FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 37: Currency of Life

We are taught that money is the currency of our lives. Really, everything we learn comes back to earning money so we can take care of ourselves and our loved ones. I’m not omniscient and definitely come from a privileged background, but it’s hard for me to imagine a scenario where getting money isn’t the primary goal. Because money buys all the other stuff we need. Our needs are met using money.

Certainly I’m generalizing and there are exceptions to the rules – there always are. And the exceptions are very interesting because they often represent alternative strategies and systems. In the case of money, the system is to have a currency that ‘goes between’ all the other goods and services necessary to life. Imagine if we still bartered for everything.

“I’ll trade you two quilts I knitted for four of your chickens so we can eat.”

Kind of sounds like an ideal life to me, actually. But imagine how difficult it would get with all of the STUFF there is to need and want.

“How many silicon chips is that x-box 360 worth for a trade?”

Once we passed the ‘getting our basic needs met’ stage of human evolution, trading, bartering, and general commerce got so complicated we needed a ‘go between’. Enter money. Cash. Dinero. Moolah.

And so it goes. Money replaced the barter system as a standardized value indicator providing a ‘worth’ for everything of possible trade interest.

And so the obsession with money began.

The point of this episode is not to beat up money or people interested in money. I really just wanted to think about what other forms of currency might also be important in the world. Or to ponder other systems of value that provide meaning to our lives. Or. . . . really, things that money can’t buy.

Money can’t buy love and money can’t buy time.

And I can’t think of more valuable (and limiting) resources than those.

So this begs the question, “Did the acceptance of a system of commerce centered around money necessarily lead us to DEVALUE those resources not measurable or quantifiable using this system?”.

I hope you enjoy the episode and continue to wonder whether or not money is as important as we make it out to be, or whether Time and Love obey an entirely different system altogether.

Original blog post with podcast and video links: https://chrisburcher.com/2021/01/08/kew-episode-37-currency-of-life/

FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 33: Soul

In this Episode I tried to get at what our ‘soul’ is. I’m not sure I succeeded, but I think we all can agree that there’s a part of us that can’t really be identified. The soul is not our mind, it’s not our brain, it’s not our ‘self’ (whatever that is, see Episode 34 for my attempt at defining Self), it’s . . . something else.

Sometimes I think the soul is real, other times I doubt it’s existence. Most of the time I know there is SOMETHING going on inside us that defines us. Our, personality? or something? It’s beyond our appearance, or attitude, or how we refer to a group of people (I use y’all and you guys interchangeably because I was born in the south but grew up in the midwest). It’s . . . . much more than any of those things.

So the concept of soul probably lies in the unknowable. It might be something we just don’t have words for or something we can’t quite define.

And none of this even addresses whether the soul is immortal, which many religions suggest. My point in this episode is really just to explore the idea of soul – that which we can speak about but not truly understand. It’s ok with me if the soul is something we’ll never define or truly know about. But most of the time, I feel like I do:)

Episode preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1110768896079673

Original post with podcast and YouTube links here: https://chrisburcher.com/2020/12/11/kew-episode-33-soul/

KEW Episode 45: Career vs. Family

In Episode 32: Work/Life Balance I shared my thoughts about how to find time to meet all the various needs we have. In this episode I want to focus specifically on balancing time spent working toward our careers with time spent with our families. And for those of you without spouses or kids, your family can be your parents, siblings, friends, coworkers or any other people you value and spend time with.

The main career/family issue I see in nearly all of the Americans I know is the stress associated with spending too much time ‘working’ and not enough time with ‘family’. Now these categories are pretty broad and can be broken down into the values associated with each. ‘Career’ generally means earning enough money to ‘be happy’ or to pay our bills, not have to worry about having food on the table, and making sure all family members have most of what they need within reason. The ‘Family’ category usually means being able to spend time with loved ones so that we don’t miss out on important moments (first steps, birthdays, sunsets) nor feel guilty about missing these moments. So work is really full of other values like safety, protection, health, wealth, and feeling valued. Similar, family is comprised of things like love, safety, comfort, and joy.

I think the problem arises from two basic issues: 1) work, or career, demands too much of our time, and 2) we feel guilty, sad, or devalued when we feel like we don’t have enough time for love. I have talked at length about both of these issues in other episodes, but in short the American career ideal does, indeed, demand too much of our time which I think is most of the problem. Couple that with the idea that, the higher your salary the higher the expectations of time dedicated to work then we have a huge problem for those earning a comfortable living. The wealthier you are, the more likely that the working member of the household will miss out on family time.

The good news is, by identifying your values – especially those associated with career and family – you can identify mechanisms for adjustment. Something as simple as reexamining your budget can reveal how much money your family really needs to be content. And maybe you don’t need to earn $200k a year and work 70 hours a week. Maybe changing careers is a viable solution.Similarly, maybe your spouse feels unsafe without a large retirement savings. Maybe you agree to work as hard as possible for a few years and THEN make a change.

