A few days ago I watched a programme on the Bajau (http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b05s8bhw/hunters-of-the-south-seas-1-the-bajau), the spear fishermen of Indonesia. It was sympathetically produced, i.e. not condescending of their way of living, and shone a light on one of the few tribes left who made their entire livelihood off of the sea.
What struck me, almost to the point of tears, was how grateful they were for the fact that they could still fish, even though it was obvious to everyone else that their livelihood was under severe pressure because of overfishing (not on their part but by bigger boats, and no doubt climatic change was a significant factor).
More than anything else though they were imbued with this deep, God-like optimism that there would always be fish in the sea, at least sufficient for them to maintain their way of life. (You could see it their eyes as they stared deep into the camera.)
Having reflected on the programme, I realise that even striving for a simple life, I'm still blessed that I can turn on a tap and drink clean water, I've enough money to feed myself and my family without the need to hunt or grow food, I can exercise practically at will, I can meditate, read, buy things and a participate in a whole slew of learning opportunities that I too often take for granted.
I suppose what I'm really saying is that no matter how far I go with minimalism etc., it still won't come close to the many millions of people in the world who have nothing.
It's not that I'm looking for more or think I don't have enough, but no matter how difficult or compromised my situation, it's a pale comparison to so many people throughout the world who, for generations, have never known anything but poverty, indifference and exploitation.
I think all of us would do well to stop, pause and reflect on the abundance in our lives.
I think the practice of gratitude is a wonderful thing and even if you don't keep a journal or the like, please try to make a time each day to acknowledge all the wonderful things in your life. I know, as a species, we're apt to look at the wrong end of the telescope, but in the act of saying "thank you" it changes the dynamic long enough to unhook us from our introspective, negative self.
Thank you...for the opportunity to share this.