Sunday, December 18, 2011

12/19/11—Desiring In Line With Your Income

Today's Draw: Ten of Pentacles from the Crystal Visions Tarot. Do you lust after Pottery Barn furniture, 3-D TVs and expensive real estate? What do you think those things would say about you that you can't say now? Are your desires in line with your income?

The Ten of Pentacles is a card of security and prosperity. Some people feel secure and prosperous, even if they're just scraping by. And some never feel it, no matter how much wealth they may accrue.

I was one of six kids and my dad was in the military. Sometimes my mother worked and sometimes she didn't. Nonetheless, my parents put six kids through college. Looking back as an adult, I'm sure it wasn't easy. We must have been going down to the last dime most months. I know they didn't accrue debt, either, because my mother paid her credit cards off every month. 

I have no idea how they did it. But I do know there was never a vibe of lack in our household.  I grew up thinking I could have anything I asked for, primarily because I can't remember ever asking for anything I didn't get. There were new clothes for each school year, nice houses, occasional dinners'd have thought my parents were only supporting two kids, not six.

Now, I say that I got everything I asked for, but I'll admit, I wasn't asking for ponies or anything like that. My desires were well in line with their income. Which, I think, is a huge piece of the puzzle. 

The author's entry for this card says that the deer does not fear the wolf who is sitting in the tree, because the deer knows that everyone is right where they're supposed to be. The wolf is satisfied where he is.

Many people cause their own suffering because they place their desires out of line with their income or think they should be somewhere other than they are. Heck, as far as I'm concerned, our whole recession came about from people putting their desires out of line with their incomes and the banks were all too willing to participate. 

The suffering comes not just from being in debt, but from a mentality that equates acquisition with worthiness...a misguided thought that we are what we own. And I can't claim innocence. I'm totally that way with my tarot collection. It's beyond "reasonable". Fortunately, though, that's pretty much where it stops for me. And it's in line with my income. Given the choice between my tarot collecting and a 3-D TV, trip to Arizona, a pricey sofa from or bigger car payments on a bigger car, and I'll pick the tarot. Every time. It may not make sense to most people, but those other things make no sense to me.

Where the suffering creates more trouble is with those who don't think they have to choose. They work hard, so they should get it all. Or the neighbors have it, so they should have it, too. But that's the thing. You can't compare what you have to what others have, because you have no idea what trade-offs they're making. Or what debt they're accruing. And if you're accruing debt, then unfortunately, you DO have to choose. Or you'll be left without choices.

Coming back around to the topic we started with, we're much better off finding a way to be happy with the things we have. I LOVE my adorable little house in the working class neighborhood and will only leave it if I move out of the area or hit bad times. My car is seven years old and I will own it until it no longer runs. My last TV was 20 when it died, so I got a "new" one a couple of years ago. And it was a cheap one that works great. I honestly don't understand why I would need more or different. 

If you don't have a practical, legitimate reason why you need more or different than what you have now, you may want to consider why you want it so much. And if you think you're supposed to be in a better position than you are, explore the many facets of that question, too. Finding a healthy way to fill that part of you that craves the next great thing or thinks worth is defined by the appearance of wealth, is not only cheaper, it's more satisfying. Something for us all (myself included) to consider as we craft our resolutions for the new year.