I had the pleasure of eating lunch with a friend today whom I consider to be very spiritual and wise. I always enjoy the discussions I have with this particular friend because they make me think and see things from a different angle.
One of the topics we covered today over our minestrone soup was living an authentic life. Not just talking the talk, but also walking the walk. For a long time I've been passionate about the environment and sustainable living, but this fall I've had more time to explore these subjects and do research online (thank you vesting time!) to learn more. I feel like I've barely scratched the surface with what I know, but I'm motivated to do all I can to live a simple, environmentally friendly, sustainable life.
The first steps I've taken have coincidentally been beneficial because of the worsening economy: decreased consumerism, making do with what we have and thinking of alternative ways to produce/obtain what I need. I've been cooking and baking things from scratch since we got married, but who says that all things purchased have to be new? Second hand shops and swapping used items with those who no longer need them is a great way to "repurpose" items. That way something unneeded doesn't end up in a landfill and will find a new use.
This holiday season, because of our financial status, we are going to be very low key. I'd much rather receive a meaningful, homemade gift that came from someone's heart, than something purchased just for the sake of it. Some of my very favorite gifts have been hand made: a sweater my mom made me or a painting from a friend. Hopefully the people on my gift list will feel similarly. For me, part of the pleasure of giving something is enjoying the process of making it; one of the reasons I enjoy giving quilts so much!
The past 3-4 years I've had a very difficult time getting into the "spirit" of Christmas because the consumerism and what the holiday has come to stand for is at odds with my beliefs and the things that are important to me- living simply and appreciating what we have. I'm hoping this year that something good will come out of the recession and our financial situation and that I'll be able to enjoy the holiday more than in recent years.
Over coffee and dessert A and I talked about getting together with a few friends for 4 consecutive weeks and making hand made gifts for people. We both loved the idea, which incorporates the things I believe in: togetherness with friends, sharing creativity, and putting a little bit of ourselves into the gifts we make. Holiday presents that keep us present.