This week I had the experience of seeing what I think of as the dark side of capitalism, where fairly small businesses take advantage of ignorant and unsuspecting solopreneurs, deceive them, while they take their money and simultaneously give them bad advice as they tout themselves “experts”.
I feel enraged seeing this action, more so that it happened to my sweet friend who didn’t know any better who now feels foolish because of something beyond her control. And I’m thinking to myself, how many people are in situations like this, getting taken advantage of and they don’t have an advocate like me who will stand up with them and educate them so they can fend for themselves….?
I was talking to my friend about it who reminded me of why I left a high tech company in the late 90’s: my boss wanted me to lie to the clients and tell them the software would do something it wasn’t going to do for 2 revisions. I was unwilling to lie, citing the very real issues of client support I would need to provide after the fact, not to mention the fact that it was just wrong.
I was fired.
It was the first time I was fired.
I realize in retrospect that was a defining moment for me, one in which the pontification of theory met the cold floored concrete of reality: I am willing to sacrifice a lot for what I believe is right, not just for my benefit, but for the benefit of others. And I realize now that I have perhaps believed and acted as if in the heart of each of us lies that person who would choose to get fired for doing what is right… to choose justice over profit… to believe our selfish gain at the expense of another is “less than” and the unworthy choice… to believe in each of us there lies the hero who wants to do the ‘right thing’ even if it means less personal gain, because that is what will make the world a better place.
And I believe it is when we come together as those types of people that capitalism works.
On a similar note, I had an amazing experience at the fire jam the other night. This guy was using our dip can and he was dipping a tool that clearly had unsecured wicking. When I asked him about it, he said, “oh yeah, look how loose it is…!” kind of jokingly as he literally unwound it with no effort. I realized I was uncomfortable with him using my dip can to perpetuate a situation like that — because he didn’t say he was going to spin it where it would be safe or anything like that either. So I said he couldn’t use my dip can if he was using that tool.
He said, he knew I was right it was unsafe and that he really shouldn’t be spinning the prop. So I asked why he was doing it. Just then, Jonathan walks up and asks, “what’s going on?” and thinking he knew and was maybe coming to chill me out or something, proceeded to justify my response and explain my discomfort with expressing my boundary but ultimately thinking it was the right thing for me to do. I asked him what he thought and thankfully, he added a moment of lightness to my night and said something about it being a lot of intense thoughts.
I laughed and we caught up for a second. And then the guy who had been dipping the prop came back to chat. To my immense joy, he took complete responsibly and even thanked me for calling him out on it. He said it was part of his pattern of being lazy and I shook his hand.
It gave me some serious faith in human kind. And also reminded me that we need to feel free to speak our truth because you never know what good will come of it.
Wishing you all a blessed day filled with bliss, beauty and brilliant blazing balls of fire!
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