A World Without Dollars, Euros, Yen, Etc…

This is something my husband and I talk about often.  What would it be like?  We never even thought so far as to imagine it until recently, and now we can’t seem to stop thinking about it; the absurdity of this system we have created for ourselves when the Creator gifted us with everything necessary for life in the first place.  Tonight we discussed the fact that we cannot exit this system, yet we don’t have to let it control our thinking.  We can seek to view the world through the lens of a different set of values – the one the Creator places on the world, not our money-based, sweat-striving, stressed-out-, fear-filled existence.  The simple word for this is faith, but what I have seen goes a little farther beyond faith.  Faith can be selfish, with its eyes trained on me and what I need and want.  I hear, “I trust God” usually in respect to how we want things to turn out favorably in our own situations.   But what if faith centered around the best good of others?  What if, our value system in life quantified itself in loving and valuing people, rather than getting and keeping what we have?

We are in a situation at the moment where we have to pay a mortgage on a property that is for sale, and it’s not showing, let alone selling.  I can pray, “PLEASE God, sell this house and save me this huge financial burden.”  OR I can pray, “God please let this house be a blessing to someone in any way you see fit regardless of the profit margin.”  The amazing thing was, my husband and I had this thought on the same day independently of one another.

The same thing applies to my job which I love and hate at the same time.  What if it’s not about the money?  Maybe lack was just the prompt to send me in a direction to learn something, meet someone, or be inspired?  But the money isn’t the point.  It never is, in the Creator’s paradigm. Because He did not invent this oppressive way to live.  We did.  He operates outside of it and our fear keeps us in it.

While I don’t think it’s necessary to reject the system in the material plane to be free from its clutches, I was fascinated to read a story of a man who did.  He has seen the same possibility in his mind, as we have, and acted on it.  I greatly admire his courage!  Read here about The Man Who Lives Without Money.  

After explaining what, how, and why, the article ends with this quote, which I thought was extremely insightful and right on point:

“Could we all live like this tomorrow? No. It would be a catastrophe, we are too addicted to both it and cheap energy, and have managed to build an entire global infrastructure around the abundance of both. But if we devolved decision making and re-localised down to communities of no larger than 150 people, then why not? For over 90 per cent of our time on this planet, a period when we lived much more ecologically, we lived without money. Now we are the only species to use it, probably because we are the species most out of touch with nature.”

My husband and I wonder how much positive change would be possible, if enough people woke up and decided enough was enough.  Some people believe that this will happen on a large scale.  Some are waiting for an apocalypse to set the world straight.  Maybe there will be some of both.   We have no idea how long we have to live, or how long any empire will last.  Feudal systems that seemed concrete have come and gone.  Legal slave trades have disappeared.  Looking at some bright moments in history can give hope that we are capable of better things.  I would like to believe so.

Advertisements

Tired Body Hyper Brain

I have been lying in bed for hours trying to sleep. I leave for night #4 of my working adventure in 3 hours. When I started a blog about being awake this wasn’t what I had in mind. But since my mind won’t stop talking to me I will share the voices in my head with you.

I applied for this job on an impulsive whim, never expecting to hear from them. But by the time of my interview, the whim had become more of a desperate need. But then in spite of the need, something else began to pull me in. Curiosity. How exactly do they pull it off? What is it like being a part of a huge team of people making history? Nevermind that I see the kind of future this “history” will create. But I could not have imagined the implications if I had not seen the beast with my own eyes. Now the beast is a thing of awe and wonder. Truly you cannot fail to marvel at its magnificence. And we live in happy symbiosis with it. It gives us what we want and we keep feeding it, and it grows bigger every day.

As I walk several miles a night, picking hundreds of products to ship out, I began to see the warehouse like a heart and body. The conveyer belts are blood vessels carrying plastic boxes away, loaded with merchandise. They return empty to be filled again. Over and over, 24 hours a day. Like blood in our cardiovascular system, picking up oxygen and being pumped out to the rest of the body, in a continuous cycle.

