Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Currency That Is Not Money

     Don't get me wrong.  I have nothing against money.  I like it and use it happily.  
     Money is just a symbol of energy, one that can be used honestly or not.
     I'm reminded of some of Mark Twain's stories.  There was a pattern to them.  Two or three knaves would come to town and trick the innocent villagers--we'll call them fools, meaning no disrespect--out of their hard earned savings, offering health or heaven, the two immortalities for which any of us will trade our life's work.
     There is another currency, and that is community.  By community I don't mean a structured "intentional" community, though those can be done, honestly or not.  I mean the more fluid set of connections available to us all in a variety of circumstances, whether inherited where we have stayed put or created where we have wandered and settled.  
     In these difficult financial times, it is good to remember that less than a hundred years ago people didn't use money as their primary means of survival.  They used their farms, on which they could take care of themselves, and they used cooperation, helping one another at harvest and through the winter.  As an example, my parents and aunts and uncles spent a week every November hunting deer in northwestern Maine.  They were good hunters and they came home with their quota of deer, which the uncles dressed and the aunts packed in freezer paper, a box to go home with every family.
     I'm not suggesting we all take up deer hunting, although deer have overrun Connecticut to such an extent that here hunting is a choice for those so inclined.
     I'm talking about that other less tangible currency, trust and mutual help among neighbors, something to cherish and preserve if you have it, or, if you've been going it alone, something to create with your own offers of assistance to others.  
     Don't let an economic downturn distress you.  It will be hardest on those who have depended too much on others to create work for them.  You CAN make money.  You CAN create paying work for yourself.  More important, you can create a caring community right where you are by inquiring about your neighbors and offering your help.  It's okay to pick and choose.  I'm not suggesting you try to help those who are already dedicated to failure.  Simply, among your friends and neighbors, find the ones who can use your help to get themselves stable.  Helping these is like putting money in the bank, for they will value you and help you when you need it.
     Don't wait until your own need is severe to begin building trust.  Do it now while you have energy to spare.  Here are some ways:  
     1) Get to know your immediate neighbors, choose those who want to win and make mutual agreements about how to support one another.  
     2)  Find a good group that is already helping and pitch in.  Become part of the team.  As an example, check out Plenty at www.thefarm.org
     3)  Check on the members of your family, decide which ones are interested in winning, and help any who need help.
     4) If you are interested in permaculture villages or ecovillages, look these up and learn how they work.  Go to www.thefarm.org
     5)  Help children.  They are our future.  For resources for parents and those interested in improving the lives of children

 Click Here!    

     There are many ways to create community.  Common to all of them is becoming known as someone who can be counted upon.  

     Ask me questions or let me know how it goes.  tjworks09@live.com

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