I am letting go of the status quo. Never more so than now have I desired to be free of the confines of the system into which I have been born. For so long I have lived this American dream of having debt accumulating in order to pay off "things" that I bought in the past and as soon as they are paid off there is more on the horizon waiting to be bought. We are told this is just the way typical people live their lives and the way the capitalistic system works and flourishes. Yet, I have educated myself so much about the system of money in this country that I have become disillusioned to the livelihood we have created with this false sense of security and my need to escape the current state of affairs is gripping me. I've stopped listening to the media. I've stopped stepping foot in stores that draw you in with the idea that there is something necessary waiting inside that you must buy. I am not a "Target" for consumerism anymore. This path is going to take a lot of time, a lot of examination and probably the most dedication I have ever experienced to live freely without credit cards of any kind, with only the profit I am paid for the work I put forward and nothing more. I am not borrowing against the commodity of my time anymore. When you start to examine closely the way society works, you start to see that we each have an amount we are told we are worth, our output of work is worth, by the businesses we work for. We do not, in most circumstances unless you work for yourself, get to decide how much we should be paid. There is a pretty standard rate of pay for the job we each do and once you meet that ceiling, you are stuck finding a higher paying job. The major flaw with this is that the jobs that provide the most important services, (mental health workers, teachers, farmers, etc) pay so little while the jobs that continuously bring money back into the system pay the highest (financial and sales managers, petroleum engineers, executives, etc).
Money is a necessary evil. It is evil because everything we do revolves around it. Would you get up every morning and work for 9 hours at the job you are at right now for free? Most people would say no. But we need money to survive AND can use our money to sustain the land, the earth, the future of our children. We can stop buying "stuff" and start using our money in ways that bring forth goodness. A friend of mine always says, "We can put people before products." Interestingly enough, this is a pretty unusual way of living for many. What is happening more and more in this society is that people who choose to live off the land, off the grid, without money are shut down by those in power. But it can be done and for us, now is the time to do it.
There are important steps that need to be taken to simplify life. It involves moving away from the quote, unquote American dream and starting a new American dream that involves connecting to the beauty of our home, our planet.
For our family we have a plan.
1. Get out of debt. This is going to be hard. It's going to feel like we are climbing up a mountain, but I know that the Universe provides and simplifying our lives will feel like a giant burden is lifted. We will sell most of the things we do not need. We will not replace our TV right away when it dies. We will not have a new car payment for a long, long time (I hope never). We will maintain our cars, pay off our loans and give thanks for what we have without yearning for the newest innovation. We will buy used clothing, we will vote with our wallet and support companies we feel good about. We will grow our own food, simplify birthdays and holiday buying, teach our children the importance of saving. We will make our own food more than eating out, we will do things that do not cost money like hike in the woods and play at local playgrounds. Could we give up our cell phones? Our Internet? Certainly these questions bring up good points. What is the biggest priorities for our family? For me it is connection and memories, not things. I have a feeling this will all unfold as we embark on this journey.
2. Create sustainability in the place we inhabit now. This has been a 10 year process, but as we educate ourselves at a faster pace, my husband and I see more and more clearly how we can cultivate the small space we live in to bring forth the biggest profit for our own lives. I'll admit I still have so much more to learn, but a big portion of this is mathematical. How can we lower energy costs, lower our ecological footprint, save water consumption, grow our own food, harvest rain water, learn about solar energy in order to save money? It's hard to really live as freely as we wish we could, have our own permaculture farm for instance, when you live in the city in a subdivision. But alas, nature will flow wherever you allow it to, so small steps to bring back wild nature into my tidy lawn (wildflower gardens that bring beneficial bugs, bees and bacteria to the landscape of the home) and growing crops that work well in our region are the best places to start. We are also getting pretty darn good at recycling and minimizing waste but we still have a long way to go. I think we always will until we are living package free (can you imagine?!)
3. Continue to educate ourselves. I am done living apathetically. There is way too much at stake right now and so many people refuse to believe it. Our planet needs us to WAKE UP. We need to be educated in everything we do, we need to be living mindfully. What we put in our bodies matters. The thoughts we think matter. The companies we support matter. The news we watch matters. What we believe matters. The biggest difference we can each make right now and what the imminent change of the world hinges on is our own ability to awaken. Yikes. It's so hard and uncomfortable, but we are given the means and the know how if we never stop pursuing the how-to's.
4. Connection. Out of every other step, this is the hardest for me. I love my little bubble. I like not being challenged. But let's be real. We need to connect to others, to learn from others, to really form a community of people that are fighting for the same thing. We need to love each other unconditionally and help each other. I've had it with the judgment and I am ready to move towards unity.
There are many more steps but my brain needs to rest for a bit tonight.
What are your ideas? How did you make it to debt freedom? What steps did you take to minimize your footprint? How do you live in a way that is sustainable? What are you awakening to? Sound off! I want to hear what you have to say!