A Season for Change

submitted by jwithrow.
Click here to get the Journal of a Wayward Philosopher by Email

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
A Season for Change

September 12, 2017
Hot Springs, VA

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven… Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?” – Ecclesiastes 3

The S&P closed yesterday’s trading session at $2,487. Gold closed at $1,335 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $48.07 per barrel. The 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.06%. Bitcoin is trading around $4,288 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

It has been ten months since I have last written to you… and this world is far different from what it was before.

For starters, Little Maddie is no longer a toddler. She is a little lady. And like all ladies, Maddie knows best… about everything.

Daddy, that’s not how you do it!”, she exclaims with absolute confidence. “Here, let me show you! Okay, daddy. You try…

Her father just smiles and obeys… but his mind wanders in amazement. There was no Maddie four years ago. She didn’t exist. Continue reading “A Season for Change”

Breaking the Authoritarian Cycle

submitted by jwithrow.
Click here to get the Journal of a Wayward Philosopher by Email

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Breaking the Authoritarian Cycle

May 27, 2016
Emerald Isle, NC

Are you for peace? The great test of your devotion to peace is not how many words you utter on its behalf. It’s not even how you propose to deal with people of other countries, though that certainly tells us something. To fully measure your “peacefulness” requires that we examine how you propose to treat people in your own backyard. Do you demand more of what doesn’t belong to you? Do you endorse the use of force to punish people for victimless “crimes”? Do you support politicians who promise to seize the earnings of others to pay for your bailout, your subsidy, your student loan, your child’s education or whatever pet cause or project you think is more important than what your fellow citizens might personally prefer to spend their own money on? Do you believe theft is OK if it’s for a good cause or endorsed by a majority? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then have the courage to admit that peace is not your priority. How can I trust your foreign policy if your domestic policy requires so much to be done at gunpoint?” – Lawrence W. Reed

The S&P closed out Thursday at $2,090. Gold closed at $1,222 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $49.48 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.82%. Bitcoin is trading around $474 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

We have spent this past week on North Carolina’s beautiful “Crystal Coast”. As I look around at the rows of beach houses lining the island, I can’t help but imagine what this place looked like back in the early 1700’s when the legendary Blackbeard roamed these islands on the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

What secrets have been covered up by mass-development? How many hidden coves have been forgotten as we marvel over heated swimming pools by the sea with pool tables and mini-bars nearby? What drove commerce on these islands before tourism, seafood restaurants, and ice cream parlors?

Not that I am opposed to development. The market system has created wealth unimaginable by the pirates and fishermen who inhabited these islands three centuries ago. Continue reading “Breaking the Authoritarian Cycle”

Why Peaceful Parenting is More Important Than Ever

submitted by jwithrow.peaceful parenting

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Why Peaceful Parenting is More Important Than Ever

July 10, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P closed out Thursday at $2,051. Gold closed at $1,160 per ounce. Oil checked out just under $53 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 2.30%. Bitcoin is now trading up around $287 per BTC as the Greek banks remain closed and the Chinese stock market continues to plummet.

Dear Journal,

We examined the Greek crisis last week and we wondered if depositors would find that they had generously “bailed-in” their bank with their hard-earned money when the banks finally reopened. Sure enough, the Greek banks have yet to reopen and there has been talk of a 30% haircut on all deposit accounts in excess of €8,000.

This is yet another example of why it is a bad idea to warehouse your funds in a domestic bank account. Fortunately, the Infinite Banking Concept offers a much better solution to warehousing capital without sacrificing liquidity.

These financial crises that continuously occur from time to time in various countries, along with government’s heavy-handed response in each instance, are the symptoms of a much deeper problem:

Our world is ill.

Modernity has constructed hierarchical systems of power and control and it has elevated the leaders of these systems to positions of prestige and authority. This has created a scenario in which the least among us fight tooth and nail to reach the top of Modernity’s power structures then they work to grow and perpetuate their power. This is done largely by bribing the masses with wealth-redistribution while aggressively cracking down on non-conformists and disruptors. The predictable result has been the disappearance of personal responsibility and basic human empathy. Continue reading “Why Peaceful Parenting is More Important Than Ever”

Take Crying Seriously

by Author Chris White, MD – ICPA.org:crying

Let’s be honest—crying is tough on the nervous system. It’s designed to be. When children have an unmet need that is beginning to cause a disruption in their nervous system, they cry, or get really whiney, as a direct reaction to the discomfort. The crying then enters us through our senses—mostly through sound, but visually, as well, if we see their contorted faces and the tension in their bodies. Then it travels from the sensory areas of our brain, into the limbic system and down into our bodies, all resulting in this feeling: “Something is wrong, and I have got to fix it now!” Since crying usually is the signaling of a dysregulated nervous system—usually that some need of the child’s has not been met—it is important that we pay attention to our instincts and respond by going to the child and finding out what is wrong.

