Every week another politician, news anchor, or talk show host trots out the word "recession" as if we don't already know what our personal financial life is like. The truth is that the economy is shrinking, whether a technically defined recession happens or not. And while it's also true that money may be or may become tight for some of our households, healing is always available.

Indeed, the defining factor in healing and in living a full life is not resources, but resourcefulness. Like everything in the universe, a living, organic system like our economy must breathe in and breathe out, expand and contract. Most of us feel uncomfortable in the pinch of a shrinking economy just as we do when our own bodies contract in pain. And what is often missed in both contexts is the discovery and healing that is available when the noise and frenetic activity of expansion gives way to the stillness and clarity of recession.

The macroeconomics of our country has slowed down, and the opportunity we have is to get clear about what is important to us, what we spend our money on, and how we use our financial resources to support the lives we want to live. We get to learn how to be more shrewd with our choices, with the quality of the goods and services we purchase, and with the investments we make in our homes, our health, and our values. Just as the pain in our bodies help clarify what's really going on for us, these changes in the economy can help us be more present to ways we orient ourselves in our financial lives. The healing is always available. Your ability to be resourceful is your ability to claim it for yourself.

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