Q: Dear Susie – I’m usually not the squeamish kind, but this stock market’s really got me spooked. What do you see happening in the future? Should I start stocking up on canned goods?
A: Great question, and one I’m sure a lot of people are asking lately. I’m sitting here looking at the AOL news – “Stocks Tumble as Market Opens,” and I’m amazed at the whole stock market system. My husband’s a stockbroker, so I know a little bit about the whole theory of trading.
From what I can see, it’s all based on illusion and prediction. I’m going to buy something based on what I think may happen in the future, just as that same stock is being sold by someone who is basing their decision on what they think may happen in the future – and they are directly opposite outcomes.
Someone says that a stock is worth some amount if it sold, but it actually isn’t worth anything until someone pays what they think it’s worth, and everyone agrees on that price.
It’s sort of like us in the early 90’s collecting Beanie Babies. Someone said a certain animal was really valuable, so we would have to pay $50 for it, even if it’s original cost was only $2. Was it really worth $50? I’ve got a huge tote box of them in my basement that says no, and I don’t think they’re going to pay for my child’s college tuition – maybe we could get $20 for the whole box at a rummage sale. All illusion and hype.
Having said all of that, if you have money in the stock market, and are watching the news right now, or watching your portfolio go lower and lower, you may be getting a little nervous, but I think there’s a correction going on in the world, and it mainly has to do with this whole idea of illusion.
If something is way out of balance, it wobbles and is not stable. It takes an opposing force to come in from the other side and bring it back into the middle.
I think most people tend to run to the greedy side. We want something for nothing (heck—even my hubby got in that $237 million dollar Powerball jackpot last Saturday), and we aren’t especially concerned about what’s going on in other people’s lives. We may think that poor people just need to get out there and find work. We may think that suffering people in other parts of the world don’t have anything to do with us. We may think that we really need all of our extra stuff to live the good life.
Yesterday I was putting away my jeans and I looked at my shelf of jeans – I have 5 pairs. Plus all of my other pants, not to mention shirts, sweaters, jewelry, shoes, and on and on.
Then I had a flash of a child in Africa squatting on a dirt floor, dressed in his only shirt and pair of pants that he owns. It almost took my breath away.
I’m so focused on what the newest styles are that I don’t even stop to consider if I even really need another skirt. It’s like being brainwashed.
So when we talk about balance, and greed, and overdoing it, I would suggest that the whole concept of trading and the stock market is based on the concept of greed.
Will that ever change? I think it is, right now. I think those who do their work dishonestly, and try to cheat or con others are going to get, and will continue to get, caught and punished.
I think those who base their whole idea of work on crushing the competition and coming out on top will feel crushed and pushed down to the bottom. They might lose everything in this quest to create more balance. How will they ever know what the “other side” feels like if they don’t experience it for themselves? Karma in action.
What I’m doing is investigating green companies to invest in—what businesses are ethical, what businesses treat their employees well, what businesses do good work in the world? There are several out there. I got on some e-mail list and I keep getting e-mails about green trading, and seminars about stock-picking based on ethics. I think it’s all fascinating.
Am I worried? Not really. I’m a firm believer in what happens is supposed to happen. I think there’s an overcorrection happening right now, but that we’ll bounce back eventually. Maybe not to that highest point we were at, but not going down at this fast of a rate, either. I personally just invested in some real estate, because that feels more balanced to me, rather than having all stocks. You can stand on that investment.
I wouldn’t necessarily throw your money away right now on any frivolous things, but I wouldn’t be staying at home all the time, either. It seems that any time we employ a group mentality and just go along with what others are telling us to do, we get in trouble. They say, “Now be scared! Now be happy! Now be angry!” and we’re supposed to just do what we’re told? Heck no.
How do you feel about the current economy and the state of the world? Do you feel that things are overall getting brighter and better, or do you think we’re going to hell in a handbasket? If you’re collecting canned goods, you may be thinking it’s the end of the world.
I don’t. I think the world is getting better and better. Why? Because I think people are waking up on all fronts. I think we’re waking up to our health, and our environment, and our ethics, and our politics.
I think people are basically good, and I think that we are in the middle of great changes. The old is falling away, and the new is rising in its place.
What is the old? Anything that doesn’t work anymore – anything that operates out of a sense of separateness or competition, right vs. wrong.
What is the new? Anything that has to do with love, and cooperation and compassion.
Yes, the unknown can be scary, and that is why I see so many people freaking out right now – we just don’t know what’s around the corner.
But it’s up to us as individuals to decide for ourselves whether we believe a bear is around the corner that will rip us to shreds, or if there’s a great big party waiting for us, with presents and cake and lots of laughing people. We get to decide, and we do decide, in every moment, how we perceive our lives and the world around us. It may look like the stock market is crumbling, but I believe it is all a part of the balancing process, and I believe that what is in our highest good will always prevail, because in my world, love is all there is, and where there is love, there can’t be anything less.
Hang in there – take some deep breaths – maybe ask your financial consultant what your options are, then make up your mind. If you choose to do nothing, then just let it all go, because it’s then out of your hands. Think of the Serenity Prayer. You may even want to paste it up somewhere where you can read it a few times every day. Then live it. Everything changes. Today we think the market is crashing. A year ago we were amazed at its strength. Tomorrow we will think something else.
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