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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

November 2011 Publisher's Letter

While planning this month’s Local & Personal Economy issue, our editorial team found it challenging to get a positive handle on present possibilities in the face of reports on the Occupy Wall Street movement, persistent jobless figures and home foreclosures. We decided to ask a question from an enlightened Natural Awakenings perspective: “What opportunities do we have in this economic crisis to create the kind of world in which we want to live?”

In quietly examining my own life, I realize that what has always made it rich are my relationships with others, including quality time spent with family and friends. Next up are the creative sparks that make life meaningful and help me contribute to making our world a better place. Sprinkled through it all are nature’s eloquent touches, like walks on the beach, bike rides and just pausing to smell the flowers. It’s interesting that scientific research supports my personal conclusions, as we learn in this month’s feature article, “The Economics of Happiness”.

What would happen if throughout society we redefined the best of all worlds and started taking more personal responsibility for creating it? Yes, families, states and nations need money to pay bills, but somehow in our exuberant experience with various economic bubbles, we lost track of an essential concept: Money is just currency, a tool that exists to serve us, not the other way around.

Occupy Wall Street protests and other indicators remind us that we don’t have to turn over our lives to financial insiders and their hired representatives in Washington, D.C. We the people can reject the economic orthodoxy that in many ways has served us poorly, and rebuild our economy on a different foundation. As we engage with the kind of world we want to live in, we’ll become clearer about what we intuitively know are the true sources of our happiness.

So today, together with author John de Graff and other thinkers, we ask: What sort of society do we want to rebuild? What will expand our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, without diminishing the chances for other people, now and in the future, to enjoy the same?

Painful as it may be in the short term, we can emerge from this crisis healthier and wealthier, with the sort of riches that really matter: strong communities of resilient individuals and loving relationships, healthy ecosystems, sustainable economies and the ability for all to make a skillful living and enjoy a blessed life. These pages are filled with steps you can move ahead with right now to help create this kind of world.

We have plenty to be grateful for this Thanksgiving Day and all through the year. Let’s pause to appreciate the abundance in our lives and give thanks for the potent opportunities to create a world that works for everyone.

Here’s to grateful hearts and love that flows all ways,


Sharon Bruckman, Publisher