Let it blossom, let it flow

Soul of Money message can save our nation

Chico resident Nikki Schlaishunt is a writer, social activist, and early childhood educator.

Keep it flowing—that’s what Lynne Twist says in her book The Soul of Money. Spending money is one of the most useful ways of enacting our values, of expressing and taking steps to enact our vision of a better future. Fear shuts us down; fear stops the flow.

Economically, things are tough right now, and will likely get tougher. This is all the more reason to invest in each other, to invest in our communities, to work together. We have to ask ourselves, “Do we want to live in fear, or do we want to work for hope?”

Keep it flowing. We do not just exchange paper when we buy something, be it with cash or check or charge. We exchange ideals; we pass on hope or fear. It is all in what we buy and to whom we give our money.

Some of us are struggling just to pay the bills, to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. But even we find ourselves with a little extra change. When I was a kid, my mom used to save up her pennies and dimes, then take us out to Big Al’s for ice cream. We didn’t have much, but we kept what we had flowing.

Some of us are not struggling—we have enough to take care of ourselves and our families and then some. Even so, it is hard not to buy into the fear, hard not to clench down on what we do have.

A closed fist feels safer, less exposed, than an open hand. But a closed fist also cuts us off from each other. An open hand allows us to unite, and united we are stronger. I am not saying don’t save. I am saying we should not save out of fear, but out of hope for the future. Keep it flowing.

We have a beautiful opportunity right now to grow a healthier, stronger nation. We have an opportunity to live in hope. We have an opportunity to help ourselves by helping others, and in the process grow stronger, more resilient, more vibrant communities.

Shop locally—support those people in your community who run small shops, restaurants, co-ops. Hire locally—if you have extra, pay someone to organize your garage, clean your house, weed your yard. Donate locally—small local nonprofits are the most vulnerable during economic downturns, and yet they hire your neighbors, help your community, and make a direct difference in the place where you live.

This is our challenge: Give into fear, or open up to hope? That choice is enacted, in large part, through how we spend our money.