And I see the lifeblood of modern life. Stuff. Stuff upon stuff and then some more. And never is there enough. But our economy depends on the fact that we want it. We sell our sacred life to slavery to buy more.

1.2 million square feet, four stories high. 5 million products sent a week at the time of our holy month. That is the goal.

I came home this morning and ordered new insoles for my shoes, from my boss, on my phone

I sure hope I get my order by the time I go back on Friday.

Two more hours to try and sleep.

The Song of My People

It’s a funny quip I see on the internet here and there.  “Listen while I will sing you the song of my people.”  No, you don’t want ME to sing it, but there is one.  It has many different melodies but one rhythm.  It’s a heartbeat that remembers something long ago forgotten.

The last few months I’ve been reading much about Native American culture and thought.  One writer tried to explain about how much had been lost to them, yet at the same time there is a genetic memory still there that resonates with certain things; the land, a drum, a song, the smile and wisdom of an elder.

My people give very little thought to our origins.  We have adopted a young nation as our homeland, our ancestors having left theirs to come here and build a new life.  In that quest, they gradually dropped customs and languages that united them before.  But one thing remains.  Music.

The music that moves me the most deeply comes from the same part of the world as my ancestors.  It is a feeling of “home” and almost of heaven as well.  I don’t experience that too often.  I wonder if the Creator calls all the nations of the world through music?  Wouldn’t that be an amazing way to connect to Him and one another?  I really love the music from many cultures, and in that way I greatly value them too.  It’s hard to imagine people going to war when sharing this expression of our spirits.  I see heaven as a place where everyone is rejoicing in the distinct ways in which they were created, with the Creator.

These thoughts wandered in and out of my mind last night as the songs carried me into a spiritual place of an unknown dimension, but at the same time had my feet dancing on the earth.  A glimpse of light in spite of all that is dark in the world.

ImageImageImage

The Bottom Rung

Most of my life I have heard groaning about the economy.  I’ve seen it go up, and down, and my life has changed very little.  I’ve had no trouble finding jobs during downturns if I needed one.  In spite of my recent panic attack about having my back up against a financial wall and feeling like it was going to fall over on me, things have remained fairly steady.  We started out on the bottom rung of the social mobility ladder over 20 years ago as a family and haven’t moved up much.  We see the people reaching and grasping for that first hand hold on the bottom step, and we throw cracker crumbs down, but can’t really pull them up to the ladder for fear of falling down with them.  Even lifeguards have flotation devices so they don’t drown with those they try to help.  I want to do SO much more than we feel we are able.

In spite of how much Americans complain about the economy, we are so affluent that those who aren’t on board find it a very big challenge to get back into the mainstream of basic needs.  The homeless, aging, under-employed 20 somethings, single parents, and those with health issues (among many others) are at risk of getting caught in a cycle of dependency on others.  What people in these positions do in order to survive is often not even legal, like living in your car. We have laws against poverty.  Society doesn’t want to see or hear people who don’t look right or try to live where they cause an eyesore.   Here is what it takes to catch the bottom rung, in the event that you fall off the ladder, or are trying to gain access for the first time as a young adult.  Think of this as the pre-Dave Ramsey guide.

1.  An operational vehicle that is legal to drive, passing safety and emissions inspections, registered, and fully insured.  Don’t think about driving a junker that’s paid for.  Something about old cars – the engine lights just stay on, and the shop won’t even test it.  Add all that up.  Even without a car payment, it’s a huge expense.  If you are in shape and don’t live in an area that gets snow measured in feet, you might be able to get by without the car and buy a bicycle instead.

2.  A driver’s license.  All of the above, plus don’t let any tickets add up for any of the things on that list.  The fines are huge and the more tickets you get in my state, hundreds of dollars in surcharges will be added to your debt before you can legally drive and get to that job you need in order to pay the thing… oh wait.  Just hope you can find a bus that goes somewhere you can find a job.

