Sometimes, when I appear at a public event, like the press conference
we are holding tomorrow, people ask me what is wrong, why are people homeless.
These questions imply that there is something wrong with the people who are homeless. I tell them, yes, it is not ok with me that people are without homes. But what is really not ok with me is the rest of us, not the homeless people.
What is not ok with us, the people who are not homeless (I include myself here, at least for now), is that we keep looking at the homeless people, at the government, at just about anything and anyone else but ourselves. We won't look ourselves in the eye because we are want to place blame somewhere.
The first thing we need to do is stop blaming. So long as we are trying to pin the blame, we will get nowhere. Why? Because blaming doesn't solve anything. Blaming is just an easy way for us to evade our individual and collective responsibility for the state of our lives, our families, our society and our world.
Being responsible is not being at fault, it is not being blamed. Responsibility means just that Response-Able, able to respond. The ability to respond is a good thing. Let's not confuse it with blame.
So now that we are clear that we are response able and that it is a good thing that we can respond, how can we respond? How can we effectively deal with the state of the world? How can we make a difference with homelessness?
It is really simple to start, here are a few ways to begin:
Give up believing that your worth (yes yours, not somebody else's) is based on how much you own, how much you can buy, or any other external measure. You are valuable simply because you are filled with the divine gift of life (substitute God or other word that works for you).
Give up believing that people are out to hurt you somehow or make you feel bad. They are walking around thinking that about you too. Isn't that kind of silly? It is a crazy game that has bred fear among us for centuries.
Give up believing that other people are different than you, no matter what they look like, how they sound or act. Appearances are not worthy of your belief or trust. Instead, look for how much people seem to be like you.
Give up resenting your life and what you do or have done to survive. This resentment, this inner anger and frustration is easily transferred to others, especially those who are least likely to respond, like poor homeless people. Resist the urge to complain about others and how much you think they work. Realize that it is your frustration and anger with your own work that is speaking. If you resent your life or your work, allow yourself to envision a life doing what you really want and then have the courage to move towards this vision. Even one step in this direction will help you feel better.
I don't have all the answers. My intention is to simply point to new possibilities, other ways of living, thinking and acting that I believe will create a better world for all.