Are You Industrious or Inferior?

Moving beyond this pretense of ¨sin¨ that has seemed to weigh humanity down in it´s struggle for self actualization, we look back to the stages of human development put forth by Erik Erikson to look at the stage of Industry vs. Inferiority, for this stage asks the question, ¨How can I be good?¨ No longer submerged in the fear-soaked convictions of our imperfections and fallibilities, we can now emerge into the practical premise that the direction of our lives is ours to choose and not relegated to the philosophical undertakings of zealots that have been dead for the last 2000 years.

According to Erikson, this stage of development occurs between the ages of 6-11, but what actually occurs in this stage manifests at various times in a human life as we all mature at our own rate, and in various aspects of our being. The growth in this stage is found when we are able to assume more confidence by taking on new responsibilities and living up to them. It is this interaction with the world and the cultivation of a healthy self esteem that drive us toward a feeling of industry, the recognition that we are part of something greater than ourselves and that what we do matters. If this understanding is not cultivated, we often feel inferior and unable to cope with the rigors that life has to offer.

Erikson purported his theory of these stages of development in the 1950´s, a time when schools were almost idyllic and the American Dream seems to have hit its high water mark. Since then, as the Dream has dwindled and schools have become more about teaching facts than teaching children, and parents have had to spend more time working and less in conscious parenting, it would seem that many of us are not fully embracing the context of industry in establishing a life worthy of our highest good. Many of us relegate ourselves to just getting by and accepting inferiority as our station in life.

Of course, in a similar sense, as the ideas of the last step between the wages of sin and the gift of eternal life have permeated themselves into the maturation process of our civilization, it seems that because we have not fully embraced the gift of eternal life and the industry associated with it, we often find ourselves submitting to the wages of sin because that is all we feel worthy of. However, because each of us is a microcosm of the whole, and has the ability to find each and every one of these stages somewhere within our own consciousness, we each have the ability to reconcile ourselves with the bad lessons we may have learned in our development and choose to follow the higher path. Although our history may have us feeling inferior due to either lack of proper support and encouragement or the missed opportunities to engage in activities that would give us the necessary confidence to participate wholeheartedly in the lives we are given, we each have the ability to recognize this consistent possibility for self-growth and maturation, and choose to be industrious in our own personal evolution.

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 involved in starting the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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The Wages of Sin and the Gift of Eternal Life

My last post to directly address the Unbroken Path was about the Hierophant of the Fool´s Journey. Considering that this step refers to paying homage to our religious institutions and realizing when to let go to continue our individual and collective journey, I fell it is appropriate to touch upon my Christian heritage again and try to see where the mainstream religion may have misinterpreted a rather important point along the path.

After realizing our imperfection through the first step of the Romans Road, we come to an understanding about the ramifications of it. In Romans 6:23, Paul says that, “The wages of sin is death; the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” Since there are two segments to this step, there are two misperceptions that I believe have caused a bit of a bump in the path.

The first segment states that, “The wages of sin is death.” If God is the giver of life, then death would be separation from Him. This is not a physical death, but a spiritual one. As I stated in the last post about the Romans Road, this separation is the state of Shame. It is the consciousness of failure. It is an unfortunate fact that so many of us begin our philosophical journey with this perception of reality. Before we can even begin to understand life, we are given this idea that we are actually caught up in the realm of death.

However, this step also includes its share of hopefulness in the second segment, “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” As Jesus is quoted as saying in John 14:6, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” In the Christian tradition, this gift of eternal life is largely interpreted to mean the gift of heaven in the afterlife. However, if eternal life only regards the after life, then it is really not eternal.

After all, eternity has no beginning and no ending. It is ever present. It is in actuality, the only moment that has ever or will ever truly exist. While it has been historically understood that it was faith in the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross which would enable us to receive this gift, I believe it is something more than a mere belief.

According to Christian tradition, Jesus lived a life of complete selflessness and faith which gave him the power to perform miracles, live peacefully, and even rise from the dead. Jesus’ call to his disciples in Matthew 5:48 was to “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Would Jesus have knowingly asked us to live up to such a standard if the first step of the Roman Road were an absolute truth?

Although Paul stated that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” Jesus had a much different vision of the capabilities of mankind. So much so that he lived among us and offered up an example of how it could be done. It has taken us quite a few centuries to figure out what Jesus was actually trying to share, and I think we may still have a ways to go. Nevertheless, many are now coming to the understanding that the message of Jesus through his life and words is the same as many other spiritual teachers of other traditions.

