February 16, 2021

The Austin Power Outage: The Generous Wisdom of Self-Reliance

by christopherabdo

After more than 30 hours without power, I’m thankful to have gotten to a friend’s house. I’m also realizing that my quest for more self-reliance, is intimately connected with a deep need for serving the value of equality for all. 


How wonderful would it be, if I had taken care of my own needs well enough to share and help others that are in need right now? If I had a generator, food, water, etc and enough to share with others who are suffering right now? Self-reliance isn’t just about me, its about us, its about care for all. This is the generous power of self-reliance, and I’m reminded of an article I wrote, that describes a feeling, and perhaps a premonition, of the Austin power outage we are experiencing right now.  


This is the paradox of taking care of yourself well. You end up better resourced to care and love for others. What’s so odd about our “independent”, “individualistic” society, is just how dependent we are. 


Here we are, in Austin, known as a city working towards “green” initiatives, yet so much of us our looking outwards, hoping that the government, Austin Energy, Pedernales, will “save” us. 


It’s not about, for me, attacking the system…we build this after all, and it showed up for a reason. Its about caring for each other more deeply, by recognizing that we need more ways to care for our basic human needs (fire, heat, water, food, shelter, love) without looking outward. 


Instead of only getting my food only  from a cooperation, I'd like to look my farmer in the eyes, so I can say "thank you". 

Instead of running away from my apartment as my plants die in the cold and I can't feel my feet or hands anymore, I'd like to know my neighbor, who has prepared heat sources for us, so I can say "Thank you". 

Instead of food shortages leaving many of my neighbors without food, as they ask faceless agencies to help them, I'd like to invite them to dinner, with the food I grew, so I can share that joy with them in addition to being truly helpful.  

I'd like to for us all to get to a place, where we don't need all of these organizations to "take care of us". I'd like to look to each other, knowing: we've got this. 

I would love for us to look inward within each of us and inwards towards each of us, rather than a government, a company, an outside system. I hope to find the resources within myself, the resources you would joyfully share with me and the culture we build together so we can live a life with more warmth: for our situation, for ourselves and for each other. 


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