Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Risk Analysis Example -- Housing

The mayor of the city I currently call home has just announced a housing emergency. Both house prices and rents have been increasing at one of the fastest rates in the country. Sellers in hot neighborhoods are seeing bidding wars and prices end up $100,000 over asking. Rents have been jumping and people are getting 30-day notice evictions when they can't afford the increases. We have an extremely low vacancy rate across the city. Naturally, in this environment the homeless population is also increasing, as the city's most vulnerable are forced out of housing entirely. There are new rental units being built, but they are frequently at the high end -- upscale downtown high rises and the like that many can't afford.

This is a huge risk for any city and it serves as an interesting example of risk calculation for one of the most important areas in everyone's life... where they will lay their heads. We're going to look at it from the perspective of several hypothetical residents. Remember, my goal isn't to argue for or against any one path (renting, home ownership) but simply to look at how different people would analyse their risk. In addition, examining the calculations that go into dealing with this situation does not mean I support or approve of it. Politically, I'm very left-leaning, and am generally for rent controls, affordable housing options, and a living wage for all people.
With four of these, you can trade up to a hotel.

Bob and his husband Bill rent. Bob does grant writing and marketing for a local non-profit and Bill's a transgender artist who shows and teaches around the city and has a devoted following up some of the city's affluent liberals. That means moderate incomes but with some instability. They've already decided to move once when their rent went up a shocking $500 dollars. The choices were to move further outside of town and buy a second car or get a smaller not-as-nice place in town. They chose the latter, but after another year their rent is going up again. Of course every time you move it costs money too.

Sue and Bill and their two kids own their house. They live just outside the city in a suburb and both Sue and Bill have professional jobs with longer commutes: Bill downtown and Sue out to the outlying burbs. The kids are doing ok at their elementary, but the local middle and high schools are large and not that great and they're worried about their kids' education. Like most dual income families, their mortgage is a huge chunk of their monthly outlay, but they are doing well. They wouldn't mind a house on a quieter street, but their neighborhood is safe. They enjoy doing things in the city occasionally, but are mostly focused on volunteering at school, keeping their house up, visiting their elderly parents, and having other families over for BBQs. One of their friends is a realtor and has been telling them how much more they could get for their house in this hot market.

Sam and his cat are barely hanging in there. An injury left him unable to work for over a year and he didn't have insurance at the time. It was a huge setback. He's in construction, but can't work full hours and is trying to find some training in a new field where he won't have to be so hard on his body. He's currently got an efficiency, but he's not fooling himself. He's one disaster away from couch surfing or being on the street. Fortunately, the city subsidizes his rent and he's in a program to pay for tech school, but his neighbor just told him that when they went to resign the lease the rent increased by another $50.

So what might each family's personal risk analysis look like?

Bob and Bill are rapidly getting priced out of their own city. Without family nearby they might move, but their analysis is colored by the fact that they have nontraditional lifestyles. They aren't going to just be able to uproot to small-town USA. They are well aware that certain areas of the country are outright dangerous for them. Here are some possibilities:

  • They could look at the income side of the equation. Bob might switch to the private sector to generate more income in the near term. Bill might start teaching more. This sounds depressing but the goal would be to aggressively save up enough for a down payment on a small house outside of the city center. The location isn't optimal, but it would stabilize their situation and keep them in the area. Associated magic would be for increased income and opportunities.
  • A second option is to decide to embrace the uncertainty. After all, they have no kids and both can work remotely. Maybe they sell everything and travel through Europe for a year. Give up privacy and join an intentional community. Use Bill's connections to get a series of house sitting gigs in some of the city's best neighborhoods. Maybe they buy a van and go on a road trip to visit a series of small towns that are also noted artist communities to find a new place to settle. They use the experience to pitch a book called Trans-continental: Tolerance and Creativity in Small Town America. Associated magic could be map magic, identifying where to go or where to look for house sitting opportunities. Not to mention the standard moving and traveling spells for safety and protection.

Because it's fabulous, that's why!
Which option they choose depends on a number of factors: their ages and general health, Bob's fondness for and loyalty to his nonprofit gig, and their general risk tolerance. I recommend they start with some joint divination and some honest discussion.

