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What makes a person truly wealthy?

The older I become, the more I realize there is no wealth greater than the wealth of our own eternal spirit. All forms come and go. Material wealth comes and goes. Bank accounts come and go. Nations and empires come and go. Our own bodies come and go. Perhaps this planet itself will finish its useful life at some point.

But the timeless spirit that I am and you are does not come and go.

Here are some steps that I find can lead to a greater experience of the wealth of our own timeless nature that is the very source of freedom and happiness.

1. Be quick to change your mind

I had an interesting experience not so long ago. It concerned a person who lives in the same neighborhood in which JoAnn and I live. I had decided, for various reasons, that I did not connect with this person very well, and so I did my best to just ignore him.

What does Dr. Phil say? “How’s that working for you?” Well, my attitude in this situation wasn’t working for me at all. It was like life wasn't comfortable with my decision.

Every time I saw this person and felt the impulse to try to ignore him, I felt uncomfortable. Suddenly a light went on in my mind. "Why don't I change my mind about this person and see them in a new light?" In that very moment it was done. I saw my neighbor with eyes not of separation but of love. Now I don’t worry when I see this person. I just feel happy.

Isn't this an example of wealth building? I think it is.

2. Listen to your body and respect its rhythms

This has been a hard lesson for me to learn. I like to go ahead no matter what when there is something I need to do or want to do. Perhaps it’s a benefit of aging. I am learning to listen to my body at last, and hear what it is trying to tell me.

For example, for the last few days I have wanted to write a new post. But for whatever reason, my body, my mind, and my heart just didn’t feel up to it.

At last, an hour or so ago, I felt a shift. “OK, let’s give it a try,” my body said to me. So here I am. Doing my best to keep this blog moving forward and to give my gift.

Sometimes we are inclined to ignore our body’s cries for help, or consideration, or kindness. But I say with a lot of experience there is no wiser decision we can make at any age but to listen to our body and treat it with respect.

3. Listen to your loved one and be willing to change

This is a big one. I hope I don't get into trouble for this, but I'm going to use my wife, JoAnn, as an example here.

What greater wealth could there be than a truly happy, compassionate relationship where two people care for each other, love each other, and trust each other to do the right thing?

JoAnn and I celebrate the 17th anniversary of our first meeting on July 4 and one of the most important lessons we have learned in our journey is surely this: “Listen to each other and be willing to change.” I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve needed to change my behavior or attitude with respect to JoAnn . But I think I can honestly say I’ve learned to enjoy the process – and she has too.

For example, a big change JoAnn had to make early on in our union was this. As she put it, “I had to accept the fact you’re a poet.” I’m a dreamer. I don’t think the same way JoAnn thinks. But I checked with her a few minutes ago and she agreed that I have changed. I’m still a poet -- but definitely more practical and down to earth than when I first met her.

"One step at a time"

How thankful I am for JoAnn’s practical, down to earth approach to life. I’d say we complement one another pretty well. Her simple mantra, “One step at a time,” is engraved in my mind. We’ve had a lot to learn in our journey and I'm sure we are still learning. But being willing to listen to each other – and change – definitely works and I highly recommend it. I hope these thoughts are a help and I’d love to hear your own thoughts on any of the above.

I have two more things I want to touch on. Sometime soon I would like to add a little affiliate marketing to my blog if I can come up with a suitable, minimalist approach. Any suggestions or comments on this idea much appreciated. If I can come up with products that I feel good about and are interesting and helpful, perhaps we can create a win-win situation here?

Also, if you are looking for a charming story that teaches valuable lessons about how to overcome adversity and follow your dream please check out my book, The Raven Who Spoke with God. It's available in Kindle format at Amazon at  $2.99. Goodbye and God bless.

Picture credit: Isaac Aaron

 

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Terry Fischer July 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm

I think there should always be a caveat that this kind of talk is for those who aren’t trying to make next months rent and getting enough food on the table. Only those who have basic needs met so they aren’t committing violence to themselves by not meeting their own needs first can even partake of this kind of discussion.

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Christopher Foster July 2, 2012 at 11:05 am

Terry, thanks for your comment and your compassion. I do agree that if someone is in a day-to-day struggle to survive, like you say, they can hardly be expected to share in this kind of discussion. Perhaps it emphasizes that a special opportunity and/or responsibility exists for those who aren’t directly struggling in this way?

Incidentally, while this probably only applies to a small percentage of people, I’ve been fascinated for a long time with stories of people who in the most difficult circumstances — in a prison in the Gulag or homeless or in a prison cell — experienced a profound transformation or victory of some kind.

