the trapI’ve spent a lot of time researching poverty. Countless hours on YouTube watching documentaries and films, visiting amazing websites like www.voicesofpoverty.org and looking through the growing number of statistics that are available online. There are many advocates and organizations working towards human interest issues like poverty, and news article upon news article detailing the various budget cuts, communities and statistical research. By far, the hardest thing for me was watching these amazing and strong people in these disadvantaged communities, moving from hotel room to hotel room, families of four living in one bedroom rentals, children walking for miles along the train tracks picking up trash in hopes of finding cans, children waiting in line at the homeless shelters to give up their pets because they have to feed themselves, mothers going to Goodwill with a $2 budget for a new shirt or tea cup, fathers patiently waiting in endless lines at food banks to get things like expired velveta cheese.

I also spent time watching documentaries on the 1%. I watched how these billionaire moguls live in outlandish penthouses on Park Ave, paid for by plastic production, drilling for oil, monopolizing American sugar plantations and creating household products. I listened carefully to their philosophies of wanting to disempower the Government to generate an Ayn Rand type of society where equal opportunity exists, passing bull shit laws like the “Prosperity Bill” or fighting to destabilize unions. Their republican supporters fail to define their idea of “freedom”, but it’s clear to anyone with half a brain that this is a monopoly on governance that could never work: how the hell can everyone’s success be based on their own talents, when equal opportunities don’t exist?? These people are nuts!!! They fail to address their insane 20 minute meetings in which presidents and Governors walk away with billions of campaign dollars and the next morning we wake up to budget cuts in public (not private) schools, higher taxes on the poor, extreme disadvantages to community services like shelters and food banks, along with ridiculous expectations to exist on the same playing field as everyone else.

What I realized is that there are two mindsets: one of poverty and one of wealth. A mindset is one energy being used in various ways. Poverty or wealth is the exercise of one mindset, towards one of the two realities. The wealthy people in the videos I watched tended to display and exude status, entitlement, power, authority and wealth. The poor had beauty and compassion. They also exuded sadness, despair, hopelessness, stress, struggle and endurance. The poor are a very enduring population. If only they could recognize their inner strength, empower their thoughts, fight back with the durability of spirit, fortitude and an infallible and unshaking foundation of faith and self-love. After all  my research, I began to feel so compassionate and sad towards these poor communities-that I realized I was close to loosing the “essence” of this very project. I began to feel intense anger, disgust, disbelief. I was so, so, so angry that people with so much money, who didn’t need all of it, wouldn’t even think to help the vulnerable and poor. I was disgusted at myself for all the clothes in my closet, the privacy of my home, the beach being 5 minutes away, the organic food in my fridge and delightful feather pillows on my bed. “WTF did I do to deserve this??” I couldn’t bear leaving the house and staring people in the eyes knowing they were the affluent middle class, who did jack shit during the day to fix our deteriorating social fabric. You get the point though, right? What did I do? I gave in to the very system I am trying to change.

Anytime we take our attention away from “oneness” or the idea that all is an effect of ONE power, we begin to “fight”, “struggle”, “resist” and set ourselves up as separate from life and the creator. Our focus must be on the continual expansion of “light” or goodness in this world. When we begin to focus on what’s wrong, what’s bad, unjust and broken. We become hopeless and broken. I almost fell into this trap. It’s easy to do with my cause…thankfully I’m aware 🙂

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