Wealth and scarcity. Having more isn’t always the answer. What we do with what we have is.

Having more isn't always the answer. What we do with what we have is. Wealth and scarcity.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship. Buddha

What does it take to consider ourselves wealthy? Is wealth just money? According to Dr. Jim Muncy author of One Door Two Locks, wealth is having what we need to fulfill our purpose in life.

If we go with this definition then adding things to our lives that don’t help us achieve our purpose is not necessarily a step in the right direction. Everything we add takes a chunk out of our life. When we go to the gym that’s a chunk of time we can’t spend somewhere else. Belonging to community groups, taking roles in the Church, starting a side hustle, hobbies, time spent with family, friends, watching TV, going to sports events everything takes time away from something else. Owning a larger home, a second and third property, these take chunks of time to maintain.

I’ve watched parents spend so much time coaching a sport after their child no longer plays it that their child appeared deprived of the time they needed with their parent. The parent was so busy being the volunteer of the year they didn’t see how much their child needed them.

It is easy to be so busy helping others we deprive our families of what should be theirs. The other day a pastor was talking about how his marriage was falling apart because he was looking after the Church flock but his wife felt neglected and last on his list. The members of the Church always needed him, and he was always there. When his wife needed him he wasn’t. Even when he set aside time for his wife the members of the Church would need a ride somewhere and they were going that way so the date or weekend they planned had a parishioner in it. The Pastor’s wife never complained because she was a Pastor’s wife. His wife signed up for a shared ministry but she was on the sidelines.

Jim Muncy says wealth comes from having what we need and not being distracted by what we don’t need. Poverty comes in two forms. There is a poverty of scarcity, which happens when we don’t have what we need. There is also a poverty of bondage when we are tied to things we don’t need.

True wealth is not of the pocket, but of the heart and of the mind. Kevin Gates

There is a book I picked up in Indigo one day and I can’t remember the title. The author was talking about abundance and scarcity in relation to hornets and honey bees. When you look at the hornets’ nest they have an abundance of materials to make their nest out of so they are not elegant. The premise of the book is how we live more elegant lives with less, and cluttered wasteful lives with more.

We live in a wasteful society because we have an abundance. When we didn’t have abundance people did more with less. If we watch documentaries of the Victorian Age everything was used. Even bones were sold after they had been used in every way within the household.

There’s a blog called The Zero-Waste Chef she asks how can colonizing another planet that cannot support life be easier than mitigating a crisis on a planet that can and does support life?

It is an abundance that is causing most of our modern problems. It is abundance creating the plastic garbage disaster in our oceans. It is the abundance of food around our waistlines causing most of our health problems. Our healthcare costs are skyrocketing because we are killing ourselves with our knife and fork.

What would it take to consider ourselves truly wealthy?

Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. . . . Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. ” — Robert F. Kennedy

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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One Door, Two Locks: The 7 Keys to Unlocking the Door to Success in All Areas of Your Life Paperback – 2009

5 out of 5 stars   3 reviews from Amazon.com |

The way we see things colors our life. Sometimes we need to look with different eyes.

Sometimes we nee to look with different eyes. The we we see things colors our life.

There is only one way to look at things until someone shows us how to look at them with different eyes. Pablo Picasso

Wayne Dyer said, “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change”. Hearing this we think it applies to negative thoughts versus positive thoughts.

It happened to me lately. I bought a pair of orange and white capris last summer. The only color I could wear with them was white. Every time I bought something orange these capris came out to see if this was the “right” orange. Finally, when I bought the last orange top that had to be orange enough, I took a good look at my capris. The fine orange line was not orange, it was red.

I put a red top with it, bingo perfect match. As an artist I work with color, I take shades and compare them to each other before I paint. How could this pattern fool me? They were orange in my mind, and I never took a really good look. The pattern was small and the trick of color when you put two colors together we call optical mixing.

How many other things in life aren’t as we see them? We meet people and only see them in the situation we meet them in. They aren’t only a cashier, mother, athlete, doctor, lawyer, accountant, or teacher. Everyone has more to them than what we see. We often are more than what we see as well. All our gifts, strengths, and talents aren’t used every day, some are never used.

We hear of people who met someone that changed their lives. Often these are people who saw something in them they didn’t see in themselves. Yesterday I was listening to a podcast on personal finance. The podcaster said he went to University and met the only black professor he’d ever seen. That professor became his mentor and encouraged him to get his Ph.D. in finance.

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world. Robin Williams

In 2005 I went to the 100th celebration of my town and province. I chatted with my French teacher. She said, “I thought you’d be doing something more creative.” I was at that time dabbling in painting and had started writing. It was encouraging she saw me as a creative person. There was an art display and it made me think mine could one day go on display too. That hasn’t happened yet. I have taken photos of some of my paintings and posted them on my blog.

I only started hanging my artwork on my walls five years ago. It was as if I woke up one morning and gave myself a shake. My son has been the one over the years asking me what I would do with my novel when I finished it. “Are you going to publish it?”

