Musings by J.D.Stefanovic

Posts tagged “poverty

Storm in a cup

Come sernityDo we feel happy with our lives? Have we reached our goals that we once set up for ourselves? Or do we instead nag and complain about our situation? There seems to be this emptiness, a void that needs constant filling. I would guess the most common issue is the complaint of the lack of money. People get burned out because of too much work, stress and what not and our personal issues seem like the biggest problems ever. But when taking a step backwards and looking at the bigger picture we end up realizing that all we have is a tiny storm in a cup. How did the famous expression go? “Hey it could be worse”. When taking this step backwards we realize that most of us here in the western world actually live by very high standards and live a pretty decent life after all.

When you see people from Africa, South-America or Asia where the majority lives under quite poor circumstances, is that although they are missing out on a lot when it comes to stability and safety, what often strikes me is that despite of the circumstances they have something that the western world is lacking. Here in the western cultures it sort of feels like the common motto is “this isn´t enough, I need more”. Whenever I see a documentary with all the kids running after the camera man or you see where kids play Football (European way people) you see kids running around laughing and being joyous, you seem to be able to notice something that we often lack in our modern society. Now of course I realize that this is only one side of the coin because the fact is that many of their life situations are just horrible and majority the kids have to work as hard as their parents to get food. But there is something else. While we have all the materialistic benefits, we have the option to enter a grocery store and buy whatever items we need but there is something we´re missing. Something that is available to all of us but our modern society has driven us into this self-centered species.

I think that I dare to say that the less unfortunate persons in third world countries have a life energy that is somewhat freer than many of us have. It almost seems like they are able to look from a distance at their storm and say “hey it could be worse”. I don´t mean that they are happy with their lives but what comes across is that in the midst of all the misery and the lack in materialistic ways, food and money, they seem to have something we miss and that´s love. They value family and the relationships with one another. I watched this documentary a while ago where the host of the show traveled all around the world to extreme locations. To the absolute worst conditions in Cambodia, visited a gang in São Paulo, Brazil, some nomads in farthest corners of Siberia and many more locations. These people didn´t have much but what united them was the tremendous amount of generosity they had, they shared of the very little they had with this total stranger, took him into their modest homes, fed him with what they had, while the ugly truth were that they could barely feed their own families. 5-7 year olds worked 12 hour days or even longer, don´t remember exactly but in horrible conditions just to get a few pennies worth of salary. These human beings regardless of their location, took this stranger into their homes with open arms.

This made me feel ashamed of myself and our ways and how our society has grown into such a self-centered place, how I am so self-centered. One thing that has driven our modern society into what we see today is a famous quote “Survival of the fittest and strongest”. Everyone has heard this at some point in their lives, right? Humanism and capitalism is what rules our world today. This whole ideology is based on a very ego centric way of thinking. We see it all around us. We can see that there would actually be enough money in this world to give everyone a decent standard but the scale is completely off-balance. There´s people living out on the streets while others drive around in their 50 000 $ cars. Now I want to state this right away, I am not against hard work or against anyone earning money. But I think we can agree on the fact that somewhere along the way something went very wrong, big time. This over exploitation of everything, draining our world empty turns our hearts into stone to a point where we don´t care about our neighbors but rather stare at our own bellybutton. It´s a me – me – me world we live in.

What if I took a look at that tiny cup and realized that i´m ok. My things could actually be much worse. What if we actually changed our ways of thinking and started to appreciate what we have and value the small things in life? Everything is not about richness, success, money, fortune and fame. What if we were to change our mindset and instead of complaining and constantly wanting more and more of things that we actually don´t necessarily need? What if our focus became to love one another and value family relations? What if I sat down and looked on what I actually have and to even take one step further, what if I’d actually be thankful for what I have? Could it be that my life would get some balance and become more relaxed?

Stay tuned for more! Happy Thanksgiving folks!

/J

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