Tag Archives: poverty

autumn flotsam
Each week I share Rob Brezsny’s weekly astrology report for our signs with a friend of mine. Mine for this coming week is:

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Here’s your assignment: Get more organized and purposeful about having fun. Think harder about what makes you feel good, and plan more aggressively to bring those feel-good experiences into your life. In offering these prescriptions, I’m not advocating irresponsible hedonism. Not at all. In my view, you will become a better servant of those you care about by boosting your commitment to pleasure. You will carry out your duties with more aplomb and effectiveness. Raising your joy quotient is actually a formula for becoming a better human being.

I’m not in a very good place, right now, although it varies greatly from moment to moment. My own vacillation is driving me a little nuts. Or a lot. I guess it depends mostly upon who’s looking… or when. ::smile::

pretzel_traypretzelsCU

Gabriel made home made pretzels yesterday. I love the smell of yeast, which in turn reminds me of the yeast-risen doughs my mom used to make some of her pastries with (one favourite was an apple pastry, called almàs pite in Hungarian).

 

The sunsets have been gloriously beautiful. I didn’t get an email last night requesting that I show up to any last-minute temporary assignment, so guess I won’t be working today.

Maybe I’ll actually stick my nose outdoors. On second thought, I’ll absolutely have to stick my nose outdoors because I must run some errands, deposit the cheque I received for my work from last week, most of which will be vaporized on last month’s cellphone bill and food. I’m not quite sure yet in which proportion that will be – there won’t be enough to pay the whole bill and have enough for food. The money will get portioned out so that each area is a little, but not entirely, satisfied. I can’t allow myself to dwell much on the other bills that are coming in and stacking up like planes on a runway.

I never thought I’d ever reach this level of financial instability. I mean… I’ve never been one of those financially savvy people – ever – but when there was enough I would manage decently well. I know how to tighten a belt with the best of them. I also know just how much I am missing, having been fortunate enough to indulge in many things that are so far out of my reach at the moment that I can’t even entertain thinking about them. They get pushed out just as quickly as they come. Anything in the “it would be nice to have, but…” category. Certainly anything in the “I can make this at home myself, but…” category. (I’m definitely making at home everything that is necessary and humanly possible to make at home.)

I’m blaming myself for this tactical error much of the time…
for waiting to act upon getting another job (as though a perfect one would present itself like some kind of manna offering from the heavens)…
for waiting to try to see about shifting into another industry area…
for wasting precious time that I wiled away because I was incapable of making any choices, especially of the good kind.

I can say the same about my handling of money. I could have tightened the belt another notch; put even a tiny bit aside to compensate for the not enough that I now have.

I needle myself with worry. It takes the joy out of things, even the good stuff. So, essentially, this week’s astrology pep talk presents me with yet another growth opportunity, a challenge I’m not entirely sure I can live up to.

Mostly, my imagination has taken me to some pretty grim places. Some days I imagine that I’ll be stricken down with an as yet to be identified ailment of the terminal kind. I mourn my impending passing and imagine (to some extent) the relief of no longer having to worry about anything… about leaving behind things undone but being at peace with all of that, and getting to the place of “good enough” when the final moment comes.

Some days I think that I’ll be dragging this painful process out until the bitter end… until something shifts (in a way I could never have imagined because otherwise it wouldn’t come as a complete and utter surprise at the very moment when I’ve run out of ideas).

Some days I just enjoy the moments, as they come… like the musical clanking of the pipes in the forced air heating ducts in the Sun Tower building, or its beautiful frosted windows initialed with a “W”… like the swish of wind that briskly gathers up and ushers dried leaves off of tree limbs, lifting them high into the air and then letting them land askew, in random but perfectly beautiful mayhem, on the back balcony.

It’s on the days when I am at my lowest – and I express my alarm about things to those around me – that I most rue hearing “you’ll find something”. I know the intention is to reassure; it feels anything but. Dismissive rather than what I’m sure is intended as hopeful and bolstering. On those days my optimism levels are anemic, amnesiac.

I don’t know why I keep writing here. I guess in this place of not feeling heard, I may as well voice myself in a familiar place. Sort of like yelling at the edge of a precipice to hear the echo of one’s voice speak back. At the very least it makes me feel just a little less silent, a little less alone with what feels like the weight of the world on my shoulders.

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the anatomy of scarcity

View from Sun Tower

(view of Vancouver from the Sun Tower)

Scarcity. What a compelling topic. It’s been part of my way of life for as long as I can remember, all the way back to childhood. Something was always missing and that feeling of “not enough” an inherent part of every one of my waking moments to a greater or lesser extent.

Now moreso, since I’ve been without work and have not found a replacement job to date.

I thought that somehow I could manage to shift from one industry to another by sheer force of will and transferable skills. Apparently thirty years in one area, despite there being an overlap in skill set and an accumulation of many other (applicable) skills throughout the course of these many years, is not sufficiently convincing enough for someone to hire me into untested areas. The only way I can make the shift is by getting more training and/or going it on my own somehow. Both, I suspect.

I thought all of this free time would enable me to be creative, that I would take advantage of it to get things done that I’ve always wanted to do.

I even warned a co-worker who had been laid-off a few weeks prior to me to stay focused on the gift of time rather than on the state of worry that being without a job invariably puts us into.

Turns out that money really does make the world go round and that I can’t do much without more of it, that worry over finances summarily blocks the places where my creativity lives and that on top of blocking creativity, it also seriously limits my cognitive ability to think outside the box… so creative thinking not just in creative terms but also in practical terms, is also stunted.

I’ve been reading Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir.  (If you feel moved to purchase the book, I would be immensely grateful if you use my link to purchase it.. it adds a few pennies into my Amazon Associates fund – thanks in advance.)

The book raises some interesting points on how scarcity in its various forms affects our ability to work through the lack, ostensibly affecting us in all areas of our lives not just the ones where the scarcity occurs. Essentially, if one is experiencing scarcity in one area, it is likely to diminish our cognitive ability to find a workable solution to resolve the lack. So lack perpetuates lack and degrades our ability to figure out a way in which to overcome it.

That’s huge, in my opinion. It also is very much in line with my own experiences, and speaks to the very large epidemic that is sweeping the poor and quickly declining middle classes. We are in a bind and seemingly incapable of coming up with viable solutions. How did the human race manage to survive for millions of years and yet become so paralyzed and incapable of finding a good resolution to its most pressing current issues?

These days basic survival is on my mind. Shelter. Food. Bus fare so that I can travel to interviews or temporary assignments. There is very little wiggle room and it is quickly diminishing to even less. I think it is difficult for those who are not faced with these issues to fully understand their implications.

The book promises to provide “simple suggestions that just might change the way you live”. While I am creeping through the first chapters – the writing style, though informative, is a little stilted – I hope that these suggestions will provide the change that will shift this life-long rut I’ve found myself in.

If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts, both on the topic and the usefulness of the book.

Love,
Adriane xo