The funny thing with questions is, as we ponder them, they don’t sound so farfetched. Each time he asked if I thought about publishing my novel it became more doable in my own mind. Why couldn’t I be a published author?

When he started encouraging me to write a blog that also took time. Finally July of last year I said, “Let’s do it.” I worried about what I would say. It seems I didn’t need to.

Sometimes we have to get out of our own way. We have to say yes to life. We have to listen to that still small voice, the one often imperceptible with all the noise going on in our life. That voice that tells us we aren’t orange capris we are red ones. The voice tells us when one door closes another opens, and we should go through it.

The voice that tells us we can make things better. We can find new interests, we can make new friends, we can unearth our talents, and we can rekindle our relationships. If we want change in our lives, usually the change needed is within our self. We can spend our lives waiting, hoping, expecting other people to change, to give us what we want.

Sometimes they would give it to us if they knew what we wanted. We don’t know, how can they? Only when we accept the challenge of becoming whatever we are to become can we change, grow, and develop.

It is great to encourage others, but sometimes the person that needs encouraging is our self. We need to take off our blinders, a world of possibilities awaits.

Life is what we make it. We need to bloom in our own gardens. Improve our relationships, develop our talents and give our best to the people in our lives. We have small circles of influence that can become bigger circles of influence. We need to find balance if we are to keep our balls in the air.

Is there something in our life we aren’t seeing right? Is it other people, or our circumstances we think are holding us back, which we could change at any time. We need to examine ourselves, what we think about our self and others; situations, what can be changed and what must be accepted.

There are a lot of thoughts, beliefs, misconceptions we hold onto. We need to examine them; they aren’t always what they seem. Is there something in our life that upon close examination isn’t what we think it is?

Sometimes we look for those thunderous things to happen in our life for our lives to change or go in the other direction. We seek the miracle. We seek the parting of the seas, the moving of the mountains. But no, it’s a quiet thing. At least for me it was. Ben Vereen

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Pro-activity beats reactivity. Not everything can be fixed. We need to know when to hold and when to fold.

We need to know when to hold and when to fold. Not everything can be fixed. Pro-activity beats reactivity.

Don’t approach life’s challenges by being “reactive” be “proactive.” Prepare for the possibilities before they arrive. Unknown

Today is the Sunday before I go visit Mom. I’ll be away for ten days and I’m putting up posts to be published the days I am away. My son asked me yesterday how many I had written. I said none.  He said, “Pro-activity beats reactivity.”

How many of us spend our lives reacting instead of being proactive? Often we don’t even know what proactive looked like until we have something we are reacting to. I’m renting a car while I’m visiting Mom, is it proactive to pay for the extra insurance so I don’t have to react if they say there is a larger than golf ball ding on the car?

Can we start looking for a job while we still have one when the news of layoffs hit? We can wait and maybe we will be safe, this time. Can we find a new job, retrain for something we aren’t likely to be laid off from, something we’ve always wanted to do, or start our own business. We can start a side hustle so we are not so dependent on our main income.

Can we exercise and eat well so we don’t have to react to bad health caused by poor diet and lack of exercise?

Our families need our time and attention so we don’t wake up one day and our relationships have fizzled, because something else was more important, or maybe it was just urgent. We have to be careful with letting the urgent but unimportant take up the time the important but not urgent requires.

We need to make time for friends even when there isn’t a lot of time for them, so when there is time, we still have friends.

Between stimulus and response, there’s a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom. Viktor Frankl

Life is a balancing act, the more balance we have the more stable our life is.

Last night my husband and I watched An Interview with God on Netflix a movie about a journalist who is interviewing God. It is thought-provoking leaving more questions than answers, but it answers two questions. Is there anything we can do God cannot forgive? No. Can everything in life be used for good? Yes. It also tells us we have more power than we think, and sometimes the miracle needed is us.

The big message is there are not always signs when people are in the depths of despair. The people themselves may not even realize how close they are to the edge until they look down the top of a building and think, “Why don’t I just jump?”

I’ve had people tell me they had those thoughts, and said to themselves, “What am I doing?” They went home and changed the situation that made them feel like ending it all.

That is being pro-active after they realize how reactive they are. When they got the wake-up call they acted. They turned their life around and started going in a new direction.

If we only react to what life throws at us, we might need to take a look and see if there weren’t signs we didn’t see or didn’t want to see. I was listening to a podcast the other day and the narrator was saying he was visiting someone whose dog was moaning. “What’s wrong with your dog?”

“He’s lying on a nail, but it doesn’t hurt enough for him to move.”

That is how we don’t want to be. When we know we have something to deal with, we shouldn’t wait until it gets to be a disaster before we change things. We need to find a way to be pro-active.

A flood has occurred not far from here because of ice jamming. They’ve been watching it, thinking there could be a problem but nothing was done. When the problem occurred it was fast and furious, now many families are out of their homes because of flooding. Could some pro-active measure been taken?

None of us will live a life where we are pro-active in every situation. We won’t even know how often we were because disaster prevented doesn’t strike.

