“Economic melt down.” The words have been reverberating for more than a month now. When it all began, I went right back to the amusement park in my mind, but I ended up taking the Roller Coaster from Hell. Come to find out, I wasn’t alone there.
“The mind is a place unto itself. It can make a hell of a heaven or a heaven of a hell,” John Milton said. The news of the last week, as well as the month before, has placed a whole lot of folks in the latter, direct from the thrill ride of the election ups and downs, regardless of which candidate they favored.
As in any crisis, my first response was to think of myself. Shameless ego. First question: So what does this mean to my life? I noticed the second thing I did was to envision my family and loved ones with nothing. Very uplifting. Whole lives in the gutter. Pain and helplessness. This image soon dissolved, fading into photos of soup lines in the Depression. Grapes of Wrath. Superimposed with the faces of everyone I know and love and millions I don’t know but might love. In a new technicolor release. Twenty-first century hell.
Now I’m not like one of my client, who “lost almost a million” in the last months. But I’m also in a more comfortable situation that a friend who couldn’t make her bills this month because her unemployment check was tied up in the clogged system. I’m somewhere in the middle, with a few investments that have lost value.
So at last I gulped, looked at my statements, and gasped. 20% of my savings were “gone.” What to do?
I tried a little of everything that has never worked before. I overate. When that didn’t work, I went on a home shopping spree with my catalogues. Laying in clothes for the Big Depression. Fortunately I decided not to picked up the phone until I’d slept on it.
The next morning I wrote in my journal, trying to get a clue about what was going on.
I had two realizations:
I was believing that I had lost money that I had never seen. How did I know it EVER existed?
Second, why was I saving that money? To have security and peace at retirement. It occurred to me that I was already almost there. So why not go there directly? Take a shortcut.
How to do that? By noticing the thoughts that would take me straight to Hell. Thoughts like “there’s not enough,” when I sit at a table full of food. THAT thought has only brought me extra pounds in the past, which hasn’t brought any peace or security that I’ve noticed.
Would believing that there’s not enough cause me to work harder for others less fortunate? I asked myself. No. What I notice is that I have more energy to give when I’m less weighted down–by thoughts or pounds.
I began to notice a clear shift in my stress level already, simply with the realization I had a choice. It was good to know that I could skip the part in between and just decide to have a happy life. It occurred to me that the decisions I would about what to do with my savings might actually have more clarity than if I were making them while miserable.
When I got up to start the day I felt pounds lighter. Even though all I’d lost were some expendable thoughts.
Or maybe I’d just melted UP.