Monday, August 31, 2009
By the time I remembered the Ramadan Compact for 2009, it was already a week into Ramadan. How have I been so busy that even the month of Mercy is flying by?
I must admit that the compact has really helped me become aware of and reduce my consumerism throughout the year. I also realized that one of the big benefits of participating in the compact is saving money. So that's been Step 1 for me: reduce spending.
My change bag (seen above with the -unfortunately- still truthful statement imprinted on it) has gotten large, with not just coins but bills stuffed into it. Yeah!
So this year, I wanted to take it a step further. Step 2: counter the negative effects of consumer/instant gratification culture. With that money saved, I want to do some counter action... send some positivity back into the world. Lord knows we are always in desperate need for it. But also, I didn't want this money to be spent on something useless once Ramadan is over.
There are many ways one can try and do good with a small amount of change, so I tried to get creative. I thought about what makes me happy throughout the day. How wonderful is it when a stranger smiles at you on the street? Or when the receptionist seems to genuinely care about your response to the question "how are you?" Or when you hear a child's laugh? It's the simple pleasures that keep us joyful in this tough world.
After Ramadan, I am going to use the money saved in my change bag to buy biodegradeable or recycled materials, create personalized cards with different inspirational quotes, and send them to random NYC residents. Cards of love. The love that does not extinguish but remains forever burning as the Most Gracious's mercy does.
Mankind is simple: we want to be loved, inspired, cherished. The reason why we abuse each other and the earth is because we have been functioning without true Love. Mercy. Compassion. Respect. Only by digging and planting these seeds can we truly actualize change in our wasteful/abusive culture.