Saturday, September 30, 2006

A World of Plenty (vs. Deficit Living)

A World of Plenty vs. “Deficit Living”

I see living in general as often having two distinct life views and paths which I will call:

1. A World of Plenty and

2. Deficit Living

I try to live in A World of Plenty and for the most part I succeed. I feel myself blessed in many ways. I am content with most of my lot in life. In some ways I need to push myself to take more risks and strive for more life experiences. In my world I enjoy many day-to-day things that I experience. Increasingly I notice the trees, flowers and bushes. Today’s sunlight looks gorgeous amongst the trees outside.

A good way explain my perspective is to look at my health. On the positive side, I get sick relatively infrequently. I’m in extremely good physical shape. I exercise frequently and am good at much of what I do in my exercising.

I also am very, very aware of physical limitations that I have. Sexually, I can’t function well in some ways. Viagra only helps a little. Often it isn’t enough to make things the ways that I would want them. I am very, very aware when I’m with my partner that I can’t perform the way that I could ten years ago when I was 45. I’m also aware that she would like me to be able to satisfy her in ways that I can’t generally do.

More importantly I don’t bend as well as I used to. My body aches much more easily. I can’t see well without my glasses which I now wear 90+% of the time. When I bruise myself it seems to hurt more and take longer to heal. My teeth are far, far from the “good teeth” I used to have. Hair is increasingly growing out of my ears and nose which isn’t attractive. I’ve lost about 6-8 pounds, but want to lose another 20 or so at least over the next year and not have my visible belly. It’s hard to get over this hump.

My health is a World of Plenty because I focus emotionally upon the positive things related to it. I walk and ride my bicycle when I can. I focus on the parts of my sexuality which still work well and enjoy being a sexual person. I try to be supportive of my partner and understanding of her and to enjoy the sexual life we have together. I don’t struggle most of the time with the health issues that I have, but rather feel alive, good, and well. When I feel the aches, I get over them relatively quickly.

In the end it is my attitude which shapes how I view my health. To have that positive attitude it is helpful to have freedom from a major health crisis. IF I were seriously ill or otherwise in poor health, this would be much harder to do. I would then need to focus much of my energy on the health issue that I faced in my life.

I also need to not have a “primal wound” which hasn’t healed within me. IF I had been seriously physically or emotionally abused as a very young child, I might well have an emotional block which would make it hard for me to look at things positively. Some people can work through these blocks. For some it may seem impossible to do so.

Deficit Living is very easy to be in for many people. It is easy to never feel safe or to have enough of whatever is important for living. Life does have an incredible number of pressures for most people. They often lack time for themselves. When they do have time for themselves it often is minimal in various ways and seemingly “not enough”.

In Deficit Living it feels like one’s life is dictated by others. One’s job (if one works) has its shortcomings which are seen as major. One may not have enough friends, or enough time to spend with one’s friends. Materially one may really want things that one can’t afford. One may buy things and they seem to be “wrong” or not to give one what is expected from them.

We all have periods where Deficit Living situationally takes over our lives. We are sick and wanting and expecting to get well. Our relationships have issues that overwhelm us. We lose close relatives or friends and feel the losses deeply. We may be in a major car accident or have some other “calamity” befall us.

When Deficit Living is our norm, such situational things fit our life view. A health crisis is a blip in our life showing us how horrible our health is in general. Our bosses tirade or threat to our job helps show how horrible the job really is.

Where one lives in a World of Plenty one obviously experiences the same health crisis, but looks to move beyond it or how to cope with it as time moves on. The “lows” of life may be felt much more vividly when living in a World of Plenty because of how they contrast with our normal view of life.

IF part of our World of Plenty is really a denial, rather than a “true” life perspective, our world view may be really severely tested during the difficult periods of life. Seemingly being an “eternal optimist” can be a cover for one who really doesn’t experience some of the lows of life. We may cover them over or “sedate oneself” with “bribes”. We may try to cover up our feelings. This may be self-defeating. It is important to experience what happens in our lives and to really allow our feelings to get churned up and dealt with.

Living in a World of Plenty may also involve living in a narrow world and not taking risks in one’s life. Obviously for such people it may be helpful to challenge some of their life experiences and values and try to grow outward and inward. I plead guilty to this one in parts of my life.

Deficit Living may also serve as a mode for staying motivated and trying to move forward. Seeing the world as “evil” or “difficult” and seeing oneself as “up against it” can help motivate some to try harder and do more in their lives.

I would argue that where motivation comes significantly out of anger, pain, or “against” things as it often may do in Deficit Living it isn’t a healthy long-term path for living. It may mask an: “I’m not ok” part of our primal being; a hurt from early childhood.

For me moving ahead in a World of Plenty is a particularly healthy strategy to live as I move in my retirement at the age of 55. Outwardly perhaps my life faces a lot of “downs” and difficulties as I move towards being an “Older Person”. In other ways it is far easier as I don’t face the pressures of work and of moving towards the prime period in my work career.

I would argue that living in a World of Plenty or trying to move in that direction is particularly helpful for people whose lives feel trapped or otherwise difficult. It is easy to live in such a world when one has few pressures in life. Where one has the pressures of children, work, relationships and other things that can be time consuming and stressful it is particularly important to find ways of coping and feeling good about things.

There is no simple way to move towards a World of Plenty. The path in that direction must of necessity be found by each of us for ourselves. Breathing deeply, yoga and many other things may of course help.

None of this is easy or straightforward! I think it important though.


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