(noun, etymology Dutch from ‘boedel’: estate, possession, inheritance, stock.). 1. Crowd, pack, lot, as in ‘the whole boodle.’ 2. a. Counterfeit money b. Money acquired or spent illegally or improperly, particularly when used in bribery for political purposes. 3. Slang for money in general.

The Ceiling Is Falling! The Ceiling Is Falling!

Posted on: Apr. 19, 2011  |  By: Ronnie Kahn  |  Category: Boodle-cise, General

The On-Off Exercise

I tried to off myself once.  It was a year of transition for my family.  I had lived my whole life on the Westside of Los Angeles but my parents had decided to move over the hill to the San Fernando Valley.  They settled on an apartment where I had to share a room with my brother.  Not too long after that they would end up moving to a single family dwelling that they would purchase.  Unknown to me at the time, I would also move out and live on my own.  In that interim period though, while I only spent a short time in that apartment, I do remember one fateful night.  I am a very sound sleeper and there is not much that will awaken me, especially in those days.  I groggily woke up the very first night there to my brother, screaming “He’s dead.  He’s dead.”  I turned my head and there lying next to me in the bed was the ceiling lamp.

Our apartment was not equipped with overhead light fixtures so each room had to have some type of lamp or light added to them.  In the late sixties and early seventies there was a stylishly dreadful but common way of lighting a room by installing a hanging swag lamp on the ceiling using a hook.  The particular lamp we had was a large amber glass bulbous looking thing where the cord was intertwined with a chain.  The chain also would be hooked to the ceiling as it was strung in swags or curves to the wall where the outlet was located.  At any rate, I had to install the lamp into the cottage cheese ceiling of my own room.  I had to poke a hole in the ceiling and insert a butterfly clamp where the clamp was designed to open up in the space just above coated dry wall in which you could affix the hook to then put the lamp up.  The clamp inserted would then spread out and be able to hold the weight of the lamp.  Good design, poor execution, as I stupidly put the clamp in upside down meaning that I inserted it like a “V” instead of an upside down “V.”  The lamp had held for a while but in the night gravity finally won out.  At the bottom of the lamp, the glass orb was tipped with a brass point.  That lamp with the point first had fallen from the ceiling and landed directly on the top of the bridge of my nose.  My nose was bleeding but miraculously I slept through the whole thing and I wasn’t hurt nor was my nose broken.  The lamp did not kill me although some would say that I could have also been killed from the atrocious decorating.   Someone told me recently that those lamps are back in style which I find hard to believe.   So, yes, I did almost kill myself but it is really not fair to use the word “try.”  Most of us think of trying as something we control or attempt to do but in my case, my killing myself would not have been a suicide since it would have been accidental (more on control later).  What I tried to do was install a lamp which almost led to me killing myself.  So in this case I not only almost “offed” myself but I found a unique way to off the lamp as well.  More importantly, when most people have an “aha” moment, a light bulb goes off in their head.  In my case, a light bulb went off ON my head.

The point that was driven home to me, literally and figuratively, in my moment of great revelation is that we all need a little luck.  I am willing to bet that, if you are reading this, almost every one of you has a story about a close call where if circumstances were just slightly altered, things could have had tragic consequences.  Most of us can remember a time when someone ran a red light just in front of us, when we almost stepped on a rattle snake, or when we almost fell from a great height.  Of course, if you don’t remember one of these experiences it may be because, through natural selection, you don’t breathe either.

Let’s reframe these types of experiences for our next money exercise.  This one is a multiple step or combination exercise:

First step:  While breathing and relaxing into a calm reflective state, think about how often you look at a clock.  Normally we think of time ticking along as the numbers increase except when it moves from 12 to 1.  Now start to think that the clocks you are seeing are ticking down as a rule.  You keep seeing time as getting less and less.  Since time is dwindling, you have got to make sure that you are working on exactly what it is that you want out of life.

Step 2:  At some point in our life, due to whatever you want to call it, luck, change in circumstance, divine intervention, we have been given a second chance and now what are we going to do about it?  If we were given this second chance for a reason, why is it that we remain on this planet?  What are we here to do?  Our job is to come up with our essential purpose or at least make sure we are working toward it.  Start listing as many things as you can think of that you truly want.  In order to stimulate your thinking, if need be, start by thinking or listing all the values that you cherish or care deeply about.  You can think about creativity, friendship, family, inventiveness, independence, growth, fame and money, inner peace and so on.  Now take the list and cut it in half to only the most important ones.  Now cut it in half again.  Start by thinking about the ones where it would be difficult to live with yourself if that wasn’t a part of you.  Now keep paring it down to just the one that you would have to have over all the others in order to make everything worthwhile.