Sue and Bill have three years until their oldest will get thrown into the maelstrom that is the local middle school. They are leery. But private school tuition would break them. And what about the brass ring? That their house is suddenly so much more valuable than they ever expected? They have deep ties to Portland. They grew up here, have elderly relatives, and are generally entrenched in their local community. Moving isn't just a zip code change. It would uproot them at a time when what they most crave is stability. Here are their options:

  • Shelter in place. Making a cool $150,000 profit on your house sounds great... until you realize that you still need a place to live and all the other houses are also now $150,000 more. Moving will make one adult's commute untenable. Renting introduces some instability that they don't want if it impacts their kids. So one option is to do nothing: acknowledge that the value of their house is primarily in memories and security and just be glad they are in a position to avoid the chaos of moving or increases in their monthly payment. They could focus instead on school options. Maybe they look at alternate schools like charter schools. Maybe the local middle school will work if their kids get into their honors program. Maybe they mitigate the school environment with outside activities that are more nurturing. I'd be thinking about spells to help unearth the correct educational opportunities and spells to get their kids into the school of their choice.
  • Adjust slightly. Moving is always a change, but how big of a change depends on where you move. Maybe this family does a little research on schools in the outlying suburb-cities of Portland. They discover several places where the schools are better and the housing is the same or less than where they are at now. Of course that makes for a really long commute for Bill, though a slightly better on for Sue. One benefit to living here is that the general economy for professionals is going well. So maybe Bill looks for a new job in the outlying suburbs on the same side of town as his wife. When he finds it, they put the house up and plow their equity into a new place further outside the city, but still within driving distance to their extended families. The kids end up with better school options through high school. There's a big body of spells for getting the best offer on a house, but I'd be more focused on spells to find an affordable new one. Not to mention spells to find a new job in a specific location.

Funny, it looked bigger in the listing...
Having an appreciated and stable asset to live in gives our couple more options. But it also limits their options in certain specific ways. They aren't going to sell their house and retire to a small town while they have kids and parents to take care of. They're not going to sell everything and hit the road. Whatever they do, they know that they are here for the long run, which means they also have to consider how much worse the situation could get. Again, divination can help them make choices, but they also have to decide as a family (even an extended family) what to do.

Sam is between a rock and a hard place isn't he? Let's be honest, its easier to do risk mitigation when you have more options and resources. That's why so much financial advice is geared to people who could be considered middle class. But it would be unfair to discuss a housing risk situation without discussing those most at risk. Right now, Sam is in a race and the stakes are high. Will he finish his training and be able to get a new job before his rent goes up and drives him into the street? Sam needs to do some hard thinking and planning. Most of all, he needs to be proactive.

I know from personal experience that when things are really dire, there's a strong urge not to think about it. Not because you're a slacker (which is the perception that some people might have) but because the situation is so stressful and chronic stress is so harmful, that every fiber of your being wants to avoid dealing with it. However, not dealing with things tends to make them worse and sets up a loop of reactive functioning. He's had warning that he could be facing increased rent, so he should everything he can now to mitigate that risk. That also means lots of divination and spell work, but in addition he must take concrete action now.

Here are some ideas he can try:

  • Of all our examples, Sam is the best candidate to move someplace else. Why live somewhere expensive when you could live somewhere cheaper? The question is how and when. It makes sense to finish his technical training, which will make him more employable. That gives him a timeline to work with. But his lease is also on a timeline. Before he gets too stressed, he needs to do some digging and figure out what his options are. For example, since he's involved in some city-based programs he can start there. Maybe the city will negotiate on his behalf to keep his rent stable until his training is done. If his landlord is local, he can also charm the heck out of him or her to keep the rent the same.
  • Are there additional resources he can access to meet his rent if it goes up? He needs to examine this carefully and he needs to start now, before the rent goes up. Perhaps his subsidy could be increased. Programs that are supposed to help people are notoriously complex and bureaucratic. He may not know that there's a option to help him unless he asks persistently and enchants to cut through the red tape. Alternately, maybe he can find a way of increasing his income in the short term. Despite his injury, his constructions skills are valuable. I'd never recommend anyone break the law (look, I said that in writing) but under the table work is perfect for his situation. He can help folks with their small repair tasks for cash and use sigils to draw work opportunities to him.
  • Sam also needs to evaluate his technical training. First, he needs to be sure that this training will lead to work. He's not doing this as a hobby after all. And there are plenty of courses, certifications, etc. that are unlikely to pan out in terms of increased chances for employment. Of course, Sam is not paying, but there is an opportunity cost and that cost is especially high for someone who's dealing with an injury that may limit his energy. Unfortunately, there are plenty of unscrupulous organizations who are happy to fleece the government and offer false hope to struggling people. Sam needs to do his homework if he hasn't already. This can mean divination, but also hard objective research.