Whether the crying is coming from your infant because he is hungry, or if he is colicky and needs to release the tension accumulated from the day—in either case, go to him. Perhaps it is coming from your clingy toddler who is in her rapprochement phase of development—pushing hard for independence in some moments, but seemingly terrified of you leaving the room in others. Still, when she lets out those blood-curdling screams that seem so dramatic when you’re just going downstairs, respond to her anyway. Her fear is real.

Or maybe your 5-year-old just took a spill on his bike in the driveway and is starting to bawl. You saw the whole thing and know he isn’t gravely injured; go to him anyway. He may need for you to be close by to help move easefully through the tears, and digest the shock of the bike crash.

In each of these cases, your child’s nervous system is doing what it is designed to do: make distress calls to his caretakers when he feels he needs some help. It is important to take these distress calls seriously by finding out what your child needs.

But don’t take crying too seriously.

Many times I see parents become dysregulated themselves whenever their child cries. They come running in, yelling, “What’s wrong?!?” and find that the child was simply frustrated because he was unable to get a toy to work right, and was a little overtired, so his frustration bubbled over into tears. The dysregulated mother may then get irritated with her son and say, “Why are you having a hissy fit over something so small? Pull yourself together!” What great advice, for both child and mother!

Even in a situation like this, where a child’s crying is over something relatively minor, she still needs comfort and to be brought back to a state of better regulation. More frustration and anger are not going to help. Discharging your own dysregulated emotions will only add to the child’s sense of frustration and lack of support.

In other situations, I have seen parents go running to their kids whenever they cry, as if trauma will ice over their nervous systems forever. They explode onto the scene with an intense, anxious fretting and nervous dancing around, trying to make everything perfect so the child won’t experience any discomfort. These parents seem to be afraid of tears, and will do anything to keep their children’s state “sunny and 75 degrees” at all costs. Their anxiety is, in itself, somewhat dysregulating, and their children get the unspoken message: They are fragile, they can’t handle the bumps and bruises of life, and they’ll always need Mommy nearby to make things right. These kids grow up believing that they are made of glass.

As a parent, do your best to “get yourself together” before dumping your own anxieties or frustrations on your kids. Try to understand your own histories around crying and other states of dysregulation like frustration, anger or an intense compulsion to make everything go right. Inquire into why your particular nervous system reacts the way it does. Most likely, it formed this way in an attempt to protect you from a lack of attunement you experienced as a child. Have compassion for yourself: We are all still children in so many ways.

If you are one of those moms or dads who gets intensely activated by hearing your child cry (I know I still do from time to time, especially if I am awoken from sleep!), there are some things you can do to help soothe your limbic reactivity.
The next time you hear your child cry, remember:

• Crying is a communication of need; rarely is it anything serious.

• Crying is also, oftentimes, the intelligent response of the nervous system when tension needs to be released. The movement of tears and sobbing are ways the body cleanses itself of toxicity and potentially “frozen memories” that might otherwise get stored as trauma.

• Whatever the cause of the crying, you will be of sounder mind and more spacious heart if you begin getting yourself together as you move toward your child.

Try these things to help get yourself together the next time your child’s crying revs up your nervous system:

• Even as you reflexively get up to go to your child, mentally note the intensity that your body and mind are experiencing. Feel the electricity or warmth or tension in your body as you continue to move to your child’s side for support, and remind yourself that this is how the body is supposed to react to crying.

Grounding down is a great way to smooth out the intensity and stay level-headed as you move to help your distressed child. Inhale deeply into the belly, and then, as you exhale, imagine the breath going down from your belly, through your pelvis and legs, and exiting down into the earth. Make the exhale as long as possible (this activates the calming parasympathetic nervous system) and release it through an open mouth with a little Haaaaaaaa sound from the back of the throat. This will leave you in a clearer state of mind, and feeling more “warrior like” to meet whatever challenge presents itself.

Get spacious. Even as you arrive to find out that nothing too serious is wrong—that no major fire needs extinguishing—take your child up in your arms and begin breathing deeply as you hold him. Again, try to gently emphasize the exhale, as this is very calming—to both your system as well as your child’s. And as you are holding him, let the exhale and your awareness dissolve outward in all directions, creating a feeling of vast space to hold this difficulty. In my experience, all difficult feelings run their course more quickly and gracefully when I give the difficulty room to breathe and allow Kai (my son) to be exactly where he is at emotionally, and allow his nervous system to heal itself in its own way, in its own time. Get spacious and trust the process.

