Daring to Dream a Better Economy

Daring to Dream a New Economy When Right Now Things May Be Awful

Right now, people I know are really hurting financially. Here are some examples, all with changed names.

After two years, Joan and David finally sold their house in the town where they used to live, so they could pay expenses in a new location that works better for the family, but they lost a lot on the transaction. To qualify for a mortgage again, they will need to create a bigger down payment and larger reserve fund than they ever imagined.

Jake’s carefully planned retirement is falling apart. His new part-time employer went into bankruptcy. The value of his 401k has dropped drastically.  A widower with grown children, Jake can’t sell the big house he doesn’t need and buy something smaller, more affordable and nearer the grandchildren.

Louisa hasn’t found a job in spite of a great track record and a year of almost full-time, creative job-hunting. Like many late-life job-hunters, Louisa also faces the challenge of having most of her experience in a dying industry.

Tom’s successful business is in danger of failing in spite of cost-cutting and voluntary cutbacks of hours and benefits by all staff. If Tom fails, there go the jobs of 22 people, all of whom Tom knows and respects, and none of who can afford to be without a job.

Of all these people, only Joan and David have health insurance at a rate they can afford.

Both assessing current reality and visioning a richer one require a lot of faith, self-respect and other gifts that can easily become battered by financial and other challenges. Plus, the world is filled with a lot of temptations to give up, hang out with pessimists, deny pain, and/or base your plan of action on such theories as “someone needs to rescue me.”

The process of focusing and building visions for life and work has been so fascinating to me that I made it the focus of a master’s degree in 1998. Only over the past few years, however, have I really appreciated the concept of current reality, though I had learned it in a workshop in the mid-1980s designed by Robert Fritz, author of The Path of Least Resistance, Creating, Your Life as Art, and other great books.

Current reality affirms that while certain things never change, like all of us are born and all of us die, reality is always changing. E.g., once I had decades to build a secure retirement, now my retirement-income building window is narrowing fast. Once my vision for what is possible was limited by fear or lack of experience; now it is sharper and richer, based in fewer illusions and increased experience.

Changing reality brings new opportunities as well as new challenges. Creativity loves the fertile ground of challenge. People coming together in common need and caring can be enormously resourceful. Out of new needs and new inventions come new jobs and new markets.

So here’s the big challenge for all of us: to dare to dream, individually and as a whole, long before we have any idea how to manifest the dream. Here are a few capsules of current reality in contrast to a vision. Note that each vision has some nice, juicy details to give your creative mind something to play and work with.

Right now, I am out of work. I’m running out of money, and it’s hard to find the energy to look for a job when sometimes, all I want to do is crawl into bed with the covers up over my head. I envision the day when I say thank you to all the people who have helped me find satisfying new work. I imagine the joy of working in a new job where I am treated with respect as I do tasks that stretch my skills and use my experience purposefully.

Right now, I am bankrupt or near bankruptcy. The only assets I recognize are my skills, my compassion, my track record of resiliency, and the willingness to do whatever I can do to improve my situation. As I recognize more and more gifts in myself, I also discover more internal gifts and worldly allies. I envision myself on my feet again financially. I see my heart more open, my creativity more courageous.

Right now, I earn sufficient income, but at the expense of my personal and family life and sometimes in opposition to my values. Sometimes I am so exhausted at the end of the day that I don’t sleep well and I almost never have a full day off. I envision earning sufficient income with deep integrity. I see myself having time and energy for personal and family life. I envision helping my children develop better values about money. I envision having time and energy to mentor at-risk youth.

Hopefully this helps you to continue to enrich and hone your vision for a better financial future. Keep playing with it, and feel free to share what you are discovering here or elsewhere.

Again, a blessing to edit if you wish: May I see more clearly current reality: warts, gifts, faults, challenges and all. May I be again like a child, awestruck by the wonder of the universe, including my own imagination and other visionary potentials.

Come back real soon with your own insights and inspiration, Pat McHenry Sullivan

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