    If the program is legitimate, Sam still needs to understand how his training will get him a job. Does he need better clothing? The best way to do that on the cheap is to scope out consignment shops and Goodwill... but that takes time, so he should start now. Will it help him to have contacts in the field? (Answer: yes, always yes.) If so, he should also start making those now. That will help him get a position faster when the time comes. Networking magic is useful for just about anyone in any field.
  • Sam also needs to mitigate his housing risk extremely carefully. If the worst happens and he can't afford his rent what then? Can he leverage his network to get into some kind of room rent or sharing situation? Keeping in mind that this is short term and the critical goal is to keep him out of a shelter or off the street (and his cat out of the pound). It's better to approach someone and say "if worst comes to worst, do you think I could rent your spare room (garage, shed, couch) for a few months while I finish my course?" than "hi, I just lost my apartment, can I crash here." I don't recommend enchanting your friends to let them stay with you, but if they agree to let you stay, you can enchant for invisibility, so you don't get under their skin. Also, he needs to figure out how much stuff he has and what he wants to store.

    In the past, we've had friends stay with us for various lengths of time as well as storing stuff in our garage while they were moving or between housing. 
Not an Olympic sport... yet.

Note that I can't talk about the risk analysis that goes into dealing with homelessness, because I don't have enough experience to speak on the subject. While my personal situation has been like Sam's, it's never been worse. And while my spouse has experience with being homeless, it's been too long for the information to be useful (similar to when your grandfather says useless stuff like "when I graduated from high school I got a job at the mill and worked there until I retired with my pension... why don't you do that?"). I will say that according to wilderness survivalists, in bad weather conditions shelter is your number one priority -- more important than water or food. The US is currently having some bad economic weather conditions and so I say the same thing. Having a place to live, however rough, is critical.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Wrapping Up Time

In the past week, I've started four different posts, all of which are wrong, wrong, wrong.

After some flailing and, I admit, a bit of self judgement and doubt (why would anyone ever care about anything I have to say?), I realize that I'm suffering from a crisis of timing. See, it's a time for endings and not a time for new things. And I have several things dragging that I need to wrap up right now before I can resume forward momentum.

My family is just emerging from a long (4.5 years long actually) period of stress. The event that started this situation happened during a Mercury retrograde, so I knew that it would also end during one. For the past couple of years I've been hoping that each retrograde period would be the one. Finally, the situation resolved itself last week. The practical result is that the entire household promptly got bad colds. At the same time, we've been feeling a strong urge to kick off new projects and plans. However, the timing is not quite right.

I believe in astrology in a archetypal sort of way. As in, it's a useful tool for helping navigate the various eddies and currents, a place to look for patterns and synchronicity, but not to be taken literally. I routinely follow several different astrology blogs:
I prefer the work of these astrologers because they seem to have the same attitude toward astrology as I do. One of the things I find interesting about Astroblogic is how Gary warns, seemingly every month, to wait a day or so past the new moon to kick anything new off. That, except for the Cazimi Window, the period of the new moon itself is better for wrapping stuff up from the last lunar cycle. He's right of course, and as I've learned well in the past years, you can't force things before their time.

Before I can launch any new workings, I need to clean up like four years of existing ones that are finally no longer applicable. For me this means burying, burning, and sinking various physical components, deconsecrating others, and doing personal, familial, and household releasing.

Most "releasing" imagery on google has either doves or butterflies...
yeah, the stuff I'll be releasing isn't quite so sweetness and light.
It's also a good time for the initial planning that goes into crafting new workings. For example, I had several long-range goals that had been completely put on hold over the previous couple of years. Another project is one that the spouse and I are taking on together and we're just doing the initial discussion on what the desired results and success criteria are. But as exciting as all that is, before we can move on, we have to finish where we are at.

I'd like to do this as an ironic needlepoint

Hence the festival of colds. For me, illness usually acts as a message. I'm working too hard. Or I need to take time to reevaluate something. Or I need to slow down and not get ahead of myself. The worst sick I ever was (the kind of sick where you're not going to die -- but you wish you would) was a message that my job at the time was a terrible toxic place. The fact that the week I was completely out of commission was a critical week at work, well, when you ignore the subtle whispers of the universe the universe will start to bang on you with the astral clue-by-four.

