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From Economic Enema To Spiritual Rx
by Adele Azar-Rucquoi

We are in a time of frightening disruption. Jobs are being cut, salaries slashed, mortgages foreclosed. Fear runs rampant. What's next? Is there any possible truth to be found for ourselve in all the mess, anything at all positive in our deepening economic trauma? My friend Pam advises, "Everyone else is doing it: put your own spin on this crisis."

Well, here's my take and the way I see it: money was created to allow people to communicate in the process of exchanging goods. As in "community". Money is given as symbol and even instrument of our dependence on one other --and yes, on a Divine Being as we Americans allow on every bill and coin. Money was created to bring out the best in us: the selfless, the generous, the holy.

The manifest greed in today's corporate culture is something else again. That was never in the cards.

I remember my parents' talking about the brutal Great Depression of the thirties, when work was nonexistent, goods scarce, and people wiled away hours standing in bread lines. But with their Greek Orthodox faith, they were also led to recognize more deeply their dependence on God. Perhaps it's time again to get on our knees and find that inner peace that "surpasses all understanding."

Consider the lilies of the field. They neither toil nor spin.
Yet your heavenly Father sees them and provides for them.
Will He not do the same for you?

Dad moved to Florida to begin a new economic life. That Great Depression brought him back to basics. He was a caregiver of small coins, and I think his saving spirit is his best gift to me. If there is anything he taught me it was always to save a part of whatever money flowed into my life. If I made ten dollars a week Daddy urged me to think of it as only eight dollars, and put away the other two.

They had no credit cards. As a country we do --- to a truly noxious degree. That plastic can suffocate our connection to God, causing us to forget basic human values and how it is to really be with one another. Too many of us feel we never have enough. Instead of hoping to keep up with the Joneses maybe what's needed is to pray for the Joneses, as we reverse our own urgency to acquire, and set about consciously to scale down.

In a discussion from a spiritual mentor, he suggested that in this downturn, people would have more time to spend with their kids. Forget the two-salary household. Explore other aspects of life than the compulsion to make more money. That in itself would be a major step forward."

Undoubtedly, there will be inner and outer suffering, confusion, and piles of anger. Disobeying this advertising world so bent on forcing more goods on us, as well as letting go our culturally innate drive always for more is the kind of separation that's "bound to draw blood".

Feeling my own pain from my falling stock portfolio, I also know from past experience that what's ahead will certainly be rebirth and spiritual enlightenment. Perhaps, without beating up on myself, what I need is to reflect on that cleansing virtue of detachment. Perhaps I haven't trusted God enough.

Speaking of cleansing, it was my husband who pointedly tagged this a time of economic enema, a slightly weird image leaving little doubt about just how much we're now called to expel the material toxicity in our culture. I'm not these possessions that have my name on them.

This Sunday morning with my coffee, I sit outside alone and hear the soft, distant pealing of church bells, calming and merciful. "Remember . . . ", they beckon. I hear them as a call to visit a new place, maybe even a desert place, where all we have is God. Would that be so fatal? Aren't we being called to the place of so much more abundance than our mere savings in the bank and the roomy house we inhabit. Aren't we being called to be here for one another? And to believe that we are created for success in degrees undreamed of? And yes, that money too will come --- in its own time.

--Meandering$: Where Spirit & Money Find Each Other, by Adele Azar-Rucquoi, The Sanford Herald, Sanford, FL, Oct 11, 2008

Noted Spiritual writer and motivational speaker, Adele Azar-Rucquoi is the author of "Money As Sacrament, Finding the Sacred in Money, A Book For Women". In her weekly column at her hometown Florida newspaper, as in her life-changing workshops, she helps women & men, wealthy & poor, uncover a holy and healthy relationship with themselves and with their money.

Published: Dec 11,2008 14:35
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