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the new paradigm

the new paradigm


This post is from guest blogger, Alex English. You might remember him from his time as a cowboy here at the studio. Alex is more than that to me, he is my "adopted son" and my daughter's childhood friend. He has always been an amazing human, but he has now grown into the most thought provoking and positive person. A true citizen of the world whose insights should be known. He kindly allowed us to repost one of his brilliant and wise newsletters. He focuses on economics, spirituality, holistic thinking, and finding contentment in our lives. We hope you enjoy and will maybe subscribe to his blog econami...enjoy! We would love to know what you think.

Brief

Someone once described me as a seeker, and I now believe that to be accurate. I’m a truth-seeker, and have always been a skeptic, a nonconformist, and a lover of rationality. I value thoughtful perspectives over flat acceptance of the status quo.

Lately I’ve found myself seeking deeper truths about human existence, our purpose as living beings, and the pursuit of authenticity.

This new paradigm started as a series of sticky notes I placed around my apartment to jolt myself when I fall into old patterns and easy but unhelpful habits. They are meant to be broad and thought-provoking, more philosophical than literal or dogmatic.

My intention is to share my own insights, highlight concepts worth elevating, and compile learnings I’ve gathered from diverse sources, from books to podcasts to particularly pertinent Tarot card readings. 

I hope they are helpful to your own journey toward personal power, truth, and authenticity.

“Rick Owens’ Garage”

 

ne obliviscaris (latin for “do not forget”)

Create > Consume

Be Lucky > Be Smart

Seek Expansion > Seek Validation

Interdependent > Codependent

Absolute wealth > Relative wealth

How you feel > How you look

Compassion > Aggression

Appreciation > Accumulation

Cooperation > Competition

Curiosity > Assumption

Send Notes > Buy Gifts

What you DO have > What you DON’T have

How you can add value > How you can make money

Learn through wisdom > Learn through fear & doubt

Notes

Create > Consume

I wrote this on a sticky note and posted it on the edge of my TV, as if to say: switch off the in-flow of external entertainment and instead choose an activity of creation, something involving the out-flow of my own mind’s creativity.

The concept applies almost universally. Make something instead of buying it (with your hands, with your mind). Entertain yourself away from screens. Cook at home instead of eating out.

For me, the need to create more frequently became clear when I realized that we are drowning in a new world of endless, bingeable consumption, but none of us seems to be happier or more fulfilled.

Our nature is not to be mindless consumers. We’re meant to create and derive satisfaction from our own process andstate of flow.

Lucky > Smart

My dad likes to say: “I’d rather be lucky than smart.”

It’s an interesting distinction. Luck implies some divine intervention and universal abundance, for which one must be grateful and humble. 

Smart implies having all the answers, which probably diminishes a person’s sense of humility and the moments of awe they experience.

Luck requires less effort but more faith in the unknown. Relinquishing a sense of control is less stressful than always trying to be the smartest in the room. 

Seek Expansion > Seek Validation

While I’ve been working on my finances, it occurred to me that most discretionary spending can be tagged as either for expansion (new experiences, learning, functional tools) or for validation (familiar experiences, comforts, status-seeking).

In terms of limited disposable income, it makes sense to note the contrast between expansion and validation, and perhaps lean into seeking expansion when seeking validation can often feel like an endless hamster wheel. 

 Interdependent > Codependent

Bell Hooks’All About Love makes the point that our individualistic society and culture treat dependency negatively and codependency as downright cringe-worthy. But what about interdependence? What about our need for social connection and intimacy in alongside self-love and independence?

Interdependence means relying on others for support, learning, and growth, and is reciprocal, but not fraught. Codependency involves greater psychological closeness, less independence, and often relates toattachment styles and addiction.

Interdependence is natural, is human, and is how we advance as an evolved species of higher consciousness—knowing that it’s great to be independent and self-reliant, but it’s also OK to ask for help and to help others, if we are to all survive and thrive.

Absolute Wealth > Relative Wealth

One of my favorite YouTube Tarot readers (The Autistic Mystic) makes the distinction between absolute wealth and relative wealth, as we are living our daily lives, here on the ground in 2023. 

Focusing on relative wealth will always be disappointing because there will always be someone with more than you and more than me. This is the trap of social comparison and competition.

Absolute wealth takes a broader view and considers all the blessings of our current state: novel technology, connectedness, speedy information and entertainment, advanced healthcare and science.