If we have situations in our life that are like the dog and the nail we need to take a good look at them. Can something be done to make them better? Do we have to live with an uncomfortable reality? Not everything can be fixed, we need to learn and discern when to hold, and when to fold.

 There are three types of people. People who make things happen. People who watch things happen. People who wonder what happened. Unknown

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Seven Habits of Highly Effective People/Cassettes Audio Cassette – Jun 1991

What is truth? Do lies tell truth and does the truth tell lies?

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We are instinctively blind to what is not relative. We are not cameras. We select. Robert Henri

What is the truth? Is it the quality or state of being true? Is it that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality? Is it a fact or belief that is accepted as true?

Jesus said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”Henry David Thoreau said, “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”

Today we hear about “alternative facts.” Fake news is not new. Mark Antony heard the rumor that Cleopatra had committed suicide, and then stabbed himself in the abdomen – only to discover that Cleopatra herself had been responsible for spreading the rumor. He later died in her arms.

Psychology Today says: The mind does not perceive reality as it is, but only as it can, filtering, distorting and interpreting it. In modern times it has been argued that truth is largely constructed by social and cultural processes, to say nothing of individual desires and dispositions. There are categories and constructs regarding, for example, race and sexuality which may not reflect biological let alone metaphysical realities.

Some people feel if something works, it may well be true; if it doesn’t, it most probably isn’t. Some things work for me, but not for you. Is it possible there is no “truth” only “perspective”?

The greatest thing a human soul can ever do in this world is to see something and tell what he saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, and thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion all in one. John Ruskin

How can we know if we are lying to our self? Of course, self-deception is hard to distinguish from the truth. If it wasn’t we would never deceive our self. We usually don’t believe we are lying to our self, deceiving our self or in any way not dealing with what is. It is so easy to take credit for the good and find someone else to blame for what goes wrong in our life. We can do our best to bring radical honesty into our lives. If we will unflinchingly look at the reality of our life, our relationships, finances, and all other areas of our life and take 100% responsibility for the situation we find our self in. We can then look outside our selves and see the truth residing there as well.

If we can tell the truth, or at least don’t lie. We can try to look at the many sides of something to determine the truth of it. It is a good exercise and the more we practice the better at it we will become.

Psychology Today says, “truth is constructive and adaptive, while lies are destructive and self-defeating. So how useful is a self-deceptive thought or reaction going to be to you? Are you just covering up an irrational fear, or helping to create a solid foundation for the future? Are you empowering yourself to fulfill your highest potential, or depriving yourself of opportunities for growth and creating further problems down the line? Is the cycle simply going to repeat itself, or will the truth, at last, make you free?

Truth is something I question as a writer. At my Writers group, we were discussing true stories versus fiction. My belief is there are no “true stories”, that are absolutely nothing but the truth. There are always three sides to a story and only one is told by whoever is doing the telling. History was written by the victors. It wasn’t the truth; it is “his story”.

At least fiction doesn’t pretend to be the truth as it gives us the motivations behind the actions. It is in fiction we learn about ourselves. As the author not constrained by facts can delve into the heart of who we are, what motivates us, how we think, how our biases cloud our thoughts and actions. It is in fiction where the real truth of who we are is told. Not facts, not deeds as they happened, but the truth of who we are as people. It is in fiction we find ourselves. Fiction can go deeper into the heart of situations because it is not constrained by facts. Most of us do not know and understand ourselves and our deepest motivations; reading about characters and their motivations helps us see our self.

Is fiction the lie that tells the truth? Isn’t it through fiction we get to the motivations behind the actions and realize the motivation behind what is bad, isn’t always bad, and the motivation behind what is good, isn’t always good? Don’t we get to know characters better than we know real people? Isn’t it through those characters, we begin to understand our self and others better?

I believe in not quite knowing. A writer needs to be doubtful, questioning. “I write out of curiosity and bewilderment…I’ve learned a lot I could not have if I were not a writer”. William Trevor

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Lies That Tell the Truth: A Book of and about Metaphor Paperback – Dec 20 2000

5 out of 5 stars   1 review from Amazon.com |


Considerate or manipulative? Straightforward or a jerk?

Swan photo taken by Errol Thomas

Photo taken by Errol Thomas.

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Everybody has the ability to be manipulative, to be hateful and deceitful. Neil LaBute

Yesterday I came across an article on what a healthy person is:

Don’t we love to read these and see if we qualify as a healthy person?

Here’s the list:

Open to feelings (meaning we’re able to experience and express emotions).

Warm (meaning we’re friendly, affectionate, and able to form close relationships).

High in positive emotions (meaning we experience a lot of happiness, love, and other good feelings regularly).

Straight forward (meaning we’re genuine and not likely to manipulate others).

Confident in ourselves.

Emotionally stable (meaning we’re generally not too depressed or anxious and aren’t particularly predisposed to getting angry or responding negatively to situations).

Fairly resistant to stress.

The one I question is straightforwardness.

So today I looked up straightforward and it says “Straightforward means direct in your approach.”  Then I read; sometimes straightforward people are misjudged as impolite or impatient. There’s the rub.

