The economic downturn seems to be a spiritual regrouping brought about by less-than-moral belief systems and consequences that have dominated our societies for too long a period.As a tenured teacher and single, sole-supporter, mother of a young adult daughter, I recall my days growing up in an extended family with grandparents, parents, sharing a home, responsibilities, love, stories, joys and challenges. The interdependence, the flow of relationships in familial community is something that "old world" societies still wisely maintain. Extended families are common in other parts of the world, mostly for economic but also for cultural reasons.As I grow older, (I am now 56 years old), my parents are no longer living and I have come to realize the profound value that living in the family community has had on my life, my focus, my development. In Western societies and in particular, the U.S., we have been indoctrinated to equate extended family living with "lack of independence" and "inconvenience". Instead, I suggest that the perspective has long needed to change. Instead of perceiving others as "inconvenience", we explore deeper into those human and spiritual values constituting our "essence" and learn to value relationships within our own life journey. Indeed, by so doing, we may not only save money, but we may find that we save a part of our spirit as well by enriching each other. I have downsized to a smaller apartment and now, seeking to provide a home for my daughter and myself, I will attempt to become a first-time home buyer with a small, modest home purchase.The qualities that are necessary for myself and my daughter, as well as the students I teach and all whom I have been blessed to meet revolve around empathy for each other. An analogy I have often used is that when you look deeply into the eyes of the "other" and are able to see your own reflection, you have truly been able to connect with the spiritual nature of us all. This quality of empathic awareness, I believe, is not limited to religion, age, economic, social or cultural persuasion,ethnicity, race, gender, or any other qualifying category. Instead, it is purely a spiritual evolution that is connecting those of like mind and heart to transcend boundaries that have been instrumental in dividing us. It is this kind of awareness that leads to action with and for others, and eventually to a life full of joy, of peace and therein the discovery of God and Spirit. This is the vision I hold for myself and for others of kindred spirit. This is who I pray we will be for each other.
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