Blog Action Day: Poverty

"You lift me, and I'll lift thee, and we'll ascend together." ~ Quaker saying

Today is Blog Action Day, with the topic being poverty.

I volunteered to participate in this action without a clue as to what I would say. I have a platform, and therefore, I imagine, a responsibility, and I figured the right words would come.

For inspiration, I turned to Wikipedia for a precise defintion:

"Poverty is deprivation of common necessities that determine the quality of life, including food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking water, and may also include the deprivation of opportunities to learn, to obtain better employment to escape poverty, and/or to enjoy the respect of fellow citizens."

I have never had to face conditions such as these... and by the grace of god or whatever, I hope I and my loved ones, never will. And yet, how often have I felt personally so strapped for time, money, resources, energy, joy, love, that I believed I had nothing to give to another person in need? Too often. And I know I'm not alone.

There is abject, debilitating, hard-core poverty that all too many humans on this planet have to suffer with. And there is a perceived poverty that many of the rest of us fall prey to, a poverty of spirit from which we operate... holding back our gifts out of greed, judgment, fear, scarcity mentality, or a belief that we have nothing of value to offer. That our small contribution couldn't possibly make a dent in in the suffering of the world. Besides, we can't help everybody.

Perhaps not.

But is that the point? We don't all live in poverty, but we all suffer in some way. And I believe that if there is some greater reason why we are are here, bottom line, it is to relieve the suffering of another.

For those with the wherewithal to read these words, you are probably aware that greater numbers of us are facing challenging times. The specter of poverty looms larger in our faces for many of us now more than ever before. Ironically, at a time when taking care of ourselves and our own security seems paramount, I would say that now is perhaps the best time to learn and practice generosity.  While we have food, shelter, money, time, breath in our bodies, we have something to share. And whatever the act or gift is, no matter how small, it will only ripple outward. That's the beauty of it.

Look at your life right now. From right where you are standing. What can you do in the next five minutes to relieve the suffering of another human being?

Some links:

http://www.one.org/

http://www.heifer.org

http://www.kiva.org

http://www.endpoverty.org

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