When I am not being straightforward for instance, is if I am going to Toastmasters and I don’t know if my husband wants to go to the gym. I will ask him if he plans to go to the gym instead of asking directly to use the vehicle. My thinking is if I take the vehicle, he can’t go to the gym, but if he drops me off at Toastmasters, and I can get a ride home we both win. If I can’t get a ride then he can pick me up. If he isn’t planning to go to the gym, I won’t ask my friend for a ride.

Women are often accused of being manipulative, but if we want to know if someone has plans to use what we were planning to ask to use, then we won’t ask, is not being manipulative it is being considerate.

Manipulation, fueled with good intent, can be a blessing. But when used wickedly, it is the beginning of a magician’s karmic calamity. T.F. Hodge

When I want to use any of the three vehicles in our household I ask first if they plan to use the vehicle before I ask to use it. If they have plans to use it then I don’t ask. If it is going to be sitting in the driveway during the time I want to use it, then I ask. This is not being manipulative, it is being considerate.

Manipulation would be if I wanted them to not do what they were planning to do, so I could use the vehicle to do what I am planning to do. When I had my own vehicle I didn’t ask, I just got in my vehicle and away I went. Now, I have so little need for a vehicle it isn’t worth paying for a second vehicle to sit in the driveway most of the time just so I am not considered manipulative when I ask to use someone else’s.

There’s a fine line between straightforward and manipulation. We can be manipulative when we use telling it like it is as an excuse for being mean and putting others down, and call it being straightforward. We can also be manipulative when we dance around the issue waiting for someone to give us what we want.

How do we know when we are being manipulative? The answer lies in whose best interest is it in. If it is in our best interest then we may be manipulative. If it is in the other person’s best interest then we are not being manipulative.

Living in truth and honesty means looking at how we interact with people. Not just what is said, but what is behind what is said. If we understand t the only improvement we have a right to expect is our own. That living in denial is not a good way to live. Everyone will not see things how we do, and we can’t expect them to. Is our goal to live our life to the best of our ability? Do we understand we won’t be perfect, we will make mistakes? Are we willing to accept responsibility and own our mistakes and our successes?

If we deal with others truthfully and honestly to the best of our ability and keep in mind what is best for them as we build a life that is best for us. Isn’t that’s as good as it gets?

Do we get accused of being manipulative when we have someone else’s best interest at heart? Is being called manipulative, manipulative?

The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words. Philip K. Dick

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Ask more questions. Set more goals.

Ask More Questions - butterfly photo taken by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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Fear is a question. What are you afraid of and why? Our fears are a treasure house of self-knowledge if we explore them. Marilyn French

This morning my daughter asked me if I made a New Year’s resolution. “To be happier,” I said.

“Does that mean you aren’t happy now?”

“No, it means I intend to do things that make me happy so the little things in life aren’t so irritating. The happy wife, happy life idea is… then her phone rang, she had to run, my motherly advice would have to wait

Last night my sister in law asked my son if he made resolutions. “Those are for people who want to virtue signal,” he said. “I’m going to lose ten pounds and give more to charity. Do you see what a good person I am?”

It may be virtue signaling, it may be coming up with something to impress someone. It could also be a chance to make the changes we want to make in our life to be the people we want to be.

Nothing changes until something changes. The New Year is a good time to decide to make changes. It is a time to think about our life, what we want, what we need, what we’ve done to get where we are, and how we can make it better. New Years as a catalyst is better than a diagnosis of cancer.

The unexamined life is not worth living is an ancient quote credited to Plato and quoted by Socrates at his trial. Socrates we are told believed that living a life where you live under the rules of others, in a continuous routine without examining what you actually want out of it, is not worth living.

When we examine our life we can see how one action leads to another.  We can see the ones that lead us to something we want and those that lead us to something we don’t want. We reap what we sow and once we know which actions make our life better and which actions make our life worse we can actively choose to do actions which better our life.

January resolutions can be part of an examined life, or they can be jumping on the bandwagon to fit in. It isn’t always what we do but the intention behind it that is important.

The marvelous thing about a good question is that it shapes our identity as much by asking as it does by the answering. David Whyte

What do we do with the knowledge that psychology suggests some of our better decisions are instinctive rather than reflective. Some of us reflect so much we are stuck, afraid to move forward, because what if that is the wrong decision. The nonreflective take action, jump in and sink or swim. Maybe we need both to form ourselves in virtue, honesty, and courage and believe in ourselves enough to make quick decisions and actions when they are warranted.

If all advice is valid, but much of it contradictory, we need discernment to know which advice to listen to at which time. If all we do is analyze our life we may feel paralyzed, but a continual exercise of this may also make us quick to figure things out.

Asking questions gives us answers. Asking the right questions is an art we can develop over time. Effective questions are powerful and thought provoking, they stimulate, inform, and inspire.

When we are asking questions of our self or others we can keep in mind, why, what is the issue, what do we not know, what is the outcome we want, what action can we take. By asking questions tremendous breakthroughs are made, conversations are started, better questions get asked, and better answers are found.

