Economy and Environment Conspire to Change Us for the Better

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It seems to me that the environment and the economy are conspiring to force us to change…for the better.

One man from Hong Kong told me the air has been so clear lately…because so many factories have closed down in China.

An ethnography professor studying the effects of You Tube on society (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPAO-lZ4_hU) says that people are reaching out for connection and community, but that we’ve all become such individuals, it is increasingly difficult to find.

The environment has been encouraging us to grow our own vegetables, ride our bicycles, use solar power, and recycle. And the economy may be forcing us to do this by sharing expenses and resources by moving in with family members or friends.

Our choice of Barack Obama as our new president shows that we as a nation (and as a global village, if all the Obama parties thrown in Sri Lanka are any indication) feel the old ways no longer serve us and we’re ready to step together into a new era.

As humans, we generally resist change. We don’t love it. It scares us. We like routine…at least until it bores us. But we can learn from the popularity of “What the Bleep” and “The Secret” that we affect our reality, and the world around us, with our thoughts and our choices. So let’s not move forward with fear, but with the excitement of someone about to embark upon an exciting journey.

Let’s see the economic shift as a way to bring us together, and to be creative about finding more meaningful, connected and sustainable ways of accomplishing our goals.

Let’s see the environment as a beloved part of us that we must learn to nurture and appreciate again, like our own inner child.

Let’s make “Follow Your Bliss”– Joseph Campbell’s advice after years of studying the world’s religions and mythologies—the basis for our choices. And where our bliss truly comes from may be overlooked sources such as an abundance of time, connections with people, and a return to the earth and environment (whether that means going to the park or the beach, starting a garden, or camping in a foreign landscape).

Another thing we can do as we move into this new phase is to really consider the cliche “making the world a better place” with our every move. We can buy products that were made ethically, and environmentally, that support indigenous communities or give a portion to charity. We can take volunteer vacations that help improve others’ horizons while expanding our own.

As the New Year approaches, perhaps we can make our resolutions about taking less and giving more, appreciating all that we’ve got and all that we can share, and making conscious choices that support our ideals, thereby creating a 2009 that we can all be proud of.

May your new year be one of abundance, joy and pure bliss!

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