This cold is all about off-loading the stress and anxiety from the past years before moving on to new things. I can almost feel the stress seeping out of my pores (and dripping out of my nose, to be honest with you). So all my struggles to do new things are just going to have to wait. My energy now has to focus on unraveling some current enchantments and release the associated energy in an appropriate way -- some back to me, but others to be dissolved or reabsorbed where they can't harm anyone. Oddly, I'm also being asked to deal with some VERY old stress (like 25 year old stress) as well. I can only hope that this purging of crap will result in a clean slate.

The way I see it, every household has some kind of 'tell'. A marker of the health of the household. You'd think that for us this would be food, but it's not. In fact, there are times when things are going well that our diet suffers (usually when we're having too much fun to eat right) and times when things are going badly that we really eat quite well. No, our bellweather, our canary in the coal mine is... the laundry.

Yes, you can tell how well our lives are functioning by taking one glance into the garage laundry room. Which was doing pretty good until about a week ago when the final stress hit. Now I'm in triage mode (which of these 26 loads is dirtiest, most needed, taking up the most room out here). Once again the message is clear. You have to take care of the old before you can move on to the new.


Monday, October 5, 2015

PMPM Execution -- Energy Part Two: Treating the Problem

First of all, how much do you weigh?

Really? Well, I bet that if you actually weighed yourself morning and evening for a month, you'd find that your weight fluctuates five pounds or so. Not that I'm recommending you do that. The point is that your weight is actually a sort of baseline that you typically hover around. At any particular moment, you can be more or less than that weight based on what you just ate, your hormones, your fluid intake, and so on. This is your normal range. If your intake of calories equals the amount of expenditure, you stay right around your normal weight.

Now, let's say that you spend three weeks in Paris in a room above a patisserie. Or that you spend a week with the stomach flu. You will not be within your normal weight range, but you could still say your baseline weight is the same. You are unusually heavy or light for your weight. But any change will typically readjust after you are home or well again.

Spend a year moonlighting as an ice cream taste-tester or take up a regular running habit however, and you may actually change your baseline weight. You aren't the weight you were before, but a new weight.

It's the same with energy.

First, you have a baseline level of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energy. Around this level is your normal range. So I tend to have more mental energy earlier in the day and more physical energy in the early afternoon. And I have more energy in general when I'm well rested and not hungry. But generally it's within that normal range. Obvious, right? When you are at your baseline, the amount of energy you expend is generally equal to the amount to replenish, so you're steady.

Your baseline can naturally change seasonally. For example, I tend to have more physical energy in the spring and early summer and more spiritual energy in fall and winter. This isn't to any harmful degree mind you (not like someone who has seasonal effective disorder) but just as the normal flow of my year. Again, any changes are part of the normal range of energy and generally gradual.

So what happens when your energy seems unusually low? It's usually something like that stomach flu. It doesn't necessarily change your baseline, but it impacts your immediate reserves. So you are on a major deadline at work. There's a lot of pressure and stress. You know it's impacting your energy levels, but you also know that it's only temporary.

There are also things that can make your energy unusually high. This sounds like a good thing, but if it's much higher than your baseline, you eventually run low on reserves. So you go to a seminar or conference and come back completely energized and inspired. You rush around, trying to implement a bunch of changes and accomplish a bunch of stuff until you run out of fuel and crash. Note, this is why there are people who keep paying money to see the same productivity guru or experience the same class/event/tent revival over and over. They need the highs of these events, but they don't last because it's not realistic compared to their baseline energy.

Finally, you can have long term impacts on your energy that actually change your baseline. I think we all know people who seem to have more energy than others on a steady basis and who seem healthy and balanced about it (we also know people who are constantly running around doing things, but who then crash when their energy runs out -- don't confuse the two). And we know people who never seem to have much energy no matter what they do (we may even be or have been these people). If you are under chronic stress, are long-term sleep deprived, or suffering from some energy drain for many months, your baseline can decrease. On the other hand, if you clean up your energy habits for long enough, you can increase your baseline energy level.

But first things first. If you are dealing with depletion of energy or a lack of effective recharging, you have to fix that. If lack of energy is impacting your ability to reach your PMPM goals, then you'll need to work on that as part of your project execution. If it's particularly bad, you may even spin off a sub project to improve your energy levels. And to be honest, an energy improvement project (including getting back to baseline and then improving your baseline) could be a great PMPM working candidate in its own right.

