Diamond-Cut Life

How To Be Rich In What Matters

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The Best Investments I Make

September 22nd, 2013 by Alison · 6 Comments · money, nature, spirituality

I was so dollar-poor in my 30′s that I lived illegally for five years in the loft where my landlord thought I was just running my small art company. I couldn’t afford a separate place to live. Even then, I was late with the rent each month.

I feel bad about the dishonesty of that, and I later made amends to the landlord. I tell you about this, though, to make a distinction between being dollar-poor and truly poor. And to illustrate my best investments.

When I was dollar-poor as an artist, I had a connection to God and nature that made me not truly poor at all. Sunshine would stream into my narrow loft through the skylight. I would pray to God in my big round papasan chair, and tears of joy would stream from my eyes, Her love for me was so palpable.

I would run for miles along the Willamette river, and hike and bicycle for hours  in lush, verdant Forest Park, as happy in those moments as people in the expensive homes nearby. Being in nature made me know in my gut I was whole, despite having almost no money.  

Today, I’m not dollar-poor any more. I have a “normal” job I love, supporting rural transit that focuses on seniors and folks with disabilities. My husband and I  own two houses, one we rent and one we live in with a steady stream of visitors and housemates. (And have I mentioned how joyful and simple it can be to practice hospitality?)

In our lifetimes, our income levels will go up and down. We are the same people in any case, with the same intrinsic human worth. We spend lots of money, time and energy trying to insure ourselves from losing our money and possessions. But we can’t take any of that with us when we die. Nature and God can endure as bedrock sources of joy and stability no matter what.

A relationship with God — whatever that looks like for you — is a sound investment. For me, it looks like going to my neighborhood church, and praying daily in a special corner of my bedroom. (I track this and my other daily habits like this, similar to how my husband I also track our financial investments).

Several times a week I run, hike or bike through the forest of Mount Tabor park near my house. Joy. Wholeness. Same as when I was dollar-poor. A relationship with nature can make us rich regardless of what our stock investments are doing.

Unlike money and possessions, our personal experiences of God and nature cannot be stolen from us. We can tap into these investments right up to when we say our earthly good-byes.

How do you invest in your relationship with nature? In your relationship with God? How do you find that these kinds of investments pay off over time?

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Debra Yearwood

    I use nature as a balm when things frustrate me. Just walking around my yard can calm my mind. It’s where I go to stop and recharge. Given it’s role in my life, that means that I have to be conscious of what I do in nature so that it’s there not just for me, but for my kids.

  • grnpwrguy

    Wonderful and quite sincere, these simple concepts/rules help define our life together!

  • Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie)

    For me, nature reminds me that whatever you call it…God, the universe, a higher power… there is something out there that is greater than us. And that needs to be a part of our purpose. Very lovely post

  • Mike

    Alison, I believe God is everywhere around us in all things and energy in the ether. I know, that’s deep. I give thanks Him daily numerous times for being grateful, appreciative and thankful for Right and Perfect Health, being Right, Perfect and Safe Always and that everything is Right and Perfect in all things with us and around us. Thank you for sharing that intimate part of your early past. I love people who are real like that. Fantastic post!! :)

    • Alison

      Mike, I love to hear that you believe in God too. I notice that many of us almost never mention this in everday life. I’m learning to speak up more, never for the purpose of judging anyone, but because God doesn’t want me to keep this joyful part of my life a secret. And my faith is strengthened when I find other faithful people like you (which doesn’t tend to happen unless I break the ice).

      I have often stayed quiet about my spirituality because I don’t want people to associate me with the Religious Right and fundamentalism. But I think my life and my words make it clear pretty quickly what type of spirituality I’m practicing, i.e. one of love, inclusion and generosity. And keeping things real, as you remind us. Thanks for coming by and visiting, Mike. I treasure your presence here and at your blog Past My Curfew.

  • Arleen

    I am always in awe of mother nature and what God has provided for us. We all have our private moments with God. I couldn’t be happier with my life today. I am truly blessed.

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