04 November 2007
money money money mooooney...money!

Sunday ScribblingsPrompt #83: Money


Money Grows on Trees by Paul Katz"I don't know, Doc. I just feel so...misunderstood."

"I see. Tell me more."

"Like everyone wants a piece of me, wants to get their hands on me. So many will do just about anything to have me--steal and do all kinds of bad things that they'd never do otherwise."

"Um hum."

"And then once they get me, what do they do? They put me away somewhere hoping to turn me into more of me or worse yet, they just throw me away. Not literally, but they use me for such silly things, they might as well burn me."


"As far as I knew when I signed up for this, I was just supposed to be here to make doing things a little easier, to give them a way to exchange goods and services. I never expected things to get so out of hand…for me to become so important and sought after that lives are ruined for me, that wars are fought over me, that people and animals and trees die for me."

"Yes, go on."

"I just wish they wouldn't put so much pressure on me, thinking *I'm* supposed to bring them everything they ever wanted. I'm only paper after all."


Has anyone else read Naomi Klein's article "Rapture Rescue 911: Disaster Response for the Chosen" published on The Nation's website a few days ago?

Here's a snippet, although I do recommend going over there and reading the whole thing:

Just look at what is happening in Southern California. Even as wildfires devoured whole swaths of the region, some homes in the heart of the inferno were left intact, as if saved by a higher power. But it wasn't the hand of God; in several cases it was the handiwork of Firebreak Spray Systems. Firebreak is a special service offered to customers of insurance giant American International Group (AIG)--but only if they happen to live in the wealthiest ZIP codes in the country. Members of the company's Private Client Group pay an average of $19,000 to have their homes sprayed with fire retardant. During the wildfires, the "mobile units"--racing around in red firetrucks--even extinguished fires for their clients.

I had no idea. I'm speechless, but I'd love to hear your thoughts, especially from anyone with personal experience with this.


30 days of thanks
Today I'm thankful for:

Having come to the realization at a relatively early age in life that the quest for money and material things is not how I want to spend my days on Earth. I haven't always made the best financial decisions (and some were downright awful), but I'm definitely proud of this one.

It's not that I don't like or want any money--as we all know, it does make the world go round for better or worse. We all need at least some of it to survive, and let's be honest, life is much easier, less stressful without having to worry about where your next meal is coming from or about what would happen to you or your family if something terrible should happen. And we also know that there are plenty of positive things that can be achieved *only* with money--relief efforts, health and education initiatives, etc.

But that doesn't mean we all have to be in a race to collect the biggest pile, doing whatever we can (even when our insides are dying a slow death) to get there. Personally, I've wholeheartedly adopted the mantra of someone who has inspired me greatly over the past 10 years, SARK:

Living Juicy by SARK

Do what you love and the money will follow.

If you don't know about this awesome woman named SARK, do go over to her website Planet SARK and check out what she has to say.

And one final thought:

The best and most beautiful things in life
cannot be seen, not touched,
but are felt in the heart.

- Helen Keller

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Blogger Unknown said...

Ah, so you're also a SARK inspiree! That woman is just wonderful - and so wise. Hope you're having a juicy and succulent weekend!

Blogger qualcosa di bello said...

your snippet point of view is so creative & humorous, if not a bit sad...but very well written!

& "Do what you love and the money will follow"...D. & i have been living by this since we were married, & after 20 years we can tell you that it is true...or another way of saying it...do what you are supposed to be doing, live your gifts you've been given & your life will flow.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many of the houses that survived also managed it because of carefully planned landscaping.

An interesting thought from one radio commentator that I heard was that when you live in fire country, as more and more people in SoCal do, as population continues to expand exponentially every year and people just keep building and building and building out into the brush, your house's safety is only as secure as your neighbor's. If you have done everything right and your neighbor still has pine trees and eucalyptus that will explode from a spark, your house is going to burn, too.

AV & A, why yes I am...an inspiree and having a juicy and succulent weekend :) Hope the same for you!

Qualcosa, thanks, and it's good to hear the philosophy (I love your phrasing!) working in practice; it's working pretty well for me as well I have to say :)

Sara, from the article it sounded like even if your neighbor had some dangerous trees, there just might be a "special" fire brigade to put out *your* fire if you're paid up--I suppose that's the part that really got to me more so than the added insurance (b/c what is the insurance game anyway if not skewed toward those who can afford it?).

Hopefully more carefully planned landscaping *will* prevent further tragedy--much like when buildings in earthquake-prone places got to be more earthquake-proof.

Blogger DJPare said...

Very creative and well done!

Sickening story about the rich in the fires, but not surprising...

Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

I love your idea of putting money on the psychiatrist's couch like that.

I've not read that piece by Naomi Klein, but I'll check it out, she's a good writer

Blogger BipolarLawyerCook said...

I haven't read that article, but it doesn't surprise me. The rich really are different.