The hardest thing to change with respect to all of these values (money, safety, time spent with family, love, etc.) is your job. Your employer will almost always dictate how much time you will spend working both in the office and at home on your phone or computer. This is hard to change because you could lose your job. BUT, you could become an entrepreneur and work for yourself (although sometimes this is worse with respect to time). You could change careers. You could split time with your spouse and both work part time, though sometimes insurance is difficult in this situation. The point is, your employer will largely dictate your work situation, though there is some flexibility if you are willing to take risks.

The rest of the values can be manipulated. If you work too much and are missing family time, you can develop and schedule time to spend together and make this a CRITICAL secondary priority. You can learn to accept your career time commitments and ‘work with what you have’. You can thoroughly examine the time you spend working at home and think about creative ways to minimize this. Do you really need to answer emails at 9 PM? Can some things wait until the morning or office time?

I don’t think we spend enough time micro-managing our time and looking at the small ways to shift career time to family time. We believe we are helpless victims of our employers. I believe career constraints can be boiled down to a list of absolutes, maybes, and potential nos. This processes can free up small bits of time that add up to being able to have lunch with your spouse once a week to check in, to take your kids to school, or other opportunities. We just forget we have more control than we think.

I hope this episode reminds you of the power you have to control your time and to find small ways to improve your career/family balance. Please share your ideas below.

Podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8295306-kew-episode-45-career-vs-family.mp3?blob_id=37637385&download=true

or please subscribe to Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom via your favorite podcast app

KEW Curiosity Interview Series 5: Dana Humphrey

I hope you are enjoying this interview series as much as I am. Dana reached out to me because talking about curiosity sounded interesting to her. And she has some new and interesting points to make about the importance of curiosity in our lives. It’s so much fun to listen to other peoples thoughts about how being curious is important to them. We are all unique, and even a simple topic like curiosity can be very diverse.

Danas’ specialty is helping people realize their self worth and to learn better self love practices. She offers several coaching and learning programs to help you move away from imposter syndrome or feeling ‘not good enough’ toward a happier and more relaxed life. She embodies creativity and has some really cool stories about her interests in art and magic. I can totally picture her leading a self love meditation at burning man.

What I find fascinating about Dana is she is leaving behind a successful pet business to follow her purpose. In helping people understand their relationships with their pets (you can find her book, EmBARKing Down the Lease of Codependency here) she realized her role was much bigger. Now she provides guidance and leadership to help us find peace and contentment in all aspects of our lives.

As someone who struggled with codependency, I appreciate Danas’ elegant approach. As she says, we don’t really need much to exist in this world as humans, but without believing in ourselves our lives are not as full. And, moreover, by accepting ourselves for who we are we can reach the highest level of contentment and joy.

You can find out about Danas’ programs and background on her website, but this interview gives you a real look into who she is, how she operates, and what she finds to be most important with respect to self love. I found myself terrifically relaxed listening to her talk. She is not rushed and you can almost see her calmness – and it’s contagious. It is obvious she is good at what she does and I have no doubt a person can find great wisdom in her teachings.

I was extremely fortunate to have our paths cross and know you will learn something from our chat.

Podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8202613-kew-curiosity-interview-series-5-dana-humphrey.mp3?blob_id=37071637&download=true or via your favorite podcast app.

YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/l3J5lzbBUM8

KEW Curiosity series interview: Paul Gadola

One of my greatest character flaws is being resistant to people. When I meet new people I often assume they won’t like the ‘real me’ and this often prevents me from developing deep relationships. Sometimes this is protective, because some people might ridicule you or react negatively to who you really are. But the worst result from this type of approach is not giving people a chance. I’m not sure I did that with Paul, but when we first met I didn’t see the potential friendship because I was in my protective bubble – and that’s on me.

Fortunately for me, Paul reached out to me and we have developed a friendship which has grown easily and effortlessly. And I owe him a debt of gratitude for initiating that and sort of pushing through any walls I might have had up. This is the first lesson Paul taught me. I guess the lesson there is to be open to the world rather than closed off. To believe that the world wants and needs your unique vision and that it’s your responsibility to share it.

Paul Gadola owns a CrossFit gym (www.ironmountain.fitness) and his wife owns a healthy meals business (www.sunmealprep.com) so they literally embody the mind/body/spirit mantra, living it every day. Paul’s messages are so well informed, well thought out, and COMPLETE that it’s hard not to learn something from his videos and messages. His instagram offers so much to the spiritual thinker you will have plenty to chew on for weeks. And it’s hard to argue with how he has compiled so many viewpoints, so many belief systems, and so much diversity in his messages. He seems to have filtered out all the junk and come up with a holistic, all-inclusive organization of a way to approach enlightenment for our species.