3.  Fuel for the car.  We are so lucky right now the price has sunk to $3.19 a gallon here as of today.  My daughter who has no job yet, has to spend $30.00 round trip in her truck to go see a relative one hour away.  Another friend finally got a job so far away from her home that she went through an entire tank of gas in her minivan in three days.  At average gas prices (not like today’s) that is $400 a month just to get to work.  That’s 21% of her pay before payroll taxes.  But she has been unemployed so long, she will do it.

3.  A place to live.   On minimum wage you are making about $1100/month before taxes, if you get really lucky to find full time hours.  Unless you have a car, working two jobs will be even more tricky.  I know, those jobs were not intended to be a primary income.  But people have to start somewhere.  For those reaching for that first rung, it’s often the only option.

You can live in your car if you have to,  if you have made it this far.  One guy I know was so fortunate that a church let him park and sleep in their parking lot.  Once they even gave him a little food.   Someone else I know who is a bit messy and allows everything to collect in her vehicle, was questioned by a policeman after a routine traffic stop because he was suspicious she was living in her car, and told her that was against the law.

A friend of mine is paying $450/month to just rent a room in a house where only the Dalai Lama could remain at peace.  But it’s less than most apartments with utilities.  Our electric bill runs $300 in the peak season.  This area has lower housing costs than many places in the United States.  A basic 1 bedroom in a part of town where you don’t need a bodyguard runs about $500-600 plus electricity (which wouldn’t be as much as our house).

You can live in a tent for free like some people I know, but this comes with many complications which would require another post to explain.  You can also live in a shelter, but only if your working hours coordinate with theirs.   Like a car, housing is conducive to being employed, but hard to get unless you are.

4.  Health Care.  Don’t get sick.  Your job won’t have benefits and your state may have just rejected expanded Medicaid coverage for adults at your income level.  Of course you will be offered the opportunity to avoid further fines by purchasing subsidized insurance soon.  Add that to what you HAVE to pay for, just like your car insurance.  Yes, you should have thought about going into the insurance business.  You will have a hefty deductible, so still don’t get sick on your income, or have an accident.  We are extremely lucky to live in a county with top-notch, low-income health services that have been life-saving for us.

5. Cell Phone.  $30/month minimum.  You won’t get that job if people can’t call you back.

6.  Clothing, Toilet Paper, Food.  You can learn how to get clothes for free, and almost free.  Good clothes are easy to find in this trickle down system where people buy more than they can possibly use.  Especially if you are female.  No need to worry about clothing.  Yard sales and thrift stores will clothe you and furnish your kitchen.  Craig’s list and freecycle are also great ways to find free items.  I follow a blogger who Dumpster Dives.  Many treasures there for those not faint of heart with strong limbs.

Toilet paper is nice, but I have wondered about the $20/month we spend on it.  There are free and environmentally sound options.

As far as food goes, you like beans and potatoes right?  If you don’t know how to cook, it’s hard to beat the Dollar Menu at McDonald’s for a food budget, but you might not want to choose that option in light of #4.   I shop at two stores that consistently save me 40-50% without coupons.  Many people working low-paying jobs still qualify for food stamps.  Even a young, single 20-something I know without children managed to qualify when he lost his job (and is now moving back to mom’s house… again.)

These every-day expenses that people spend way too much on can be whittled way down and if you are off the bottom rung, you already have because you’ve had no choice.

Every Day Miracles

Looking back, there have been so many times when we could have fallen off the ladder.  The only reason we didn’t has been the generous help of family and friends in times of crisis.  Many people further up the ladder feel secure but they can fall too without warning.  There is no sure thing.  No way to predict life.  Mathematically speaking, we should not have made it so well this long.  Sometimes miracles have come in the form of an opportunity to earn, sometimes in a helping hand.   We have stigmas here about being poor, and in need of help.  Do you know anyone struggling to get to the first step?  Most people need a hand up or they have no hope.  People without hope do things that lessen their chances of ever getting out of the pit of poverty.

Yes, people have “issues” that keep them down, or got them there.  But even for someone who doesn’t appear to have any, it can still seem impossible.  I have a friend right now who is trying to be that hand to help up.  It might work, it might not, but just being willing makes you a Hope Dealer.

