Scenes From A Recession…

Yesterday I watched a documentary, which followed the lives of numerous people living in New York City, who suffered greatly at the hand of the recent recession.

The set for the movie, was a neighborhood hair salon, which belonged to the producer’s friend.
While getting their hair trimmed, colored or blow dried, they spoke about how badly they were doing, about getting laid off, struggling to make ends meet, and aimlessly looking for new jobs…

I noticed that as I was watching this, extreme sadness had settled over me.

I was laying on my sofa, after a good shower, covered with a soft comfortable blanket.
Through the open window, a calm evening breeze blew in, rustling the trees by the creek outside…
It was a perfectly calm evening in the mountains, yet I felt the sadness of these people, as they spoke about losing their homes, being evicted, their huge credit cards debts…

I usually use fear and pain, as an indicator to check what am I thinking, feeling or doing, that is wrong.
When I feel fear or pain- I always know that somehow, somewhere along the line, I have invested in some wrong or limited thinking….

So I asked myself why was I feeling so much pain?…

Of course the main reason, was sympathy for their struggles.
They seemed so lost and helpless…

Most of them were 40, 50 and 60 years old, and they felt that no matter how many job applications they will put in, nobody is truly hiring people at their age.

It pained me, but it did not surprised me, that indeed they did not get hired.
If you BELIEVE that companies only hire young people- you might as well not even try…
You will just keep on proving to yourself what you already know…

Another reason that I felt sadness, was that they all seemed so defeated by life…. So lacking in hope.

In one case, those who lost their homes, moved in as tenants into a Florida home of another woman, who could barely pay her mortgage, and needed to take tenants to make ends meet.

They formed a kind of a sad, hopeless, un-cool commune…

My thoughts drifted to other communal living places, that I visited or heard about.

I recently saw a great documentary about the founding of the famous commune “Black Bear” in California.

The people who lived there, were idealistic.
They moved together to a rural location in the woods, to start a new way of living, away from pursuing materialistic goals, in a conventional rigid society, with fix ideas of what is right and wrong, and what brings happiness.

They shared everything, cooking, cleaning, music, had wild sex, and much freedom.
They studied spirituality, worked or walked naked, grew their own food, shared ideas.

That commune, was very different from the communal misery of the people who got together because of their financial misfortune.
In the latter, there was no hope, fun, or any remnant of the spirit of joy…

I found it so sad to see their hopelessness and limited beliefs.

These were people who created lives based on materialistic joys and comforts.
Their self image and identity, were so closely tied to their position and jobs, and to what money could afford them…

One of them, was in trouble only two months, after he was made redundant.
I could hardly fathom how could anyone enjoy a vacation or buy something, if they do not have money saved aside to carry them for two months, in case they lose their jobs…

As I watched one marketing executive, go to network parties with other unemployed marketing executives, I could not help notice that none of them really looked poor or suffering.

If you’ll get together in one room, a group of Nepalese or Chinese factory workers, you will be able to SEE the struggle and poverty on their faces…

I felt a little cruel, as I thought to myself that all these unemployed people, looked like comfortable people who need a good shaking, and redefining, and a search for a NEW MEANING in their lives….

Maybe instead of looking for another executive job with benefits….., in an industry that is in a major contraction anyway, if not facing extinction… They should mount a backpack, a good pair of hiking shoes and go to help natives in Cambodia or Nepal, to build water wells….

Maybe they need to find TRUE meaning in their lives, beyond financial comfort and more things and goods, and instead go live lives that offer them community, purpose, and service….

It is not for me to judge…. Nor to fix their lives…
I said a short prayer for the advancement of their souls, so they could realize how their belief in limitations were holding them back…. And I went to bed.

In my dreams….
One day… they too shall realize that life has so many MORE gifts than a shiny porsche that they had to sell, can ever give them……
Or a stupid vacation taken on an overly stretched credit card…

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