Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wealthy or Well-being?

As we sit in the aftermath of the 2008 financial meltdown, the reality of $1.3 trillion dollars no longer circulating in our economy has become to hit home everywhere. Practically every state in the country is faced with deficits and budget shortfalls requiring cutbacks in state services, education, health care, police and fire.

Ironically however, Wall St. investment firms continue to hand out massive, multi-million dollar bonuses to its staff while teachers are laid off and communities around the country see the lives of their children being impacted. Yet, there are no protests anywhere. Somehow, we've come to accept that this massive accumulation of wealth by a small group of people is normal now and but for the opportunity to be in their shoes, we don't begrudge them the right to be where they are.

How did we get so out of balance? When did wealthy overtake everything else in importance? When did financial wealth become more important than well-being?

I recently had a discussion with a man approaching his 60's who is now actively engaged in his well-being every day. Yet, as he said, he spent most of his life--until almost 50, focused only on being wealthy. And he did accumulate great wealth--but at the expense of his family, his community, and his health. Only after he'd accumulated more than he could possibly know what to do with, did he stop and when he stopped--he discovered he had no idea how to live life.

As he said, "I didn't know there was any other option than to put my nose to the grindstone and make lots of money--because that was the ticket to happiness. Then I got lots of money and was trapped by it because it had prevented me from really participating in life--people, relationships, connection to the earth--all of what I now consider important. But I was totally unaware that there was even another option. I'm angry about that--now that I can see the difference between wealthy and well-being, I'd take well-being any day."

And I think that has become true of so many people--especially those trapped in the Wall St. mania of 'wealthy at all costs". We've traded wealthy for well-being and in doing so are creating a country that's lost connection with what is truly important. Our well-being is being decimated as we close schools, leave millions unemployed, watch our earth being destroyed in the pursuit of ever-greater wealth.

Wealthy or Well-being? Its a choice. In Life Puzzle terms--wealthy is the 0-5 unconscious, well-being is 6-10 proactive, conscious, whole life making. Which do you choose?

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