But, back to Christmas day, and the idea of living simply. I joined my neighbours for a traditional Christmas lunch. Here is South Africa, it is midsummer, and so the "tradition" is a barbecue and salads, followed by fruit salad and ice cream. All designed for outdoor living and Christmas in the garden, under the trees. It was simple, and very beautiful and tranquil and harmonious. There was enough food, but it was not the lavish excess that one sometimes associates with Christmas. It was enough and it was good, and so was the company. I enjoyed what I ate, and I enjoyed being there, and then I went home and enjoyed the peace and the rest.
And so, I began to think about the whole idea of living with Simplicity. This was highlighted for me, as I checked out the CNN news and read an article about how the planet cannot sustain more consumerism. The article spoke about how increased consumerism as a solution to global poverty was just not possible, as the planet could not sustain higher levels of consumption and, yes, greed. I was glad to read that. Two years ago, when I came back from a working trip to Hungary, I bought a book at Frankfurt airport to read on the plane. It was called "The End of Poverty", by some hotshot academic from the USA, who advocated global consumerism and turning the entire planet into an ongoing sweatshop environment. I am therefore relieved to see that this is no longer considered to be the best option to alleviate poverty.
I think we all realize that we cannot sustain the consumerist dream. In my own life, I have come to relaize that I will never have the affluence and luxury that the media portrays as "normal", and that is OK. I live in Africa, where there are great disparities between extreme wealth and extreme poverty. But, if you look around, you begin to realize that there is actually enough for everyone, if we were to release our aspirations for more and more and more.
The idea of "abundance" has come to be associated with material wealth and consumerism in our society and in our minds. Many of us think of "abundance" as being able to have whatever we want in material terms. I think that is more like greed. When you are honest, you realize that you do not need all that "stuff", and that the average human needs for food and shelter would be easily met if we were to create a society without consumerism and the continual creation of greed and need.
I have come to think of "abundance" in human terms, as love and companionship and sharing. When you have this kind of abundance, then your material needs are always met anyway. It can be miraculous!
Last week, Wilma, our Children's project organizer, and I were contemplating a bleak Christmas. The company that organizes my payments and donations has not paid me for two months, and money was low. We had almost enough to do our party for the children, but not enough left over for us. I told a friend in Argentina about the situation, and she immediately wired me some money. The party went ahead and Wilma was able to create a wonderful Christmas lunch for her family and friends as well. I went to my neighbours, and all was well! It was the result of a network of caring and sharing people. It was indeed abundance!
And so, on this quiet morning, I am enjoying an abundance of Peace and Quiet, as my neighbourhood is peaceful as people sleep and rest. I am enjoying the Simple Grace of life on Planet Earth.
I hope that you too are enjoying the energy of this Holiday time, as we move now towards January and the New Year! And here is my own vote for "Woman of the Year" in Africa. This is my friend Wilma, who runs our Children's project in her Community. She is a real example of the Goddess and Mother energy. She is grounded, compassionate, generous and caring. She is a natural Leader, and people in her community respect her and work with her. In this image, she is sitting with a disabled child that came to the party. In this community, the disabled are integrated into the community as much as possible.
So, from us, I would also like to thank all of you who donated to our Children's Project in 2007! You help us to help them! That is abundance!
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