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Monica Pickard spent twenty years of her adult life as a child care provider. During that time, with the help of her husband, she raised her son who has been diagnosed with Autism and Developmental Delay. She learned to navigate a world that was new to her – the world of Special Needs. She now shares these experiences and the wisdom they taught her, with love and heartfelt compassion for the human condition.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Abundance: Perception


Those who have shall receive more, and they will have an abundance. Those who have not, even what they have shall be taken from them. We have read this in the bible, but what does it mean? It seems so unfair. One interpretation is that it is about perception. Your perception comes from where you have placed your focus. Are you focused on lack or abundance? Do you perceive that you have too little, or that your life is full of abundance? A spiritual truth is that your perception becomes your reality, so if you are negative and focused on lack, that will be your reality. Focus on the abundance in your life and your perception of reality will change, too. This creates a positive flow of energy outward and then back again. In the last post, I told you about the fire and my family’s experience of witnessing the abundance even amid loss. The abundance of money and items that came to my family – and to all the fire victims – was tremendous! Watching my sister and brother-in-law navigate such great losses with grace, dignity, and humility were truly inspiring!

There is another way I have experienced abundance recently and that is through my son’s new organization, WorkerBee. We have started a Facebook page called WorkerBee Joshua Pickard, where we ask for donations for local food pantries. We send e-mails to people we know who are not on Facebook, too. People privately send Joshua their address, if they have a donation, then they leave the items on their porch to be collected on collection day. On collection days, Joshua collects the items from the porches, loads them into the car, and then unloads the car when we deliver them to the food pantries. Since March 16, 2017, he has collected and delivered 512 pounds of food, hygiene products, clothing, and home goods. That is a true display of abundance in our community! The idea was inspired by Logan’s Run. A woman in Virginia Beach started it with her son, who has autism. Here is a link to their story: http://pilotonline.com/news/local/health/family-of-young-man-with-autism-puts-his-love-of/article_a5e7857c-7ae5-51de-a70e-6e3344be330e.html

Like Sharon and Logan, our mission is to help Joshua stay active in the community, give him something to do so he won’t be bored at home, show others what people with disabilities are capable of, and help those less fortunate than ourselves. All of this is accomplished by one simple activity! There is an abundance of help of all kinds. The only requirement to experience this abundance of help is to notice it.

Perceptions change about people with disabilities when we show others what our kids can do. This has helped create changes in our country in every area of life for people with disabilities. Think about how far we have come over the past decades! As a country, we have an abundance of everything, including money. What we must do, once we grasp this reality, is direct our focus to where our heart and soul knows this abundance should go. Our perceptions about money are rooted in our beliefs about money. That is what I will write about in the next post. For now, I want to focus on the perceptions of power and money.

Money is powerful, right? It can buy almost anything. We strive to earn more of it because we perceive that it will bring us joy, security, influence, fun, health, rest, and whatever else we feel is lacking in our lives. It can buy those things, but it can’t sustain our feelings. What we don’t realize when we are living in a perception of lack, is that money really, truly cannot buy happiness. You can get money, lots and lots of money, and you’ll be living it up, getting everything you’ve ever wanted and, eventually, the feeling of lack will come back. Why? If your perceptions about money, about your life, about your worth, and about abundance do not change, you will go right back to not having enough. You will have to get a newer, more expensive car, or house, or clothes. Shopping will only sustain your mood until the item you seek is obtained. Once you have it and show it off a bit, the thrill is over. You’re still you, your family problems are still problems. They might even have grown into bigger problems because now you have money to fight over.

The super wealthy have a completely different experience of money and a completely different relationship to it, especially if they were born into wealth. A wealthy person’s perception of money being powerful is their reality. The financial abundance they experience is not fleeting like it can be for the middle class and the poor. It cannot sustain their happiness, but it does bring them power and influence. An abundance of money can cause the wealthy person to have a sense of importance. It can make people believe they are more special, more talented, and more deserving than others who are not as wealthy. There are wealthy people who do not feel this way or think this way, of course. I’m simply telling you what wealth can do and has done in the minds of some people. Living in a constant state of enormous abundance, one does not feel a sense of lack. It is not part of their awareness. The evidence of abundance is all around them, so it flows naturally to them. They have the resources to make even more money, so whatever they decide to do is always within their reach. They live in the constant flow of abundance, financially. A game of greed begins to occur, not because they are evil people, but because that is the way our human minds work. The more we have, the more we want. It becomes a quest to see how high their bank account can go.

