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As the saying goes, back in the day there used to be a threat, “be careful or you’ll wind up living in a van down by the river.” Today there is a dream, a hope for retirement, wanting to be able to, “live in a van down by the river.” The only thing different between those two visions is perspective, spiritual health, freedom, attitude, all things money can’t buy. One is a reward, the other a punishment, but it’s the same place, the same destination, just different mindsets that send you there, different attitudes once you arrive.

Also, it really is better if your van actually runs and has a heater, but over all the analogy still stands. Our family sometimes jokes about how we people will plan a vacation, a great escape, a reward for all our hard work, and then go camping, go live without utilities, ditch our comfortable bed, and sleep on the ground. There is no real material difference between this activity and just being a hobo.

Like many others, I am busy lamenting the cultural loss of objective reality, the way everything, including our very own biology is now being defined as totally subjective. It is unstable ground and makes you wonder what you can count on, if anything. That said however, I am constantly reminded about how subjective our world’s really are. We shape so much of our experience through our own perspective.

One man’s punishment is another man’s vacation.

One of the joys of separating yourself from the culture around you, just a wee bit, and letting go of the need for people favor and approval, is a keen awareness of how much of our world is just based on a mutually agreed upon delusion. The “things” we believe rule over us aren’t really things at all, they are mostly lies. Even money, perhaps especially money. I’ve taken to declaring money isn’t real. Nope, it’s just a grand conspiracy theory. In the purist sense, it really isn’t real. It’s paper we have assigned value to. Materially it isn’t even very good paper, and as we advance and allegedly progress, we’re making everything digital and even doing away with the paper itself.

Don’t get me wrong here, money itself is not the root of all evil, but rather our love for it is. Even I have said things in my life, like, “I know, but I need the money.” This is unhealthy and doesn’t spark joy in my spirit, but I need the money. Of course, once you have the money, you decide to buy something and now you’re trapped because you need to make more money to maintain it. Don’t even get me started about trying to keep up with the Joneses or thinking you can buy social favor. By the way that actually works somewhat! I can’t tell you how much boorish behavior is tolerated simply because, “yes, but they have money.”

Since covid arrived, I’ve really had to take a hard look at my own relationship with money. A bit comical, those who know me would probably say, what relationship? Pretty sure you don’t have any! But I mean I had a part time insignificant job with no benefits and I was pressured to inject an experimental substance into my system or you can’t work here and we won’t like you anymore. Wow, I had built an idol to a silly little job and created some very one sided relationships with people who didn’t respect me at all. It was a huge revelation.

That’s all, that’s the whole post. I just want to put some thoughts out there about how our spiritual health, the well being of our families, being true to our values and beliefs are so much more important than chasing after whatever the corporate/political culture seems to value.