I have been hounding James for a while to let us move to the woods of Maine & live off the land, certain the only way I could find happiness would be to live a simple life as a lumberjack. And just like an answered prayer, it has turned quite cold and we have no heat in our house, giving me the chance to live out as least parts of my fantasy. The worst part of being cold, I think, is how your wrists freeze up, making it hard to do things with your hands like type or play guitar. The best part is that you never forget to cook. Instead, I hover around the warm stove all day, cooking up anything that can be made out of corn, beans, eggs, butter, sugar, and dandelions. Which is quite a lot, actually.
As you may know already, I am quite obsessed with corn- more as a spiritual entity than a food source- and I have a corn colored stool which I can place next to the oven, giving me a warm(er) spot to write or sing while corn sandies are baking or dandelion tea is brewing. So all in all, the cold life is not a bad one.
Sometimes I think about the relative virtues of poverty vs wealth. Do you? I mean, on the surface, it is obviously much better to be rich and perhaps that is all there is to it, but at the same time there are many valuable things which only poverty can create. I wonder how many of the negative feelings we have about poverty are based in reality, and how many are due to our collective imaginations absorbing the dreams and life goals given us by Hollywood.
Poverty can give you focus, humility, ingenuity, appreciation, and perhaps above all, the need to fall back on your own inner resources. How many rich people remove their own teeth with a pair of pliers? Additionally, since no one will respect you when you are poor, poverty forces you to mine you self-esteem from within. There are lots of movements now to eliminate poverty from our society which always seem to start off with the assumption that the poor are worse off than the rich. That is an assumption I do not share. From an astrological perspective, the rich can be said to be learning the lessons of Jupiter- ease, growth, expansion, generosity- while the poor are learning the lessons of Saturn- endurance, patience, faith and how to thrive within restriction. Sometimes when the rich want to help the poor, I wonder if they are merely projecting their own sense of emptiness onto someone else, in order to feel better about their lives.
I don’t think the poor should be pitied or helped- they should be admired and learned from. Most of all, we should stop making people feel bad or ashamed for living on a limited material budget, and stop treating it as a problem to be solved.
My change of heart about poverty came when I realized one day that life is really what you give to it, not what you get out of it. Because we all come here from a spiritual dimension, I believe, where we are kings. We do not need to be kings in this world, but what we do need is the opportunity to make something of ourselves. Poor people have the same opportunities to contribute to life as the rich ones. They are not less blessed, just financially thinner.
In some ways, poor people can contribute more easily, I think, because they have less to lose. They have no pride, no dignity that they must cling to, and therefore they can develop true integrity more easily. In a moment of time when everyone is clamoring to be respected by society, I think we have also forgotten how easily external respect can rot a person’s character. It isn’t respect that we should be seeking- much less demanding- instead we should be turning ourselves into someone that WE can respect, by aligning ourselves with our own guiding stars. Because we are only in this world for a short time. When we leave, we leave behind the approval or disapproval of the crowds. But whatever gold we have managed to weave into our souls will travel forward with us.
And now my fingers are too cold to keep writing. So let me summarize by saying, Poor people, you are awesome, always hold your head high. Your true treasure is stored in a vault in the sky.
I have to include this clip because it contains the song “Beer for my Horses” by Toby Keith, one of maybe 3 songs in the world that I like. What a man Toby Keith is, or at least pretends to be in this song. 🙂