It’s good to live in an affluent society, even on the lower rungs.  But it also comes with a mindset that is often blind to the needs of others.  As long as this system is in place where money rules the world – we can focus on survival or compassion.  I choose the latter.  After my panic attacks have passed.

1239511_531970850221049_487421247_n

Facing the Brick Walls

Today I revisited a place I never wanted to go again since leaving many years ago.  We try to stay positive, not think about the cliff precipice we are walking along, and imagine a wide plane just around the corner where we won’t have to find a distraction for anxiety.  Most of the time it works.  Then one day it doesn’t.  You realize you can’t go any direction.

Our great American value system says there is always a way for those who are willing.  I mostly believe this.  Maybe I’m just not willing to go far enough.

I have sold (and continue to list) items of value and have sold quite a bit.  Most of what I own has no significant value.  In fact my TV and Entertainment center are so dated I can’t even give them away, although I would be happy to see them go.  The donation plasma center turned me down because my veins aren’t large enough to withstand their needles.  The real estate agent sent a message saying the first week of our listing only resulted in one showing, which means we are asking too much.  We missed the mark and the “New Listing” advantage.  And today I needed $46.00 for the county clerk to get documents for a low-income health coverage application, and I have less than that in my checking account.  I have no credit cards.  I am at that point where I know it’s not forever, but it feels pretty crappy in the moment.

I thought I would have at least one paycheck this month.  My husband thought he would have more work.

But hey, here is a squirrel.

Image

Yes, feeling better now.

I know it will all work out.  I am thankful for my amazing kids, a roof, clothing, health, food, and a car that starts.  No guarantee anything on that list will be there tomorrow like it is today, so I will be thankful.  Some days I get knocked down by the slightest breeze.  But tomorrow is a new day.

unSeriously

I had a great time this evening with my friend who was taking pictures for a college photography class.  We ended up at one of the city’s main cemeteries and other than learning that I really need to learn how to utilize my own camera past the automatic settings, I also learned much about my friend’s family history.  As we walked, she commented that her grandfather planted the trees there.  I said, “Wow, you really have roots here!”

But she really does.  Her family presence in this city goes back a few generations, and she has great-grandparents buried in this same cemetery.  I was trying to do the math, and I’m pretty sure this city was quite young when they first came to live here.

In between seeking for good camera angles for her assignment, I stole a few of my own.  On my automatic setting of course.  A little humor, history, and hope.

Nothing like contemplating the end to put the present in perspective.  I had already been thinking today how sacred time is – how little of it we are given here in this stage of our existence.  Life is a gift to be appreciated, and not taken TOO seriously.  This isn’t the end.

Last name or cause of death?  Not sure.

Last name or cause of death? Not sure.

DSC_0544

I shall truly dance! I look forward to dancing free of physical limitations.

DSC_0548

Evening light. So beautiful.

DSC_0549

Surprised to find former Fort Worth Mayor and namesake of our local airport.

DSC_0550

There is a song that says, “The road goes on forever and the party never ends.” This made me think of those words. Only, it looks like that might be only half true.

DSC_0555

Cog Conditioning

Today was Orientation day; the day we are “wowed” by the attributes and bragging rights of our company, learn about all our employee perks, and sign all the papers that make it legally binding to support this company in more ways than our families or country.  No one bothered to read or explain the first agreement we signed.  We were just told to sign it.  I tried to read it, but really couldn’t understand much of it.  I did notice that even up to 60 days after I leave this position, there are still restrictions.  And my employer now owns all my creative ideas pertaining to the company.  Interesting concept.

We also learned how to act, interact, and not to act – how to avoid injuries and on and on…. for 8 hours.

While I enjoyed the overall atmosphere more than most training days I’ve been to like this, I still have the little voice in my head that tells me the ideals and the reality are often not in the same ball park.  Maybe this time it will be different.