Very nice post. Money does have a hold because we let it, and we're the ones who have to try to learn to do without it (as much.)

DJPare, thanks, I agree, and thanks for stopping by!

Rachael, I'm sure you'll do just fine...thanks for coming by!

CGP, thanks, and I like Klein too :)

BLC, a"greed." Hah. I'm full of something today ;)

Blogger jodi said...

The foam story I had seen on the news and wondered if the cost to spray the stuff was really needed to be that high.
Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Jar, excellent question, and thanks for coming by :)

Blogger Jo said...

This was all great reading.......I love the maxim do what you love and money will follow; it's my motto! I also love your bio......how romantic!

Blogger Gill said...

That Helen Keller quote is one of my all-time favourites!

Jo, thanks and thanks so much for coming by :)

Gill, isn't it awesome? One of my all-time favorites too :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I surprised by the article? Nope. Not one bit. If you think about it, this rich over poor mentality has existed in other facets of American society for quite some time. Just look at the healthcare industry. It's pretty much always been about who can afford to pay the highest price.

Damn...I sound like a conspiracy nut, don't I?


Creative post! Poor ol' money gets blamed for so many things, that whole 'root of all evil' thing...

And yes, I'm a SARK fan, too. Ain't she great? (Alas, one of her books is in my postal limbo... maybe a postal worker will eventually read it and get inspired.)

I'll check out that article - thanks for the heads up.

And lastly, great quote. Man, Helen Keller had an amazing spirit, didn't she?

Blogger all over the map said...

What an awesome entry for SS. Clever girl you are.
It shouldn't be that money dictates the level of protection or care we all receive especially when it comes to disasters or medical attention. It's a shame that is does though. I don't blame the wealthy who have the financial means to afford such protection. I think we would all do the same. It makes me sad that many do suffer at the mighty hand of the dollar. I would like to believe that in a time of crisis people, big companies, whomever would simply forget about who paid for what and just give, forgetting about their financial gain, or loss as it would be. Hooray for those who do give generously.
We do need money to live. It is a necessity. Agreed it makes things easier as far as not having the burden or worry but it is true it does not bring happiness or fulfillment.
I'm on the same page with as far as not racing to see who gets the biggest pile. Life has so much more to do with living than consuming.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thoughtful post, sognatice. grazie. true wealth is not dictated by money. we are blessed and enriched by living our lives authentically and *pursuing* happiness - whatever that may be. i love how wise you are for your age - the best is yet to come.

being in so cal, the fires forced me to ask myself the question - if i needed to evacuate my house, what would i bring? (i thankfully didn't need to evacuate). my conclusion was - not much. i believe i hold much of my irreplaceable memories and life joy within me and have learned to not to place as much value on materialistic things. just thinking about this question helped me realize that i'm on the "right" track... the track i choose to be on in life.

my sark prayer pie for you...

may you unfold willingly
may you be truly nourished
may peace be in your every step
may gratitude fill you
may you reach others with your radiant heart

take care, sognatrice, and thanks for sharing your radiant heart with us!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

just for the sake of remembering that nothing is as black and white as it first seems...during the last big fire, near Sun Valley, ID (another area with many rich residents), the firefighters expressed their gratitude to those "private firefighters", explaining that it left them free to defend fewer residences. funny, huh?

You are so wonderful Sognatrice!!! We are on the same page, once again. Unbelievably I just ordered two SARK books today. I was in need of some inspiration and saw reference to her in a few other blogs and remembered I hadn't read her in a while. Then, BOOM, you mention her too. The universe works in strange ways.

Blogger Giggles said...

I adore the variety in this post! Just wonderful...very meaty and interesting facts. Yes Sark is a very smart woman! I guess we'd all need a trek to the shrinks couch if we were the root of all evil! Thanks for popping by my blog!!
Peace Giggles

Blogger bonggamom said...

Excellent sunday scribbling! I love how you wrote from money's perspective.

Blogger Dee said...

Great conversation between Money and the doc!!

PS: I finally wrote the post on the "Five best nights of my life" as promised.It took a while..now it's done and waiting to be read!

Blogger SabineM said...

Great post, also a Sark Fan!
I am trying to convince my husband about the money part of life....
Except HE is doing what HE loves, and that is the company he is running now...we have a 5 year plan to move back to Europe (Switzerland probably)....THAT IS MY PLAN! ;-)

Blogger Lydia Netzer said...

It's hard to know how to react to the fire retardant thing. On the one hand, it hardly seems fair. On the other hand, if it is an expensive process, and only wealthy people can afford it, should it be outlawed or something because it's not accessible to everyone? Should it be forced to be free, if it's done at all? Rich people are safer in many ways. Not just protection from fire.

Blogger Red said...

Oooh, SARK. I haven't read anything by her in ages. Thanks so much for putting her back on my radar.

Blogger Karina said...

This was a great post. I loved the money therapy session. Very creative. I actually did Sunday Scribblings this week too (on my Creative Karina blog) and in a different way, had about the same sentiments as you.

