Monday, July 27, 2009

Choosing Homelessness

Increasingly I am hearing stories of men who have chosen homelessness as a way of life. Just the other day I wrote about a man who chooses to live in a cave in Utah. Today on NPR I was struck by the story of Richard Leroy Rogers who died with an estate worth $4 million, and yet he lived his retirement years without a permanent home. As one acquaintance said about him, "He just gave up all of the material things that we think we have to have," Belle says. "You know, I don't know how we gauge happiness. What's happy for you might not be happy for me. I never heard him complain."

I can imagine that having $4 million dollars makes living homeless less tense. But maybe not. He had very few possessions. He used his money minimally. Perhaps the fear that I imagine underpins homelessness is dismantled by facing life in each moment. After all, fear can underpin a life filled with possessions just as well.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Living without Money

Truth be told, I've often admired the Swiss Family Robinson-Gilligan's Island idealized notion of living without money in a deserted place. The romanticized version of this becomes all the more potent when you throw into the mix spiritual devotion as a motive, like the desert mothers and fathers.

Here is the story of a man who is living without money in a cave in Utah. He lives alone with other creatures who also inhabit the cave. And he doesn't live completely as a recluse. He has friends down in the town; he uses the public library for internet access (he writes a blog). He acknowledges there are hardships, and those hardships are a good thing.

What are your thoughts about this?