Gratitude Sunday: Walk A Mile In My Brain: or, Life Is Not Fair

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Sunday Haiku
Relentless summer.
No rain in sight, grass scorched brown,
Thistle blooms purple.

Sunday Musings
Forget about shoes. I only wear them because I dislike foot pain from ramming my toes into something more than I love being barefoot. I realize it’s a metaphor but walking a mile in someone else’s shoes does nothing; it’s just walking. You must be able to imagine the differences and similarities between you and them, listen to their stories, understand their stories as truth. You’ll find there is little actual difference, despite the differences.

I know. I’m supposed to make sense here. Look at it this way. Whether you are wealthy or poor, able or unable, male or female, religious or not, of any race whatsoever, our goals are essentially the same. We need safe homes and communities, healthful food, clean air and water, quality health care, education and work opportunities, clothing, transportation, and relaxation/refreshment time. And we’d like to experience a modicum of happiness or contentment along the way. All of us, across the spectrum.

Do we all have that? The short answer is no. Could we all have that? The long answer is yes; it takes work to make it so.

It doesn’t happen in a vacuum. People don’t usually step up and say “Let me help you.” If you ask for help many people still resent helping others. That’s called blaming the victim. I might support blaming the victim if we had equal opportunities, but we don’t. The other hard part about asking for help is feeling like you owe something back to those who helped. I had to give that feeling up because I might not pay it directly back to whomever provided the original help, but somewhere along the line I have helped others in need when they needed it. My tax investment has helped other people, other people’s investments help me. My personal small income has helped other individuals through times of their crises. It’s like volunteering: right now I’m the one helping, tomorrow you are the one helping. It all comes around in the end.

My mom taught me years ago life isn’t fair. If it were, we wouldn’t have this conversation. It’s a hard lesson I’m still in the process of learning. But we can make life in American society a little bit more fair or better if we want to. I’m really good at saying what should be, and trying to be better being grateful for what is. We start where we are.

The myth of self-sufficiency needs to be exploded and buried once and for all. Talk about being a self-made person, and earning wealth on your own, it’s not true. There is not one person in America who has done it all on their own. Not one, no one, nada, nyet, nobody. All private wealth is created courtesy of public assistance. Some people get a hand up by being born into a wealthy family – the luck of the draw; your pathway is much easier because the wind is already at your back and you had the advantages of quality health care, healthful food, the best education, and employment opportunities provided by the connections of your family.

Even if you started with nothing, like no inherited wealth, with the wind in your face, you benefited from being a member of a society. If you went to public school, somebody’s tax investment paid for the school. If you used public transportation or school buses, somebody else’s tax investment paid for your ride to be available. If you drove on a road to get there, somebody else’s tax investment paid for the creation and maintenance of that pathway. If you received a grant for college, somebody else’s tax investment helped you gain an education. If your parents qualified for commodity foods, or food stamps, or reduced cost school lunches, you ate because of the tax investment of somebody else.

We may not recognize many programs as a benefit from the tax investment we make. If you help feed people (SNAP/food stamps and reduced lunch programs), and house people (housing subsidies or government sponsored mortgages like VA loans), and keep people warm (LIHEAP program), and give them a break because they are still raising children (Earned Income Credit), you are helping their well-being and their ability to be better contributing members in our society. That’s a good thing.

I’m GRATEFUL my tax investment helps other people. I’ve had to ask for and received additional help most of my adult life, all the while paying my own tax investment into the system. The wealthy who think they should keep all their wealth and not pay taxes or avoid claiming their wealth by hiding it in off-shore bank accounts are displaying their ungratefulness to be contributing members of the society they used for their personal profit. The wealthy use our roads and hospitals and technology just like the rest of us. I’ll bet they like it when the fire department comes to save their burning homes, and when police arrest the thieves who break into their homes. Contributions to charity organizations are suppose to be an alternative to making a tax investment, but in many cases, they are disguised ways to hide money, and these charities sometimes make little real contribution to the health and well-being of the people in this country that supports the ability to accumulate wealth. Why should wealth make them less grateful, rather than more so?

It’s that myth of self-sufficiency. They tell themselves they did it on their own, so they don’t owe anybody anything. Logic requires seeing that’s simply not true. If you live in a country that collects tax investments and those investments are used to benefit all with infrastructure, technology, medical research and advancements, among others, the wealthy, more than the average individual, can use those tax investments to their maximum advantage. The wealthy used all those tax investments, just like the rest of us, but they were more able to use them to their financial advantage. Not everybody can create those wealth making events in their lives.

America’s dirty little secret is how you are supposed to hide any assistance you receive. You never admit to inherited wealth, instead you create your own self-made myth and sell that. If you have to ask for assistance and receive it you are supposed to be quietly embarrassed, to lock your doors and live behind curtained windows in shame because for whatever reason you can’t create your own wealth, even to the point of having how you live dictated and your freedom of choices limited because you are using other people’s tax investment. I hear the echoes from Game of Thrones: “shame, shame, shame” as if wealth equals virtue. Yet nobody makes it in America on their own.

