Last year I was in direct contact for a while with people in need.
People who have been disenfranchised, forgotten and stigmatized because they for the untold number of reasons or circumstances do not fit the mold of society.
I’m speaking of people who have lost their job or home, are disabled and those who suffer terribly with mental illness as starters. Some were merely born into a world of violence and drug-addictive parents; abuse or sexual assault.
Young people who never had a chance or a role model that might help steer them towards a constructive direction in life.
Of course it’s easy to imagine the proverbial beggar on the street who bothers our ever-precious time for change. I’ve experienced an entire gambit of emotions while confronted with such people on the streets over the years—guilt, disgust, empathy and annoyance.
There are times when I’ve given gladly, and others when I felt like I needed every penny to my name.
But what about the children whose parents have fallen through the cracks and each day, line up at the local soup kitchen?
I do not proclaim to be a wise man, but I know what shame is when I look into these people’s eyes—their dignity in shambles and sense of worth departed from the wholesome existence that they too deserve.
As I’ve begun my descent into a minimalist’s lifestyle—learning to live with less while having so much more…more time, freedom, happiness and content—I have discovered that no matter how little I have and how humbling it’s been getting here, there are still so many with less than I.
I’ve observed something powerful amongst these people—these societal outcasts who are shunned and looked down upon by the fortunate classes. There’s a loyalty to one another. Brother to brother and the bonds that are born from the innate suffering.
My point here is that there’s no unit of measurement to classify those in need because homelessness, among other issues, can befall anyone at any time.
Consider the saintly woman without shelter who froze to death due to exposure last winter’s passing.
You see, until we widen our scope and include every human in this picture of a unified race, we will all ultimately suffer. A widening unemployment gap, resource depletion and continuing separation of beliefs.
A year ago, I fell through the cracks after a tumultuous year of self-employment that left me stranded and without shelter.
My choice was to hang my own head low, admonish my pride and accept my fate while I worked towards getting myself back on track.
An intense awakening experience to my own humanity along with regular prayers, led me into a state of love. This state has helped me appreciate our human nature and the importance of treating one another equally—with new-found humility and appreciation for the human spirit.
Today, I embrace my minimalistic lifestyle. I love having less while enjoying the fruits of more richness in my own life derived from experiences that offer insights, happiness and love without the need for material satisfaction or superficial gain.
Despite the risks and shortcomings I’ve already faced, I’ve yet to give up on my dream. This vision has only intensified as has my desire to help others at the same time—a model of which someday I will be happy to share with the world; to those in need as well as those who don’t.
Selfless acts and service to others is the answer to any question posed as to how we create a new world where our influence as patrons and humanitarians is a lesson unto the children who walk upon this Earth plane today.
Our children are our stewards and someday we’ll rely on the kindness and empathy of those who are more able-bodied and willing than us. Our acts determine our future and the lessons we present to the listening eyes and minds of our youngsters. Lest we forsake where we came from and where we’re headed.
I beg you, please remember the forgotten.
Ho’oponopono—“I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you.” ~ Joe Vitale.
Author: Thayne Ulschmid
Editor: Sara Kärpänen