Resolutions are nothing more than goals. We all need goals; we need to replace old goals with new goals. If we ask our self where we want to go, can we put a plan in place to get there?

Are there questions we should be asking our self? Are we afraid of the answer? Can we ask more and better questions? Inventors, scientists, problem solvers of all types, fiction writers, and entrepreneurs ask questions.  What would our life be like if we asked more questions, and we set more goals?

We get wise by asking questions, and even if these are not answered, we get wise, for a well-packed question carries its answer on its back as a snail carries its shell. James Stephens

The Little Book of Questions for Massive Transformation: A Guide to Improving Your Life by Asking Better Questions by [Held, Amanda]
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The Little Book of Questions for Massive Transformation: A Guide to Improving Your Life by Asking Better Questions Kindle Edition

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Marijuana is legal. Will it change your life?

"Marijuana's legal" - stock photo

Live and let others live. Goethe

As my daughter left for work this morning I said, “Marijuana is legal today; pick some up on your way home.”

I’m joking, we don’t know where to go and get it if we wanted some today. I typed in pot is legal and what comes up? Pot is legal, but is it safe? We need to get back to the idea that your freedoms stop where they infringe on my freedoms. We need to quit taking all the joy out of life because there is some danger.

Society is not getting better because we don’t have merry-go-rounds in play grounds any more. I loved it as a kid when we found a play ground and got to play on a merry-go-round.

We love pushing the boundaries of our skill, endurance, athleticism and other things as well. This is who we are as people. Should kids smoke marijuana? It shouldn’t ruin their life if they do. It isn’t the marijuana that ruins their life it’s the entanglement in the legal system.

Someone on the radio asked the question would you be more worried about your fifteen year old and marijuana now as marijuana becomes legal. The only thing I ever worried about with marijuana and my kids was the legal system.

Is marijuana benign? It shouldn’t have to be benign to be legal. We want to protect people from themselves. Everyone has to fix themselves and if we could let them fix themselves without turning them into criminals while they do it the world would probably be a better place.

The older I get the more I understand that it’s okay to live a life others don’t understand. Unknown

Same goes for prostitution. If it is legal then it’s a legal choice and we can get rid of the predators out there. If someone wants to pay for sex, and someone wants to sell it why is the law part of the equation? Girls and women could leave prostitution at any time if it was legal. It would be just like going from working at McDonalds to working at the bank.

Live and let live, we don’t all have to make the same decisions. We don’t have to see life the same to get along. As long as someone is willing to buy something someone will fill that market. When we make it illegal we give it to the criminals. We make it harder for the people the criminals prey on to stay away from their clutches or get away from those clutches. We always do it in the name of making it better, but we don’t make it better.

The war on drugs has made nothing better. The war on prostitution has made nothing better. There are men out there who are likely only ever to get sex if they pay for it. Let them pay for it to women who willingly take money for it.

My kids could buy drugs when they were underage easier than they could buy liquor. If men went to a club for prostitutes they would be of legal age, we wouldn’t have predators pimping out our teenage girls.

We can be civilized about things. The first recorded laws dealing with prostitution in Canada were in Nova Scotia in 1759, although as early as August 19th 1675 the Sovereign Council of New France convicted Catherine Guichelin, one of the Kings daughters with leading a “life scandalous and dishonest to the public,” declaring her a prostitute and banished her from the walls of Quebec City under threat of the whip. Following Canadian Confederation the laws were consolidated in the Criminal Code.

From 1892 to 1972 the offence under 175(1)(c) was

A vagrant who: being a common prostitute or nightwalker is found in a public place and does not, when required, give a good account of herself.

In 1985 C-49 – made it illegal to communicate in a public place for the purposes of prostitution.

In 1988 C-15 – made it an offence to obtain or attempt to obtain the sexual services of a minor, increasing the maximum penalty to 14 years for anyone convicted of living off the avails of a prostitute under the age of 18 years.

In 2014 C-36 – the protection of communities and exploited persons act came in.

The advocacy group POWER, an advocacy group for prostitutes argues that C-36 not only reintroduces laws deemed unconstitutional in a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court – it actually makes them worse.

There are those who believe that when we try to make things better we often make them worse. I believe C-15 in 1988 makes sense and I support it. If adult women willingly get into the sex trade they have the right to make that decision.

If adult people want to smoke marijuana they have that right. We need to quit micromanaging people’s lives and let them make their own decisions, we can’t protect people from making mistakes. We can make society so you can get back up, after a mistake. Criminalizing drug use and prostitution does nothing for society, and does nothing for the people caught up in drug addiction or prostitution.

We are going in the right direction by making marijuana use legal. We can hope the justice system isn’t too punitive in how they react to marijuana in our systems long after that use affects us as drivers, workers, etc.

Oh how the world today needs such simple reminders: Be kind. Treat all people with respect. Let go of hate and let others live their lives in peace. Brendon Burchard

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Drugs Are NOT The Devil’s Tools: The History of Drugs: Discrimination, Greed, the War on Drugs and Why Medical Marijuana Is Creating A New Paradigm Paperback – April 7, 2017

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Change is the only constant. Newlyweds back to reality. Living in peace and plenty.