Eternal life, this gift from God, is in the present moment. By realizing our connection to our Creator, and living in that harmony, as Jesus evidenced, we can rise from the Shame which was our first step out of paradise. We can return again.

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 involved in starting the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Quickstepping Through the Unbroken Path – Part One

This is Part One in a Ten Part Series.

 

According to the biblical tradition of Creation, on the first day, God created light and said that it was good. Regardless of your personal beliefs about the existence of God and this particular tradition from this point, it is apparent that without the best known source of light in our universe, which all of the planets rotate around as if emanating from it, the Ordinary World that we know would not be made manifest.

In this Ordinary World that we occupy, we go about the routine tasks of manipulating the lives we experience to find pleasure and enjoyment, and also suffering through a variety of not so pleasant or enjoyable experiences in the process. Often, we find ourselves clamoring just to meet our Safety, Health, and Security Needs, a peculiarity in a world filled with so much abundance. When we connect with our Root Chakra, grounding ourselves into this ordinary world, we can clearly see that things are often running a bit lopsided as so many of us are in fight or flight mode. Due to this realization, it becomes apparent for us to Admit that We Have a Problem, that the habits we’ve created for ourselves are making our lives unmanageable, and make our Ordinary World less than the synchroncitious conduit of life that it was designed to be.

In this we are Fools, believing ourselves to be separate from the rest of these emanations of light, and so All of our Life is Suffering. Because though we were created in the midst of paradise and the perfection of creative evolution, we Have All Sinned and Fallen Short of the Glory of God. Yet in the midst of our suffering, we know that there is a deeper truth that is shrouded under our limited perceptions and the Ordinary World to which we so adamantly cling.

Birthed into this new opportunity to view this Ordinary World from another perspective, we must decide whether or not we Trust or Mistrust the current operating procedures. Either we recognize them as suitable providers for the lives we are creating or we begin to consider whether we should be directing the attention in our lives to more bountiful operations. For these habits we’ve developed are merely shadows of who we really are and force us into the depths of Shame by pointing out our inadequacies and separation of the light of our true Being. And again we must ask, shall we relegate ourselves to the near death vibrations of Shame and Doubt our true worth, or develop our own Autonomy, knowing that our Creator passes no judgment upon us as free and forgiven people.

For as Matthew quotes the man from Galilee, “Blessed are the Poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” And as we empty ourselves of this eternal torment of attachment, recognizing this Ordinary World as merely a remembrance of past misdeeds which must be fully forgiven, we open ourselves up as the pure conduits of the Light from which all emanates. Allowing ourselves to let go of the illusion of possession and embrace the fullness of who we really are, we also realize the truth in Luke’s echoing “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.”

In this Ordinary World, where the Light still shines amidst the shadows we create, the Celestine Insight of A Critical Mass tells us that, “A new spiritual awakening is occurring in human culture; an awakening brought about by a critical mass of individuals who experience their lives as a spiritual unfolding, a journey in which we are led forward by mysterious coincidences.” As this Unbroken Path guides us forward, the question that eternally stands before us is whether or not we will move from the world that has been, through the world that is, and into the world that will be as beacons of the Light from which we are all created or will we discard the call to Be who we are called to be by clinging to what we think we were?

 

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 involved in starting the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Contributors Wanted for the Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path

This week, among other things, I am working on the next phase of The Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path. Initiated last year at Bradenton´s ArtSlam, The Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path is a collaborative, mobile installation art gallery. Comprised of steps drawn from a variety of cultural paradigms, The Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path is designed to serve as a portrait of the community. Initially developed as a walking labyrinth with forty steps, future installations will be more interactive, including vertical frames that serve as walls by incorporating already produced steps and blank canvases woven together with recycled wiring.

 

The purpose of each installation is to inspire artists to take a blank canvas home and create their own work of art based upon the underlying theme of the step it represents. Because the canvases are held into the frames with wire, they are easily removable, making the entire installation convertible and ever-changing. The entirety of the project utilizes as many found objects and recycled resources as possible to also inspire ingenuity, sustainability, and resourcefulness.

 

The Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path is also designed to stimulate the local economy. Contributors to the project will be paid in time dollars through the Common Wealth Time Bank, and selected installations will include live and silent auctions for monetary compensation.

 

In order to move into this next phase, I am seeking boards and other objects that can be utilized as canvases. I am also in need of 3-4 inch screws to hold the frames together. If you have any that are not being used to hold anything or if you would like to contribute to the project as an artist, please email me at inkensoul@gmail.com.