JoAnn was reminding me of a wonderful story a few days ago on TV about a homeless teen here in the US who worked so hard at school that she went to Harvard. The human spirit is amazing, isn’t it. I send you love and blessings Terry.

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Nadeja Gerasimow July 2, 2012 at 6:08 am

Dear Chris,
I can relate to all aspects of your posting. One evening many years ago, I was walking towards a person and was about to cross the road in order not to come face to face with him. My little ‘voice’ said, “you’re in a community of fine people, walk on toward him”. I was alert enough to listen. This person became a good friend and I never looked back. I was so glad that I changed my mind and listened to mySelf! I too feel very blessed by Life in so many ways. I am thankful for you and JoAnn. Blessings to you both. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. Love, Nadeja

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Christopher Foster July 2, 2012 at 11:10 am

What a great story Nadeja. Thanks so much for sharing. And thank you for your kind words of blessing, much appreciated. Back at you as they say. Take care and be well.

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Jackson Dunes July 2, 2012 at 8:33 am

Hello Chris!
I’m so glad you shared this story about your neighbor. I’m currently in a similar situation and, after reading your story, I do believe I’m going to change my mind about this person! I love your insight and wisdom!
JD

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Christopher Foster July 2, 2012 at 11:12 am

Good on you JD. So happy to hear from you. Hey, let me know what happens eh?

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Jackson Dunes July 2, 2012 at 11:16 am

Will do!

Cheryl Hill July 2, 2012 at 3:27 pm

I find your words somewhat of a ‘healing balm’ Chris. They echo in my soul from the viewpoint of my own experience with my partner John and also my life. It is always enriching for me to read a reflection of ‘me’. The sense of ‘echo’ amongst us.
Gee Whiz – your ‘poetness’ must be oozing out throught me!!!!
I so admire your up-to-dateness.
Fabulous idea re the affiliate concept. My ‘niche’ is helping Newbies start a business that reflects their unique spirit as well as makes money. We are not a direct fit but we may find a link-up as we tick along.
Warmly,
Cheryl Hill

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Christopher Foster July 3, 2012 at 9:59 am

It’s a delight to hear from you Cheryl. Thank you so much for your comment. I love what you say about the sense of ‘echo’ among us — we are not as separate as we may sometimes think, are we? Hey. I try to be a little bit up-to-date. But you gotta admit, it’s not easy these days is it? My Dad made it to 95 and had a pretty good life but see, it was a fair bit simpler then in some ways. He didn’t even know what a computer was…

Blessings to you Cheryl and let’s keep in touch.

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Cheryl Hill July 3, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Yes, it is so very much more complex now. But the gift it gives us it the ability to create in easier and far reaching ways that our forefathers did not have. Very profound.
Warmly, Cheryl

Evan Griffith July 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Every SINGLE time you post, Christopher, you phrase something in such perfect pitch I get it so completely . . . that I wonder how I could not have understood that thing from the beginning of time.

Here’s where you laid me wide open today:

“In that very moment it was done. I saw my neighbor with eyes not of separation but of love. Now I don’t worry when I see this person. I just feel happy.

Isn’t this an example of wealth building? I think it is.”

That IS wealth, you are so right! In that moment you created something invaluable that wasn’t there moments before.

Oh yes —

Evan
Evan Griffith recently posted..Healing from a distance: Another reminder of your power

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Christopher Foster July 3, 2012 at 10:11 am

Evan, how can I thank you enough for your kind and supportive spirit? It really was a very interesting experience I had with my neighbor. JoAnn and I were out for an early morning walk this morning and we passed by this person’s house and I had to marvel at the feeling of shared blessing and love I felt as we passed by. As you say in the beautiful title of your new post, “Healing from a distance: Another reminder of your power.”

Blessings to you Evan.

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Audrey Miller July 7, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Changing our mind about some things can truly enlighten us of some burden we might have put ourselves onto, like in your case guilt. I have been in a similar situation and the moment I started feeling differently prior to what I was feeling for this person I was totally a new person, enlightened. I will have to get that book. Thanks a lot for sharing.
Audrey Miller recently posted..kimkardashiantaped.com

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Depuy ASR Hip Lawsuit Blog March 22, 2013 at 2:48 pm

This is truly very enlightening. Reading your piece makes one open up to other things important in our lives aside from the fleeting pleasures. This is truly food for the mind and spirit. Keep up the good work.

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Christopher Foster March 27, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Thank you for your words and encouragement, much appreciated. Yes, there is much more to wealth than we sometimes realize.

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