Note: This was also posted over at the Spirituality Blog, but it’s so important that this time we are going to double dip. If you subscribe to both, sorry for the duplication. If not, read on! Thanks!
Hello all! I know it’s been awhile! Things are good here and I’ve been out living life instead of blogging about it. More to come on a recent trip and much more.
Inthe meantime, I wanted to update you on some things that are coming in October. This time of year is traditionally about honoring the cycle of the seasons, pausing to reflect on our abundance and blessings, and preparing for winter. To call attention to the ways in which many people on the planet are unable to take part in the abundance of harvest, UN World Hunger Day is held every October. Also called World Food Day in the US, it is a time to come together to move towards a solution to end world hunger.
I know, I know. It’s a crazy time of year. Some say it’s not possible to end something as huge as world hunger. I say, we do not have a supply problem on this planet. What we have is a distribution issue. There is already more than enough to go around, for all of us. Enough food. Enough time. Enough love. Enough money. Enough. Enough to share. Enough to know you are already blessed and abundant, right here, right now. It’s more about mindfulness and awareness for most of us. But for some, it’s only about being aware of their stomach growling, their physical hunger, their need for food, their need to feed their children.
I also think many of us hunger for much more than food, but often use food to fill the hole inside of us that says we aren’t good enough, that there isn’t enough for you to slow down and enjoy a meal or time with family. I say there IS enough, and that there are many kinds of hunger. I think a lonely, spiritual hunger can be as bad, if not worse, as physical hunger for many of us. But above all, I believe in abundance and living as if there is already enough to go around for all of us.
It is in this spirit that we approach World Hunger Day. This year, for this world wide event, we have partnered with one of our favorite charities, Micro-Financing Partners in Africa, also known as MPA. MPA gives micro-loans to those living in extreme poverty, allowing them to start a small business and work their way out of what once seemed like an impossible situation. Their tag line is “we give a hand up, not a hand out,” and that captures it beautifully. In Kenya, they give loans as small as a quarter in US currency (seriously, $.25 can change a life!) and these amazing women start a business and lift themselves out of poverty and the slums. They do much more, including a cow project and a soy milk factory, and you can learn more about those projects here.
This year we have started a team through FirstGiving to raise awareness and money for MPA and World Hunger Day. We are fasting for 36 hours, during the day October 19 and ending the fast the morning of October 20. We always joke, “why do they call it a fast when it goes so slow?” and yet there is a deep spiritual component to fasting. All of the religions advise it, and most have sacred times of year built around fasting. If you do not feel called to fast from food, or do not feel ready or able to do so, perhaps you could consider fasting from TV or the news or soda. Several years ago during Lent, I fasted from self-criticism for 40 days and instead feasted on acceptance. It was one of the most transformational experiences of my life.
So think outside the box on this one. The purpose at one level is to support MPA, but at a much deeper level, it’s to face those hungers within, to get in touch with things you might not be aware of or maybe didn’t want to face until now. You can do this in any way you’d like, but the key is to be aware of some kind of hunger and be in solidarity with those who experience hunger daily without a choice.
If you are interested, you can can join me HERE or start your own team by going to the MPA website and looking at the Hunger Fast page. Feel free to engage in some friendly rivalry with family, friends or colleagues on this one. You might be surprised how many relationships can be built and fostered through this sort of commitment. I also invite you to not focus on food but on your abundance and gratitude, your ability to join in with something like this, and the opportunities we all have to offer a hand up to someone in need.
Blessings to you and your families this time of year!