“Thereby do exemplary people travel all day without leaving their equipment. Though they have a look of prosperity, their resting place is transcendent… abundant possessions mean much loss… They cling to nothing, and so lose noting… Sages do not accumulate anything but give everything to others, having more the more they give.” ~ Lao Tzu
“…Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor… Then come follow me.” ~ Jesus
I am giving away everything I cannot carry with me on foot/on bike, and leaving my home. For as long as I can manage, I am going to live with the lowest of my community, the homeless- even outside in the streets and parks. I am in a position in my life right now where I can do this, so I am going to take advantage of it.
I have multiple reasons for doing this. The first is for my own growth. The second is to be in the thick of it, doing what I can. Third is to bring the true face of homeless into the light.
I have already started giving my stuff away. A bike to my neighbor who hated me, my desktop computer to someone who has no luck with computers… I’m not selling any of it for personal gain. It is all going to people in need. Whatever doesn’t get given to people I know will be given to Neighborhood Services (a charity that sells furniture for dirt cheap to anyone who needs it).
I’ve started setting things up for some continuity with my fledgling business and work, and looking for things I’ll need to still function while I’m out there- sleeping gear, durable and stain resistant clothing to wear for days straight… I bought a new laptop for my business and I’m going to buy a gym membership and some stuff to clean up until I learn to survive like the rest of the folks out there.
If I fail completely, I will be close to home and able to pick myself up quickly, if not instantly. If all goes well, I will travel to my country’s largest city and do the same there.
I have an income, so I’ll be able to feed and clothe myself. However, when I have time, I am going to beg on the sidewalk downtown for food. The food won’t be for me though- I am going to be begging on behalf of those who are hungry, distributing the food at spots where the homeless congregate. I am going to blog about the experience of begging for food, and let anyone know what I am doing if they stop to talk with me. I have a presentation binder that will be converted into a begging sign saying ‘Food Only Please’ with a little .com at the bottom for those who actually take notice of and look at me.
Begging on the sidewalk in my hometown will be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I already feel the knot in my stomach from the anxiety, from the imminent need to let go of my image, reputation, dignity, etc. It will be another step toward annihilation of ego/Self for me. I am both terrified and excited about it. I work in marketing, for the most part, where image and reputation are critical. This is a move in the opposite direction I usually travel.
Any other free time I have, I am going to try to use in the service of others in need. I may swap out my begging sign for one saying ‘I will work for free’ (with another little .com at the bottom). When someone actually looks my way and notices the odd sign, I will tell them I am volunteering to do whatever work they might need done, within the time I have, and within my means to get there and do. I will write about these experiences, too. I’m hoping people will use my time to make the life easier of someone who needs a break- like mowing the lawn of a senior citizen or something.
I am going to start getting my feet wet in the next few weeks. I’ve registered another domain that I’ll use for a site describing what it’s like suddenly being homeless in Ottawa, and later Toronto. I also hope to offer an outlet and way to network for those I connect with out there. I’ll keep my readers posted.