It's cold this morning. Of course it is, it's November. Usually I am OK with that. Not so much today. The heating wasn't fired up and the cool kitchen tiles sent a jolt up my legs as I spread Nutella on brioche for a six year-old who had five minutes earlier tugged me out of bed. It's easy to be half-hearted when you take for granted the things you have. Last night I had the same kind of flatness of spirit, not quite down, not quite soaring either. Then I was reminded of a book I read two months ago, Ann Voskamp's a thousand gifts. In it she describes the joy of finding the beauty in the ordinarily mundane. It brought back a memory of mine from the early 00's when I was holed up in my dark London bedroom with just a bottle of red wine and a massive depression for company. As I sat there all I could do was focus on the negative, I had a list in my brain of all the things I disliked about myself. But what reason did I really have to be miserable? Turned out not much. It is so easy to be negative and the challenge always lies in our inability to list the things about ourselves that we like. It feels wrong, vain, egoist almost. That grim evening I took out a pen and forced myself to write down ten things about myself that I liked. And it worked. It made me grateful.
Â As the nights get darker and the TV ramps up the advertising for Christmas gifts it's very easy to lose focus and stress about all that need to be bought. Gratitude does not fit in well with the toy stores that want you to over-spend on stuff that will be forgotten about come end of January. Real gratitude is looking at the things we have as opposed to what we haven't. Below is a list of poverty facts from the site dosomething.org. Sobering stuff for sure.
Nearly half of the world's population - more than 3 billion people - live on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty (less than $1.25 a day).
1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty.
More than 1 billion people lack adequate access to clean drinking water and an estimated 400 million of these are children. Because unclean water yields illness, roughly 443 million school days are missed every year.
In 2011, 165 million children under the age 5 were stunted (reduced rate of growth and development) due to chronic malnutrition.
870 million people worldwide do not have enough food to eat.Preventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia take the lives of 2 million children a year who are too poor to afford proper treatment.
As of 2011, 19 million children worldwide remain unvaccinated.
A quarter of all humans live without electricity - approximately 1.6 billion people.
80 percent of the world population lives on less than $10 a day.
It would cost approximately $40 billion to offer basic education, clean water and sanitation, reproductive health for women, and basic health and nutrition to every person in every developing country.
My aim is not to think about how I can elevate myself to the standards of others, rather how can I reach down to the ones below me.