I was leaving the store. I saw a woman talking to a homeless man sitting in front of the store. It is not uncommon to see, but this very brief moment stood out to me for some reason. By the look on her face, she was clearly listening to him so intently. She was bending down closely as an attempt to hear him better. As she was walking away, she handed a bag of grocery to him. It happened so quickly that I don’t think anyone else caught that. The bag looked quite heavy and it was obviously just bought from the store. I just dropped $20 on bamboo TP and vegan cheesecake and was feeling so great about myself making such good purchases supporting sustainability and veganism. Mixed feelings crossed my mind.
What is really a good contribution to the world?
Buying is voting. Our purchases support the respective companies. It is certainly something important to think about before you spend your money on something IF the company you are feeding is pursuing the vision that you agree with, conducting their business the way you can proudly support or possessing values that are align with yours.
I do my best to learn about the company that I am buying a product of before purchasing. When my choices come down to two and have to make a decision, I choose the Canadian company, even if it’s a few bucks more. Yes, imported goods get taxed and it also adds to the country, but I believe that it’s still a good citizen’s duty to contribute for trade surplus not deficit in the first place. If there is a demand, supply will always follow. Another important decision factor to me would be if the company cares about sustainability and avoids genetic engineering. Yes, it is hard to tell only by the label, but regardless it doesn’t hurt to have these in mind while shopping.
So buying bamboo made toilet paper in order to reduce the number of trees being cut down and being a vegan as an attempt to save more animal really do good in the bigger picture? I hope so and believe so. It might not have a direct impact, but it will accumulate and eventually make a big number in the bigger picture.
Feeding the homeless, however, bring about the most instant outcome. A hungry man is no longer hungry right after that. I hear that it is now illegal to feed the homeless somewhere in the states for sanctioning homelessness. Well, in some way I think I get the point there, too, because “if you give a man a fish, he can feed himself a day. But if you teach him how to fish, he can feed himself for the rest of his life.” We should absolutely encourage and aid the homeless to better themselves so that they can break free from their situation. If giving up and not trying to escape their situation aren’t that bad due to all the help they can effortlessly get, they might not see the reason to better themselves. But, a man’s gotta eat. There are three basic needs as a human: food, clothes and shelter. If one of them is not met, anything else is just a luxury. One missing source will ignite a strong motivation to overcome for some, but a motivation will not be there if there is no consciousness.
I believe that any good deed should be acknowledged. Not everyone does good for recognition but it definitely multiplies the joy of it and encourages to create more of it. So I talked to her. “You just gave him your grocery you just bought.”
She said “He told me he hasn’t eaten and is hungry. I got him some bread, milk and … ”
I said it was very nice of her and she thanked me for acknowledging it.
Everything happened in couple of minutes, but it got me thinking about conscious living and conscious spending and its impacts.
Everyone wants to feel good. We all do something to feel good. About spending money, when we buy a product, we buy feelings with it, not just the features of it. There are many ways to make ourselves feel good. The lady and I tonight spent about $20 and both meant well. The result? Not known yet and will not be found. I think the point is to do what feels right and believe that it did good as I intended.
Grateful for big and small moments, my capability to explore my mind and always learn something from them and find a reason to be thankful.
Don’t be pushed by your problems.
Be led by your dreams.