Let it flow. As you hold your child, you will probably feel the natural response of your heart—its kindness and sensitivity and compassion—flow from you into all pain and suffering: your child’s and your own. There is no need to work hard to make everything all right; no need to fret and try to placate or distract her from the tears. Just stay grounded, stay spacious, and let the natural kindness of the heart pour from you effortlessly.

Step by Step

Over the next two weeks, pick one of these suggestions to work with when your child cries. You might start with simply becoming aware of how your body feels when you hear your child cry. Once awareness is established and becomes second nature to you, try adding “grounding down” or “getting spacious.” Or if you often feel you need to distract your child from his tears—to give him a treat or something else to focus on—consider instead simply giving him room to have his tears in your loving arms. Your quiet confidence will ignite and support his innate capacity for resilience.

Crying is usually a signal of some unmet need, and therefore deserves to be taken seriously and responded to. But if we allow the fear-based part of our nervous system to spread a wildfire within us, we won’t be able to respond in the most effective, loving and spacious way possible. Develop a basic trust in the nervous system and its cycles of tears. Your openness and confidence will help your children mature into healthy, vibrant, courageous beings.

Article originally posted at ICPA.org.

Non-intervention: Don’t Just Do Something; Stand There!

submitted by jwithrow.non-intervention

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Non-intervention: Don’t Just Do Something; Stand There!

February 26, 2015
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P opened at $2,114 today. Gold is up to $1,215 per ounce. Oil is back up to $50 per barrel. Bitcoin is up slightly at $237 per BTC, and the 10-year Treasury rate opened at 1.94% today.

Don’t just do something; stand there!

I chuckled when I heard this spin on the popular cliché in regards to the proper approach to natural childbirth. Then it occurred to me that this call for non-intervention is applicable for pretty much every other subject we take interest in here at Zenconomics: finance, economics, health care, education, government, all of them. Modern culture has taken a hyper-invasive approach in each of these areas to most everyone’s detriment.

Non-intervention in childbirth is based on the understanding that the mother is perfectly capable of delivering her child without any external ‘help’ save the support of her partner and her health care team. Non-intervention in childbirth operates on the firm belief that the mother’s body is perfectly designed for the task at hand and we have a lot of historical evidence to support this position.

We don’t know for sure how long the human race has been around. History textbooks tend to start the timeline around 10,000 B.C. and they say we were all cavemen for about 25,000 years prior to that. I have seen compelling alternative studies that suggest the caveman story is largely false and that humans existed at least 100,000 years ago with relatively the same genetic structure and cognitive ability. Regardless of the timeline, what we do know is that children have been born naturally according to the non-intervention principle for 99.9% of human history. Modern hospitals did not take shape until the turn of the 20th century and 95% of all children in the U.S. were still born at home in 1910. The number of homebirths plummeted to 3% by 1960 and looks to have bottomed at 1% in 1980. Approximately 5% of all births in the U.S. are currently homebirths outside of the hospital.

The data shows that complications do occur during natural labor about 10% of the time and the vast majority of these cases are minor but best addressed in a hospital setting. This is the primary risk when doing a homebirth but the risk can be mitigated with an emergency back-up plan. Fortunately, the possible complications are well-documented and they can be detected early simply by monitoring the baby’s heartbeat during labor which is now very easy to do thanks to the advancement of technology.

U.S. hospitals are extraordinarily good at handling emergency complications but this has led to a hyper-invasive approach. U.S. hospitals view childbirth as an emergency situation and employ all manner of invasive interventions during every birth whether or not a complication arises. This interventionist approach actually increases both the probability of a complication occurring as well as the severity of that complication because invasive interventions have unintended consequences. This is why you hear about so many birth horror stories in the U.S. Standard interventions like planned inductions, synthetic labor enhancing drugs, drugs for pain relief, and the restriction of free-movement disrupt normal physiology which can have undesirable effects on both mother and baby.

Non-intervention in childbirth is about trust. We must trust in the magnificent creative power that permeates the Universe. We must trust in the chaotic order and balance of the natural world. We must trust in the innate strength and wisdom of the mother. And we must trust in the majesty of childbirth.

The non-intervention philosophy is simple, holistic, and comprehensive. This applies to natural childbirth just as it applies to holistic wellness practices, free market economics, sound personal finance, childhood education, and the role of government which we will look at tomorrow.

