Last Friday, I celebrated my one year anniversary of not using money. In the spirit of transparency, I must admit that I fell off the wagon a little earlier than hoped for and did not, in fact, make it for the entire year. I was granted a stipend from Realize Bradenton to assist in the installation of The Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path, and used the money to purchase hardware for its creation, gasoline for its transportation, and for a few celebratory items that served to highlight the fact that although I may be an idealist, I am in fact, incredibly weak and fallible at times. Nevertheless, my year of monetary celibacy was never meant to showcase my stalwart behavior as a purely benevolent and perfect citizen of the world I inhabit. If you’re looking for a perfect person, keep on looking, because you certainly won’t find him by watching the shenanigans of Steve McAllister. But though I may never achieve perfection, I do still strive for excellence.
Regardless of my shortcomings, I do feel that I have gained a bit of clarity through my fiduciary abstinence, and while I can’t offer all of the answers for all of the problems that face our multi-faceted civilization of ideology and idiocy, I think that my experience has made me a little wiser for the wear. I’ll be sharing much of what I learned through The Unbroken Path blog and the Common Wealth Time Bank blog, and I may even write another book to accompany The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld (both now available in paperback), but it’s been a long, rather extraordinary year, and I’m continuing to learn more and more everyday, so this may be a rather lengthy process.
In the meantime, I will leave you with the few most apparent nuggets of wisdom that I gained from my experience. First, money is not vital to life. I pretty much knew that from the get go, but for those of you who are addicted to the construct of a debt-based currency, it bears repeating. If we are to advance as a civilization, we must embrace the understanding that we don’t need money. It is simply a tool that we choose to use because we’ve been taught to for thousands of years and it seems to make life easier. However, there are far better ways of operating in the world that will allow for a much smoother flow for the current of life.
The second lesson I learned builds on the first, there are better ways possible. As much as many want to cling to capitalism in its current form as the best economic system the world has ever seen, we must realize that we still have the capacity to learn and grow. Scientists tell us that even on our best day,operating at levels considered as genius by human standards, we still only utilize about ten percent of our brain’s capacity. To think that the current standard operating procedure of indebtedness, environmental degradation, and class disparity is the best it’s ever going to get is not only myopic, it’s just downright stubborn. We’ve still got a ways to go, folks. Though some say that on our current course of action, humanity may make the world uninhabitable within a few decades, we really do have the opportunity to turn that tide if we stop being so prideful about our beloved economic machine and start appreciating the fact that we have ingenuities yet untapped due to our vanities. I know it seems almost ironic, but if we could only get over our pride, we may be able to discover how incredible we really are.
Lastly, and probably the most important lesson we need to learn is that we already have all of the answers we need. Regardless of our traditions or cultural upbringings, we have all been granted luminaries that have shown us paths for operation in the world that will guide us toward the happiness we all seek. These paths are not about the destination. They are not about achieving goals or reaching mountaintops. They are about operating with the understanding that all of life is interconnected. Even the paths themselves are unimportant. The paths are only conduits for the essence of what they are really about.
To get the most out of our economy, we must learn to enjoy life. Through all of our traditions and religions, our revolutions and innovations, the crux of them all is that we find ourselves with the ability to embrace life as it comes to us. We still hold to this belief, and this may very well be the biggest detriment to our evolution that we must overcome, that life must come to us on our terms in order for us to enjoy it. We think that unless life manifests exactly the way that we imagine it, we cannot fully enjoy it. Ten percent, folks. That’s the best our imaginations can give us on a good day at genius level. When we start to just be grateful for life as it manifests in the ninety percent beyond our control, then we will start realizing the true abundance that life has to offer.
Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at The Unbroken Path and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.