Email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.
InnerNet Weekly: Inspirations from ServiceSpace.org
 


Renewability Makes Something Valuable
by Martin Prechtel

[Listen to Audio!]

In the village, people used to build their houses out of traditional materials, using no iron or lumber or nails, but the houses were magnificent. Many were sewn together out of bark and fiber. Like the house of the body, the house that a person sleeps in must be very beautiful and sturdy, but not so sturdy that it won’t fall apart after a while. If your house doesn’t fall apart, then there will be no reason to renew it. And it is this renewability that makes something valuable. The maintenance gives it meaning.

The secret of village togetherness and happiness has always been the generosity of the people, but the key to that generosity is inefficiency and decay. Because our village huts were not built to last very long, they had to be regularly renewed. To do this, villagers came together, at least once a year, to work on somebody’s hut. When your house was falling down, you invited all the folks over. The little kids ran around messing up what everybody was doing. The young women brought the water. The young men carried the stones. The older men told everybody what to do, and the older women told the older men that they weren’t doing it right. Once the house was back together again, everyone ate together, praised the house, laughed, and cried. In a few days, they moved on to the next house. In this way, each family’s place in the village was reestablished and remembered. This is how it always was.

Then the missionaries and the businessmen and the politicians brought in tin and lumber and sturdy houses. Now the houses last, but the relationships don’t.

In some ways, crises bring communities together. Even nowadays, if there’s a flood, or if somebody is going to put a highway through a neighborhood, people come together to solve the problem. Mayans don’t wait for a crisis to occur; they make a crisis. Their spirituality is based on choreographed disasters -- otherwise known as rituals -- in which everyone has to work together to remake their clothing, or each other’s houses, or the community, or the world. Everything has to be maintained because it was originally made so delicately that it eventually falls apart. It is the putting back together again, the renewing, that ultimately makes something strong. That is true of our houses, our language, our relationships.

It’s a fine balance, making something that is not so flimsy that it falls apart too soon, yet not so solid that it is permanent. It requires a sort of grace. We all want to make something that’s going to live beyond us, but that thing shouldn’t be a house, or some other physical object. It should be a village that can continue to maintain itself. That sort of constant renewal is the only permanence we should wish to attain.

About the Author: Raised in New Mexico on a Pueblo Indian reservation, Martin Prechtel is the author of Secrets of the Talking Jaguar and Long Life, Honey in the Heart. The above excerpt is from an interview in Sun Magazine.
Share the Wisdom:  
Email   Twitter   FaceBook

Latest Community Insights New!
Renewability Makes Something Valuable
How do you relate to the notion that renewability is what makes something valuable? Can you share a personal story of a time that you experienced renewal through inefficiency and impermanence? What has helped you value impermanence?
Kristin Pedemonti wrote:  I loved the poetic beauty of the need for community and to connect as we renew together. the beauty is in the idea that it is the relationships that are paramount not the structure or the thing...
madhur wrote:  Beautifully put Kristin :) ...
david doane wrote: Renewability is valuable.  And that's fortunate since that's what we've got -- nothing stays the same, everything changes and renews, and everything provides opportunity for renewal.  How h...
david doane wrote:  Kristin -- Your statement is inspiring.  Thank you.  Dave ...

Share/Read Your Reflections

      Awakin Circles:
Many years ago, a couple friends got together to sit in silence for an hour, and share personal aha-moments. That birthed this newsletter, and rippled out as Awakin Circles in 80+ living rooms around the globe. To join in Santa Clara this week, RSVP online.

RSVP For Wednesday

Some Good News
•  10 Ways to Have A Better Conversation
•  The Capacity for Successful Solitude
•  Unlocking Multiple Forms of Wealth

Video of the Week
•  Happiness Revealed Through Gratitude

Kindness Stories

Global call with Phil Borges!
Join us for a conference call this Saturday, with a global group of ServiceSpace friends and our insightful guest speaker. Join the Forest Call >>


About
Back in 1997, one person started sending this simple "meditation reminder" to a few friends. Soon after, "Wednesdays" started, ServiceSpace blossomed, and the humble experiments of service took a life of its own. If you'd like to start an Awakin gathering in your area, we'd be happy to help you get started.

Forward to a Friend
 
 
Awakin Weekly delivers weekly inspiration to its 92,881 subscribers. We never spam or host any advertising. And you can unsubscribe anytime, within seconds.

On our website, you can view 17+ year archive of these readings. For broader context, visit our umbrella organization: ServiceSpace.org.