Plug the Drain
So, in the previous post I suggested creating a list of things across the four categories that are draining your energy. Now, what do you do about them? Well there are a couple of possibilities:

Nothing. You accept that this is an energy drain and that right now there's nothing you can do about it. An excellent example of this is grief. If you have suffered a loss and are grieving, that's a normal and natural process that takes energy. That means you will have less energy left for other things. However, you don't want to stop or short circuit the grieving process. You do want to be gentle with yourself and do nurturing things to try to replenish you, but even those things may not be as effective. You have to move through the process, with help as necessary, and come through the other side.

Mitigate. Let's be honest, we can't always immediately change the things that drain our energy. If you need your shitty, shitty job to pay the bills, then you need it. And until you find another one, you have to deal with the one you have. However there are still things you can do to keep it from sucking all your energy. For example, you can emotionally disinvest yourself, shield the energy off so that it doesn't follow you home, set up energy sinks in your space to capture the negative energy, perform invisibility enchantments to avoid unwanted attention, keep to yourself and avoid drama and gossip, and so on. And of course, get that resume polished and keep hunting. Even the act of doing something in a proactive direction can keep your energy levels up. This is an example of flexing your energy muscles, expending a little to keep strong.

Eliminate. On the other hand, maybe this is a drain that you can do something about. Maybe it's a toxic person you can just drop. A situation you can stop or avoid. A stress that is needless or that you can end through action. There are people who seem to always attract drama into their lives, and that drama is a huge energy sink. But most drama requires consenting participants. If you decline to participate, a lot of it just fades away. It's no longer your drama. Or maybe eliminating the energy drain is more difficult. A dysfunction in your immediate family, your living situation, a major financial worry. Those are harder to eliminate, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. There are many magical technique that can assist with this process, from banishing to binding, grounding, mirroring, deflecting, and so on. Coupled with real action (like setting physical and emotional boundaries, changing your environment, and so on) this can be very powerful and empowering.

Do these three responses seem vaguely familiar? They should. They are basically three out of the four mitigation strategies to deal with risk. And an energy drain is nothing if not a very active risk. I can't see how to turn an energy drain into a positive, but if you think of something let me know.

Focus on the Upside

When there are demands on your energy that you don't want to or can't do anything about, you need an alternate plan. For example, a major illness or injury in your family where you are in the caregiver role. Or you yourself are ill or injured and need to expend a lot of energy to heal. Or you are launching a new business or side hustle and, on top of the day job, it's draining you. You don't want to avoid or eliminate these, you want to balance them. That means significantly improving your energy intake.

You know, this is where it could get kind of pedantic. I mean, we all know the recipe for feeling better, right?

One part sleep
One part vegetables
One part exercise

If we could all just jog in our sleep while eating broccoli, we'd be totally set.

These three items are important, but how you apply them depends on the kind of energy depletion you have.

Physical: If you are physically low on energy, the three recipe ingredients above can be really helpful. However, in the spirit of being realistic for a short-term effort, here is what I'd suggest:

  • Make sure the sleep you are getting is the best it can be. That means focusing on your sleep environment (cooler is better, darker is better) as well as the period right before you go to sleep (herb tea, a book instead of TV, listen to mellow music, a small snack so you aren't starving). Push your last caffeine intake a little earlier in the day. The hardest part about improving your sleep is that there's a tendency to get stressed about it, which is completely counter-productive.
  • On the food front, running around with a crazy schedule is a recipe for eating badly. Instead of kicking off some entire rework of your diet (which requires a lot of will-power -- AKA energy -- to sustain) focus on adding healthy items to your current diet. This will make you feel less deprived. Our favorite technique is called second vegetable. Whenever we're talking about dinner, we examine adding a second vegetable. We do this even when the dinner itself seems hopeless: grocery store pizza? Choose supreme and let's add a salad. Fish sticks and mashed potatoes? Let's have peas and sliced tomatoes with it. Sandwiches for supper? Put lettuce and avocado on them and have a box of tomato soup on the side. Also, make sure you are getting enough protein. This is usually not a problem for those of us in the first world, but if you are eating particularly badly, it can be. Finally, find ways of adding garlic and peppers to your diet. They'll boost your immune system and warm you up. 
  • When you are physically run down, the last thing you feel like doing is expending more energy. But again, a little output can increase your capacity and give you energy back. For physical depletion, I recommend a mini-sprint rather than a marathon. That is, do enough to get your heart rate up and your blood moving, but only for short time. That's because being physically depleted can impact your immune system and adding a whole bunch of exercise all at once can increase your likelihood of getting sick. I'm talking about a brisk walk around the block or a few pushups/situps/jumping jacks in your living room. No expectations, no goals, no resolutions or commitments. Don't do more than you can really do and if that's less than usual, just accept it and move on. The idea is to just get your body moving and warmed up, not to run yourself further down.

