Simple Living: Reducing the Need for Material Belongings

budget_052213 Chart2

My financial assets as a function of time from 10/18/12-5/23/13, dollars on the x-axis and date on the y-axis.

Every day, it seems that the headlines of newspapers and media outlets proclaim the economic end of civilization.  From the frontiers of this phenomena like Greece to the United States, austerity is the word.  During this time, who is hurt the most?  I would say probably the weakest and most powerless branch of the population, the periphery: the poor, the mentally ill, minorities, etc.  I have felt the sting of the economic downturn as described by this lecture that I gave to the seminary in a contemporary Christian service known as Peripheral Visions.  One aspect of having bipolar disorder that I struggle with is how to finance the treatment.  Medications, doctor visits, hospitalizations, and incidental costs all add up and can quickly deplete a bank account.  The question is, how to balance the costs of treatment with my dearth of income while in seminary without going too far into student loan debt.  I think methodical budgeting will be the key, doing so will highlight expenditures and enable corrections to be made.  However, that is not enough.  I think I need to get a job to help finance my schooling.  Tutoring is too temporary and the work is not steady.  Perhaps editing jobs might be a good start.  I think the single largest approach I can use is to follow in the footsteps of Thoreau and assume a simple living lifestyle this summer.  I plan on eating only home cook meals, fasting more to lose weight, documenting each penny I spend.  However, ultimately it is up to God how my fiances will workout.  At the end of the day, prayer may be the single most important factor in surviving seminary financially.  Prayer can heal the mind’s tendency to try to accomplish extremely difficult tasks alone by remembering that I must rely on God.  As one friend so beautifully stated, “You see, everyone has the despair. Especially when they don’t relate to themselves through the eyes of God.  And those who don’t recognize it, they have it even worse.  Sending many prayers and warmth to you.”

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About kayaerbil

I am a Berkeley educated chemistry Ph.D. who is moving into the area of working on developing appropriate technology for communities that are subjected to socio-economic oppression. The goal is to use simple and effective designs to empower people to live better lives. Currently, I am working with Native Americans on Pine Ridge, the Lakota reservation in South Dakota. I am working with a Native owned and run solar energy company. We are currently working on building a compressed earth block (CEB) house that showcases many of the technologies that the company has developed. The CEB house is made of locally derived resources, earth from the reservation. The blocks are naturally thermally insulating, keeping the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Eventually, a solar air heater and photovoltaic panels will be installed into the house to power the home and keep it warm, while preserving the house off the grid. A side project while in Pine Ridge is a solar computer. I hope to learn about blockchain encryption software for building microgrids. In addition, it is an immediate interest of mine to involve local youth in technology education.
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