I read in a newspaper recently that the UK government is committing to spend another 160 billion pounds on military hardware, machinery for wars and death.
This provoked me to write about a few things regarding our relationship to our current economic and political systems and their unending support of violence. Whether it be the manufacture of weaponry, the destruction of ecosystems, the exploitation of vulnerable people, or the polluting of the planet, it seems that those that destroy, pollute and kill are the ones that are most rewarded and valued in our current system.
Conversely, those who are involved in the well-being of people and planet, are often struggling financially and reliant on donations.
I want to question my, and your, relation to this situation.
Complaining about it is useless, and perpetuates the idea that we are somehow powerless victims of this system. There are many actions you can take to disconnect yourself from this violence to varying degrees. Whether it is on a physical or energetic level of non-participation.
Tax and Governments
Depending on where you live and how much you earn, you will pay taxes. A percentage of what you pay will probably be used on military spending. (Unless you live somewhere like Costa Rica which has no military). In the UK it is 10 percent. So we are being co-erced into supporting violence, whether we voted for this government or not.
It is very hard to get around this without potentially ending up in a long legal battle that could end up in imprisonment… In the UK the organization Conscience is a good place to find about more about your options: http://www.conscienceonline.org.uk/
One thing you can do which at least makes your wishes clear, is to send a “Peace Tax Return” (http://www.conscienceonline.org.uk/peacetaxreturn/) requesting to not have your tax money spent on military. Of course your request can be ignored.
On other action you can take is to stop voting for governments that support violence. Stop voting for the “lesser evil” party. Unless you vote for a party that really seems in alignment with what you really want, with your core values, don’t vote. Remove your support from a dysfunctional and corrupted system, and take a look at where your vote really can make a difference. Perhaps in local government, or by supporting an NGO or a campaigning organisation, but particularly by ‘voting’ with your money and your energy.
What you buy, where you invest
It is a powerful thing to have money to spend. If you find yourself unhappy with how things are in the world, one thing you can take action on is where you put your money. What are you supporting each time you pass on some of this money energy. Are you actually supporting what you dislike?
I am not suggesting a puritanical attitude of not buying anything at all, but at least to be responsible and conscious about it.
The other day I got some new running shoes. I noticed these sitting on the floor and really looked at them, and felt the joy and excitement of having a new pair of shoes. Then I felt a sense of all the materials and energies that came together to create these shoes for my enjoyment, and the immense gratitude for them brought me to tears.
Try doing this with your phone or your computer and you may well encounter some heavy energy, as most of these gadgets contain minerals mined in war zones in extremely unpleasant circumstances. Connect with that, include it. It may make you think twice before automatically wanting to trade in your gadget, which works perfectly well, because you have been seduced by the marketing of the latest, shiniest model being advertised.
If you still choose to buy something that was made by poorly paid workers in a factory somewhere, at least take care of the product, do your best to make it last, love it. And send those workers some gratitude and acknowledgement for their time and energy, don’t push the thought of them away. Include them in your reality. You can also consider donating to an organization that is campaigning for more fair conditions, or cleaner supply chains.
Don’t ignore those people who have worked for you to have your phone, and then complain about the state of the world, or about the government that does not care about its people. (Complaint itself is a toxic energy that separates the complainer from what they are complaining about, so they can avoid the true feelings of helplessness, anger, or whatever it is that the situation triggers.)
If we all start to actually feel and recognize our unity, our connectedness to each other things will change. We will not put up with our brothers and sisters being exploited in horrific circumstances so we can enjoy a little more ease, a little more speed. We will no longer tolerate the earth being ripped open, burnt, trees felled, so we can buy more stuff.
Complacency is complicity.
It is time for us to recognize our power as active citizens. There are many people and organizations around the world leading the way to help bring about positive change, and many possible actions we can take. I will talk about one of these below, and link to some others at the end of this post.
I love this quote from Yvon Chouinard the founder of the company Patagonia:
“Every time we’ve made a decision that’s right for the planet, it’s made us more money ….. Civil democracy is the strongest force in America by far. Not corporations, and not the government. When we all start acting like citizens we can turn things around.” (I have linked to the whole interview with him at the bottom of this page).
Scan through your life and all your affairs and feel what seems out of alignment with who you are, and your beliefs and preferences. Do something about it. Stop waiting for change. Be it, do it.
What action can you take? Make it a fun challenge. Be gentle and do what feels reasonable without putting pressure on yourself to do it.
Notice each time money changes hands. Connect with who you are giving it too. Give with an open heart, even if it is bills and taxes. Feel who will benefit from these payments. Buy what you love.
Catherine Austin-Fitts of Solari, has put together a comprehensive program for “Coming Clean” that is packed with good suggestions to guide you through this process. I highly recommend reading this if you wish to reclaim your power from what she calls “The Tapeworm Economy”:
“As we each come clean, we withdraw the energy that we give each day to the people and organizations destroying our world. As we each come clean, our energy grows, and we give new energy to each other and to the people and organizations leading the creation of this new world that is percolating. As we each come clean, the world we envision emerges.”
I like the Solari model, because it also addresses the topic of cleansing our own hearts and minds. For me the most crucial part of this “Coming Clean” process is to take an honest look inside ourselves and find where we are violent, even in the slightest way, with ourselves or with the world. To be responsible for our negative thought processes and judgements, and to love ourselves enough to allow space for them to dissolve.
You will probably find that after you have given yourself and your life a thorough detox, you will be living a different life. An engaged life suffused with gratitude and enthusiasm, instead of complaint and suffering.
You are not powerless. Stop pretending that you are.
Catherine Austin Fitts blog: http://solari.com/about-us/
Fairphone – a new ethical phone to be launched late 2013. Lets hope they do a laptop next!
Ethical Consumer – ethical and environmental ratings for consumer products
Thrive – watch the movie and check out the website with loads of resources and suggestions for taking action
Prosper.com a site for lending and borrowing money without having to go to the bank
Ripple – could potentially transform the way money moves around. Bypassing the banks.
I read this article today about Yvon Chouinard the founder of the company Patagonia, and I like him. He seems to be one of the people in business who genuinely care about their impact, more than their profit. There’s a good interview with him too…… http://www.greenbiz.com/bio/yvon-chouinard
Excellent post Clare.