Though I had a few issues during recording, we were able to capture a lot of Paul’s wisdom in this Episode and there is a lot here to help us all grow and understand ourselves better. I strongly urge you to check out his instagram series or his facebook page to go deeper into what he is offering. And maybe send him some encouragement to package all of this into a book or something;)

Full Podcast audio here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/7514887-kew-curiosity-one-paul-gadola-interview.mp3?blob_id=33018568&download=true or via your favorite podcast listening app.

Full Video here: https://youtu.be/WkEuFewSmM4

Preview: KEW Curiosity Series: Paul Gadola

This week I’ll release the first in a series of interviews about Curiosity starting with my buddy and spiritual confidante, Paul Gadola. Paul lives in my hometown, and though we didn’t really know each other well for several years, we have bonded over our similar paths. Paul has a wealth of Knowledge (and Experience and Wisdom) about all things spiritual and is currently writing a book to share his unique vision. Fortunately he also shares his messages on instagram and facebook and following him will inspire you. There is much to learn from his inclusive approach to spirituality and I’m honored he was open to sharing with us in this series debut.

If you have listened to any of my solo episodes, you already know how Paul has influenced my thinking. One of my favorites is, ‘We all think we’re right’. Just hearing Paul verbalize this statement has softened the way I look at other people in my life – which has been especially helpful during these divisive times. Paul just has that way about him. He is the most peaceful, kind, and ‘chilled out’ dude I’ve met in my adult life and we all can learn a lot from him. Here’s a preview of what’s coming this Friday.

Episode preview here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=572120573746640

Paul owns Iron Mountain Crossfit gym and his wife, Shelley, runs Sunmeal Prep offering healthy prepared meals. Together they truly embody the mind/body/spirit holistic approach to living a good life – something for us all to aspire to.

KEW Episode 37: Currency of Life

One of the things I think about most often is how we have to have a job to earn money to buy the time we want to live our lives. It’s like the life we’re born with is secretly conditional upon participating in this loop.

I’m not angry about it anymore, but I used to be. This forced agreement seemed unfair. Not that I didn’t want to work, I just felt violated having my life be conditional upon participation in someone else’s system.

So after I calmed down, I started thinking about how we measure the value in our lives. Which led me to money. We see money as the ultimate indicator of all of the important things. Of all the THINGS in life that can make us happy, we see money as being the most important. But it isn’t just about money. In fact, I was using money to leverage the other things I wanted. Most notably, TIME.

To me, time *should* come before money. It’s part of the universe (or at least we think it is, as we understand what it is). It was here before us. It wasn’t invented by humans. Time asks nothing, is consistent, and fairly equally distributed among species. And when it isn’t equally distributed, awareness of time is enhanced instead of taken for granted. All I can really do with time is try and understand I only have so much of it. Which becomes painfully more and more obvious as I age. . . .

In addition to TIME, I also value LOVE in similar ways. As in, if I had all the time in the world, and no loved ones to share it with, time would have less value. So some measure of love in my life is also important. So it’s also critical to my happiness to have love in my life.

And, sadly, if I had to rank my understanding of, appreciation for, and effort spent in pursuit of, I would have ranked money much higher than time or love for most of my life. It’s only lately that I’ve realized I want to prioritize time and love over money. For the rest of my life (time).

Unfortunately, that deal we make at birth about money doesn’t just go away. We still need a certain amount of money (and therefore lose a certain amount of time) in order to meet our basic human needs. There is a reason we rank money more highly than other things and that’s because it is ESSENTIAL to meeting your basic human needs. There are fewer and fewer ways to meet your basic needs without working and earning money. So life becomes this game of either needing less money or earning more money to hopefully meet your time and love (and other) needs. Personally, I’d rather need less money than lose more time.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about these currencies, and others that you may value.

Podcast audio link: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/7175626-kew-episode-37-currency-of-life.mp3?blob_id=31009066&download=true

YouTube video: https://youtu.be/SuSOjGAVFB0

Preview KEW Episode 37: The Currency of Life

Money is important. You need it to get the other things you need. Once you have enough money to meet your basic needs (food, shelter, safety) you can think about other things in life. People use money to measure their success and their ability to have other important things. Money is like the gateway.

But there are other currencies we use and spend every day. For me, two important currencies are Time and Love. Without Time what good is the money? If you were to die tomorrow, how much could you spend? And how much time would you have traded for that money? See, it takes time to make money and to enjoy your time you need money. It’s weird.

And, really, if you have ‘enough’ money and time (whatever ‘enough’ is), what good is it without other people to share them with? Love is another form of currency, but it obeys a different set of rules. In fact, Money, Time, and Love all play by a different rulebook.

I’ll get pretty deep into this in this week’s Episode. Here’s a preview!