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Mental illness can be an explanation but not an excuse…

It’s a very fine line between the two. My own mental illness has made me say, react, or act in ways that are not appropriate to the situation. I find the easiest way for myself to skirt that line is to simply apologize and not try to explain, because it’s too difficult for it not sound like an excuse. If an apology with explanation is warranted or expected, I try to follow these guidelines when I do.

It can be too easy, as a mental illness survivor, to use it as a crutch. A get out of jail free card. But, we still live in a world of cause and effect — actions and reactions and consequences. While including our illness as part of an explanation may help with understanding and open an easier path to forgiveness, we should also not be surprised when it doesn’t. When we are called to account just like anyone else would be. We should accept such a fate as a learning experience. Give ourselves some grace and embrace the opportunity to continue our path toward healing.

The Hard Truth About Home (and Car) Ownership

Do you own a house?

Is there a mortgage on the house?

Are there any loans, lines or credit, leans, or other financial instruments secured on that house?

Then you don’t really own that house. The bank (or mortgage company) does.

Do you own a car?

Do you make payments on a loan for that car?

Then you don’t really own the car. The bank (or lending company) does.

If you don’t believe me, then stop making payments and see just how quickly that thing you “own” is taken away.

In fact, banks, mortgage lenders, and other financial institutions own the vast majority of property in this country. Because they provide the means with which people are able to “purchase” such property but one is not really purchasing the property at all. One is essentially making payments that they hope and work really hard to ensure most people never actually pay off.

And, when it comes time to pay off that house or (insert any large ticket item for which one might secure a loan to purchase here), how many offers to your get to take out a home improvement loan or reverse mortgage or line of credit or trade in that vehicle do you get. How many mailings or emails or calls? Dozens? Hundreds? They work hard to get people to simply trade one mortgage or car payment for another.

The reason: Banks and lenders do not want you to own things. They want you to continually pay for things. To be forever indebted to them for having those things.

Why? The first reason is obvious — they want the cashflow from those payments and the interest they bear upon them. This is one of the ways they make money. Simple. Everyone understands that.

The other less obvious way is that they also create investment products based on these holdings (i.e. the value of house and lands that they, not you, own with the mortgage contracts to prove that they do).

It is such practices that led to the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis and, ultimately, caused the whole economy to crash when one very large bank decided that the mortgages owned by another very large bank were not as valuable as that bank thought. It is what is driving, what I believe to be a current crisis in the making, of Real estate investment trusts (REITs). Ever wonder about all of those 5-over-1 buildings that are popping up all over the country and why? Largely to fund REITs.

But all of this is getting away from the point. That being that we’ve all been sold this dream of home ownership, using home ownership as a term, believe ourselves be be owners of homes. Home owners. Which is exactly what they want us to do to obscure the fact that most of us, in fact, are not owners of these things at all. We are borrowers.

So, here’s the point where you’re hoping I have an answer. Some magic solution to give you to stop this cycle of mass delusion and greed.

I have some ideas but not for this post. This post is mainly to help you get your head wrapped around how we use words like Home Owner and Car Owner, heck, “Owner” in general, and that they do not mean what we’ve been told they mean. To help you see who really owns things and why. In the hopes that by freeing our minds our collective ass will follow and we can start seeing and speaking the truth.

How to make the world better…

Be good to people.

Put good out there. Into motion.

If you have a chance to help, help.

If a smile or compliment will make someone’s day a little better, give it.

If you have a shoulder to lend to someone in tears or an ear to someone unheard, do so.

If your silence is more helpful than anything you might say, remain so.

Do this as much as possible.

Good scales. It has exponential power. Those who receive good are more likely to do good for others.

Every little bit of good makes the whole world better because there will be that much more good in it.

@danielpunkass MarsEdit feature request: Character count in the Micropost window so us Microbloggers can know when we’ve reached 280.