Every now and then I am struck with the fear that there are no unique ideas left. Sometimes the thought of setting my homestead apart from others presents itself as an impossible feat. I know I am not alone in this despondent feeling. It is usually in these low moments, when the goals seem so far away that an idea will never present itself. Ideas serve as the catalyst to re ignite my passion, and remind me of an important truth. All the resources I convince myself that I need are not nearly as valuable as the resources I already possess. And then like a thunderbolt, the dark cloud of “I can’t” is broken, and my imagination is rekindled.
in the middle of just such a funk, I found a video on TED talks. The idea presented snapped me back into focus. The talk is given by Iwan Baan, and it is called ingenious homes in unexpected places. Aside from the cursory thought of “I’m glad I live where I do” I was able to see past the initial impression and look deeper into what I was seeing. What the talk presented was an ingenuity that is sometimes lacking in this country. Incredibly simple solutions that bring people into alignment with their income stream, and fosters a sense of family vales that has been lost in the U.S.
In Argentina, a community built inside the unfinished hulk of a high rise office building, a cow pasture in the middle of an apartment building in Egypt. There was beauty, pride, and sense of worth amidst a trash heap. All of the conditions that would cause the average American to shutter and instantly long for their soft familiar life. The common theme I saw in all of these places is that every situation provided the elements needed to sustain life. Every collection of humanity pulled together the creative people that recognized, and filled niches that were once the needs of the community.
Every accomplishment achieved was done without first world amenities. Each milestone was made using the supplies that could be scavenged, or that were on hand. It was in this moment of watching Coptic Christians in Egypt scrape out a living by collecting recycling from the city, and building a life in conditions that most of the world would consider a landfill, that thunderbolt hit. The perplexing problems that led to my funk are now mole hills once more. The easing of the down turned mood is not from any sense of guilt or feeling bad. The change stems from a flash of inspiration. A thought that if these accomplishments can be done with that little, how much more can I do with the recourses that are at my command?