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Your Charmed Life

Everybody else has a bailout plan for the economic woes facing our country and the world, so I figured I could come up with one, too.

My plan isn’t national and political; it’s personal and spiritual. I started formulating these ideas in late October when I was invited to Iceland to inspire people there in face of their nation’s economic collapse. I’ve honed then some since, so you’re getting the most up-to-date version. I used a slight variation on these yesterday when I spoke at Unity Church of Delray Beach (Florida), and I’m writing to you from the charming “main drag” of Delray, inhaling ocean air and feeling very grateful for being alive on earth right this minute.

The Plan

1. Live richly. You can live richly on just about any amount of money. When I was a single mom living in a little cabin in the MIssouri Ozarks without much income, I found ways for my daughter and me to live richly. We belonged to a food coop and got high-quality groceries at a deep discount. The library gave us the wisdom of the ages. We even got facials and manicures for a song at the local beauty school. My daughter tells me now that she never knew we were poor. That’s because we weren’t. As the late film producer Mike Todd once said, “I’ve been broke, but I’ve never been poor.”

2. Watch your words. Words are powerful. Why else do you think the guy who made off with $50 million of other people’s money is named Made-Off? But seriously: watch out for saying things like “I can’t afford it,” or “I hear about all these layoffs and I know I’ll be next.” Use your words to uplift yourself and others — now more than ever.

3. Keep good company. Downers will bring you down. Avoid the naysayers as much as you can. If you work with a naysayer (or sleep with one), invite enough positive people into your life to offset their negativity. I talk with a beautiful positive person every single morning, the Broadway and opera singer, Sherry Boone. When I say, “How are you?” she says, “Blessed and highly favored.” And she even says it on what looks like a “bad day.” Also, choose good company when you turn on the TV: too much woe-is-us news just goes into your psyche and impedes the brilliant ideas you could come up with for making things better.

4. Practice tithing. Tithing is giving 10 percent of your income to the people and organizations that give you your spiritual nourishment, and/or to those causes that you believe are doing the work of God (Goddess, Allah, Higher Power, whatever) on earth. Tithing not only enriches the world, but it guarantees your own prosperity in a way that is mystical, magical, and unerring. Read anything by Catherine Ponder for more details.

5. Take really good care of your money. In other words, clean up your financial life. Figure out a way to live debt-free. A life-saving book to help you out is How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt, and Live Prosperously, by Jerrold Mundis. Money is a gift from God, like everything else. Value it, along with all your other gifts — your body, your talents, your loved ones, and the tiny joys in this deliciously imperfect day.

6. Look for good (God) in everything.  Of course things can happen to any of us that are scary, uncomfortable, and painful. Losing a job or a home can certainly be in this category. Even so, many, many times losses lead to greater good than we could possibly imagine. I wouldn’t be writing this blog (and writing books and speaking all over the place and being on TV and radio and having an altogether fabulous life) if I hadn’t once been fired.

I was pregnant with my daughter and working as an assistant editor for Quest Books (Theosophical Publishing House). I loved the job (Quest publishes beautiful, spiritual books) and I needed the job: my husband was working, but with a baby coming, we weren’t going to make ends meet on only his income. Just before I left on maternity leave, my boss called me in and said, “You are a brilliant writer and an excellent editor…” (I’m thinking, “We should have these  talks more often”), but she went on to say, “You are clerically incompetent. It may just be because you’re pregnant, but I can’t afford to have you back.”

I was devastated and embarrassed and afraid. But when my daughter was born and I fell in love with her at first sight, I was glad I wouldn’t be going back to work in six weeks, even though the lost income was looming large. But I found a part-time freelance job writing real estate ads (“Your dream home!” “Just a little TLC…” “This one won’t last!”) and started getting more magazine work. Within eight months, I was bringing in as much money as I had working outside the home. And I got to be with my daughter. And, even though I didn’t know it then, I was at the starting point of a long road leading to the amazing career and  life I have now.

Obviously, we have to be caring, compassionate, supportive, and helpful to anyone directly affected by the current economic situation, and if you yourself are directly affected, you need to be caring, compassionate, supportive, and helpful to yourself. At the same time, we have to hold in mind for ourselves and others, “This is not,” as a mentor of mine used to say, “the end of the story. It’s just a twist in the plot.” Hang in. Live richly. Watch your words. Keep good company. Practice tithing. Take good care of your money. And look for the good, the God if you will, in everything. It’s in there somewhere. 

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