Non-intervention requires a commitment to research, knowledge, and understanding which will cut through unsubstantiated fear and propaganda. It requires strength of will and a calmness of mind capable of tuning out the noise while tapping in to the inner wisdom we all possess. Perhaps most of all non-intervention requires an acceptance of personal responsibility: we are each personally responsible for every choice we make.

Non-intervention is not complicated but it does fly in the face of modern culture. We are constantly inundated with messages of insecurity, materialism, conformity, status, fear, intolerance, and hate from mainstream media sources – especially from the television “news” programming. These messages almost exclusively hold intervention as the solution to any problem and this outlook has shaped modern culture as most people buy right in to this way of thinking. But an amazing internal transformation occurs within those who tune out the noise and embrace the philosophy of non-intervention.

Our midwife made a profound statement to wife Rachel and I during our initial informational interview and the wisdom of her words still echoes in my head:

”A good midwife knows when to sit on her hands.”

I am convinced that this ability to sit patiently on one’s hands with a calm mind while the crowd screams for action is the peak of self-discipline.

Until the morrow,







Joe Withrow
Wayward Philosopher

For more of Joe’s thoughts on the “Great Reset” and the paradigm shift underway please read “The Individual is Rising” which is available at http://www.theindividualisrising.com/. The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

Ditch the Resolution, Embrace the Intention

by Bruce Steven Dolin, PsyD – ICPA:Cosmic Intention

Whether or not we make New Year’s resolutions, we think about them. We tend to tell ourselves that after the holidays are over we are going to get into better shape, eat better and commit to this or that course of action. We make resolutions, or we think about what we would resolve to do, if only we didn’t doubt that resolutions are effective.

On the other hand, we could leave the self-defeating resolution thing aside and instead consider crafting a New Year’s intention. For example, we could set the intention of dedicating our efforts this coming year to the benefit of our children. By consciously setting such an intention, we raise every other action to a higher level and infuse them with spirit.

If our intention is to dedicate all that we do to the health, happiness and well-being of our kids, then our attempts to stop smoking, get to the yoga studio or reduce procrastinating all subtly go to serve something that transcends ourselves. Ironically, when we are consciously playing on the team of our families, and by extension our communities and our world, we may be more likely to make healthy and effective choices for ourselves.

Resolutions tend to be exacting and rigid—an ironclad vision of our perfected selves. But we are not perfect, and all our attempts to be perfect inevitably fail, reinforcing low self-esteem. Striving for improvement, even by small increments, leads to real growth over time. Perfectionism dooms us to failure by setting the bar at a superhuman level.

Yoga literally means “to bind”—harnessing body, mind and spirit to a singular focus or intention. Consciously dedicating our lives to the benefit of something, even something as broadly defined as “our children,” can arguably turn parenting itself into yoga. The core concept of Privilege of Parenting is that conscious parenting is, in and of itself, a path to happiness and enlightenment. Doing what is already on our plates, but with mindfulness and a dedication to something higher, liberates as it invites balance, strength and courage…of body, mind and spirit. Setting intention in this way potentially benefits children, but also greatly benefits the parent who sets the intention—allowing an alignment of personal energy with forces greater than the wants and needs of the ego-self alone.

Parenting is very challenging, and expecting to be a perfect parent is an ill-conceived notion. Losing our tempers less, being a little more patient, spending a bit more time listening to our kids…these are directions, not resolutions. But by dedicating to the good of others our mere attempts to grow, as parents or as beings aside from the care of children, we create a New Year’s intention that lends heart and spirit even to our abject failures and terribly human fiascoes and regressions.

We can set one intention, a few intentions or many. We can keep our intentions in mind on a daily basis, or come back to them a year from now. But there’s surely room for one conscious breath at this pulsing moment, breathing in love and breathing out fear and desire as we silently harness the energy of our heart-minds and our gut-minds in a direction of loving kindness for our “children,” biological, adopted, animal, vegetable, mineral… and even ethereal, archetypal and purely energistic.

So, let’s set a New Year’s intention. Let’s make this coming year, with all our strivings and struggles, all our victories and defeats, consciously stand to benefit all our collective children.

Article originally posted at ICPA.org.

Raising Children in the Modern World

submitted by jwithrow.Family

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Raising Children in the Modern World

December 17, 2014
Hot Springs, VA

The S&P opened at $1,972 today. Gold is back down to $1,198 per ounce. Oil is down to $56 per barrel. Bitcoin is down to $322 per BTC, and the 10-year Treasury rate opened at 2.08% today.

