We feel pity, anger, disgust and compassion when we see the homeless. But I bet you never felt awe or need to emulate them. That’s probably because you assume them to be worse off than you on every level not realizing that in some ways, they are actually better than you. Here are five reason why homeless or as I call them, carbon-neutral people, are better than you.
1) They are carbon-neutral.
Homeless people don’t use cars, they do not heat up homes they do not charge laptops. They often bike and walk. They also waste less water for washing and flushing toilet. So while you talk the talk about corporations, oil and consumerism from your home with crap you don’t need, heated to a temperature that is way too comfortable and with a car that wastes way too much gas, they actually walk the walk.
2. They are in better shape and more man than you.
When is the last time you slept out on the street in 30 degree weather on hard cement? Homeless people do this almost every night. They often do this with severe ailments and do not complain. They bike everywhere, they don’t over-eat and they can walk for miles and miles and miles with a huge cart and disabilities. Unlike, most of you and everyone you know.
3. They are more resilient than you.
How often have you complained about life being hard? Imagine battling addiction, lack of food, child abuse, police abuse and a million other things that homeless have to get through. They do it without complaining and sometimes, some of them just ask for a little help, for your spare change as you walk to a fancy dinner or an expensive club.
4. They are less stuck up than you.
How much pride do you have? How often have you needed help and did not ask for it? Homeless know they need help, they ask for just what they need and nothing more and they show appreciation no matter how little you give them. If you ever want to hear what is pure appreciation, give a homeless man some change and you will hear a thank you that your own kids won’t give you at end of college.
5. They are better people than you.
Take a look at a group of homeless people next time you pass them. You will see that they sleep with their stuff out in the open trusting and taking care of each other. They don’t seem to have those expectations and fears that we have. The locks on doors, the fear to ask a friend to help us move which makes us we waste money on movers. They help each other out, they know each other like neighbors do and they always say hello to each other in the street. If one gets a little bit of food, he will share it with his friend. They even treat each other with respect in the shelters where the bathrooms are uni-sex and men help women go up the bunk beds and help them with their changing by giving them their space. Are you a gentlemen, are your kids gentlemen like this?
We often see homeless as not people. We see them as failures who we ought not become. But are they failures or are they what we actually strive to be: greener, more consumer friendly, in better shape, more resilient, humble and appreciative and a better community? Next time you’re out in the city, take a closer look at these bums and losers, and you just may realize that you may be the bigger looser.
For more information about the “carbon-neutral” check out the Love on the Road Book by my friend Spring Wills. She is a Chinese immigrant that at 45, hitch-hiked across United States with only an iPod and a flute and stayed in homes and homeless shelters on her journey. She is now hitchhiking across the world.
To help the homeless, please see your local charity or if you’re in San Diego join Brunch Club once a month for distributing sandwiches and toiletries or Dharma Bums temple every Thursday for food re-distribution.