By far the most interesting aspect of the day involved the other cogs at my table.  I love to observe human behavior, and even wonder at my own sometimes.  After signing in, I came into a room of about 8 tables and chose an empty one.  Most of the first people to enter the room did this.  Then the tables began to fill up with people similar to the one who had seated first.  My table attracted middle-aged women, like me.  The one next to me – younger men.  I saw another table with older white men (slightly past middle age).  I began to be amused.  Diversity didn’t begin to happen much until the choices narrowed.  That’s when our table acquired two men.

No one spoke until we were instructed to break the ice and introduce ourselves to each other.  The woman directly across from me had several uncanny things in common with me.  She has done things I would greatly love to do (work a food truck and on an organic farm – however I want to own them, not just work them) and she has a dog with the same unusual breed mix as mine.  She also drives the same brand of car and commented she had three generations living in her home.  That’s when I start wondering where the coincidence coordinators are hiding.

Another man took a lot of time explaining to us how to pronounce his German last name which amounted to what sounded like  “Wet Shrek”.  We then discovered that the woman to my right was from Germany.  She had married a U.S. Serviceman and moved to the States.  Four people had military background, three people had been laid off from various mobile phone companies, and two were college students.

At lunchtime they served pepperoni pizza, and a terrible awkward silence fell over the table as we all brought in our food and sat down.  I could hear conversations humming everywhere else in the room which made our silence seem even more uncomfortable.  I finally asked, “So, how did you all find out about this job?”  They all shared the various sources where they’d heard of the openings.  After everyone answered I said, “I was just scrolling through Craig’s list and saw it, and thought I’d try it out.  Never thought they would contact me!”   They gave me some puzzled looks.  I actually didn’t realize how badly I needed a job until a few weeks after I applied, purely on a curious impulse more than anything, not expecting anything to ever come of it.   “Fate…” I said.

From there the true extrovert at the table who had been holding back decided to ask a political question about a certain current world event looming on our horizon.  I found it hugely ironic to be discussing the next world war sitting next to a person from the country that started the last one.  Hey, I guess it’s our turn.  But that’s a topic for my other blog.

Found out my actual first day isn’t for three weeks.  In the mean time I am reading an awesome new book (purchased from my new employer).  The author is discussing some deep spiritual truths I have come to realize in my own times of contemplation the last year or so.  They are definitely at odds with my present course of action.  I will share some of what I read while waiting for more Working Life posts.

Oh I have to mention I drove by the facility where I will be working after the session today.  Still trying to catch my breath.  Amazing how intimidating big things can be.

 

 

 

In the Machine

Funny thing about money and people.  They can’t both be important at the same time.  We can try, we can talk like we are balanced, but when push comes to shove, either you do what’s best for the dollar, or you do what’s best for the person.  Many small business owners are very compassionate and willing to be flexible and understanding.  Some are not.  I know of two people who were fired; one during a personal health crisis requiring hospitalization, and the other while tending to a family member who was dying.  Neither had missed more than a week of work time.  On the other hand, I’ve heard great stories of patient and kind employers who were willing to work around schedules and allow for time missed.

Network Marketing puts people and money in a really interesting relationship.  As many times as we chased after the grand dreams of residual income in these businesses, we couldn’t find a way to have friends without dollar signs hanging over their heads.  Everyone is a prospect.  This creates wedges in normal human relationships.  People hate feeling like you are being friendly only for what you can get out of them.  I have had people call me that I had not talked to in years, or that cousin I had only met twice in my entire life – calling with a business plan.  By the way, “How have you been the last 20 years?  Oh great! Me too and thanks for asking.”

I worked in Direct Sales for awhile, and all strangers were prospects.  We found tricks to get phone numbers and tricks to get them to let us in their doors.  Tricks to get them to go into debt for things they couldn’t afford.  People weren’t just prospects, they became targets for manipulation.  I justified this because of my zeal for the product and the decent commission.  The day I realized one of the sales claims had shaky proof, I never made another sale.