Both oil and the 10-year rate are closing out 2014 at price levels much lower than most analysts anticipated which sets up for an interesting 2015. Will crude prices remain at current levels and put the squeeze on the U.S. Shale revolution? Will interest rates remain low and complicit in enabling the Treasury to service the $18 trillion national debt without much fuss? We shall see.

As for the S&P, it has been 6 and a half years since it experienced a correction of 10% or more. But markets cannot go in one direction forever – that 10% correction is coming. I have seen some predictions of a major 10%-plus correction sometime in the spring of 2015. It may be more like 50% if the correction is coupled with the fiat monetary crisis that is on the horizon but I think we may still be a few years away from that one. Instead, it is more likely that a major stock market correction will spur the Fed into QE4. Either way, it is advisable to be very vigilant if you have money in the equity markets.

Shifting gears, I have been thinking quite a bit about child-rearing given the arrival of Maddie Lynn eight weeks ago. I have come to the conclusion that our culture today has become much too rigid and regimented when it comes to raising children in our fast-paced modern world.

School days have gotten longer, homework loads have increased tremendously, grades are now emphasized heavily, standardized testing has been implemented and enforced across the board, the number of adult-organized activities for kids have exploded and, as a result, childhood stress, worry, and fear have increased dramatically.

Studies conducted by Jean M. Twenge at San Diego State University suggest that youth anxiety and depression have been trending higher rather sharply over the last fifty years. Perhaps more troubling, Twenge’s research suggests a shift in motivation amongst kids from intrinsic to extrinsic values; kids now tend to be more motivated by popularity and money than self-acceptance, moral character, and community.

The reason for this shift is rather clear to me: American childhood is now more about meeting adult expectations and less about personal growth and development. Observe the parents at a youth sporting event and see if this statement isn’t true. Now the parents mean well, don’t get me wrong. But too often they think their child’s future depends exclusively upon performance in school, performance in athletics, performance in extra-curricular activities, or some other external measurement of performance so these things are all pushed on kids to the point where their own interests and talents are subordinated.

Studies by Peter Gray show that childhood free time has been declining steadily since the 1950’s including a decrease in free play as well as time spent talking to others at home. Meanwhile, time spent on homework has increased 145%.

The government school system equates more homework with more learning. In reality, homework serves only to replace students’ individual interests with the Department of Education’s mandated curriculum. At best students memorize the mandated curriculum long enough to pass the standardized test and then they let it go. At worst they think the curriculum is useful and they retain it at the expense of pursuing their own passion. The truth is memorization is not learning; it is a waste of time and energy.

Real learning can only occur when the individual has an interest in the topic and is free to explore that topic in his or her own way. Children need to be free to make mistakes, analyze those mistakes, and then attempt to correct the mistakes. Instead, the current model of education teaches children that they will be judged and punished if they make a mistake so students learn to fear mistakes above all else. This mentality has the potential to set them up for a very restricted adulthood in which they shy away from opportunities for fear of making a mistake.

Ultimately we need to ask ourselves what is truly important for our children. This will be different for each family and that should be embraced, not ridiculed. There is no reason to think everyone must adopt the same parenting style or that every child must receive the same education. In fact, a free society requires diversity and the sharing of unique ideas in order to thrive.

So what’s really important for our children?

Good grades and getting into a good college? This looks like an outdated model to me – it is exclusively designed to produce good employees. But we are moving away from a ‘jobs’ based economy and the availability of traditional full time employment with comprehensive benefit packages will continue to diminish over the coming years and decades.

Becoming a superior athlete? My observations suggest that youth athletics are much more important to the adults – school employees, coaches, parents – than they are to the kids. Too often youth sports are a chore rather than a joy.

Participating in as many extra-curricular activities as possible? Again, these are often more important to the adults than the kids. Children should certainly be free to participate in whatever groups or activities interest them but too often they are pushed in the adult’s favored direction instead of their own.

I am convinced that a childhood free to grow and develop in a unique way is the most important gift parents can give their children. I think children need more guidance and less teaching; they should be encouraged to discover and pursue their own passions and interests without the pressure of forceful expectations. Pair this method with sound financial education and an IBC insurance policy that has been capitalized for 18 years and I think you have the makings of a creative, self-driven adult capable of thriving in a rapidly changing world.

Of course these are just this philosopher’s humble opinions.

More to come,






Joe Withrow
Wayward Philosopher

For more of Joe’s thoughts on the “Great Reset” and the Infinite Banking Concept please read “The Individual is Rising” which is available at http://www.theindividualisrising.com/. The book is also available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.