Photo of The poor side of Jamaica taken by Belynda Wilson Thomas

A photo from the other side of the resort. 

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I haven’t lost a daughter, I’ve gained a son.

Tonight we pick up the newlyweds from the airport and they start their new life together, in our basement – housing is crazy here so this will give them a jumping off point.

We don’t have the bathroom or kitchen finished in the basement so it is not a standalone apartment, yet. We will have to learn to share our space especially the kitchen.

I think we’ll have a barbecue on Sunday to celebrate our new family.

I don’t know if there’s a big difference from being your daughter’s mother to being your son in law’s mother in law. This is uncharted territory for me. The speech I wrote for the wedding was filled with advice. I didn’t give it. Instead I spoke off the cuff and didn’t give any advice. I’m going to try to practice this going forward.

I have tried to let my kids go and lead their own lives, make their own decisions.  It is easier when they are actually out of the house. I left home at seventeen; I never lived at home as an adult. If I had to do it over again I wouldn’t have left so young, or gone so far, so quickly.

If I didn’t leave at seventeen I may never have ended up here and maybe I wouldn’t have met my husband and had these two wonderful kids. I read on facebook that a friend from home is leaving Florida to retire back in Saskatchewan, the reverse of what we expect. Home is where the heart is. It calls to us.

The funny thing I’ve noticed in my life is the men want to go “back home” more than the women do. My dad wanted to go back to Saskatchewan but my mom didn’t and doesn’t.

I love visiting Jamaica. I don’t think I would be comfortable living there. The contrast between the haves and the have not’s is too great. It creates an unsafe society. This is happening in Western Countries as well and we will become less safe as the disparities between rich and poor increase.

“Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.”

― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tail

In a Ted Talk by Andrew Yang he talks about how our Capitalistic system must change because what capitalism prioritizes the world does more of. So the question becomes: In a system where capitalism is a prime determinant of value, how can we preserve what we truly value as humans, what matters to us beyond money?

In the US, and in much of the developed world, our current form of capitalism is failing to produce an increasing standard of living for most of its citizens. It’s time for an upgrade. Adam Smith, the Scottish economist who wrote The Wealth of Nations  in 1776, is often regarded as the father of modern capitalism. His ideas — that the “invisible hand” guides the market; that a division of labor exists and should exist; and that self-interest and competition lead to wealth creation — are so deeply internalized that most of us take them for granted.

Imagine a new type of capitalist economy that’s geared toward maximizing human well-being and fulfillment. These goals and GDP would sometimes go hand-in-hand, but there would be times when they wouldn’t be aligned. For example, an airline removing passengers who’d already boarded a plane in order to maximize its profitability would be good for capital but bad for people. The same goes for a drug company charging extortionate rates for a life-saving drug. Most Americans would agree that the airline should accept the lost revenue and the drug company accept a moderate profit margin. But what if this idea was repeated over and over again throughout the economy? Let’s call it human-centered capitalism — or human capitalism for short.

Human capitalism would have a few core tenets:
1. Humanity is more important than money.
2. The unit of an economy is each person, not each dollar.
3. Markets exist to serve our common goals and values.

In business, there’s a saying that “what gets measured gets managed for,” so we need to start measuring different things. The concepts of GDP and economic progress didn’t exist until the Great Depression. However, when economist Simon Kuznets introduced it to Congress in 1934, he cautioned, “The welfare of a nation can … scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income as defined above.” It’s almost like he saw income inequality and bad jobs coming.

Our economic system must shift to focus on bettering the lot of the average person. Instead of having our humanity subverted to serve the marketplace, capitalism has to be made to serve human ends and goals.

In addition to GDP and job statistics, the government could adopt measurements like:
Average physical fitness and mental health
Quality of infrastructure
Proportion of the elderly in quality care
Marriage rates and success
Deaths of despair; substance abuse
Global temperature variance and sea levels
Re-acclimation of incarcerated individuals and rates of criminality
Artistic and cultural vibrancy
Dynamism and mobility
Social and economic equity
Civic engagement
Cyber security
Responsiveness and evolution of government

It would be straightforward to establish measurements for each of these and update them periodically. It would be similar to what Steve Ballmer talk: (Our Nation in numbers) set up at USAFacts.org. Everyone could see how we’re doing and be galvanized around improvement.

Maybe you smile in disbelief at the concept of “social credits,” but it’s based on a system currently in use in about 200 communities around the United States: Time Banking. In Time Banking, people trade time and build credits within their communities by performing various helpful tasks — transporting an item, walking a dog, cleaning up a yard, cooking a meal, providing a ride to the doctor, etc. The idea was championed in the US by Edgar Cahn, a law professor and anti-poverty activist in the mid-1990s as a way to strengthen communities.

Despite the success of Time Banks in some communities, they haven’t caught hold that widely in the US in part because they require a certain level of administration and resources to operate. But imagine a supercharged version of Time Banking backed by the federal government where in addition to providing social value, there’s real monetary value underlying it.

