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I Am a Volunteer !  RSS feed

 
wayne stephen
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Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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I have begun to apply the term "volunteer" in a non-tradtional way and it is shaping a new personal perspective . The traditional use of volunteer being :

"A person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service: as a : one who enters into military service ..." - Mirriam Webster

I have been using it in a much broader way . A substitute for "conscious participant in ..." .

As a mental exercise I examine the details of my life . I also have the audacity to view the lives of others and judge them to be volunteers also . Try it ! It's fun , revealing , and a bit exhausting .

I look at myself as a volunteer as I wake up this morning and brew a cup of joe . I am volunteering to participate in a certain form of coffee trade , coffee agriculture , coffee politics , and coffee waste production related to my brewing methods .

I look at myself as a volunteer as I cook my breakfast meal . What am I voluntarily participating in with this selection of morning goodies ?

I volunteer to drive a certain vehicle to work today .

I volunteer to arrive on time for a certain job and all the baggage that carries with it .

And on and On !

This naturally leads to the question "What if I don't want to be a volunteer for ...?" You have to give yourself some elbow room or end up like a deer in the headlights that's for sure ! There a too many things in one persons day . So , I rewrote an old favorite . You may volunteer to add a plea to a Deity at the opening . I volunteer not to .

The Volunteer version of the Serenity Prayer :

I volunteer today to prioritize the things I cannot change {yet} ;
I volunteer to change the things I can;
I voluntarily accept the responsiblity for what I did not change today ,
I volunteer today to make a difference.

The choices are to be a willing victim , an apathetic participant , or an agent of positive change .

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Interesting exercise, Wayne!

I like the fact that this allows one a new way examine their own life (and the lives of others if they wish to do so). I like that you added your version of the serenity prayer at the end because this exercise could, indeed, overwhelm one!

What I like best about it though, is that it gives an individual the power to choose to change those things they DO have the power to change instead of throwing up their hands and saying "there's nothing I can do".

Perhaps a more subtle outcome of all of this is that it showcases all the ways our choices and lives are intertwined with the world at large. We really are "all in this together".
 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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For once I'm getting payed very close to a fair wage for work!

I ride the public transit and ride my bike there because volunteering to drive is expensive and all those donations go to people I really would rather see get a thumb in the eye!

I'm only making 50 % less than the new minimum wage for "Tip a Batista" coffee pourer in the city !

But seriously. I'm really much happier being employed with almost fair pay than I am piddling away more time on others well meaning but woefully mismanaged and ultimately insignificant volunteer projects.

Even if I am farming. At least it's more better food closer to home.

I think other people should probably quit volunteering to do some of the stuff they do too Wayne.

 
Landon Sunrich
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wayne stephen wrote:

The Volunteer version of the Serenity Prayer :

I volunteer today to prioritize the things I cannot change {yet} ;
I volunteer to change the things I can;
I voluntarily accept the responsiblity for what I did not change today ,
I volunteer today to make a difference.




Careful now. We can't have a bunch of people going and finding religion now. Damn inalienable right and all.
 
Dave Burton
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Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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Wayne, I think your concept of "volunteering" in different things is analogous to what many people really mean when they say, "One votes for the world they desire with how they spend their money,". This in turn correlates to how Paul Wheaton sometimes tells people that if they don't like what is going on, they should "stop feeding the monster money,". This demonstrates that consumer choices can be a form of activism. Just spend your money differently or make your own business to so you can oversee what is going on. Yes, there are comforts that are derived from questionable practices which ultimately begs the question of "How can this be done more sustainably and safer with positive and healing interactions between humans and humans and humans and Nature/Universe?"

That mental exercise in turn reminds people that individual actions matter just as much as collective action. It also brings to mind the Tragedy of the Commons: when people do not think that their actions matter, they tend to overuse a common/public resource. In my AP Environmental Science textbook from last school year, I liked how it made a point of describing how individual people can change their community and the world at large by starting just alone doing a project and gaining momentum through time. A few examples we learned about are as follows: The Red Sea Star Cafe is a hospital for danaged coral colonies; The Man Who Planted Treess; a woman in Africa created a business that creates an income for impoverished people and restores the forest at the same time.
 
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