by Shari Rhodes

These are interesting times. With the threat of global economic recession, rising petrol and food prices, an increase in interest rates, mortgages and housing, many of us feel pushed to our financial limit. Some people are losing their homes because they can’t afford their mortgage or their jobs because companies are being down sized or going out of business. For some people who are in the upper financial echelons, they may not feel the pinch of the rising cost of living expenses, but for many of us, we have to cut corners, draw up monthly budgets and eliminate surplus spending. Research indicates that public morale in the work force is also on a decline due to the increasing cost of living that is out of proportion to incomes rises. Many shops are empty. The housing market has slowed. We can’t buy in or sell because the interest rates are too high. We simply can’t afford it. We feel stressed working long hours, trying to keep it all together raising the kids, paying the mortgage and expenses and keeping food on the table. With our basic survival feeling threatened, the stress is taking a toll on our health. As a result, we are getting sick more often. However even with these challenges, it is still possible to live a meaningful life despite the pressures we are facing at the moment.

So how do we look after ourselves and not feel so overwhelmed with so many responsibilities and financial hardships? First it is important to remember that many of us are in this position struggling just to get by. We are not being singled out, nor have we done anything wrong. Its not about undercutting our self confidence by questioning our choices, looking back on our past with regret or wondering what we have done wrong. Sometimes life just happens and we have to deal with what presents on our screen. Though we can be creative, visualize a picture of how we what life to be and take all the appropriate action to create change, sometimes life simply just isregardless of our best intentions and ideas of how we would like it to be. Sometimes life just happens, beyond what we think is right, appropriate, fair or justified and have to deal with it the best we can. This becomes the challenge learning how to ride the highs and lows without losing our centre and feeling stressed out. Sometimes we can’t understand or make sense out of what is happening. It goes beyond the conscious reasonable mind. It doesn’t make sense. We are forced to admit that there are things we simply can’t control. The bills still have to be paid. Life still has to go on.

On a practical level, we can explore all our options. We can reassess our goals, resources and strengths and look for work in other areas of interest that pay better. We can have a back up plan (i.e.: downscale, rent the garage or a room to a tenant, look at other employment or investment options, family trust, network, draw on contacts, do a web search, develop our skill set or further our education and training, brainstorm with an accountant or money manager). We could purchase a more economic car, carpool, cut up credit cards, consolidate bills, shop for the best deals, sell excess items, get better insurance quotes and simplify.

We also have the opportunity to go deeper than the physical circumstances. We can choose to step away and take a more neutral detached point of view as the witness without all the drama. We can choose to find ways to re-connect to ourselves regardless of the struggles of daily survival. We can take time out to spend quality time with family and friends and do fun activities that don’t drain the budget like connecting in nature, walking on the beach, playing with the kids, going to a party, being creative. We are being challenged to live more simply, to take the time to reconnect with the more basic pleasures in life.

We have a choice how to view life. We can get caught in all the dramas of daily survival or we can choose to accept life and how it is, recognizing that peace of mind goes beyond physical circumstances. We can choose to access a deeper connection with the universe and ourselves by recognizing that we are all intricately connected in life lesson and that our core self transcends the roles we play in daily life. Through meditation and opening our consciousness, we can explore a deeper sense of ourselves beyond the daily grind and examine what is most important. We can look at our deeper values.

Sometimes when people are afraid and pushed up against the wall, they have an opportunity to look at issues or their lifestyle that they otherwise wouldn’t think about. We are presented the opportunity ask ourselves some fundamental questions. Where do I want to spend my spare time? Am I living as passionately and fully as I can? Am I sharing my innermost self and authentic truth with the people I love and care about? Am I open and revealing myself or am I hiding behind the social roles I play? If I had a second lease on life and could roll back time, what changes would I make? What would I change within myself? How would I be in my relationships? Though making money achieving great things and feeling successful are important aspirations, from the higher perspective, would money and all these survival worries be the most important things for my growth, learning and personal nourishment? Would I be only focused on how much money I made and how successful I was or would I be looking at more heart centered issues like, how deeply did I love, did I share my feelings with my partner, friends and children? Did I show up for others and let them know I care? Did I make a difference in someone else’s life? Did I speak my truth? Did I allow myself to dream and follow my dreams that really matter? Where did I place my energy, time and focus and was it really that important? Was I in my moment-to-moment experience being fully present in life? Did I give myself permission to laugh and play or was I so busy trying to be adult that I forgot how to have fun?

A meaningful life is about finding the right balance and expression of all the different parts of ourselves, (the child and the adult, the head and the heart, the feminine and masculine, the driver and the dreamer or action with downtime). Even with the stress, we can make the most of what we have Life isn’t about just paying bills and surviving. With these challenging financial times, its about taking time out for ourselves to re-group, rest, nurture and restore our energy, doing the things that bring us joy, spending quality time with family and friends. It’s about giving ourselves permission to step off the treadmill and let go and have fun. Just because life can be stressful and challenging doesn’t mean we have to be consumed by the constant pressure and heartache of it all. We can choose to take time out to notice the beautiful things and draw on a deeper connection within ourselves. We can allow ourselves to be. We are never too busy to re-connect back to ourselves spending time with the ones we love. Regardless of circumstances, there is always time to make the most out of life and find meaning and enjoyment even in times of great stress.

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Shari Rhodes has been an international Intuitive Reader for the past 30 years. She is currently a citizen of both the United States and New Zealand. Shari’s purpose is to support people to grow and move forward in a positive direction with greater clarity, self-empowerment and self-confidence. She offers readings, workshops and public talks. She is available for sessions in person or over the phone at (027) 6295469 You can email Shari at,, or visit her website at