I'm not familiar with Sark but think I'm about to become, because it's a view of life I'd like to have more of. I try hard not to let money control my life, and succeed in many ways, but still have some work to do in that area too.

Blogger Jeni said...

Thanks for everything you had in this post -especially the introduction (for me) to SARK. I briefly scanned her site, bookmarked it and will return there - just like I keep returning to your pages too. Great "thankful" post.
Money is a necessity, true enough. But, I always think back in time to my son, when he was in a tough emotional place 22 years ago with his Dad trying to entice him to come live with him. I had told the boy he could do that, make that choice, but only after he had the opportunity to work through all the upheaval with a good counselor and I set up the appointments for him, for me, for him and his younger sister too -also at times, the three of us together. After about six months, the boy announced to the counselor and me he had made a decision and my heart was truly in my throat until I heard him say he had decided to stay with his Mom and sisters because his Dad, as he saw things, was trying to buy him and bribe him. Today, if my son discusses that time he will tell you -and anyone else -that he has never had a regret for having chosen to stay and -as he puts it "grow up living in poverty." Good example of "do what you love" -the money didn't "follow" in the sense that we had it easy but what did follow was worth way more than money could ever buy -solidity between three siblings like you would never believe possible! Makes me so proud of him -so darned thankful for his ability to process things the way he did too!

Great post. I live in a place where it is easy to forget what life is about. Here, everything is about getting money, power etc.

re: the fires. I wonder if at some point people will realize maybe we shouldn't be building in these areas. Santa Ana winds happen every single year.

MM, I'm a nut right there with you ;)

Tui, I only brought one of my SARK books with me--the rest are in storage. Must get them here (my fingers are crossed for yours)!

Cheeky, I agree with you; I don't think money is evil in the least. I think what people do (and don't do) with it is the main problem in the world today.

Tejase, thanks so much for that SARK wisdom! I think those fires made a lot of us think about what's really important. I know it did for me, and I'm nowhere near them, so I can only imagine how those literally within the heat of them felt.

Jadie, I don't think it's funny at all, and I also don't think I was implying that the work of the "special" firefighters wasn't appreciated or in vain. My brother is a volunteer firefighter and I have great respect for anyone who puts their lives on the line for others and their property. My issue is selective firefighting, which I think is wrong as all human life is equal to me.

PP, that truly is amazing b/c I can't remember the last time I thought of SARK...the universe does speak to us, doesn't it?

Giggles, thanks for your kind comments and for visiting :)

Bonggamom, thanks! I don't know why that was the first thing that popped into my head, but I thought it would be a fun exercise. And it was :)

Dee, I'm off to read it!

Sabine, ha, coordinating plans and goals is one of the toughest part of a relationship, isn't it? Best of luck :)

Lostcheerio, I completely agree that those with more means are safer--and that's the part I disagree with (big fan of socialized medicine here!).

I think it would be silly to outlaw a process that saves lives and property just b/c everyone can't have it, but I would love to see this sort of thing (gasp!) available to all...can't some of these companies donate a few free/reduced price spritzes of the stuff to those literally in the line of fire who don't have an extra 20 grand a year? Kind of like fire retardant financial aid? Could be a tax write-off? There are many different solutions if the companies are willing to work on them. Maybe, as Sara noted above, neighbors with more cash might be willing to chip in so that everyone in the neighborhood is protected? Haves helping the have-lesses for the greater good?

Notice I've left the government out so I'm not accused of being a tax/spend/bleeding heart liberal (although I am) ;)

Red, my pleasure!

Karina, SARK is a wonderful creative spirit that really has a way of speaking to your heart, to get your creative juices flowing. I think you'll like her :)

Jeni, wow, thanks so much for sharing that story. Your son was not only smart but also extremely lucky to have such a wonderful family supporting him.

NYC, excellent point.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am doing what I love, again. Last job I also loved. The money, however, is having a hard time catching up with me.

Fortunately, I naively believe that money doesn't buy happiness, although it sure can buy a lot of peace of mind!

Blogger Jen said...

A friend of mine said, "the thing about money is, it makes things convenient. And it does. But you can always live without convenience." Now, there's lack of money and there's LACK of money. Poverty and hunger are horrendous, beyond that, I agree, things don't matter.

*Judith, your last statement is absolutely true. Hope your money catches up soon ;)

*Jen, 100% agreed.

Blogger Andie Summerkiss said...

Hi Michelle, this is a great post.
I think materialism is much worse in Asia where people have been poor for a long time till ten / twenty years ago. The haves act really bad, they are above the law and can literally buy everything. The society looks up to people like these in my country. That's pretty sickening. But one thing, money really can't buy happiness and love.

Andie, nothing good ever comes from greed, does it? Ugh.

First time I had stumbled on your blog. Very entertaining. I will be back.

MBW, hope to see you around more often :)

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