The most socially detached would likely ignore all of this, of course. But many people love rewards and feeling valued. I get obsessed with completing the 10-punch card for a free sandwich at my deli. We could spur unprecedented levels of social activity without spending that much. DSCs could become cooler than dollars, because you could advertise how much you have and it would be socially acceptable.

The power of this new marketplace and currency can’t be overstated. Most of the entrepreneurs, technologists and young people I know are champing at the bit to work on our problems. We can harness the country’s ingenuity and energy to improve millions of lives if we could just create a way to monetize and measure these goals.

I’m no fan of big government. The larger an organization is, the more cumbersome and ridiculous it often gets. I’ve also spent time with people at the highest levels of government, and it’s striking how stuck most of them feel. One Congressperson said to me, “I’m just trying to get one big thing done here so I can go home.” He’d been in Congress for 7 years at that point. Another joked that being in DC was like being in Rome, with the marble there to remind you that nothing will change.

But I’ve concluded there’s no other way to make these changes than to have the federal government reorganize the economy. Even the richest and most ambitious philanthropists and companies either operate at the wrong scale or have multiple stakeholders that make big, long-term commitments difficult to sustain. We’re staring at trillion-dollar problems, and we need commensurate solutions. We’re in a slow-moving crisis that is about to speed up.

Excerpted from the new book The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future


Does he have the answer or even part of the answer? We get more of what we focus on so focusing on answers to our problems is probably the way forward. Human ingenuity has brought us to where we are. Human ingenuity will solve the problems we focus on. Change is the only constant, we must grow and develop as individuals and countries where what is good for me is good for you. If not, we will lose what we love most, being able to live in peace and plenty.

Pierre Trudeau – “We know we have a very fortunate country, fortunate almost beyond belief. We have problems, but we know that they are not great compared with the problems of other peoples. But we need to solve them before they become great, and before someone comes to solve them for us.” – speech, Renfrew, Ont., June 24, 1968

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The War on Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future

Apr 3, 2018

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The kindness of strangers. Bonding over towing and toblerone.

Sailing on smooth water Photo of pond by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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I have always depended on the kindness of strangers, a line from Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire (1947)

Yesterday, my daughter and I were picking up hair accessories. As soon as she got home from work we drove to the little shop we’d seen the hair accessories in. We were worried the store closed at 5:00. They didn’t close at 5:00, they closed at 4:30. We walked in the door, “we’re closed,” the lady said.

“We know what we want,” I said.

“Okay.” We grabbed the hair ornaments, cashed out and on our way home the car overheated. My daughter called her dad, “pull over,” he said. We pulled into a closed restaurant. I’m not used to the car, I couldn’t get the hood open. We walked to a Tim Horton’s. My daughter called her fiancé, he came, bringing coolant. When he opened the hood the coolant level seemed fine, the hoses seemed fine. The car was cooler so we continued home.

We got about five minutes down the road, the car was overheating again. We pulled into a small residential street. The lady whose house we were in front of, gave us water bottles, lawn chairs and offered us dinner as we waited for CAA to come and tow the car to the mechanic.

We were assured CAA would be there between 7:30 and 9:00 but it was around 10:00 before they showed up. We bonded over garlic toast, chips and a Toblerone chocolate bar as we waited for our tow.

While my daughter’s fiancé went to pick up the CAA cards, a gentleman stopped and gave us a diagnostic on the car. “I’m not a mechanic, “ he said as he checked the radiator, oil, looked for leaks, etc. “The fan isn’t working,” he stated. We’ll find out today if his diagnosis is correct.

I have heard of people making their way across the world relying on the kindness of strangers. I’m not sure what I feel about that.

The Kindness Diaries is a movie telling the story of a man with a mission. He counts solely on strangers for food, shelter and fuel as he travels around the world on a vintage motorcycle.

Warren Buffet, “we never want to count on the kindness of strangers in order to meet tomorrow’s obligations.

It is great to know that strangers are kind, but to count on them to make our way through life seems exploitive. We are using them and their generosity, which should not be exploited. It should be appreciated and passed on.

Am I alone in this thinking? I doubt it. If it gets too expensive for strangers to be kind, they will no longer be able to be kind. If more people go to places in the world and live off the kindness of strangers it will give tourists a bad rap.

People are generous and kind until too many people rely on that kindness and generosity. We live in a tit for tat world. When we encounter the users of the world I think it turns off our generous nature. We feel being generous becomes part of the problem as the users don’t do for themselves what they believe someone else will do for them.

It’s one of the reasons I don’t usually give to people who beg for money. I was brought up with, “teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.” I appreciate the kindness and generosity we encountered yesterday. I hope I will be as kind and generous. I don’t like it when I meet people who are living off of other people’s kindness and generosity. We need balance, too much of a good think can become negative.

Some people think, it’s all good and well to say you will teach us to fish, but where’s the fish? Some people always seem to be able to see the opportunity and choices before them, others only see want and need. How do we change this? Some people wouldn’t see opportunity if it hit them in the face.

