My Plan Going Forward – Part 2

Posted: June 6, 2015 in Personal Stories

Continued from part I…

I decided to work backwards instead of forwards though. I figure – if I’m creating a roadmap for my life, then it should include a destination – where do I want to be when this life comes to an end? And from that point, working backwards, what steps might I take in this life to get me there?

Death (2058+, 85+): Die peacefully as an old man surrounded by loving, spiritual beings. A beautiful and natural death – amidst trees, rivers, and mountains; not a clinical space filled with machines.

Old Age (2053+, 80+): A humble guide who is immersed in selfless love and divine wisdom, willing to do whatever I can to help others find the truth for themselves, even as my own body begins to fail me.

Golden Years (2029+, 56+): Purchase a beautiful piece of land in Washington or Alaska, or some other northwestern territory where there are trees, rivers, and mountains – a few acres. Add several small houses (100sq feet) around the property as private retreat spaces for reading and meditation. Build a main house where bathrooms, showers, and meals are made available; and include an indoor meeting hall for use during inclement weather. One or two outdoor pavilions would also be added for yoga and outdoor group meditation. Reserve a portion of the property for people with tents and RVs to come and stay. Have several garden areas for food production, pathways for meditative walks in nature, rivers for sitting or swimming, etc. I also want to place a large telescope on the property – let us observe the beauty of the universe that God created for us. Within this space I would simply create spaciousness for others. An open place to explore the nature of spirituality and find liberation.

Earning the Money (2024-2034, 51-61): Combination of services from multiple disciplines, books, etc. Includes establishing a foundation in order to purchase the property and building materials outlined above. Primary discipline would be as a mental health counselor, emerging consciousness counselor, spiritual crisis counselor, etc. Teaching classes, offering lectures and workshops, etc. Writing books, articles, blogs. All while being conscientious of the nature of money and its dangers. Some things would be paid, some would be donation based, and some would be free. It’s all about altering my orientation toward money in a way that aligns with right livelihood and always helping those in need no matter what their financial situation looks like. But getting to this place requires certain credentials and those credentials require a certain education.

Educational Pursuits (2018-2024, 45-51): PHD in Psychology – probably a transpersonal discipline that is in tune with my own awakened experiences and understanding of things as they truly are. MA in clinical, counseling, or transpersonal psychology. Overall this is a five to six year period of intense educational development, all as a full time student – with some related writing and volunteer work on the side. Expenses would include all tuition and book costs (about $60,000 total) and living expenses. I’d probably just buy a camper (below) to live in and be very very frugal for the entire time. Assuming another $15,000 per year that’s another $90,000. That’s about $150,000 cash needed in order to take six years off to pursue my formal education.

Travel and Learning (2017-2018, 44-45): I also want to plug in one full year dedicated to traveling and studying with other enlightened beings. There are so many different approaches to awakening and so many different stories of enlightenment – I want to dig in for my own deepening, but also so that I can be a better guide to others, not just relying on my own experiences, but also on the experiences shared with me by others. I’d buy a camper of some sort so that’s probably around $20,000 for something well suited to my goals. I’d also want to make sure I have a large enough travel budget to cover plane tickets, accommodations, fees and donations, etc. I would expect about half of this to take place here at home, and the other half to be abroad, studying in places like India. Altogether, an appropriate travel budget of about $100,000 would be appropriate (this includes the camper).

Earning the Money (2015-2017, 42-44): Now we get into the current time period. This is where I need to start over again. If I know that I need $250,000 cash in order to make my dreams happen, and that another $50,000 of cushion would be wise, and that I intend to donate %10 of everything I make to charity, and I realize that the government is going to want about %40 of everything I make, then I need to earn about $450,000 to make all of this happen. Ouch – $450,000. That’s a rather sizable chunk of money. With that in mind I may rethink some of my expenses and budgeting, and rework the numbers a bit – but ultimately there is no way of avoiding the need for money if I want to make things happen. I may be able to take this back down to about $300,000 and then supplement along the way in various places – maybe working while in school, etc. How will I earn $300,000 (or so)? While I am still working out the details with my family – I am hoping that they will allow me to move to Florida and take up pseudo residence there. I say pseudo residence because I would plan to spend the next two years traveling and working. I would be picking my business back up again as an information security consultant that does indeed have an earning potential of anywhere between $125,000 and $250,000 per year depending on how much I work and how much I charge. I would devote myself to picking up as much work as possible – preferring to earn everything within a year, but willing to take two years to earn as much as possible. The end of year two would be my cap – whatever I have in the bank after two years is what I would use to finance my endeavors. But if I earn enough before the end of year two, then I’d get started on the larger path sooner.

This is a pretty detailed layout of the things I’d like to achieve, when I’d like to do them, how much it will cost, etc. And everything could change tomorrow. While having this plan gives me a sense of comfort and offers me a direction to turn my life in, it isn’t something that I am attached to.

Even the particulars could change – but as of right now, I want to set up a retreat center within the next 20 years. I’ve asked myself how to do it in a manner that is consistent with the way our society works today. This is now my path – until God changes it that is. I am open to whatever may come.

This is another part of planning – and why conscious planning is necessary. When you make a conscious plan, you realize that you are just setting up a series of intentionalities, all of which are flexible and fluid. This is a guide – a roadmap, but the trip could change at any time – and I’d be okay with that.

All I really care about is honoring God and moving my life in the direction of love and kindness – for myself, for others, and for the earth. Right now this feels like the best way to do it in accordance with what is doable within society. And so – there you have it – my plan going forward.

The man I was a year ago, the man I was 8 months ago, the man I was 6 months ago, the man I was 4 months ago, the man I was 2 months ago, the man I was yesterday.  The man I am today – just as temporary, shifting, and ephemeral as everything else…  You can see it in my story and in my writing – I’m growing up  😉

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