 

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 involved in starting the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Taking the Unbroken Path to the Common Wealth Time Bank to Restore the Art of Life

There are a number of things I can do through the Common Wealth Time Bank, but I may not be able to do through the monetary system. I hope to accomplish this using the ABC2 method in order to establish a fuller, more balanced economy. By integrating the Arts first, we open ourselves up to a portion of the population that has historically had a hard time finding it´s place between the two roles of profiteer and volunteer in our economy of imbalance. Because the Artists´ nature is one of compliance with the flow of inspiration, they are the natural first step toward communicating the possibilities of seizing previously unheralded measures of wealth.

Every hour directed toward creativity and expression of the spirit of excellence that every human aspires to should be valued accordingly. The monetary system was not designed to inspire the soaring of spirit. It´s own value can only be realized when there is need. By fully opening up our economy and allowing the flow of a currency designed to truly emphasize our abundance, we are able to realize that our needs are not as great as we often imagine and our gifts are more plentiful than we often recognize.

Through the humor, wit, pragmatism, and love that course through art, we are given the ability to share the folly we often engage by limiting ourselves to only one currency. With our shared imaginations and our collective creativity, we are able to imagine and plan for better ways of meeting our needs, strengthening our relationships, celebrating our lives, and developing more sustainable practices. As there has been much discussion on the Creative Class, or that set known as the Cultural Creatives, recognizing the wealth of our Artistic community is one of the first steps toward fully realizing the wealth of our economy.

As a multi-media artist myself, or as some might say, Transmedia Storyteller, I have a range of both offerings and requests available through the Common Wealth Time Bank. Some of my offerings are:

Musician – I do a show called The Rucksack Cabaret through which I tell my own personal story, but I also tend to just play some good songs from time to time. I am available for public performances, house parties, and special events.

Writer – With a few books and print, a semi-consistent blog, and a number of online forums that I post to, I´ve managed to get pretty good at laying out these here word things. I have often found it within my ability to help someone say something that they just couldn´t find the words for.

Filmmaker – Although I am currently technologically deficient in this category, I have quite a history with the various roles of film and video production. As a director, cameraman, set dresser, editor, or production assistant, I try to make every project I work on a good experience of striving for artistic excellence.

These services are offered only with the use of Time Dollars, which are plentiful and abundant. However, these services cannot currently be paid for with Federal Reserve Notes. I would rather invest my time and energy into projects that speak to me through their artistic merit more so than merely at the whim of the highest bidder.

As far as requests go, I´m seeking for more collaborative ventures through which to express my artistic side, looking for Artists seeking to help develop a new currency that will help provide them with the life they imagine. Among the requests are:

Television Producer I am continuing on with the production of the ¨Dare to Be Different¨ show on the Spiritual Broadcasting Network and am looking for a producer to line up interviews and help promote the show.

Videographers & Editors – We will be producing a number of shorts to help promote the Common Wealth Time Bank and the Sarasota community. We are always on the look out for videographers and editors that want to participate in creative projects that help cultivate community.

Writers – Although I do write a bit myself, I am looking for other writers with which to collaborate on scripts, stories, essays and songs that will help promote the Common Wealth Time Bank and the opportunities that it affords us.

Visionary Artists – About a year ago, I started the Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path as a community-based art project for Bradenton´s ArtSlam. The Labyrinth has continued to morph since then and is now going vertical.

In all actuality, it is that Unbroken Path that will be guiding much of the direction that these various projects. After all, it is that Unbroken Path that is making this time bank possible. It is that Unbroken Path that is making this community possible. And it is that Unbroken Path that makes this life possible.

That, I think, is really my biggest hope for the Common Wealth Time Bank, to get us back on the path of being human, fully, completely, and beautifully. With our adherence to the monetary economy as the sole arbiter of value, and our celebration of a means of exchange as a commodity, we have glorified the system we have created so much that we have largely missed the greater glory of what it represents. It is my hope that we can begin to more fully appreciate life instead of being consumed by its financial representation.

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 involved in starting the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

 

The Four Quandrants of Community

One of the most exciting ventures I have ever been involved with is the Common Wealth Time Bank. I have often had issues with how unjustly money flows of its own accord. While I fully recognize the merits of a man working for what he gets, the unfortunate truth of the monetary system in its current incarnation is that it does not flow fairly enough to adequately account for much of the work going into the cultivation of our civilization. However, with time-banking, I see a way to move beyond this system of inadequacy and injustice toward one that offers a more balanced approach toward sustainability through the use of reciprocity.

