When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans I wondered what I could do. I hopped on message boards. I found a niche. It turned out that there were droves of people stuck in hotels that the Red Cross had set up there. There were certain cities that were designated as places that these people would go to and be placed. There were centers in Raleigh, in Atlanta that I visited personally but there were many centers in numerous states. There they were, with no home, no money and just trapped in limbo. They needed help. But what they needed more than anything was a fresh start. There were websites where people were literally offering that fresh start. But in these primarily Red Cross run centers, the people were strongly discouraged from contacting these offers. They would not post the lists for the hundreds of people to see. Kindness went into action in many corners. My niche became NC Katrina Housing…a non profit I started out of my home. The website was donated. Clothing was donated. But the great part was that I was able to find inside contacts in these Red Cross centers who would pass along info to families based upon a home that I had a lead on. So, essentially I would find creative guerrilla methods to link up families ready for a fresh start with those who were offering that in different places in America and here in NC. There were people offering free housing to entire families…and a job..and a car…for a YEAR. But when I walked into the Red Cross centers, the representatives would not even let me speak to offer this to anyone. Like I said, it had to be secretive. Behind the scenes. At one point I rented a 15 passenger van and pretended to be a family member picking up my family. Forget the fact that I am white and the whole family of 14 was african american…it worked. The facility had a rule that if you left with someone other than a family member that you would be threatened with the loss of ability to make claims for unemployment…etc. I drove this extended family late at night to a house being offered to them…a big house. There were people waiting for us. There was food. Everyone got along like old friends.
I am writing this because giving and receiving is on my mind since I am on day 3 of my Indiegogo campaign. I am pondering kindness a lot right now and recognizing that though it exists…it does not yet blossom in our world. In our day to day lives, it is not blatant and it can be.
I have recently been astonished at how fractured and divisive people are within themselves. It is profound. Someone can support you and think you are great…but as soon as you hit an invisible tripwire in their mind, years and years worth of good will and kindness evaporate in seconds. It is profound to me how separate the heart and mind can be inside a single person. Literally two different aspects sharing the same body.
A heart is easy to love, easy to wish to be close to. A heart can love but the ego cannot. I am never for the eradication of the ego. But of late I am just floored by how strongly and swiftly it can silence the heart, it drowns out the chords so effectively. And when the person does not even know that they have switched into their mind and egoic state…you are suddenly talking to a different person. You are talking to a personality and the personality is geared to survive and protect itself, but not in a kind and nurturing way. As long as people are still trying to survive their hurts, open hearted kindness is going to remain in short supply. Protected people have their hands too full of fear to give.
I have a hard time reconciling this. I especially run into this with money. I cannot reconcile that a person can say “I will support you…if you give me money.” I honor and respect everyone’s path. But for healers, doctors…heck, even a restaurant…it just makes less and less sense to me. ”I will feed you a healthy meal…but only if you pay me.” Or imagine a volunteer at a soup kitchen refusing to continue until they get paid? It is funny how much money and spirituality are being married lately. This betrothal has divorce written all over it though. Does the Dalai Lama charge per hour? Did Siddhartha ask for donations under that tree? People say that money is love…that we just don’t understand that it is an energetic exchange. Hmmm…really? Then who pays me to love my kids? Those people in those shelters had nothing. They had the clothing on their back and a drowned house…and they were poor before that even happened. This world does not need money to make things happen. It only needs money as long as there is someone who still wants money. There hasn’t been a man made thing yet that the world cannot be better without. I don’t see any other creature on the planet exchanging energy for money. I am sorry for those who I will no doubt offend…but money is worthless. Love and kindness are the only ways out of this mess.
And I don’t know how to go about it. Even with my campaign I am looking for “money”. They won’t let me keep the house without it. The stores won’t let me feed my kids without it. But somehow, someway, sometime…we have to start approaching a way to give and receive from one another without money being in the middle. Only the ego wants money to stay in this game. For me, this campaign is about a small way of testing the waters. Will people want to support someone who is saying “i want to support people without being paid”. Because for the world to change whole scale…that is what it will take. But perhaps we would all have to do it at once. Now that would be a big letting go and trust moment. It is funny that sometimes people say trust and the money will follow. For me, I would rather hear, trust that everyone will support one another, thereby eradicating the use of money as a means to keep us from the fear that they will not.
I strongly feel that in the future, we as a people…that when we look back….the use of money will be seen as primitive and barbaric as slavery, for it enslaves all of us to one degree or another. Money is nothing more than a representation and manifestation of how we do not yet understand how to freely give and to be responsible for one another’s welfare as a community.