Money brings the super-wealthy political clout, which can influence perceptions in people’s lives. They can use their abundance of wealth to change the game, to change the narrative, and to change policies that impact your life – and your child’s life - in a very direct way. They can use your feelings of lack against you by comparing your hard work to people on welfare and people trying to earn a higher wage. They can change your perception of other human beings and social programs and instill a sense of lack in you, through these comparisons. It becomes a game of ego. They appeal to your ego, your fears, and your fatigue by pitting you against the ones perceived as takers. As I said, they are not evil people. They have fallen victim to human nature. And their efforts pay off. They pump money into campaigns so politicians will vote their way. These votes allow them to save money because they own the corporations that keep your wage low. There is way more to their game than wages. It affects jobs being shipped overseas due to trade agreements and so much more.  

The game and the narrative began to change way back in the 1980’s. When Ronald Reagan became the president of the United States of America, he introduced the idea of a welfare queen. There was one woman who was caught scamming the welfare system and Mr. Reagan made her the poster child for wasteful spending. People scam welfare and Social Security and the food stamp program. It happens. But what has been happening since the 1980’s is that the wealthy have pumped so much dark money into the political system to change our perceptions about social programs. They have created many political action groups to spread the word about waste, fraud, and abuse, creating the perception that a huge percentage of taxes are being wasted on welfare queens and lazy people. People are getting the perception that welfare programs are nothing more than huge, wasteful scams. The perception of social programs has changed from one of help for the needy to one of the lazy people gaming the system at the expense of hard working people. Many of the scams perpetrated in the welfare system come from greedy doctors billing insurance companies, Medicaid, and Medicare for services they have not provided. This is where a lot of money is wasted, but politicians don’t talk about that. I think we can change the narrative and the perception back again. We can change the narrative so cracking down on the actual wrongdoers is the top priority, rather than constantly cutting the social programs people rely on.

One way the political narrative works is to convince you that if you must take a drug test to get your job, then so should people on welfare. This is a huge deal to people. It appeals to our ego. We think, “I work for my money and have to submit to drug testing, and so should the people who are getting my hard-earned money for nothing.” It makes perfect sense. However, studies have shown that people on welfare are not testing positive for drug use, at least not the way everyone thought they would. States are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to test people, but few are getting kicked off welfare. Now we must ask, why would politicians want to drug test welfare recipients if it is not creating savings in the welfare program? Think about who profits from these tests. The beneficiaries of this market are the medical community, labs, clinics, and anyone who has anything to do with administering these tests and selling these tests to the states that use them. These tests are paid for with your tax dollars. Who is the real welfare queen?

People are gaming the system. We just need to wake up and see who is doing the gaming! Again, what we focus on we create and that influences our perception. Political activists know this and they use it to their advantage. When we focus on this message of gaming the system, it sets up an idea in our minds that is easy to believe. They show us what appears to be evidence of waste, fraud, and abuse by some lazy individuals, but it turns out to be manipulation, rather than fact. They take one example of the original welfare queen and make it sound like that is our current reality. They take the issue of provider fraud and make it sound like it’s a problem created by lazy people. They know we don’t have the will, or the time, or the fortitude to examine their claims on our own. We don’t even question the legitimacy of their claims! Only about 2 to 3 percent of the budget goes toward fraud by individuals on welfare, but most people think it’s a lot higher percentage.

However, the parents of people with disabilities know something different. Our reality is different. We must stop allowing politicians to walk through our minds with their dirty feet. We know how much good is done by these programs. We know lives are saved, lives are made better, lives depend on these programs. So why do we allow politicians to refer to our loved ones as wasteful spending? The INVESTMENT in my son is not wasted! I believe it is the same investment Jesus would make in my son. He would not refer to these social programs as waste. Would he? I’m pretty sure he told at least one wealthy man to give all of his possessions to the poor. Our politicians make it sound like entitlement programs got their name because the people that use them feel entitled. This is not the case! We must change this perception also. We call them entitlements because human beings are entitled to basic human rights, dignity, care, and compassion. Our perception needs a major overhaul back to what our ancestors envisioned when they created these programs. The poor are not wasteful spending. They are human beings. Our children with disabilities are not wasteful spending. They are human beings. Spread these words. Change this perception. Then make your politicians in your district and state do something about the real fraud and abuse rather than just talk. The time to do it is now.

One last thing – Politicians have taken the term divide and conquer to a whole new level. Let’s come together for each other and stop letting them divide us. We don’t have to change political parties and vote for the other side. We just need to make our party – whichever party that is – work for us. It’s not the democrats vs. the republicans, the middle class vs. the poor, or the wealthy vs. everyone else; it’s we the people, working together to protect the most vulnerable citizens.

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