Survival Guide For Hard Times

The last several months have been challenging ones, not only personally but for the world. How do you make it through difficult times and come out on top of things instead of under a trash heap. I have been through many difficult times in my life as I’m sure most people can relate to. But these times seem particularly trying in that there are so many other people struggling as well. It seems so universal in its scope.

But this is not totally new; it is just that we haven’t seen things this hard for quite some time. But our ancestors and maybe even our parents or grandparents remember when things were not rosy and everyone had to pull together in order to survive. What is different now is that it seems our sense of separation and competition has grown. We don’t have the sense of community that we once did. Perhaps that's what this is partly about, perhaps we need to remember that we are all connected, that we are all one, and that we all have to work together to make it through this.

We have grown into a society that prizes the individual. We talk about our personal exploits and accomplishments. A getting ahead-being number one-you deserve it-mentality pervades our culture. We look at Wall Street and are astonished at the greed and corruption, but it doesn’t take too much of a glance in the mirror to realize that we all suffer from materialism, egoism, and consumerism.

This is not a sermon, it is a confession—I have too much. We are currently experiencing an ‘economic downturn’ and are selling our home. Not one home, mind you, but two. One, of course, is very small and is dedicated to spiritual ministry, but nonetheless it costs money to keep it up. After losing one of our major sources of income, we have come to the conclusion that downsizing is an idea whose time has come.

Now, please don’t feel sorry for me. Sympathy is one of the greatest means to locking someone into a victim status. What we all need during times of economic readjustment is encouragement that we can do it. Yes, we can. We can do with less. We have the inner spiritual resources to depend more upon Source and less upon our stuff.

I’m taking this opportunity to focus on becoming debt-free versus encumbered. What an opportunity! In fact, we all have an opportunity to learn to do life in a new and different way. In America we have more wealth and possibility than just about anywhere else in the world and yet I hear more whining and complaining and a victim’s attitude than just about anywhere else.

When are we going to get off our collective pity pot and make the adjustments necessary to live a Spirit-filled, meaningful life? I’m hoping that my current difficulties will propel me in that direction. I’m hoping the same thing for you as well.

So, for me, the tools to surviving difficult times are simple and are as follows:

1. Make time for a spiritual practice of some kind every day—no exception.
2. Practice gratitude for all of the blessings that cross my path each day.
3. Do something for someone else daily.
4. Give something away to someone in need every week.
5. Do with less. Less is more.
6. Embrace change.
7. Identify with my higher self, not my material self, ego self, or status self.
8. Sing, dance, and laugh.
9. Spend time in nature.
10. Remember why I am here.

May we each be blessed as we learn to walk a new path.


Jan said…
I am sorry to hear this news that propels your family into such change. But I am also celebrating that already you are looking for the spiritual lessons to be found in adversity. The list you've created for yourself is marvelous. I hope many people read it for they will benefit from it. I am also confident that you will find many blessings even in these difficult times.

As one who has been in a similar position—often—in the last 9 years, I am here to say that it is possible to thrive through difficult times. My husband and I have. And because of it, we are very different people now, more soulful and appreciative of what is here, right now, in front of us. There is great joy in the simple, unfettered life sourced in the Spirit...

May you be happy.
May you be safe.
May you be healthy and strong.
May you be peaceful and at ease.

I hold you in heart, thought, and prayer...
Julie Smith, MS said…
Jan, thank you for your kind thoughts--you are so dear! Yes, struggles make us better people. I like to think of it as making room for Spirit.

I have had very little at times and now, it seems, I have too much. We have my folks living with us, so we built a large house to accommodate them. Transitioning them to a place where they will be happy is the challenge, but one that I am sure will work out fine.

We have so much to be grateful for. I really have no cause to complain. But, it is challenging. There are so many going through financial struggles right now. My prayers are with them all.

Thanks again for your loving words. Many blessings!
Julie G said…
I love your list! You are an extremely strong woman to live by these. Blessings will come back to you many fold because of your generosisty and gratitude that you offer everyday. You are an inspiration to me.
I make room for Spirit in my life too. We have been living debt free since we were married (18 years) and I too believe less is more; More time for my husband, my two boys and silence with my God.
You are in my thoughts and prayers for continued success and many Blessings to come.
Julie G.
Julie Smith, MS said…

Thanks for your kind thoughts. We are looking forward to a simpler life. God is good and always has a plan. Many blessings to you!
anamcara said…
Dear Julie,

Tony from Anam cara Experience here. I want to wish you every fulfillment in your downsizing journey.

I did this with my partner Bee about 9 years ago. Friends said we were crazy. One however said she wished she could do what we did.

I never knew how hard it would be but I wouldn`t change the fact that I feel more blessed than ever I have been.

I wouldn`t have learned so much about what I was capable off and what spirit was capable of radiating through me.

As Jan says you will find many blessings even in these difficult times.

Tony Cuckson
Irish Mystic
Julie Smith, MS said…
Hi Tony,

So great to hear from you! Yes, I'm excited about the prospects of simplifying! It takes time to get things sold, but we are very happy to be moving into a more fluid situation and one where we will not owe any money. This is indeed true freedom!

Hope you are doing well my Irish friend. I so enjoyed our time visiting your beautiful country last year.

Blessings to you!

Kel said…
Julie, thanx for these ten points. I am going to print them out and put them on my pinboard.

Being a couple of months since you posted this, I hope the transition time has gone as well as these things can go.
Julie Smith, MS said…

Thanks for your warm wishes. We are doing well. "One day at a time" is a mantra that has helped us through. For now, things are much improved.

Sending you warm blessings!