In keeping with the last article, another thing to consider is personal energy expenditure. I’d say that this is the single most important thing in planning the present or future, and yet it is the one thing that is almost universally ignored. We all have a finite amount of energy to expend each day, and when that energy is used up, you’re done for the day. No amount of rallying war cries is going to alter the amount of energy you have on any one given day.
So be very smart about how you spend your energy. Make sure you are using it to further your own goals and not the hidden goals of others. Consider what you are doing and why you are doing it. It might be a good idea to survey yourself and find out where you’re spending your energy. If you’ve decided to be a homesteader or at least have a little more freedom, you’re going to have to know where you’re spending your real gold, that is, your energy.
|It's a snowball effect.|
Our energy can be expended physically, mentally, and emotionally. Usually, we only think about the physical expenditure of energy, if we think about it at all. We think about our jobs (some much more physical than others), our form of exercise, the chores we must do in a day—that kind of thing. And it’s true: Everything we do takes away from our daily supply of energy.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. We all have certain things we want to get done in a day, and those things require energy to do them. Our jobs require that we expend energy to perform them, and in exchange, we receive money. It’s important in Caesar’s world to understand that money directly represents energy. You receive it for energy spent, and you trade it in for energy that others have spent.
If we were all rewarded in Caesar’s world with the same amount of energy we spent, it would be a fair world. But it’s not a fair world. There are those receiving a lot more energy than they have spent in work and those not receiving nearly enough for their output—and that is for another article altogether. For now, let’s concentrate on the fact that it’s easy to forget money is energy and instead think of money as representing pleasure or position only. Don’t get lulled into that idea. Money is energy.
As a homesteader, you are aware—either directly or intuitively—that money is energy, and your goal is to spend and receive your energy as independently and efficiently as possible without interruption from a middleman (who will want his cut). Instead of paying money (energy) for certain things or to have certain jobs done, a homesteader will make the thing himself or do the job himself. Either way, he expends energy either in the form of bodily energy or money. The homesteader prefers the bodily energy because he can be sure of fairness and getting back what he gives out.
When a homesteader does something for himself—makes a meal, grows a garden, builds a shed—the quality is astronomically higher than what he would have gotten if he had to pay someone else for that meal, garden, or shed. It is much cheaper as well, and as this happens time and time again, the homesteader begins to realize just how many hidden “middlemen” there really are who have been taking a cut of his money (energy) without him even knowing about it. This spurs him on to even more do-it-yourself tasks and, thus, further independence. It’s a process that takes time, but once it gets going, it really has a snowball effect.
So far we have talked about physical energy, but energy can also be expended mentally and emotionally. The two are often tied together, but not always. Mental energy can take many forms: Responsibility, worries, duty, etc. Emotional energy also can take many forms: Love, hate, fear, sorrow, etc. Remember that once your energy has been expended, it cannot be taken back, so be wise about how you spend it.
Of course, if we think consciously about it, we can make decisions to curb that expenditure. We can tell ourselves, “I will not accept responsibility for this; I will not hate that,” etc. But that takes a conscious effort and a willingness to police yourself, at least in the beginning. That being said, there are many ways we spend mental and emotional energy without even realizing it. There are many ways this energy is coaxed out of us without our even being aware. It is done purposely.
For example, you go online and read an article about an injustice being done in another state or another country. The words you read are emotionally charged, and you find yourself getting caught up in the issue. Many people agitatedly comment on it. “If I were her . . . if I were him . . . who do they think they are ? . . . what a mess . . .” You become further emotionally charged. You comment yourself and add to the discussion. You tell your friend about it later. Then you tell your spouse. You think about the situation. You worry about it ever happening to you or your loved ones. A small fear grows that you brush aside (hidden but not gone). A sense of sorrow ensues; finally, doom. You become exhausted.
This happens over and over and over again. It’s the articles online, the news briefs, the televised accounts, the magazines on the racks in the supermarket, etc. They’re all vying for your attention, i.e., vying for your energy. And there is a currency attached to this energy as well. Sometimes it is in the form of money, but usually, there is a more sinister currency involved.
Did you ever stop to wonder what happens to the energy you expend emotionally and mentally? Remember that the Law of Conservation of Energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed but merely changes form. If Caesar is building Rome with your physical energy (money), he is building a global empire with your mental and emotional currency. And this global empire goes way beyond the physical realm. Every time you pay him in emotional and mental currency, another brick goes into the castle, another cobblestone is placed on the road.
