firehorserider

adventures with Henk the Buell

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Celebrating people, ideas & things that make the world a better place. Kitchen Chemistry, Social Alchemy, Adventure Activism.

Friday, September 23, 2005

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

Harold Whitman


I know this guy, a stock trader guy whose friends think he's independently wealthy, but who is really just maintaining a traveling lifestyle with his dog, on a modest budget. His friends can get a little resentful because he doesn't work in an office from 9 to 5 and wait all year for three weeks' vacation, and when he has a good day at "work" he likes to celebrate with a nice dinner. His friends toss around bitter and judgmental comments about him profiting in the market through others' losses, yet they are more than willing to allow him to foot the bill for cocktails.

I know a girl who used to be a Buddhist nun. She spent four years meditating in community with Thich Nhat Hahn before she disrobed and decided she could better serve the world through compassionate prostitution. Her family disowned her.

Trading stocks, on the surface, may seem like a "greedy" way to make a living. Until you spend a week with the trader and watch the generosity pour out. I heard him on the phone with his sister offering to save her fifteen grand by going to New York to do her home renovations. He gives profitable businesses away to friends, then starts over. He shares his toys without a concern they might get damaged. He walks around with an acute awareness of his fellow human beings, and always has a kind word for the cashier or hostess or waitress or stock broker. He makes people smile in every corner of his little world.

The Buddhist nun turned prostitute had all the time in the world to listen to a lonely person and bring a moment of joy to his life.

It's easy to resent those of us who choose to walk our own path. And too easy to underestimate the power of a smile to heal the planet.

14 Comments:

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