“Once I was in Victoria, and I saw a very large house. They told me it was a bank and that the white men place their money there to be taken care of, and that by and by they got it back with interest. We are Indians and we have no such bank; but when we have plenty of money or blankets, we give them away to other chiefs and people, and by and by they return them with interest, and our hearts feel good. Our way of giving is our bank.”
– Chief Maquinna, Nootka.
For several weeks now, I’ve wanted to write something but I couldn’t seem to do it. The posts I thought to write had tentative titles like “Where are the Humans ? Down at the Post Office, in a Mobile Home next to a Cow Pasture” and “The End of Black Friday-My World Grows Smaller”
I think every idea I had, had a common theme like what’s happened to the humans?–I even typed that phrase in, in a google search and came up with this:
Recent experiences with my credit card company, a local hardware store and a home delivery food service company have me pondering the simple question: where have all the humans gone?
Maybe one day there will be touchtone keys for empathy, compassion, rapport and appreciation. In the meantime I will continue hitting the “0” button, waiting for a human to pick up the phone…
~Doug A Sandler
But meanwhile, as I was waiting for inspiration, things were changing in my life or rather in my thoughts: Every day I saw more and more insanity in the world and I wondered how I could possibly continue to live in it–if I read the ‘news’, I felt like I was swimming in the sewer and I quit reading it altogether [very, very little of it is true and relevant anyway].
I got off Facebook too..for the most part: *my blog posts will still get posted there but otherwise I am not participating. I got off Facebook because it began to seem increasingly fractured as if everyone was in their own small world, hoping for a ‘like’ or a ‘love’ but there didn’t seem to be any genuine coming together. That was my experience anyway. Even former Facebook CEOs have recently made statements about Facebook’s destructive capacity:
“I feel tremendous guilt… I think in the back deep, deep recesses of our minds, we kind knew something bad could happen…
It literally is a point now where I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. That is truly where we are.
It is a point in time where people need to hard break from some of these tools, and the things that you rely on.
The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works…”
~ former vice-president of user growth for Facebook, Chamath Palihapitiya
Still, all through these past few months, there was something that remained with me. It was a message from a Native American friend which seems especially meaningful in these times and though it may seem like something we heard from our parents when we were kids–the story about how they walked 2 miles through the snow to get to school after milking the cow, it isn’t like that. It really is the way things are in this community I live in and probably in many poor communities throughout the world.
So this is the Christmas message I want to pass on..
When I was young, I remember all my older relatives had a gentle compassion. When they had very little they were generous because they wanted to teach us the sacred value of being there for others. The accumulation of wealth was seen as disturbance in the cycle of reciprocity and being a part of family and community.
~Scott Thomas, Lakota
A week ago I went with a man from my community to Santa Fe–we went to pick up dog food and frozen meat for our wolfdogs, donated by a very kind and generous friend who has a wolf/wolfdog rescue center.
Pete and I have made this little trip several times and on the way, I like to ask him to tell me stories of what it was like growing up out here. His mother had 22 children
Pete was in the middle and he grew up without running water or electricity. This time I asked what they usually had for dinner..Well, he said, we killed a chicken or a rabbit, had green beans and corn from the garden, brought in water from the acequia and then used kerosene lamps for light. And those were the happiest and best of times he said……we hardly ever had to go to town and we never heard the word Cancer.
These past 2 years we’ve lived out here [me and the Brown Piglet] with almost no money and though it’s been incredibly hard and often terribly discouraging, I have learned how little we really need as we have become more and more self sufficient
And I’ve seen that money is very often used for Distraction. When you have money, you can take trips, go out to eat, buy things and for a while it will take you out of whatever you don’t want to face or deal with….But as the saying goes: “Wherever you go, there you are”
I would rather have had money, I would rather not have had to struggle so hard but if life is like a school where we learn and grow this is where my school took me. Because I would not have learned otherwise. Really it’s easy to see why poor people who vote for someone, thinking they will make their lives better are completely deceived. People who are born into wealth have no idea what it’s like to be poor and essentially and for the most part..they don’t care.
Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross so often said:
You have to temper the iron. Every hardship is an opportunity that you are given, an opportunity to grow. To grow is the sole purpose of existence on this planet Earth. You will not grow if you sit in a beautiful flower garden, but you will grow if you are sick, if you are in pain, if you experience losses, and if you do not put your head in the sand, but take the pain as a gift to you with a very, very specific purpose.
The countries of the world and especially the United States are self destructing and like the Roman Empire, cannot survive much longer. I suppose there are those who are still trying to pretend that everything will be okay and it will be but not in the way they think.
People will have to come together, share, help each other in order to survive and they will. This is becoming very evident with the natural ‘disasters’ like the hurricanes and now the California wildfires.
A while I go I sent out an email which I titled ‘The Tapestry’. I had often heard the spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle talk about a person’s life /life experience like a tapestry made up of pieces woven together, pieces which include one’s health, family, relationships, job and finances. Everything seems secure, safe..no worries and then suddenly a piece is ripped out, sometimes several pieces and this can happen in an instant.
In the recent fires in northern California, there was a family who lost everything in a few moments. They had everything it seemed: their recently built dream house in the mountains, 2 beautiful kids, health and happiness and suddenly, in just minutes everything was gone. Their children burned to death, their home burned to the ground and both parents were badly burned requiring months in the hospital and ongoing theapy. I think of them often and wonder how anyone can survive such great and unimaginable loss.
I write about this family because their story has stayed with me and because in some way that I can’t put into words, it’s related to the way I started this post: Where are the humans? In my own life I have found he humans among the poor when I was doing home health and in this community that I live in -“those who know the sacred value of being there for others”. And having spent much of my life working with terminally ill patients and parents who lost a child, I have found them there, there among those who have known extreme suffering. As the worship of money, power and technology continues to increase, humans are harder to find but as the natural disasters grow, they are appearing like angels, coming to the forefront to help, to share and to bring back a feeling of community and connection.
I’m posting 3 slideshows that I made about our life out here..off the grid surrounded by our animals. I have posted these before but since a lot of people have seemed to enjoy them, here they are once more.
If you would like to us help out in some way: contribute to the care of the animals who are mostly rescues, to the continuation of this blog or just to help, you can do that here. It’s a huge challenge to keep everything going on *$600 a month and we would never have made it without the support of our community and the help of so many friends from all over the US, who have become like our family, creating a circle of goodwill and caring around us *The story of why $600 a month is here.