Tuesday, July 28, 2015

And Now For A Detour

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I have heard a joke in the time I have lived in Minnesota that there are essentially only two seasons here in Minnesota. Those seasons are winter and construction. It seems this summer has been an especially bad 'construction season'. I don't recall there being quite so many road work related signs, torn up streets and the like as I have seen this warm season. The word 'detour' seems a natural part of the urban lexicon here in Minnesota.

I am taking my own professional detour as of today. Today was the beginning of my AmeriCorps PSO (pre-service orientation). We received a handbook that serves as a guide for the next three days. I found some interesting resources listed inside to stimulate a discussion on the topic of poverty. I have previously written about poverty here in my blog. In particular I have written about the relationship between poverty and wealth, how trauma may influence our choices, the interrelationship between poverty, trauma and disenfranchisement and the challenge of overcoming hardship with less than optimal resources. It's relatively easy to talk about poverty these days in America because it's becoming a concern among a growing percentage of Americans. You can see this concern evidenced in some of the coverage regarding the 2016 presidential election.

So what is poverty? How do you define it? Do you customarily think of poverty in strictly or primarily monetary terms? Or is poverty something much more complex and thus more difficult to alleviate? Do you think about poverty in terms of relationships? For example, if you were offered a great job in another city or far distant from where you live (or have ever lived) would you consider taking it? What measures would you use to assess the value of such an opportunity? In other words, how would you determine its worth? What about relationships? How important are quality relationships to you? Do you consider yourself impoverished if your life is devoid of meaningful, mutually enhancing relationships? And how does health intersect with poverty? What priority does your health have? How can you even enjoy the access and other benefits of being a wealthy person if you lack the health to enjoy it?

When I personally think about poverty and my own life I have some of the following thoughts:

  • I find myself easily wishing I had discovered EMDR earlier in my life. Had this happened I might have taken a very different course with my life. But then again I can still potentially do that.
  • I wonder if I will actually see my birthmother alive again. My parents are reaching that age when I might be able to easily count the number of times I can realistically expect to see them on one or both hands.
  • I wonder if I will ever have a measure of financial security.
  • I think about how my desire for greater financial success may ultimately impact my ability to achieve other goals. Relationships are becoming more meaningful to me. It has thus become more natural for me to ponder how professional decisions may impact my personal life.
  • I wonder if the United States of America is going to continue sliding in the direction of being a "Third World" nation. As I consider this possibility I am simultaneously aware that the term "Third World" tends to have a pejorative connotation that I don't much care for. Because happiness isn't completely determined by wealth and access to opportunity I do believe it's possible to be content anywhere on the planet.
  • I am grateful for my health insurance. Had I not had the insurance I have carried the last two years I might have found myself utterly destitute at one point. My health has become immensely valuable to me.

I haven't written much in my blog lately. I haven't felt that motivated partly because I see and feel the need to change the focus of my ongoing writing journey. Something new is coming to be. I am excited by what is coming into being in my life!

I might take a new turn and start more deeply exploring the topic of the interrelationship of poverty and trauma.

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