I have often thought I would enjoy selling real estate.  I love seeing the potential in properties and would enjoy helping people buy and sell them.  It would be a genuine service that I would feel no guilt about earning money for, if indeed people could come first and the dollar second.  Could I keep it in proper focus?  Would I be allowed to?

When it comes to the really huge mammoth corporations, things are more tricky.  Most are owned by investors and the company must commit to growth on their behalf.  I have heard they are actually bound by law to do so.  If this is true, then people cannot come first, no matter how progressive a company may try to project itself.   Employees, the environment, community impact – none of these factors will play a factor unless they are mismanaged to the point that the company experiences a backlash in publicity and reputation suffers.  So each corporation must strive to maintain an appearance of being ethical and humane while in fact the bottom line is the only real line.

Entering this giant machine, my world might have to be drastically rearranged on a simple schedule change, the large corporation’s needs are oblivious to my needs and limitations.  While they will “try” to keep employees on their assigned schedule, this disclaimer follows:

 …based on business need, (X Company) reserves the right to modify shift times or rotate employees between existing shifts at any time at the company’s sole discretion….

Labor movements of the past have given workers today a much better workplace, but a machine is still a machine and a cog easily replaced.  Something about making an agreement with a machine betrays my sense of being human.  I feel like I am bargaining with a sacred gift, exchanging it for something so insignificant, but at the end of the day, essential to basic survival.

I wonder when in the history of mankind that working humans ever felt in a similar way, in the time before modern technology, factories, and mass production and distribution?  Maybe the slave hordes of Egypt that built the great monuments, or the migrant workers of the past and present who work as corporately as an ant colony over the landscape?

My husband is self-employed and also feels trapped by the seeming limitations on his earning power, but he is not part of a machine.  He creates beautiful things with his hands, one customer at a time, enjoying (usually) a human connection with each job that brings meaning to it in different ways.  What he makes will still be there for people to enjoy for years to come.  He gets recommended to others based on their satisfaction – instead of having to force himself to patronize another man of large influence and small character in order to gain a raise or a promotion.

We all bargain and choose what we are willing to do to in order to reach our goals.  I once enlisted in the Army and was willing to leave my child less than a year old to go to training, because the price of absence seemed less than the price of staying and paying for my choices that had created extreme poverty.

I believe in forces greater than simple cause and effect, or I would lose hope completely.  Life has more meaning than what we do to put bread on our tables.  But sometimes I fear the machine more than the lack.

Hard Working Myths

Mundane physical labor has its benefits, such as the time to contemplate the advantages and pitfalls of blood, sweat, and .. choice words. Because grown-up girls don’t cry, we cuss. As when looking high and low for the paint can opener I had yesterday. Someone has taken my chisel and the spoon handle just bends the lid but doesn’t budge it. One small missing tool brings the work to a screeching halt. Do I really have to get in the car and drive down the road for a 44 cent piece of metal? No, I’m going to grab a beer and complain about it on the internet.

This week as I’ve continued my boot camp training for the war of the real work world, I’ve put in my 10-hour shifts on my feet, climbing up and down ladders, breathing in joint compound dust and stressing out my tennis elbow with the paint roller. In the last month I have also moved mountains of yard waste from a neglected overgrown landscape, and all this in triple digit high temperatures.  It’s great therapy for stress and frustration with life.  

Somewhere in my past, someone instilled in me that hard work pays off. This week, after feeling despair that maybe my prospective entrance into job captivity won’t be temporary as my husband can’t seem to make any more dollars ooze out of his own physical exhaustion, I’m thinking I was lied to – or at the least, I misunderstood. Yes, it probably does pay off. I just thought they meant it pays me. I believed there was some big chocolate bunny at the end of this candy land rainbow I’ve been chasing all these years, but I’m getting suspicious that someone already ate it. We have always worked, very hard. And I am very grateful for every blessing and provision in our lives. We are truly blessed in numerous ways I can’t even count. But when it comes to making ends meet, they never quite do.

