Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti's Earthquake and Some Perspective for Me

Things are relatively peaceful right now at least in this corner of the world. This recession/depression wears on and things are pretty bad but it all still feels surreal. In my household, income is still coming in although overtime is no longer worked for extras like vacations and large ticket items but rather to keep our heads comfortably above water. But thank goodness there's that overtime and I'm super grateful for my Saturday job which pays for Weight Watchers and other little things.

I know the world is changing all around and I know I should be saving saving saving. So when I buy things and do things that are not absolutely necessary such as Weight Watchers, my yoga classes (which I bought on sale in December), that cordless hand-held vacuum that will help keep this place cleaner, I sometimes feel guilty and irresponsible.

In all this preparation for the unknown, though, I realize that too much is unknown and really the single best way to prepare doesn't have to do with storing food or saving money but getting my mind in the right place to handle anything. Including the very real possibility that I may not survive. I'm just looking at the pictures of Haiti and all that and wondering what any amount of money or food stores could have done to keep a building from collapsing on top of you. It makes me cynical but also gives me a little of my freedom to be back.

You see, I am right here in this present moment. This is the circumstance. I live where I do. This is the time I live in. And as much as we like to think we're the master of our own destiny, I'm pretty sure we're not running shit the way we think we are. None of this emergency prep business is a guarantee of anything. The shit may hit the fan in a way that would completely blow our minds and render all our preparations and all our savings a nice little fantasy.

So in whatever way I can, I'm going to try to enjoy my life right here. I've food to eat. A place to live. And a very little wiggle room in terms of finances because of my Saturday job. In the next few months, I can't say what the landscape will look like, if internet will still be widely available, if we'll have access to consistent electricity, if the government will declare martial law or if we'll be invaded by aliens. Shit, it could happen later on today. But right now, none of that is going on.

Of course, that doesn't mean I'm going to go crazy and start acting recklessly. But I'm already smart about my money. I don't buy things without thinking. I save as much as I can. I reduce, reuse and recycle. I'm frugal. I'm resourceful. If the ship holds together even somewhat, these are some of the things that will keep me going. And the memory of how much I enjoyed that yoga class that I felt unsure about taking when times weren't as hard. I keep on reading my survival/peak oil type blogs because there's a lot of information but it's with a certain levelheadedness and appreciation of what works for me because along with all the info I'm getting is a whole lot of opinion and speculation. And while no one can predict the future, it's good to be aware of the varying versions of the future that are out there--even if so many of them are bleak and sad and involve a great deal of suffering.

So as I think about my brothers and sisters in Haiti, it brings a lot into perspective. I've been chanting for them non-stop and thinking of some ways I could help. I've already donate but that feels kind of impotent. I don't know--it's such a massive destruction. I also keep wishing people like that fool Pat Robertson would go away and it makes me so sad and angry that there a people who actually agree with him. I have heard White people say time and time again that they should not be held responsible for the actions of their ancestors. Even if Haitian slaves "made a pact with devil," what the hell does that have to do with their descendants? And if I hear one more thinly veiled attempt to blame Haitians for their current sorrow because of voodoo . . . Agh . . . I didn't mean to get off topic. Farai Chideya gives the real history here.


Anonymous said...

This is why I like the Serenity Prayer because it helps you put things into perspective.

Also, the amount of racism (subtle and non-subtle) being displayed over the crisis in Haiti is both expected and mindboggling.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Living in the now. . . my goal every morning when I open my eyes.

The Original Wombman said...

NGB . . . I like the Serenity Prayer too . .. had forgotten about it till you mentioned it. Thank you. Indeed, the racism is really unbelievable and saddening.

Sagacious, it is definitely about living in the now. It's so easy to get caught up in our planning for the future (or regretting the past). All we really have is this moment.

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