Saturday, November 8, 2008

Perspective On Stuff From The Amazon

I found an article by a couple that had recently returned from their travels to the Peruvian Amazon. It painted a great picture of how we can simplify our lives in small tiny steps. Here’s what Jessica wrote in her blog:

Speaking of material things, once again I was reminded on this trip that I have an uncomfortable amount of stuff. Sometimes when we go visit the communities, Andrew and I feel like we’re roughing it, but if you ever want a real kick in the behind to simplify your life, unpack your backpack in front of a barefoot 7-year old from an Amazon village.

You will take out your bug repellent, your hand sanitizer, your sunscreen, your zippered bag of toiletries, your 3 pairs of different kinds of shoes, your hammock, your cameras, your bag of clothes, your sleeping sheet and therma-rest, your mosquito net, your books and pencils, etc. etc. and the child will marvel at each thing and it will start to dawn on you that this kid has basically none of that stuff, and he lives here, while you are planning to stay for nine days and somehow need it all. And this is just a small fraction of the things that you have in Iquitos [Peru]. And those are also hardly anything compared to the things that you left behind at home in the states.

When I spend time with them in their homes and on their boats and in their meeting halls, I don’t really perceive these people as “poor,” though I know they do not have a lot ... the unavoidable conclusion is that I have WAY TOO MUCH.

Since it is now so clear, one of our new favorite things to do is look for ways to give stuff away. I know that I’ve always heard that giving is better than receiving, and I’ve always felt ambiguous about that because I really like receiving, but I have been pretty surprised at how good it feels to go around lightening our load.

It’s more than just a pat on the back for being a good citizen. When we can get in this frame of mind, we feel more incorporated, more confident and proud of ourselves, and less clingy and dependent on things that distract from what’s important.

From Life On The Amazon blog.

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