Next, think about your money decisions as little on/off switches in a giant flow chart.  For some decisions, you make them unconsciously, such as following a rule when put into a situation, and only one or two on-off switches are flipped on or off for you to decide to do something.  I am a professional and this is how a professional would handle the situation.  You get a coffee every day.  This may be done out of pure habit which is high on the unconscious list.  Also, you may add more factors to the decision, I am tired and need coffee to wake me up and also I am going to buy a cup of coffee at the most convenient spot on the way to work.   You may go a little further that you want to start the day off with a little treat so you will buy a cup of coffee at the trendy coffee house near your home.  In some of these cases, you turned on the off-on switch of identity.  You want to feel unique or cool so you want to go the trendy place.  Perhaps you want to be nice to a co-worker and get them a cup of coffee.  You turned on the social on-off switch.   Many decisions carry a social motive such as gift giving or trying to emulate someone you admire.  In some cases, you turn on the personal history cause-and-effect switch where in the past you have found each time you are tired that caffeine from coffee will wake you up.  In some cases, you use your emotions to make a choice, such as you are feeling a little off today so in order to stop being on the sad side, you want treat yourself to the better coffee.  Again, sometimes these decisions are made automatically and unconsciously and sometimes there are rational, conscious, and deliberate methods to arrive at the decision with many off-on switches flipped.

Now these on off switches also use rules that are applied in a flow chart fashion.  If X happens, then I do Y and if X doesn’t happen then I do Z.  For example, if I want to be trendy, I go here; if I am late, I go there for coffee because the service is fast and the location is on the way to work; since I have time and the weather is bad, I will drink my coffee at the coffee house, and so on.  The flow chart directs you through the if, when, where, how, and why of your decision.  However, you are not the only customer or flow chart out there though.  There are millions and even billions of decisions about coffee being made.  In a sense, you are connected to these decisions in a network.  This holds true even if the decision is not to do something, meaning you will not be drinking coffee today.  You are connected in a nodal sense; call it brain-to-brain-to brain or person-to-person-to-person to millions of others in the network.  Those connections branch out to other connections that relate you to coffee retailers, growers, pickers, producers, importers, distributors, transporters, marketers, advertisers, and so on and they are reacting back to you and making each of their own decisions.  This may also branch to further levels of decisions that affect the need for new (or eliminate the old) construction, the need for new real estate leases or purchases, the need for new equipment purchases and it goes on and on.  Then there is the marketing and advertising story and image that is portrayed to entice us to want the coffee while, at the same time, coffee producers are often exploited.  This is just the economical side of coffee which does not even get into the political and environmental impact on the planet needed to produce the coffee you drink.

Step 3: Start with a decision and try to identify as many of the on-off switches that you can.  Then take the pared down essential purpose (EP) from step 2 and see if you can insert the EP at the head of your decision making flow chart.  In other words, start running your decisions through that EP filter rather than the other on-off flow chart you have been using.  Normally we only make big decisions with deliberation but you may find there are times when it is worth it to include essential values in small decisions.  Large or small, sometimes you just have to be practical or even want to be impractical as the case may be and you may decide to leave the decision as is even in respect to essential purpose.  At other times though, your unconscious and automatic decision process gets deactivated when you run it through an essential filter.  At even other times, even the deliberate well-thought out decision now comes through in a different light with the slant of the essential.  When the scenario around the decision is put into a different setting you may narrow or expand your decision focus.  You may decide to just keep your eyes on the prize, for example, and just do what is essential for now since your energy and time is limited.  In a normal situation, we may not really even know what it is that we want at the time.  Essential purpose helps to keep the focus on the core of what you really do want.  In certain situations, sometimes it is the context of that situation that induces us to want something.  We crave variety just for variety’s sake or there are so many choices we end up not choosing anything.  If we go to a food buffet with a huge variety, we overeat just so we won’t be left out of what we could be missing.  Using the essential purpose filter can keep us from falling into many of the traps and pitfalls around making decisions.  Some of us anguish over trying to make the perfect choice when confronted with numerous options and spend so much time and resources to pare down our choices that we still may regret that it is not the right selection anyhow.  The essential side can sometimes help to narrow the choices for you and then you can do the fine tuning.

Essential purpose is part of a greater story.  Certain things just do not really belong in the story which essential purpose can bring to light as well as certain combinations just don’t work well together either.  If your essential purpose boiled down to independence being essential than you may look differently at a decision to purchase something for the image, status, or reputation that it provides and how it appears to others.  Essential purpose focuses your energy and decision making on what you are here for which also comes across as a sense of destiny.  Are there decisions and choices that you are making that are working against that grain?  In everyday experience, there is a lot of dissonance between our purpose, values, choices, and actions.  If we don’t look deeply at them then we don’t have to confront those conflicts.  Hopefully, it won’t take a lamp to the head to get there.

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