How does it happen? Over time, our mental and emotional worries act themselves out in our behavior. Perhaps we will not do something we always wanted to do out of fear of rejection. Perhaps we will buy certain products for our “safety.” Perhaps we will turn down certain friendships out of suspicion or just plain exhaustion. This rejection, idea of safety, and suspicion were planted in our minds. Every time we act out on what was planted, we lose a piece of our freedom, of our independence, and we conform ourselves more and more to what Caesar wants us to be. And often, we don’t even know it’s happening.
Instead, we ought to spend our emotional and mental energy on ourselves, on our loved ones and friends, on our own communities. We’re usually so emotionally and mentally spent that we don’t have time for anything else. We need to make time for other things, and the only way we can do that is by making conscious decisions about how we want to spend our mental and emotional energy. Do we want to waste it worrying about an emotionally-charged issue happening 300 miles away? 3,000 miles away? Or do we want to take that energy and put it to use in projects and people and communities that we can see and touch?
This is not to say that we ought to become hermits and ignore the world. It is not to say that we should remain ignorant of the affairs of the world or become uncaring about the plight of those less fortunate than us. It does not mean that we should live in a bubble. But there is only so much that we can do for situations that occur thousands of miles away from us, and there is so very, very much we can do for situations in our own backyard.
You’ve heard the expression, “think globally, act locally”? I say think locally and act in your own microcosm. Take what limited energy you have—physical, mental, and emotional—and put it to work for you, for results that you can actually see and feel. Cut out the middlemen wherever you find them or wherever you suspect them. Cut off the endless supply to Caesar, and render only to him what you must by law but certainly not a penny more.
Lastly, consider where energy comes from. All energy comes from the sun. Yes, we really are star children. The sun is the source of all life in our “solar” system. The green plants can directly absorb that energy through photosynthesis. We cannot do that, but we can consume that energy by eating plants and animals that have eaten plants. This is how we bring the sun’s energy into our body and renew ourselves.
It stands to reason that the more nutritious and simple your food is, the more direct and powerful the energy transference will be. If your food is grown well and in your own backyard, if it doesn’t have to travel 2,000 miles to get to your table, if it doesn’t contain an ingredient list of 50 chemicals, it stands to reason that you are going to be able to charge your body with it much better than you would with food that comes from a questionable origin.
Having said that, you can eat the most nutritious food in the world and get no energy if your body is not working properly. Enzymes and hidden bacteria aid you in the transference of energy. In fact, without these lowest of creatures, you could not live. Age affects our ability to efficiently transfer the energy, although I have seen many older people who can dance circles around younger people who are not properly fueling themselves.
A word about caffeine here: There is no such thing as ingesting “extra energy” by consuming caffeine. Caffeine itself contains no energy. It binds to adenosine receptors on nerves, thereby preventing actual adenosine from binding to the nerves. Adenosine slows cells down, but the cells can’t slow down if their receptors are blocked with caffeine, so they appear to speed up. Caffeine causes neurons to fire, and your body mistakes this for an emergency. Hormones are released that produce adrenaline, and adrenaline causes the “fight or flight” reaction. Now you’re really supercharged.
Or are you? No, you have not added one bit of energy to your body. Instead, what you have done is mortgage future energy that your body would have used as the day goes on. You feel the rush of energy as your body prepares for fight or flight. Later, you experience the “crash” because you have borrowed from Peter to pay Paul. So if you think you’re fooling anyone by consuming stimulant drugs, it’s only yourself.
No, I’m not saying you have to quit your morning coffee. I often drink a cup of coffee in the morning, and I enjoy it. Some studies have shown that caffeine can have some positive effects on the body. However, if you are drinking five or 10 cups of coffee, you might want to consider cutting back. But regardless of how much you drink, what I’m saying is it’s important to be aware of what you’re doing and why so that you understand the effect it’s having on your body. You should be the one who makes the choice of what you will or will not consume. You do this with your own production and with knowledge.
Energy is the currency of the universe. A homesteader spends it and saves it wisely. He is aware of where it comes from and how to get it. He knows he has to spend it to make it, but he does this with the full knowledge of how to make the best use of it to improve his own life and thrive where others wither.