Stasia's Place Of Grace


Tuesday, August 27, 2002

More Luck And Materialism

I had some more good luck today!

A gladiolus I'd planted maybe two or three years ago, which was not supposed to be hardy, somehow sprouted up while I wasn't looking. It is the only one that made it out of about a dozen (which never bloomed the first year, being planted in a very shady place.) I don't even remember noticing it there last year.

Well, today it bloomed, and isn't it lovely?

Maybe the chipmunks planted this for me, too!

Giving Thanks

I'm thankful that Jeff arrived home safely from Toronto today. I'm thankful Midwest Express employees did not strike as planned, so that he could arrive on time.

I'm thankful today was organic veggie box day, and that he drove in to get the veggies with me, so that the box did not explode in the parking lot with me trying to carry it alone, as it did two weeks ago! Tomatoes everywhere, in the rain!

And I'm thankful there were surplus leeks for us in the "extras" bin. I love leeks!

While we were in town we stopped at our natural foods co-op, so that Jeff could get additional organic veggies to make us juice and to make more corn soup. (I finally ate his corn soup, and it is really good!)

Anyway, at the shop they have a great little Asian section with dishes and chopsticks and stuff. And look what I found...

I love chopstick rests. I have several, all blue but all different shapes, for whenever we pick up sushi or Jeff makes a stir fry. I'm not all that adept with chopsticks, but I think they really add to the character of a meal and the "culture" of it... arranging attractive place settings, and taking care in laying out a meal are ways of expressing appreciation for the abundance of food and the artistic expression of the cook.

Well, when it comes to chopstick rests, this puffer fish takes the cake! He is the cutest chopstick rest I have ever seen and I just started cracking up in the store when I laid eyes on him. He had to come home with me!

Which brings me to some thoughts on materialism.

I have decided that, for me, the following is true:

I am being materialistic in buying something if...

  • I am buying it just because someone I envy has it.

  • It is something I already have but it doesn't have a "use"... i.e., another lipstick. How many lipsticks does one really need, anyway? How often do I even put on lipstick?

  • I am buying it out of stress, anger, or sorrow and I will not feel better afterwards but worse.

  • I am buying it because I sort of want something like it but this was all I could find.

  • I think that somehow it will make me prettier.

I am not being materialistic in buying something if...

  • It makes me laugh out loud when I see it and will continue to bring me joy.

  • I am so amazed at its beauty that the hair on the back of my neck stands up.

  • Even though I have other similar things like it (spindles, chopstick holders), it is unique and will be used and appreciated.

  • It will be used to produce something beyond itself: spindles, fiber, yarn, patterns all contribute to my creative expression (good for the soul!)

  • It will be used to produce something for others (see above - good for the heart!)

  • The opinions of others do not affect my choice to purchase it.

  • I am buying it out of stress, anger or sorrow but it is something that will help heal me and bring me peace (not a lipstick, but a book of poetry or a tape on getting along with others).

  • It is a small indulgence that will lift my spirits and therefore help me to "be there" for others in my life. We can't nurture others when we aren't getting nurtured!

  • I think that having it in my life will make me a better person, inside.

  • It is expensive, but it is exactly what I have been looking for.

  • I have wanted it for more than 24 hours... preferably for at least a month.

I think it is, for me, an ungrateful practice to "guilt myself out" about purchasing things. Money comes in and goes out... it ebbs and flows like the sea, and the Provider always sees to our needs.

When money is ebbing out from me, it is flowing on to enrich someone else - hopefully an organic farmer, or the members of our food co-op, or a talented writer or musician or artist or massage therapist... hopefully not a plastics manufacturer. Again, mindfulness, this time in purchasing.

And as my friend Kary reminds me, the President says we have to help the economy!

I believe that if I follow William Morris' advice to have nothing in my home that I do not find beautiful or necessary, and if I continue to pass along those items I no longer use and to donate a percentage of what flows in to charities, then there is no need to feel guilty for spending money on myself once in a while... as long as I'm not buying cruddy junk, and as long as my credit card can be paid off each month!

"If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it:
Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

~ William Morris

Setting A Good Example

In making out the invitations for Jeff's family for my pizza party and expecting them to forget their differences and attend, it occurred to me that I was being quite hypocritical because I had not spoken to my own parents for quite some time. This did not sit well in my gut.

As I wrote previously, my mother has recently attempted to contact me (though she has provided no evidence that she has changed her unacceptable behaviors or attitude in any way). And I wrote that I'd decided to continue not to see her.

Upon further reflection, I believe that, in certain situations, I could deal with her the way she is. Maybe not "embrace" her personality, as Linda would say, but at least "tolerate" it. I am, after all, expecting all of Jeff's family to do that, as if it were an easy thing. So after discussing it with Jeff, and considering that a very public party with friends and Jeff's family there, I could deal with my mom for a set period of time, and as an experiment.

It is, after all, easier than dealing with the emotional trauma of her continued attempts at guilting me and my sisters into seeing her. She isn't going to change, nor (in her mental state) would she understand any of my arguments or my feelings about our relationship. In other words, explaining to her why I don't want to see her, why she is not healthy for me, is like telling a dog how the space shuttle works; the capacity to grasp the concept just isn't there.

I decided that anything I expected of Jeff's parents (who are not getting along with Jeff's grandfather and his girlfriend), I should be willing to do myself (or should not ask it of them).

I decided that just because I do not have a need or desire to see my mother, perhaps I can do some good in her life by fulfilling a (rather late) need of hers to share time with a daughter (if I am careful).

I decided that not much harm can occur in public (I hope).

I decided that I must test the strength of my character, my ability to "be peace" and not let others "lead me in" or "push my buttons", because without testing what I'm trying to work on in myself, I won't know how I'm progressing.

I decided to balance thinking of others with thinking about myself, and see whether I'm on the edge, or the center, of the teeter-totter. If it doesn't work, at least I gave it a test run before the family pressures of the holiday season, and so will know my limitations and can have a game plan ready (such as, "Thank you so much for the holiday invitation, but we're taking the dogs and renting a cabin in South Dakota for Christmas, sorry!")

I hope that today you will find the strength you need to get through a difficult time; that you will find something that brightens your day and is a small indulgence you can afford; or that you will find a free surprise and beauty where you least expect it!

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Welcome To Stasia's Blog

Stasia is a knitter, spinner, weaver, writer, reader, and musician from Wisconsin, USA.

Join her here as she journals about beauty in nature, the joys of fibery pursuits, special people and pets, and great places to shop. It's her hope you'll leave spiritually inspired and creatively motivated. Thanks for visiting!

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