Have you ever felt like the dove that left Noah’s Ark in search of dry land only to find more sea than ever and nowhere to land? Or perhaps you have been valiantly resisting the urge to bail out during all the disastrous news because you are determined to avoid buying high and selling low. And just when you were thinking it couldn’t get any worse…
your car needs replacing, or
a major system breaks down in your house, or
your kids want you to finance another “mistake” they made, and
you are worried about how to make ends meet, either immediately or in the future.
The earthquakes in our financial systems don’t seem to be over yet – large forces continue to collide while each of us feels like ‘collateral damage’.
So where is the good news?
Frankly, I don’t know. I do not have enough economic knowledge to know if the world governments have made the right decisions recently. But I do know psychology and mass psychology.
And every fibre of my body is telling me not to go with the flow! Not to buy into the doom and gloom. Not to panic.
What to do instead?
As you probably realize, it isn’t enough simply to “not panic”, without having a strategy. In fact, this is a great time to check where you revenue goes and how you spend your money. And most importantly where you put your mental and emotional energy.
The big questions are around how we focus or don’t. Recently I relooked at where I spend money. Then a friend and I were sharing about our lives, our businesses etc. She said you are spending what??? You have what?? Why are you doing that?
Great questions. Why was I forking out lots of money on systems I don’t really need? I reorganized and reallocated my financial budget and cut out equipment and services we don’t need. I outsourced things we don’t want to do. And I relooked at potential revenue streams. Refocused and redirected.
Okay it was helpful. But that alone won’t help anyone thrive during the upheavals and downheavals.
Then I looked inside my head. Well, that was an experience. It was like wandering around an abandoned basement where everyone had left their treasures and their junk, in no particular order. Lots of things to catch my interest; all distracting.
So during this downheaval in the external world, I decided to clean up my internal world. What do I think about in the mental and emotional space from here to there? It turns out I’ve been thinking about thousands of things per minute and then I wonder why I wasn’t focusing on the things that matter.
No more. Enough. Basta! Breathe, get centered, ask yourself to focus on your breathing entering and leaving your body and pay attention to your insides. Where are you flowing? Blocked? Full? Empty? Notice your thoughts. Notice that you can unwind and relax your body, while breathing in and out and shake out the kinks. And now notice as you center your body and even out your breathing, you feel different…… better…… calmer…… more serene…… present.
I have been doing this several times a day as a 1st step to clear some space in my internal world.
Then I began to ask the big questions, waiting a long time between each one and being attentive to all your internal signals:
What IS important?……
What IS important to you?……
What is important about that?……
Why is that important?……
How will I know?……
And of course, this is where it got interesting. While I still don’t yet know what all the answers are, my whole internal reality is shifting. I’m feeling clearer, more energetic, more connected. More focused on the key activities that are moving me in a good direction. And that basement in my head has a lot less junk in it.
And the external downheaval doesn’t feel so insurmountable. In fact I know where the dry land is. Inside me. “You have all the resources you need, don’t you?” Breathe and notice……
Shelle Rose Charvet,
Much of my long career has been spent in the area of business (process) systems design and optimization and the use of computer-based technologies to automate them. One thing I have observed from “inside theses systems” is that the stupendous advances in computer technology have allowed human beings to develop incredibly complex systems at very low cost. And humanity loves to do this and has done just that. While greed and other such human foibloes have greatly contirbuted to the current financial crises, complexity has also played a huge role. Simply put, we have developed such incredibly complex financial systems that humanity has not been able to control them properly. In one of the latest Fortune magazien articles about “the 55 trillion (yes, Trillion!) dollar time bomb” they speak to the almost totally uncontrolled and unregulated world of risk aversion instruments out there that is perhaps the next great disaster.
Beautifully put! Thanks for the gift of your thinking!
Thanks for your permission to share this (with full attribution of course) with my network.
I seldom pass things on as I feel they are often an intrusion on my part but this is something of real value.
I read your Upheavals and Downheavals piece Shelle and may I say that it was a really thought provoking yet comforting piece of writing. It really allowed me to find a way through these turbulent times and take into consideration where my mental and emotional energy is currently – THANK YOU!
Thanks for your piece today, Shelle. Living in the hyperbolic capital of the known universe, the USA, I have somehow remained largely calm about my personal outlook. I won’t have time for the kind of internal housekeeping you’re doing till after the Nov. 4 election, as I’m a campaign manager for a State House candidate. I have, though, already begun making plans for it- getting my cleaning supplies in order!
Best wishes in your transformation. I include a quote from Daisaku Ikeda, the president of SGI (the international lay Buddhist organization, of which I’m a member).
“Intellect will play a very important role in the coming age. By intellect I mean refined wisdom, clear reasoning, profound philosophy and broad-ranging knowledge. We are entering an age when people will develop their intelligence and wisdom, infusing society with their new outlook.”
I think we got into this crisis because the towards didn’t listen to the away froms.
The dreamers ignored the critics.
The President said: “Let’s put everyone in a home” and the options-difference people got busy creating loan packages that would do just that. But no one was managing the risk.
Everyone seems to forget that seemingly simple solutions have first, second, third, and fourth order consequences that no one can divine.
While the media was moaning over the collapse of major banks, Bank of America and Wells Fargo were buying distressed banks. Somebody must have been doing something right. There must have been some risk management at work in these two companies to have the leverage to buy other banks.
Every business needs a balance of achievers and problem solvers; innovators and improvers. Too much of either one often creates blindspots that threaten even the best businesses.
There must be some opportunities out there…Warren Buffett is buying.
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Thank you for this. I really appreciate the words of wisdom in these chaotic times.
Thanks for this insightful message, Shelle. I’ve been kind of taking the same approach myself and feeling quite encouraged about it. Anyway, I’m definitely not taking part in the doom and gloom, and I’m glad you’re not either!
I’m a big fan of your work Shelle and this article is right at the top. Last week, at the beginning of the market fall, I got sucked in for 72 hours. I NEVER felt so miserable in my life. Then I started to do similar to what you describe. I have bounced back, am in the attraction mode again and find this article to be wonderful support. Your metaphors are spot on and all is as you say with such an approach: that basement in the head is clearer now! Thank you so much for this. Absolutely uplifting.