How much is enough?
Some of the difficulties many of us experience in the US today in relation to the the excess in our lives, the urge to consume and the tendency to hoard seem to be related to a general inability to answer for ourselves the vital question, “How much is enough?” It is no wonder this is so! We are daily bombarded with media messages that tell us that we are not enough and will not be until we purchase the latest and best item of clothing, car, house, household gadget, or tool. It is strongly suggested we won’t experience true happiness until we eat at this restaurant or vacation at that particularly sublime spot, that our children can’t be happy or, worse still, won’t be able to realize their full potential until we have taken them to this child mecca or that, until we have purchased this set or learning tools or that.
A spiritual discipline has been defined as a regular practice that brings us into closer relationship with God/the Divine, self and others. The practice of gratitude as a spiritual discipline has the potential to lead us to look at our lives with new eyes, seeing the great abundance that we already enjoy, regardless of our income level or life circumstances. AND, it is a practice that can lead us to experience more joy in our lives and an opening of the heart that promotes generosity and the desire to share of our abundance with others who are less fortunate. Our project partners, micro-enterprise loan recipients in India and Africa , are teaching us these valuable lessons are they, on family incomes much less than ours, model gracious hospitality, joyful spirits, and generous care for those in their own communities whose need is greater than their own.
The Gratitude Calendars, in both Adult and Children’s versions, are an excellent tool for exploring the daily practice of thanksgiving and to continue the discussion of affluence and poverty in the world. They are like a month-long scavenger hunt with a task for each day. There is also a sample letter that can be sent home with children from First Day School or camp or other children’s event explaining the activity to parents. The money that is collected through this activity is contributed to Right Sharing. The activity can be used as a lead-up to a Simple Meal or it is an excellent activity to do during the month of November, leading up to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. There is also a holiday sermon or talk, “How Much Is Enough?” at this website that can be used to help kick off a meeting-wide campaign for simpler holiday celebrations.
Right Sharing staff can be contacted for more resources or ideas for your meeting. We are also available to lead simplicity, gratitude or Sabbath economics workshops or retreats, to speak or preach at monthly, quarterly or yearly meetings, or to be a resource as needed to assist with your meeting’s explorations of topics related to peace and justice, world poverty, the burden of affluence and micro-enterprise.