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January 17, 2011

So my Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is in full swing.  On top of my winter blues, there’s all the cracks of a broken system I am spending way too much time becoming more and more aware of, plus my over active mind.

Today at lunch, I sat around a table with a handful of beautiful souls — all coming together from diverse backgrounds, with various life stories in an effort to make all people count.  We went around the table speaking to how we came into working with the severely and persistently mentally ill and homeless.  It struck me how very different everyone’s background was.  The main common thread was the innate understanding of the shared human condition.  Regardless of skin color or geographical location we are all humans who experience the same range of emotion and desire.  Luck of birth or luck of geography should not be the main determinant of life outcome.  Yet it is.  This sad truth is masked by those who gain from the enormity of misconceptions out there.  There are no simple explanations, but there are solutions.  And these solutions even allow for individuals to get rich.  Yet greed has such a strong hold, people don’t want to just ‘get rich’.  Greed breeds fear and fear whispers: there is no rich that is rich enough.  And so people in rich countries leave their water running and lights on, while people leaving in extreme poverty die by the hundreds of thousands due to lack of the basic necessities that others take for granted.

We live in sad times.  The greatest tragedy, I feel, is that we do not need to.  According to famed economist and author, Jeffrey D. Sachs, we are the first generation (well whatever generation consists of those in their 40s) wealthy enough to eliminate poverty.  There is no need for the suffering.  Our society has failed and continues to fail the most vulnerable human beings — living, breathing, loving, dreams-filled human beings.  This does not need to be, yet individuals making millions upon millions a year (compared to half the world making less than $2 a day: In 2009, 48% of the world lived on less than the equivalent of $2 a day, according to USAID and the Population Reference Bureau) feel justified in their paychecks and believe they actually need this amount  of money.

I do not believe any form of work is justified in making mulit-million to billions in a salary a year.  And after simply researching at length (vs. actually doing the work) low wage jobs, I certainly do not believe that low wage jobs aren’t difficult, time consuming, brain consuming, etc. etc.

I have so much sadness and pain over the incredibly wide gap between rich and poor that does no one any great good and leaves so many suffering (on both sides of that gap).  And I don’t even know anything of this suffering!  What I see on a daily basis is unbearable,  but comparatively on a global level — the worst off in the States are only moderately poor.  I can’t fathom extreme poverty.  When my mind goes there such anger and sadness arises in me.  The psychological aspect is painful too.   I understand the psychological make-up of the vulnerable I am dealing with — people who have lost their trust in humanity, have been knocked down by loved ones and a system more times than they can count, people who have a protective shell ten feet wide out of necessity. My mental make up and life experiences help me understand — but only slightly.  And just having that slight understanding is difficult enough.  Difficult for the part of me craving social justice, yet a positive for working with the vulnerable because it better equips my ability to assist and understand the dynamics in play.

I started this post (and wrote most of it) on 7 January.  Ten days ago.  Oh man.  I need to train myself to write smaller posts.  More concise.  But that really isn’t my writing style.  Longer, more involved posts make it difficult to keep my blog current because of time limits due to everything else in my life as well as the emotional barriers I need to over come to even finish writing.  The problem is, when writing from a place of passion and emotion, it is difficult to get back to that place to finish the blog later.  But I can’t write what I’m not feeling and right now all I feel is sad.  The more I understand of what is actually going on in the world and the more I understand the history of it and why this is happening, the more sad I get.  Yes, I am surrounded by beautiful souled people who have devoted their lives to working to fix the injustices.  People who have devoted their lives to working with individuals, organizations, and governments to create a more socially just system.  And that is wonderful.  That is a positive.

But it is a very small positive in a sea of negative in which the tide is going out.  I am scared of the future.  I do not know if I will ever have children, but if I do, what will the world be like for them?  I am not proud of the future I envision them living in.  I would like to believe the tide will shift, but I do not believe that.  That doesn’t change my plan for the way in which I live my life.  Just because I do not see “success” in creating a socially just world, I am not about to throw my hand into the pot of greed that is strangling the world.  If you come across a fatally wounded individual (or animal, I feel people are more likely to help an ailing animal — think of how many homeless dogs and cats are brought in when passed in the street vs. how many who are homeless are brought in) and you have no means to kill them instantly (I only say this because it is really the most humane option), you don’t just walk away or rob their pockets — okay, fine.  Those are options, but not for me.  The option I choose is to do what I can to alleviate the suffering, to sit and share in the human connection and experience, to offer whatever solace I can.  So that is my decision for the world.  For my life.

I do hope I am wrong about the future.  I really, really do.

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