One of the ways I think we could help young people spot and look for opportunities is to find a way to link them with a mentor. A mentor that has achieved what they want to achieve can show them how to achieve it too.

Too often we give up before we start. We don’t make the effort because we become convinced it is no use, we will never achieve what we want. Where do we get the resilience that allows some people to grab hold of a dream and suffer setback after setback and forge on?

Is it only attitude and aptitude? Do we need to start moving in a positive direction to build on our successes? We all need to ask questions such as: Why? Why is it this way? Does it have to be this way? What if it were different?

If we ask questions will we be guaranteed we get the right answers? No! If we don’t ask the questions, we are guaranteed we won’t get the answers. Be willing to ask the questions.

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” – Voltaire

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The Power of Kindness: Why Empathy Is Essential in Everyday Life Hardcover – Apr 24 2018


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The joy of life seen through a child’s eyes. Can we make our world safe for our children?

Living Fully Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

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Our beliefs create the kind of world we believe in. We project our feelings, thoughts and attitudes onto the world. I can create a different world by changing my belief about the world. Our inner state creates the outer and not vice versa. John Bradshaw

Yesterday was lovely filled with joy, I took my niece and my sister to a water park and watched my niece play. She quickly found some kids to play with.

As we were leaving I was waiting for my sister and my niece while they were changing. A mother of three with a stroller left the other change room. A toddler was behind her, heading for the open change room door which would have closed behind him. She scooped him up and walked over to his family who may or may not have noticed where he was headed.

It takes so little time for something to go from fun to danger. As the mother was walking past me, I said, “good thing you saw him.”

“I have eyes in the back of my head because of my three,” she said. I’ve lost that skill. I used to have it too. When you no longer have to be ever vigilant you relax.

Some people never relax they are always vigilant. We often call them nosy. They are the people who notice that everything isn’t all right at “the Joneses.” We might not like someone minding our business until we need them. Someone needs to notice the older gentleman in 1B hasn’t been seen lately.

A pizza company had an order from a customer every day. When the order didn’t come in they called the police. The customer was incapacitated, that call probably saved a life. There is an upside to minding your own business. There is a downside as well.

We are hearing about people who are being over-vigilant in asking if people belong to their housing community. We need to find the balance between being a nuisance and bringing danger to innocent people and being a blessing when we notice something awry. Like all things in life finding the balance is hard.

Hillary Clinton said, “it takes a village to raise a child.” She was right, where would we be without all the people who had a hand in our children’s growing up. Teachers, soccer coaches, dance instructors, restaurant staff, cinema staff, store attendants, police officers, firefighters, postal workers – who would deliver the letter from grandma? Is it the same when it’s an email?

We build safe and happy communities and we live in peace and plenty. We are very lucky; it is not this way everywhere in the world. Shouldn’t everywhere be safe and happy, with peace and plenty is not the question. How to make it so? That’s the question. No one yet has an answer.

Citizens cooperate and build a safe and happy community. Then why aren’t all communities safe and happy? What needs to change? Is it just money? Greater minds than mine are wrestling with this problem.

Jordan Peterson says the question isn’t why some communities aren’t safe and happy. The question is why any communities at all are safe and happy. How did any group of individuals decide to cooperate to the extent they could build happy, safe communities, in safe and mostly happy countries?

Is that part of our problem? We aren’t asking the right questions. Canada was founded on the principles of peace, order and good government. It doesn’t sound romantic, it sounds doable. Canada is a good country which is good to most of its citizens most of the time.

Perfection is enemy of the good. We have to live with good enough. We can keep good, and I worry by trying for perfection we may spoil good. There will be accidents; there will even be preventable accidents. I don’t want to live in such a safe cocoon that all fun and excitement is taken out of life.

It’s terrible when someone who can’t swim or someone who can swim drowns. When I went boating in B.C. quite a few years ago, my kids and I were the only ones wearing life jackets. I had life jackets on my two because how could I come back to their dad and say, “I thought they’d be safe,” when I could make them safe. When I was pregnant with my son I had the opportunity to go horseback riding. I declined, even though horseback riding is one of my great loves. How could I come back to my husband and say, “I thought it would be okay?”

We need to minimize risk where we can. My dad was one of the most safety conscious people I know. He still lost most of his right hand in a farm accident. Things happen. We can do the best we can and things still happen. There are no guarantees in life. We go forward and we take our chances, hopefully not stupid ones.

We need to deal with what is. Not what could be, not what should be, not even what will be. Byron Katie author of “Loving What Is” gives us questions to ask.

Is it true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true? How do you react when you believe that thought? Who would you be without that thought?

Then we are to turn it around. Questioning thoughts we believe to be true – thoughts that even feel like part of our identity – takes courage. Katy Byron has found joy in acceptance of life how it is now, not how she thinks it should be. She says everything is how it should be because it is how it is. She believes we change things by accepting what is, not by fighting what is. There is no power in – life shouldn’t be like this. There is power in saying this is it, what am I going to do about it?

You can live with it and love it, you can live with it and hate it, or you can change it.

Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life

Dec 23, 2003


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