If we think of our taxes as investments in our future it all makes more sense. Wealthy people more than anyone else should be interested in investing for the future. Workers and employees are the people who create profit for the wealthy. Why not be grateful and pay them realistic wages so they can support their families or provide health care in a simpler way so people have less stress? Wouldn’t the workers be grateful as well because they have secure homes, the money to pay for them, food on their tables, and the time to enjoy it all with their families? Maybe happy healthy workers would be even better producers. I’m just guessing.

You can call me a perfect worlder if you like. Sticks and stones. We know, of course, that words do hurt and we carry that hurt forever. I am a better worlder, that’s for sure. We can work toward better lives. We could have a better America and a better world. We could have more supportive shoes.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Bright red nightshade berries – do not eat! Creamy white wishes with brown seeds, a wish for a new weed. Pristine white bindweed. Wild stickery purple thistle.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Star Wars: Rogue One (2016, rated PG – 13), trying to keep up with cultural references, I watch these as they come out and are made available on DVD through my local lending library. I went to the premier of the first one when it came out in the Portland area and remember being scared out of my wits when an actor in the Darth Vader costume came up behind me and breathed down my neck. I’m not sure I gain much in the watching, as I can’t tell who’s who when they are fighting, I can’t tell who’s flying what or even the differences between the flying machines, and I get lost between locations, though they are clearly labeled. But the special effects are fascinating. * Beauty and the Beast (2017, rated PG), the live version with Emma Watson (Harry Potter movies) and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey series). Can Disney make anything that isn’t a musical these days? Apparently not. Oh well, just had to enjoy it for what it was. * Misery (1990, rated R) with Kathy Bates and James Caan. The other psychological thriller from Stephen King. Since this is an old movie, I’m not going to worry about spoilers. I first saw this movie in 1991, and remember being riveted by the story. What strikes me with this viewing is how strangely satisfying it is when Caan (the victim) kills Bates (his torturer) in the end.

Currently Reading – I am very glad to be done with Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (2016, conservative politics) by Jane Mayer. It’s disheartening to read about the ways money is spent to change public policy and twist the English language to increase and perpetuate your own bottom line, when that money could help increase the wealth and well-being of so many Americans, including the dark money spenders. Greed is ugly, stubborn, and obtuse. * The All New Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate (2014, communications in politics) by George Lakoff. Choose your words; improve our world. * Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good (2016, humanitarianism) by Chuck Collins. Collins is heir to the Oscar Meyer meat business family, who gave away much of his inherited trust fund, after working closely with average people and listening to our stories. He maintains there should be a balance of the tax contributions made by wealthy people instead of them paying so little in tax, while the lower classes pay a much larger percentage of their income.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Finishing some paperwork that needed doing.
  • The luxury of a flexible at-home work schedule and being able to have a little lie down when I don’t feel well.
  • The magic of solar eclipse rays and their subtle effects.
  • Those few minutes during the solar eclipse in America when almost all of us were thinking about the glory of nature and science, and not about our differences and disparities.
  • A friend who knew my picture had been in the local paper, and also knew the paper was no longer in my budget, who gave me a hard copy for posterity.
  • While searching for something else, finding a stash of old cosmetics and toiletries that enjoyed a pitch into the trash.
  • Starting to organize for winter; I have to move a couple pieces of furniture blocking wall heaters, which means the Game of 14, though I’m anticipating a game of about 414.
  • The neighbor who put up a bird feeder in the back part of her backyard so I can see it from my backyard and the flock of bluebirds it has attracted.
  • The bluebird feather one of the birds left for me.
  • Learning many years ago that a recipe might depend on what you have on hand and knowing how to throw it together.
  • Bacon, garlic, zucchini, mozzarella skillet jumble, no eggs, but I think I’ll add eggs next time. Yum.
  • Fat juicy peaches and nectarines. Especially the ones so ripe the skin peels off without blanching.
  • Coffee. And real cream.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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One Response to Gratitude Sunday: Walk A Mile In My Brain: or, Life Is Not Fair

  1. piratesorka says:

    It is so true no one makes it all on their own , alone. There are all sorts of reasons wny throughout our lives. Everytime I see some person wearing the Anarchy symbol I just shake my head because you know damm well how truly miserable in such a Un-society we would all be. If you truly believe that then go off the grid and see how you succeed without tripping off to a local store for your needs.
    As for me I am itching to get to a farmers market these days and have not been able to so far, darn it. I am sooo hungry for tomatoes. I yearn to make my Gazpacho but only if I have REAL tomatoes and not those red balls they pass off as tomatoes ( or fresh for that matter) in the stores.Maybe I can try again this next weekend.

    Like

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