Our absolute wealth simply by being alive here and now is so much greater than we realize. Our lives would be vastly different just 100 years in the past, and for that we should all be grateful. COVID-19 would have wiped half of us off the planet had it swept the globe in 19-20.

We all have desires, dreams, and a wishlist a mile long. Those things shouldn’t overshadow all of the blessings and privileges we already have, from basics like running water and democratic elections, to truly incredible advancements like mobile computing and modern aviation. 

How you feel > How you look

This one occurred to me during a yoga practice, because yoga is a different kind of exercise. Rather than focusing on form and on how your body looks in a mirror, yoga forces you inward, to listen to how your body feels.

In the age of visuals and of algorithmic media, so many people struggle with self-love, self-acceptance, and disorders like body dysmorphia. With regard to exercise, they fixate on optimal looks rather than on what feels the best to their body.

“Yoga helped cure my body dysmorphia” is an article I’ve considered writing, and I believe we need more emphasis as a society on managing how our bodies feel over how our bodies look.

Compassion > Aggression

When you view those around you, in traffic, at the gym, or in your workplace as adversaries, to be viewed with suspicion and doubt, every moment becomes one of aggression. It’s a sure way to attract exactly the same energy and attitude from everyone else in your day.

On the other hand, putting your ego aside to lead with loving compassion, letting slights and annoyances go, and remaining open in your daily movements require less effort and are more likely to net favorable outcomes.

Try it if you don’t believe me.

Appreciation > Accumulation

At some point in my journey I realized that I love stuff, but stuff makes me crazy.

How do I avoid accumulating too much stuff that I’m burdened with, either to wear, use, give away or sell?

I’ve learned a trick: to appreciate objects of my desire without needing to possess them. Admire, then release.

When I do acquire something new, I make sure there’s space for it, and it’s either something I need or something that brings me pure joy. Anything less isn’t worth pursuing.

We could all stand to appreciate more and accumulate less.

This is another way of saying: practice gratitude for what you already have in your life while still enjoying the freshness and novelty of new desires.

Cooperation > Competition

I delved into this fundamental debate in my previous posts, but the question remains—when do we compete and when do we cooperate, for the maximum broader benefit?

So much competition in life, in business, and in our world is unnecessary. Why do we treat each other like foes when we could easily divide our collective spoils and all enjoy richer lives?

It’s a hierarchical, individualistic, capitalistic point-of-view that’s outdated and needs to be questioned.

“Superbloom”

 

Curiosity > Assumption

Living life with curiosity indicates an openness to learning, to newness and expansion, and to be empathetic toward others doing the same.

Moving through life mostly by assumption is like imagining the ending to every book you see, but never picking one up to read.

To remain curious is to invite the unexpected, and isn’t that a key to making life more interesting?

Send Notes > Buy Gifts

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty done with forced gift-giving of any kind. Birthdays, holidays, weddings.

I’d rather send you a note on your special day and then buy you something when the perfect moment strikes.

Most traditions around gift-giving are way over hyped by corporations and consumerism, and it needs to stop.

How you can add value > How you can make money

I picked this up from another Tarot reader (Minnow Pond Tarot) and it stuck with me.

While it’s clear that we all have a necessity to make money in order to live, consider the age-old adage of entrepreneurship: instead of focusing on money, focus on filling a need that’s of value to others, adding valuable insight and perspective, and be compensated accordingly.

I have long defined my goals by thinking about the ends (money) without considering the means (being of value to others). That was a rookie mistake, and an oft-repeated one out in the world, reinforced by our fixation with money and accumulation.

Ruminating on this concept was a fundamental shift for me, and one I think is worth exploring in a future post.

Learn through wisdom > Learn through fear & doubt

This is another counterpoint that has stuck with me ever since I read it in Gary Zukav’sThe Seat of the Soul.

As an admitted scaredy-cat and tentative1987 Chinese rabbit, I have often been guided by fear and doubt in my decisions. Making fear-based decisions means learning lessons through those fearful or doubtful scenarios, and perhaps missing key insights or clues about myself that would otherwise be apparent without the fog of fear or doubt.

The alternative is to approach life’s challenges and choices armed with wisdom and bravery. It’s remembering: I’m capable and have made it this far. Many before me have done the things I’m doing, and nothing is permanent, few things are fatal. I am worthy, I am smart and handsome. You get the idea.

I’ve found that humbling and then composing myself before a moment of expansion is the best way to ensure that I remain open, curious, and most likely to succeed, rather than viewing all “scary moments” in life as doomsday scenarios.

I’m still working on this one.

-- Alex English 

econami



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