Emotional: Being emotionally drained puts you in a fragile space. There's a tendency to want to beat yourself up for feeling the way you do, which is obviously unhelpful. The goal here is to nurture yourself without over-indulging.
  • If you are spending too much time sleeping or quasi-sleeping, you need to set some boundaries. Decide on a bed time and stay out of your bed until then. Decide on a time to get up and set an alarm... and then get up. No that doesn't mean you should be getting up shockingly early. Just reasonably. And when you do get up, really get up. Put on clothes, don't get back in bed.
  • There's a distinct connection between your gut and your emotional state. If you are emotionally drained, I recommend taking a quality pro-biotic (the kind in a cool case at the health food store). Eat food that's easy to digest (a shake made from yogurt, banana, berries, and good protein power, veggie-filled soups, etc.). And do try to avoid overindulging in the quart of ice cream or case of beer sorts of ways.
  • The last thing you need when you are emotionally drained is to feel crappy about how out of shape you feel or how much you suck at (insert athletic activity of your choice). Instead, I recommend the kind of exercise that comes from being around other people (do I need to say low drama, nurturing, friendly people?). Go for a walk with a good friend. Host a supper with people who you care about. Trade help with chores with a neighbor. Get out and about.

Mental: If you are dealing with a depletion of mental energy, your strategy should be to act, but not over-think.
  • Sleep is still important, but if the problem is that you can't shut your brain down, then meditation is going to be your friend. Also, I sometimes keep a notepad by my bed to jot stuff down that's bugging me before bed. The idea is that writing it down is permission to stop thinking about it. Also, end your workday by logging and planning what to do the following day and then try to leave it behind. And you will sleep better if you avoid packing your brain full of lolcats and memes right before bed. 
  • If you are having memory issues because your brain is just tired or "too full" supplement with Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) and acetyl-L-carnitine. The spouse's injury involved a concussion and his doctor recommended these for helping his brain heal. You should also be eating more fish (small oily ones are best). For mental depletion, I also like juicing. A glass of kale or carrot juice gives a nice boost in the morning. Avoid juices that also have more sugar than cola.
  • For mental depletion, I recommend rhythmic exercise that let's your brain stop working. Dancing, walking, riding, swimming. The key is not to overthink it. Don't use a FitBit or track your progress or compare yourself to others or... well, anything brainy. Just get out for a stroll someplace peaceful or swim laps or put on your favorite songs and boogie.
Spiritual: If your spiritual energy levels are generally low, it's probably just a matter of opening yourself up to the natural spiritual energy all around you.
  • If you are sleeping, then meditation before bed is, of course, the best way to relax and open yourself up spiritually. I also recommend dream work and/or lucid dreaming as ways to make your sleep more spiritually engaging. If you aren't sleeping well or enough, then look to the other suggestions here to get the sleep you need to dream in the first place.
  • In terms of spiritual nourishment, adjusting your diet can be helpful. Eating lower on the food chain has long been associated with spirituality and the change doesn't have to be permanent (I made a terrible vegetarian). You can also focus on eating food that has had the maximum honor provided to the plants and animals (organic, free range, cruelty free... you know the drill). Saying grace over your meal isn't something a lot of us think about, but it can be a wonderful way of spiritually connecting with the systems that give you nourishment. Of course there are other ways of nourishing your spirit that have nothing to do with food. Honoring your ancestors and friendly Deities / Spirits is one. Performing offerings to the land where you live is another. These small actions can have outsized results.
  • In terms of exercising, yoga and tai chi come immediately to mind. Also spending time in nature is excellent for aligning your body with spirit. Finally, one of the best ways to boost your spiritual energy is to do something real to help others. Volunteering for a cause you believe in and actually getting out into your community is a great spirit booster (and something I myself should do more of).
If you get your energy issues sorted, you will have a lot more energy to apply to your working (and to your life in general). But this isn't the only issue people have with PMPM execution. We'll be getting into some other areas of trouble as well.

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