My Change of Heart weekend
I’ll keep adding to these lists, while I gather my thoughts. (I love the idea of blogs as as living documents)Â
These are just humble (initial)Â ideas:
Things I learned
- some ideas ofÂ about poverty
- alot of people identify it as a dividing line between fortunate and unfortunate
- there is a certain arrogance in our society that won’t allow us to ever come to terms with moving to make this world equal or just or truly free
- city officals even pass laws saying that we cannot share food with the homeless, thinking that in some way that will encourage them to live as marginalized 3rd class citizens. I think one of the messages in serving the food is to show these “leaders” that we want to teach them to share.
- the “engineer” in me views poverty as a self-made/man-made internal and external system that forces some marginalized part of society to view themselves through the eyes of those that fear and hate.
- when the Long Beach Grand Prix come to town the cops are told to arrest people on unpaid “being homeless” citation. You too can be ticketed if found loitering or standing with a backpack on the sidewalk.
- the field worker forced to work the Cocaine field in Peru is in poverty as is the young gang member in a gang module at County Jail, as is the person addicted to drugs, as is the little girl being abused by her father, as is the lonely forgotten senior citizen, as is the man labeld “deranged” my medical staff that don’t want to treat him properly for lack of a insurance card, as is the starving in Africa, as is the starving in America, as is anyone who feels opressed by the other side of society…
Suggestions for next time:
- We had way too much food. While we did our “hunger banquet”, I asked/made the comment if us middle class people are too wasteful with food. I don’t have stats (so it was a legitmate question that I hoped someone had researched insight into). But I know that I eat way more than I need to daily. I know alot of food goes out into bags and into dumpsters from the restaurants that we go to. I know that we actually harm animals and even bio-engineer them so that we can quickly get them to the slaughter house and onto our opulent nightly dinners as “cheaply” as possible. I’m not talking about the “system” or the “powers that be”. I’m talking about me and everybody else like me. I know I’m leastly mindful of my food intake. This is a two part comment:
1) We should have just bought enough for the day and if needed go over to the near by Ralphs and either made a community fund to buy enough food or just try to hustle for food. Every night, we should have SHARED the extra food with (in this order) (a) people that we found to be really hungry (ourselves included). (b) someone less fortunate (c) someone that was sad (d) anyone else that wanted to share a meal with a cool bunch of people that didn’t want food wasted. After all, people in the streets can learn to be free spirited enough to learn to live “day by day”
2) I don’t have statistics. It’s just a gut feeling I have from everything I’ve read. If everybody in the world prepared as much as food as we had during the weekend, would we be making the Earth more poorer for the future? This is something I’m struggling with right now. In the right mindset,Â the just enoughÂ for today might be a cool/interesting lifestyle to learn to live in. But I think our human history teaches us to be very afraid of famine. Even in this age of logistical and transportation ease? I guess that’s why we all worry about the pollution of our land and water, because if we (middle class) do starve, it will be a global famiine.
The most interesting part to this comment is that I’m not sure I can change myself to be mindful enough to eat less (learn to be less greedy???). It takes a lot of concentration, I think (it’s possible???)
- We should be out in the streets every day of the weekend at least for a half hour. Talking and being a community with the people we want to try to understand. We should learn to walk outside of our group and see how they can help us in our goal for the Weekend. This is unsafe, but Sunday night was the most fullfilling part of the weekend. I felt really dissappointed that most of the (personal) Heart Changers of the Weekend didn’t get a chance to do that activity. It takes a long time and maybe we don’t need as many speakers becauseÂ maybe one sentace is all that’s really needed to see how messed up this self-made system of poverty really is.
- We should as a group consideratly pressure the groups that came with us to stick around for the other activities and presentations. These were likeminded groups that didn’t make time to listen to another group. Alot of the people that stayed for the whole weekend already know or have started to learn. How much suffering does it cause an activist to know “speeches only reaches those that already know about it, but this is how we go about it” ?
- This couldÂ be a weekend of Compassion Cells andÂ 2 or 3 evenings of awareness. Â