The depressed economy, falling house prices, grinding joblessness, war, politicians drunkenly spending other peoples’ money; the list goes on and on. When will it stop raining?
What if we asked instead, how can I dance in the rain?
I was driving home from the office when a radio news factoid thundered that 51% of all homeowners in Phoenix are under water. As if we needed that beat down. I counted every other driver at the stoplight as owing more on their home than it’s worth. A sobering thought. Then I remembered that my home has lost almost 50% of its value in the last three years. Although I still have positive equity because we borrowed conservatively and have owned the house since the pre-boom days. I regret bragging during the boom times about my home being part of my retirement portfolio. I’ve been humbled.
We can find a way to be centered and balanced even when it’s pouring. If you are unemployed, your mortgage is more than your house is worth and your investments are in the tank there are things you can do to find financial and personal peace.
Focus on what you like about your house even if you owe more than it’s worth. Remember, your primary residence is consumption of shelter not an investment. The paper gain or loss is not real unless you need to sell.
Practice meditation even if you are a stumbling, bumbling beginner. Anything worth doing well requires excellent practice. In a quiet, safe environment spend 15 minutes of belly breathing. Shift your focus from a sensation in your body like your breath rushing through your lungs or the point where your butt contacts the chair. Then slowly shift and focus to a sound in your environment. Then shift back to your body. Try to do 15 minutes of intense focus and mentally block other thoughts.
Try this video of a rainstorm to help you focus and relax.
Find someone qualified to help you make smart borrowing decisions. If you’ve made some borrowing mistakes resolve to do better next time. Get smart about credit through study and training.
Look up for an attitude of gratitude. Not the shadowy kind of gratitude where your neighbor’s misery is worse than yours but a genuine thankfulness for how you’ve been blessed.
Work with what you have, not what you hope for. We can create an emotional prison by focusing too much on the future instead of the resources we manage today.
Remember that the decisions you made yesterday are history, the outcome of tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift with choices to shape your financial legacy.
We can learn to dance in the rain or huddle in the cold doorway until the storm passes. The freedom to choose can be liberating.
How have you danced in the rain of the Great Recession?