In an attempt to look at my community in a balanced perspective, I see the four quadrants of society as Artists, Businesses, Consumers, and Charities, or what I call ABC2.. Because I live in Sarasota, these quadrants are easy to see. We have rich culture of creativity and a vibrant music scene. We have forward-thinking businesses that promote environmental sustainability, innovation, and social entrepreneurism. We have a thriving tourist industry and an active movement of local foods, goods, and services. And we have a population very much involved in philanthropy and benevolence. My goal for the Common Wealth Time Bank is to address these four quadrants both singularly and collectively, ensuring that as each quadrant grows, it helps support the other three quadrants.

For instance, Artists are an historically undervalued segment of the population. Because creativity flows freely through much of humanity as a natural source of happiness and emotional well-being, it is not favored in the monetary system designed to account for scarcity. Now that humanity is utilizing the technological advances at our disposal, along with the cognitive surplus afforded us through the Information Revolution, the monetary system is ill equipped to adequately value the plethora of creative activities and projects that are bursting forth. However, the Common Wealth Time Bank can not only recognize and reward this activity, but it can use it for it´s own growth in order to inspire the growth of the community.

Taking that artistic energy and directing it toward Businesses that understand the value of investing in the economy beyond the market system helps those businesses to prosper, thereby symbioticly continuing to energize the market economy and the core economy. By tapping into the Consumers that frequent these Businesses, we reach a demographic that is ready for a new beginning and understand the need to try new things in order to bring progress about. The memberships we seek, from Artists, Businesses, and Consumers are those who hold dearly to the crazy idealistic notion that we actually can change the world by the way that we treat one another and by the actions that we take. Directing this collective energy toward those changes that we most want to see through the Charity we offer to the world, gives us the presence of purpose through which our creativity, service, and livelihoods can fully blossom and prosper.

SARASOTA RESIDENTS SEE TIME DOLLARS AS VIABLE ALTERNATIVE TO CASH

A growing number of Sarasota residents are preparing to celebrate Labor Day with a special twist this year. They are test-driving the concept of “time banking” before the celebratory launch of the Common Wealth Time Bank, set for September 3, 2012.

 

The alternative currency will be launched at the Economics of Happiness Summit at the Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Court from 1 pm to 7 pm, where Sarasota residents can learn more about how they can use time banking to lead happier lives. All are invited to enjoy a personal introduction to the new Common Wealth Time Bank, a delicious potluck meal, a screening of the award-winning documentary The Economics of Happiness, and a World Café discussion on the local economy.

 

Sarasota is the latest city to join cities across the U.S. and the world that have been using this cash-free, community-based currency since it was introduced in the 1980’s by economist Edgar Cahn. While the practice resembles barter systems, time banking focuses on creating a Core Economy that recognizes the value of all the work that people do to build and maintain vibrant communities, the true wealth that makes the market economy possible.

 

“A different approach to our economy is desperately needed,” says Common Wealth Time Bank co-developer Don Hall. ¨The official unemployment rate is currently 8.5 percent in Sarasota, which is still higher than the national average (8.2 percent). The main approach that has been taken by our community leaders and decision-makers thus far has been to try to lure in outside businesses to create jobs. What I think we need more of instead is ´growth from within.´¨

 

In a nutshell, participants who provide services are paid in time dollars. People pay for the services they receive using time dollars earned providing their services to others. All exchanges are recorded and accounted for using the TimeBanksUSA Community Weaver 2.0 open source software.

 

¨The time bank’s web site also provides people with a place to offer their services and find people offering the help they need,¨ says Hall.

 

“Basically,¨ says time bank co-developer Steve McAllister, ¨time banking is simply a way to account for the Pay-It-Forward economic model, and more greatly appreciate the abundance of the world around us instead of merely operating on the system designed to account for the lack.”

 

In his ninth month of living without money, McAllister is living proof that the currency works. Fifty members have signed up since the soft launch last month, and that number is expected to double by the public launch on Labor Day.

 

In addition to providing space for residents and neighbors to connect with each other, time banking places value on services that are undervalued in a traditional economy. This enables everyone to participate and allows social entrepreneurs to launch new ideas and services into the new economy.

 

¨The monetary system obviously still serves a purpose,¨ says McAllister, ¨but as we realize its limitations in providing us with what we really want and need, we must direct our energies toward currencies that will. I think that the time bank is but an introduction to other currencies that we will develop as we seek ways to meet our needs, and the needs of the world, in more just, efficient, and sustainable ways.¨

 

For more information go to www.transitionsarasota.org/events/summit or www.commonwealthtimebank.com

 

Submitted by Annie Lindstrom