2 trees wandering

A person of the crossroads making notes while tracking patterns in relationships within the Web of Life and its Mystery

Monday, July 31, 2006

Gentrification and Homelessness

This is a response to an op-ed concerning the displacement of droves of homeless people in Skid Row LA for a street cleaning (both literal and figurative). (see link below)

It seems to me that social and economic issues require a spiritual infusion in order for us to see the issues in compassionate ways that serve a whole and healthy society. Thre are many issues embedded in what we see as gentrification and homelessness that have less to do with economics and more to do with consumerism - the idea that you "have" things/people/ideas when they are attractive and desirable and throw away things when they no longer function properly or are no longer attractive. We don't think of the homeless as part of our human ecosystem or community. They are disposable. The spirit or soul of the person that remains a responsibility of the interdependent whole becomes invisible.

As a culture we continue to look at isolated problems trying to find solutions that fix people, places, circumstances and these are getting larger and more complex (homelessness, catastrophes, conflict). It is as if we can't find the courage individually and collectively to open our hearts to the problems to see how they are connected and linked to a greater consciousness. There is something about supporting the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" beliefs that hardens our hearts to suffering and helps maintain the upper layers of wealth. Yet there is no clamoring to end the war so that our resources could care for our people and our environment. There is no uproar about creating more services for the mentally ill who are increasing in number. There is no outrage at the amount of people suffering in multiple ways in this country (victims of Katrina who are still homeless, people who have been victims of poverty through lack of understanding and means on reservations, in cities and in rural communities, children who become adults without sufficient parenting and fill our prisons and on and on).

I have been considering lately what my real contribution is to the community of humans and the Earth, one that I can measure daily, so that I can meet the level of need from my heart in an appropriate use of my resources.

What can we do together than is beyond the issues that drive us and is generated from our spirit rather than our minds?

I think this is really about the relationship of dependence/independence/interdependence. We are dependent on certain illusions and constructs that keep us in a continuing dialogue of helplessness as the problems grow in scope and complexity. This reminds me that I can take independent, value driven action to bring compassion and service to the fore in my life and this helps to illuminate and inform the interdependence of the life which is part of my core of integrity and can lead to more powerful action on behalf of a healthy Whole.