Economic Recession = RebirthJanuary 7th, 2009 by John Wolfe
Though, I’m a huge advocate of being vigilant concerning where we place the majority of our attention, I also understand the importance of being aware of the current economic reality facing this nation. I’m not an economist, nor do I pretend to have the slightest grasp of fiscal expertise. But, perhaps I possess something else which qualifies me to write this post: I’ve had an experience with a situation that’s currently happening to many people. And, in my opinion, I represent a real world example of coming out the other side better off for having experienced it.
Seven and a half years ago, I was displaced from my job of almost a decade (along with roughly one thousand others) when my employer filed for bankruptcy. We were union; I was vested and building on a decent little pension, not to mention having amazing medical, dental and vision coverage. My hourly rate of pay was almost five times that of minimum wage (in 2001).
Due to the great benefits and the literal amount of blood sweat and tears I had invested in my position, I was devastated when our location was unable to escape a wave of closures that rocked the company. There were “rescue” buyout negotiations occurring all around us, yet we weren’t among those being saved.
Furthermore, our fate wasn’t strictly decided in a corporate boardroom. We were also at the mercy of a judge. He ruled in favor of allocating all of the funds earmarked for employee severance packages (mine was worth several thousand dollars) to two individuals brought in by the corporate office. They each cleaned up with close to a quarter of a million for “helping” the company stay afloat for an additional two or three months – so much for doing right by the employees who had helped sustain the company for years.
The weeks following my layoff, initially, were extremely dark and depressing, yet somewhere within the somber mood I recognized that the situation afforded me with a fantastic opportunity to begin anew. Though I had gained great experience from my job and could have probably found a position rather quickly in the same line of work, I realized I wasn’t being fulfilled by that form of employment. I also began to realize I wasn’t living up to my potential, based on my own natural abilities.
Sure, I was surviving, but I was no where near experiencing the feeling of thriving at work or in life. I wasn’t passionate about my choice of vocation, nor did I feel I was providing the type of benefit and service I was truly capable of providing. Deep down, I knew I wasn’t doing something that was important to me – making a major difference in people’s lives.
Though I always gave 110% during my shifts, my talents were being stifled by staying onboard. The company’s Chapter 11 issues couldn’t have come at a better time. The closures forced my hand into taking action. I had reached what I felt was the first major crossroads of my life and it was time for me to choose the path less taken; the one that existed just outside my proverbial comfort zones.
When we, as individuals or as a collective group, experience drastic changes like those accompanying a massive layoff or a nationwide recession, it’s always an opportunity for the individual, as well as the group, to rebirth and reinvent itself. And, while I’m sure there are a million and one surface reasons being put forth to explain why this economic recession has occurred; I believe none of these explanations address the core cause.
A surface issue is always the physical development of that which is brewing deeper within the psyche of an organism. In the case of a recession, the organism just happens to be an entire nation. Inner turmoil (be it consciously or subconsciously) always leads to the external manifestation of choices and options. It’s up to us as to how we choose to respond to the current situation facing this country. We can either consciously act or unconsciously react.
For years, the collective American psyche, predominantly, has selected external accumulation, status and achievement over internal happiness (a form of unconsciously reacting to social conditioning) or else has mistakenly confused these things with happiness. This mentality has helped usher in the all too common physical practice of short changing fellow human beings, in terms of services rendered, for a shoddy, often times overpriced and even unnecessary, end product or outcome.
The more we devalue our own existence through a gluttonous, achievement/status only mindset, whether as suppliers or consumers, we develop a belief in needing to acquire more and more of what we feel is an extremely limited set of resources. Not only are we potentially hurting others, but we are also hurting ourselves by living or functioning outside our means, spiritually and/or financially. As we begin to selfishly pursue and acquire more “things”, we simultaneously find more ways to cheat one another in order to continue acquiring even more.
Ultimately, a nationwide, financial downturn is actually society’s way of unconsciously restoring balance. On the surface it seems like an extremely horrible thing, but I believe there is absolutely a method to what seems like total madness.
Internally and emotionally speaking, I believe a financial crisis occurs because of a loss in faith – not faith in money – but faith in one another. When we no longer trust the majority of those that are providing their services, we become fearful and we constrict our energy flow. This energy flow can be represented in many ways, money being one of them. Unfortunately, some that are providing a true increase in life, through their services, may also be impacted along the way. However, I believe, they will weather the storm or even potentially thrive because they have made valuable service their priority. This is exactly why certain individuals thrived during the great depression. They didn’t excel because they were shrewd, they excelled because they were sincere in their pursuit of service.
It’s for good reason, during times of economic crisis, that people invariably bring themselves back to an awareness of only focusing on what truly matters, e.g. the necessities in life. As we get back to the basics and we focus on necessity, it naturally brings us to a better understanding of intrinsic value. This is what helps lead us to our rebirth and reinvention, if we can eventually see it in that manner.
When we zero in on what really matters (our relationship with our self, our families, our friendships, and our health) and we strip away the rest of the material fluff, we come back to a true understanding of what it means to be joyful for the sake of being joyful. This place of being happy and whole, for the sake of being is what allows us to consciously act instead of reacting to our current circumstances, whether we’re prospering or not.
As I have always stated in a large percentage of my posts – there is absolutely nothing wrong with being extremely wealthy or acquiring possessions. It’s when these things are pursued at the expense of developing our own amazing potential for being loving, joyful, peaceful beings (internally and externally) that we encounter an imbalance.
When we all find the means to channel these beautiful emotions, along with our relative resources and physical talents, into a way for sincerely providing valuable, worthwhile, uplifting service (a form of taking conscious action for the greater good), I believe economic recessions, on a grand scale, could be a thing of the past. Whether they become extinct or not, if you begin living more consciously and sincerely (acting instead of reacting) and you consistently provide and invest your resources in real service for others, you’ll weather any financial storm and even better, you’ll help others do the same.