We’ve tried a lot of schemes and hoped in some investments, but in the end, we are still working harder, not smarter. Now the struggle to survive prevents us from making the changes we greatly desire for a different way of life. Middle-age fear creeps in, and little voices talk about failure and remind you of the choices you made to not do things, like finish college.

But yet, even if I had a degree, I see many unhappy hamsters with degrees getting nowhere on their “work-out” wheels too, only with fancy names on them like BMW and Audi. I could be trapped in a nicer cage than the one I have now, but would I feel any differently?

The last year or so I’ve given much thought to money and our relationships with it. I’ve imagined what the world would be like without it, and it’s a very nice place – although I am not naïve enough to believe that would eradicate greed. People would still find a way to oppress and exploit their fellow sheep, I mean people. So the fantasy doesn’t last long, but if I can think outside that box, is there a way to live outside of it? How radical would that be and how miserable might it become?

There were once a people on the land who only needed the land and what it gave. They still had war, sickness, and death, but they also had abundance without captivity. Then one day people came who promised them iPhones and Big Macs if only they would submit. They liked the gadgets and many were tricked into things because they desired to own them. But most did not want to submit. They did not need to because they already had an abundance of their own. But those who herd and farm the souls of men, need those men to submit, and depend on the cultivators and caretakers. These two ways of life could not coexist. And those that did choose to submit, fared no better in the end. They may have wished they died on the battle field with those who resisted.

A few weeks ago a SWAT team with assault rifles raided a very small acreage within the city limits of a suburb near me. The people there were producing this Creator-based kind of abundance, or at least working toward it. They desired to live in a healthy, free way that created more than enough to share with others. I guess the caretaker caught wind and didn’t approve of his sheep eating on their own pastures. There will always be conflict between those who need to leverage the labor and soldiering of the masses to keep their power and wealth (expecting gratitude in return), and those who find that path of freely giving and living.

I consider it healthy to know the truth about life, and let go of the myths. I can be content in my present outward captivity and live my rebellion of freely giving and living on the inside, no matter what my body has to do today. And maybe one day, my body will get to live where my mind does. Maybe I can learn to live on upside down priorities.

Midnight Warriors

This blog was intended to share more photos than words, but I need a place to document what I am about to do, and the name Blinksleep works perfectly.  In roughly 10 days I begin a life as a graveyard-shift worker in a warehouse for a large online retailer.  My orientation is scheduled a week from tomorrow, at which point I hope to have a better idea of what my duties will include, but so far I have spent the last few weeks with my imagination running wild.  I have read uncomplimentary accounts from other employees, and am bracing for the worst.  Every day that comes closer I weigh my options, wondering if I should back out now and find another source of income.  But the curious part of me wants to know what it’s really like, see how it all works, and discover more about what I am able to tolerate physically.  I feel like I am mentally preparing for a battle that will require courage, determination and endurance.  Strangely enough, a few nights ago my young daughter told me she dreamed I was training to go to war.  I had armor and a sword.  To further the irony, my new boss named his company for a river, which was subsequently named for a race of warrior women who lived there.  Coincidence?  We shall see.  After being free from anyone’s payroll checks for about 13 years, this is a big change.

Yes, our family needs an income boost – but for how long I don’t know.  Yes, there are sane ways to make a living that don’t include 10 hour shifts at night, commuting by a road that has some of the worst traffic back-ups in the entire state.  But new environments and experiences inspire me.  Meeting new people widens my view of the world.  If I have any energy left to write, I will share my thoughts.

My first  inner battle centers around a contradiction.  This is the opposite direction of everything I want to do in life.  I want to stay home with my kids.  I don’t want to support a culture that has been consumed with consumerism and giant corporations.  This is against most of what I consider my “value system”.  But so is watching my husband struggle to provide in a time when things are not going as planned, and the world does not operate on my set of values.  I have to wonder if there is a larger purpose to all this than my hourly wage?  Why have I chosen this path with loathing, yet unable to turn back?  Will I last a week, a month, or spend years of my life here moving up and building a retirement fund?  I’ve made many plans in my life that have never come to pass.  Maybe now life is planning me.