Of lack and longing

Many people focus on what they don’t have.  

You may know them: everything about what they say and what they do reinforces how their life is incomplete.  In general, they speak one of two languages:  the language of longing or the language of lack.  

The language of longing has about it a kind of sadness and sentimentality.  To long for is to pine or to yearn, frequently for something that is unattainable like our youth, or a breeze in the middle of a hot, becalmed sea.  The person or thing for which we long is beloved and missed and yet, longing rarely leads to action of any kind even if the thing we long for is attainable.  A state of longing is simply too inert for action.

The language of lack, on the other hand, is full of envy and frustration.  To lack is to be without, and we can only know what we lack if we have lost something or if we compare ourselves to others. The language of lack frequently leads to action and that action can sometimes be violent.

History shows that the “have nots” always win out over the “haves.”  The have nots are more desperate – they lack more or they believe they lack more – and that’s why they win. This seems rather reasonable when we think about conflicts going on far away in other places where the language of lack has erupted into bitter wars over land, resources, or ideology.  

However, those in the West need to remember that there are plenty of people who, in spite of adequate food, shelter, and access to sophisticated transportation, health and education infrastructure, also speak the language of lack. Let’s face it, people who are lonely, depressed, defeated, frustrated, anxious, sad, and angry speak the language of lack. This means means we are all more or less fluent.

Most of us have both the internal and the external resources to switch languages even if we cannot immediately change our circumstances. On the extreme edges of our society, however, there are those who have forgotten, or who never learned to speak, other languages.   Acts of terrorism, whether they are perpetrated by foreigners or nationals are the most obvious examples of extreme actions inspired by the long term indoctrination of the language of lack.  The people who commit them believe that they lack – they know no other language – and that the only way to remedy that lack is to dominate and destroy others as opposed to “filling up” the self with loving kindness, positive relationships, public spiritedness, and the sure knowledge that to give is to receive.

Here at the global HQ of Virtuous Bread of course we speak the language of lack from time to time because we are human.  However, part of our mission is to provide people with the emotional, social, and physical resources to “fill up”, and in providing those resources we too get filled too.  

Real bread is one of the oldest kinds of processed food in history.  We have been baking and eating it for over 10,000 years.  There is a positive charge when people smell it, eat it and even think about it.  Providing something so simple that inspires such strong senses of satisfaction, happiness, and abundance is a miracle. Teaching people to cook and bake allows us to share a vital life skill that allows people to feed themselves, and others, with very little.  Cooking empowers people, putting them back in control of their lives and enabling them to eat and to share, forging meaningful and appreciative connections:  filling themselves up both physically and emotionally.

Bread, is as much about food as it is about social inclusion, and access to food and social inclusion are important determinants in whether or not we feel a sense of well being.  When we have a sense of well being, we can speak the language of well being and more easily put our language of lack into perspective.

So, here at the global HQ of VB whether we are teaching bread classes or coaching senior executives, we are going to continue changing the world, tackling the language of lack one person at a time.  Join us.  

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