Sometimes there is so much information about a topic that it can become overwhelming. If you are Al Gore or Leonardo DiCaprio you will retain all of the data in your head about the damages that are being done to the earth around the world. However, I think a lot of people can get discouraged and hopeless when they hear these statistics. I think what is more important is that we actually listen to our guts. We know that the earth is sick. I think of all of the tsunamis, earthquakes and bizarre weather as the Earth's fevers and chills that we humans get when our bodies are sick. There is a lovely children's book called 'Old Turtle' that describes the beauty of the earth, it's decline and what power people have when they come together in love to heal it. I think we can do this. If each of us as individuals tunes in to the reality that the earth provides us with food, water and oxygen then we will realize that contributing to it's health is saving our OWN lives. Happy Earth Day
I have always had the poem 'Desiderata' somewhere in every apartment or house I've lived in.....since my late teens. And as I get older and wiser I live into each line more deeply. This is where the old adage "vee get to soon oldt and too late schmardt" comes in!!! Every line of this beautiful prose is deep in its' wisdom. I will just attatch a copy and let it speak for itself. Thank you Max Ehrmann! Enjoy....
've been in practice for 23 years now. And I am here to tell you that EVERYONE has 'stuff'. I've seen millionaires and people on welfare. I've seen old people and young people, gay, straight and swingers. What do they all have in common?.....their fragility. And I don't exclude myself. I mean EVERYONE. We ALL have 'stuff'. Some more, some less. All have some. It's just where we're at with evolution. It's the soup we've been pickled in. Our culture is about individuality, competition, beauty, things and money. Fragility requires connection, love, skill building and support. Now I"m not against individual differences and having boundaries. However, individual ideas, boundaries and needs can be negotiated within a relationship or community, however connection cannot be maintained when individuals put up walls. So while the stories may vary, where I work with everyone is around self-esteem, building self-care and mindfulness skills, communication, boundaries, processing trauma and loving themselves and each other. So as you go through your day remember that EVERY person you meet has 'stuff'. Be kind. Stay calm. Focus on what you have control of and gratitude.
Here's Stevie Wonder and Sting singing a fabulous rendition of "How fragile we are"
So I always feel cautious about the blog posts that I do that may be enlightening or informative. My goal is not to shame or guilt anyone into thinking or behaving differently. I just know, based upon my own experience, that perspective is reality and we can get caught up in the stresses of our lives in such a way that we don't see the bigger issues and potential solutions for addressing them.
So with that caveat, I'd like to talk about poverty in Kitchener-Waterloo. I work with people who are on assistance through Ontario Works or Disability Support on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Recently I have been trying to advocate for them to get free gym memberships. I know that if people can go somewhere to work out that they can 1) process emotions that they are not necessarily connected to, 2) prevent illness, 3) find cheap ways to have fun and 4) develop new relationships with people who are positive and health conscious if they are trying to quit an addiction. I contacted a supervisor at the Region of Waterloo hoping to put in a joint proposal and found out that they are lobbying for people to get free bus passes. Why you ask? Because a single person on assistance gets .......$650/month.....to meet all of their monthly expenses. That's it. Rent, food, phone, car, entertainment, clothes....I seriously have no idea how they do it. I checked on Kijiji and rent in a student house where 5 strangers live together is $450./mth which leaves $50/wk for everything else. And I have often heard comments like.....well maybe they could cut back on their smoking or drinking etc etc etc. However, I know clinically that .......everyone......does avoidance behaviour like smoking, drinking, eating too much, drugs, workaholism, focusing on other people, shopping etc etc when they don't want to deal with their feelings about what is going on that feels out of their control. So who are we to judge them for doing the same? I also know clinically that no one deals with their emotions or their issues unless their basic needs are met. Food, housing, love, water, touch. It is also true that people and systems in positions of power to change this will behave and think that they are the victims and the ones being taken advantage of when challenged. Both the gyms and the bus systems would not lose money if they opened their doors to these people. No one is going to try and get onto welfare so that they can get a free bus pass or gym membership. However, the responses have been that "if other people find out then everyone will want a free membership and we can't afford that".
The bottom line is that we all matter. And we all need to be invested in helping everyone know that they matter.
So I'm attaching 3 videos that are meant to inspire you into feeling gratitude for your situation and compassion for those that are in greater need. My fantasy is that K-W becomes a City picks up the torch and develops ideas to meet the basic needs of our own and that it inspires other cities to look after their own.
Check out how impressive Medicine Hat has been in solving their homelessness problem.
Check out this video of the statistical breakdown of how fortunate we really are in this video of "If the world were a village of 100 people". https://youtu.be/QFrqTFRy-LU
And there is a brilliant woman in our city named Jackie McMillan who is pulling together people who are interested in Urban edible landscaping where City landscaping would also be designed to feed the poor. Here's a short video of how Vancouver is doing it. https://youtu.be/QGjKPcBz9YM