the pretense of poverty

The Pretense of Poverty

OSTENTATIOUS: characterized by or given to pretentious or conspicuous show in an attempt to impress others

I was taken back by emotional reactions of my student’s bar mitzvah. Another piano teacher thought it was “wrong” to subject a child to the pressure of performing. Another person said that it was “embarrassing” to spend money on an event when you can feed the hungry. Another person asked if I thought it was an ostentatious endeavor.

Buying designer jeans on credit, leasing a luxury car, collecting stuff that litters and overwhelms personal space IS pretentious. Creating a DEFICIT whether financially, emotionally or spiritually in order to impress others would be embarrassing.

And I think the wry remarks I heard were really personal projections; sensitive statements made from places of struggle. Listening to their opinions on wealth and money, made me wonder if such a disparity to abundance was fulfilling their future struggles.

Depending on how attached one is to their misery, placing blame on others, saying how life is unfair seems to dictate a very predictable future — words become investments into bitterness.

Why build the portfolio of your future on your most unhappy opinions?

Their words served like a cloud that dampened their experience of a young person’s birthday party. The other piano teacher never met my student but had his opinion. I really wished that he was available to sub for me when I was out of town to learn that extrodinary sweet people live in parts of town that he is “too good” and “down to earth” to meet.

It is a shame if the present cannot be fully experienced because one is distracted by emotions dictated by yesterdays or supersitition… like… people with money are “corrupt” or “out of touch” or “uncaring”.. These “superstitions” serve to box one in spiritual and financial boundaries.

Doesn’t every soul strive for – freedom, happiness and self-expression… able to laugh, love, dream and create?

I was moved to see my student celebrate his birthday with his friends and family. There was laughter, playfulness, lots of love, creativity and generousity. I understood the little details of the event as personal expressions of family memories. There was meaning behind these little details and it wasn’t coming from a place to impress anyone. A lot of it came from a mother’s eye for the details of happy moments between her and her children woven into a special day..

My student told me earlier this year that sometimes you never learn about a person after a lot of time and money is spent on a party but for his birthday he wanted to share his hobbies. It was a lot of preparation and of course the expectations he created for himself demanded that he generated himself.

It all came together beautifully and I know he enjoyed the process as well as loved his special night. He understood that the journey to take him to his bar mitzvah matured him to really grasp the day and embrace growing up, owning and enjoying responsibility. At the close of the evening, the family gathered to make a family video (which I was honored to be included in) and when J graciously spoke to thank everyone to be part of his day, it was beautiful to see that he was truly PRESENT to the love he felt blessed with… and all the “fanfare” was part of the fun.

If you had a million ways to say I love you to someone – wouldn’t you?



~ by jnetsworld on October 26, 2006.


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