Friday, September 26, 2014

A brief meditation on living as a culture of abundance

I know, I'm doing a really bad job of just writing wherever I'm at with the realization that my stuff will never *truly* be "together, and then I'll write regularly, I promise." I have not done the work on this attitude that I should be doing. Maybe things will be different moving forward.


Recently, I went to the People's Climate March. My friend Gretchen bought my bus ticket, so other than buying food, it was entirely free. Otherwise, I could not have gone.

I've been to New York City now! I'm nothing less than purely psyched about this! Even though I was only there for 6 hours after riding 12 to 14 hours each way by bus! And yes, I'm plotting to go back and spend more time there once I can save up.

Other than getting there, lodging, food, and getting back, everything I want to do except for the Met, Kinky Boots, and the FIT museum (and maybe, MAYBE the top of the Empire State Building, because I'm only human and humans get touristy) is free.

I'm getting off track, though.

But maybe not really, because an abundance of free stuff to have and to do is exactly what we're discussing.

I had a long-ish discussion with my new friend Pam, who I met on the bus, about how all this scarcity and poverty of money and goods in America and in the world is totally manufactured. The truth is we as a nation have too much stuff. We're hoarders. We sit on our piles, those of us who have piles, even meager ones, and we watch those who go without, and we say "what can I do, I'm barely even getting by."

And unless you're in the top 10%, you probably really are barely getting by. Some of that's truth, and some of it's the way we've been raised to look at the world all our lives.

Maybe we'll talk about this more soon. But I have a micro-example that just happened.

I was at City Market, and I was sad because the line at Twenty Two Juice was too long to get an acai bowl that I've been craving all week. I only have about 15 minutes to actually get anything at City Market. The walk to and from work is too long to allow for much more.

(It's OK, Twenty Two, I still love you!)

I settled for a pear and a smoothie from Market Street Produce. I didn't know why, but I got three pears. I don't need three pears. I need one or two. These were ripe and juicy enough that expecting the third to last the 3 days it'd probably take to get to it would be pushing things. But I still got three.

And then I made a friend on the way home who I'll probably never see again.

She was pushing her cart, and I was walking back to work, at Market Street and Park Avenue. It was no huge deal, I said hello, she said hello, and I asked if she wanted a pear. She ate it right there. I apologized because it had gotten a little bit bruised in transport. As if prettiness matters if it's a good enough piece of fruit and you eat it fast enough. I regret not getting her name. I hope I see her again. You know how sometimes you can just sense an aura around a person that is good? She had that.

My social Venn diagrams literally run from small-business CEO to homeless train hopper. Eventually you lose the liberal-guilt mess and the savior-complex mess when you just enjoy meeting people and making friends with people. Doing unto others because it would be right and kind whether they have a house to go home to, or whether their home is contained in the shopping cart they're pushing.

 "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" really shouldn't be that radical of a phrase. It also shouldn't be compulsory to anyone. We just need to re-recognize what enough is.

You don't want to oversimplify an idea, but for now in this brief time, we'll identify just 3 things we need to do:

1) Those of us who can buy or procure more than enough, freely share it. Give it.

2) Challenge institutions that actively refuse or impede doing this. Recognize that it's in Money's best interest, but not ours, to manufacture fake scarcity. Abundance is the truth, and the lie has gone uncalled-out for far too long.

3) Making a living and having some nice things/being nicely dressed is not mutually exclusive from living a culture of abundance. In fact, it's the only shot a lot of us have at getting there.