On being ‘Poor?’

CAN you call me truly, ‘Poor,’ if my life is so rich it hurts one’s teeth?

I don’t give a rat’s ass about status symbols. Most people who are alright with their roles in life don’t care either. Those i-pads are too breakable, that fancy car is too unaffordable with insurance, and that huge house is tough to keep clean by one person. Sure, you have it all in vision, but in reality?

Being ‘poor’ is truthful, whether one likes it or not. My home is small, comfortable, cozy, and safe. There’s much to be said about that in and of itself!

I live near the poverty line, if not on it. Does that mean I starve? No. I have been completely homeless, and lived in a TV cardboard box in Boulder, CO. It sucked, and my wiener dog was my only one true friend. I’ve starved, feeling the nauseating pain of hunger past that of just simply missing one meal. It hurts, and it’s sickening at the same time.  On more than the physical level. But now I live differently having had that experience to show me more truth than I can digest in one sitting.

My life is rich with belief, where every action, motion, and sentence has value; and my spirits, Ancestors, and Gods play their crucial role. You can have the newest and greatest invention possible, and I’ll just nod to you. I don’t need it, and honestly speaking I’ll probably demolish it with my lifestyle of rough and tumble. Again it ties in with my ever-living question of ‘Do you NEED it?’

Truthfully, no. We don’t need the bigger TV, the latest games, the best i-phones, the newest car, in-vogue fashions, in-vogue Paganism, or any of the in-vogue notions.

For us, we sleep on hand-sewn linens, walk in mended clothes, old shoes, earn our living by the sweat of our brow and the strength in our limbs; we eat foods that we can literally tell you where and when it came from… My practice is local, from what I can find, learn, and glean from within walking distance or short driving distance.

Sure, I’m ‘poor,’ by today’s standards. Am I truly ‘Poor?

Nope. I’m richer than you’d expect. Just drop by sometime. I take this time from my own time of Thanks as I celebrate Herbst to reflect on this. I am thankful I’m not memorized by the commercials, the ‘keeping up with the Jone’s,’ etc. I am not angry, I’m just saying for the record, is all.

How much folklore can be had from other such ‘poor‘ people? How much has any ‘Trad Witch,’ gleaned from us ‘poor folk?’ Please stop looking at us like some sort of fungus as you read books about those like us who came before and made into a book or two – we’re still alive, and well. Stop snubbing us off as ‘paupers,’ when you read about our similar exploits and experiences and incorporate them into one’s practice. If I need mugwort, I will walk 1/3 mile to find it, instead buying it off Etsy. If I need a skin, I will work the hunting ritual and wait. That’s just how it goes.

We never have the nicest clothes. We never have the best cars. We never have the best of anything – that’s what marks us. We understand that there’s better out there – but we have what we have for better or worse. Granted, we’re not the heroes of stories – but we’re the ones who remember them on the dark nights of winter. Our children will be well cared for, reared in a life of richness in our practice, and live knowing the world as we do. There’s more wealth to life than status.

We’re ‘poor,’ but we’re not without. Think about that.

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13 thoughts on “On being ‘Poor?’

  1. Alchemille

    Most people are stuck in the materialistic matrix and are the true poor from where I stand. They don’t know the true value of things and individuals anymore. They basically judge your by your own price tag: your look(s). They are also often poor of mind (too many years of brainwashing in front of the hypnotic tv screen) and poor of judgement.
    Their spiritual/inner life is mostly non existent and closer to the vast emptiness of a black hole (which probably also sucked their common sense along the way) than anything else in the universe.
    I cherish true, grounded people who have a brain, who do things and have something to say that’s actually interesting if not enlightening. I respect old timers and their experience(s). I am grateful for what I have and my few simple needs (what’s the point of accumulating junk anyway, you won’t take it with you beyond the grave). I enjoy above all having a handmade, natural lifestyle that suits me. I am constantly learning (part of it b/c I want to, the other part has to do with my Spirits’ expectations) so gaining more knowledge infused with a good measure of wisdom is for me true wealth. The materialistic world has nothing to offer me that I consider valuable (besides books maybe)…I much prefer my “rich” simple life ;).

    • Yes, I agree. This whole post started from one YouTube video commercial as I was looking for spinning instructions, a conversation I had online with a few Pagans, and three books of folklore.

      It seems there is a ‘mode of acceptance,’ to join Pagan groups, or some sort of popularity contest for the ‘better,’ Pagan via who had this stuff or that. It seemed odd, off, wierd to me. These people read the folklore about the ‘rustic country folk,’ and try to emulate them in a setting that those people written about might not understand; such as only eating organic foods, fancy cars, noisy technology, etc. These people were poor in lacking ‘stuff,’ but if these ‘poor’ folks are so ‘poor,’ than why do so many people try to emulate them but with having more ‘stuff?’

  2. Elizabeth

    I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum and in between — snooty private college, white-collar job, and then the downward slide into actual poverty. Nowadays I live on a tiny fixed income in someone’s upstairs room, don’t own a car, and get nearly all my clothes secondhand. I can honestly say that happiness has never had anything to do with how much cash I did or didn’t have at my disposal. I’m happier now than I was as an upper-middle-class, spoiled college kid who never had to worry about where to get the money to pay the bills 😛

    • I got my wake-up call when I lost everything except my dog, with only $40 left in my pocket in late November dumped in Boulder. That winter sucked, and after I got on my feet I just haven’t viewed money the same since. When you’re hungry and shivering, things change. I understand where you’re coming from.

  3. Karen

    I’m poor by some standards, rich beyond measure by others. I’ve been homeless, and I learnt some invaluable lessons whilst there. You cannot take money with you, so why accumulate more than you need? I am the happiest I’ve ever been, and that has very little to do with how much money is in my bank account.

  4. “We never have the best of anything”– that speaks volumes to me. It’s not “we never are the best of anything”, or “we never do the best in anything”, or “we never experience the best of anything”… but it’s “have”. I like that.

    • There is true power in oneself to just ‘want,’ what you ‘have.’ I didn’t get it for years, but now I’m humbled by my own home, and everyone and everything in it, even if I’m the ‘uncool,’ person in the community.

  5. Natalie Reed

    I used to have a job where I made a lot of money, not 1% money, but six figures. I was miserable. When I quit that job, a lot of people thought I was crazy. They knew, and I knew, that I would never have the opportunity to make that kind of money again. I’m good with that. I am happy, and healthy, and I have time to spend with family and friends. I always wondered why people wanted a 3000 SF house with four or five bathrooms. They must love to wash floors and clean toilets!

  6. Alchemille

    I just saw this quote today (don’t know the author though):
    “Some people are so poor, all they have is money.”

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