Tag Archive | Family

The Afghan

During the recent snow storm here in Virginia I was sitting drinking coffee and reading with a warm afghan over my lap. I started thinking about the afghan and its origins which led me to family ties and other musings. My father’s sister knit it probably between thirty and forty years ago. It was given to my mother and at some time passed on to me. For many years it was draped over the back of my sofa and used as a comfy perch for Mystic the cat. I now use it on winter mornings as I sit in my favorite chair.

This afghan is rows of different shades of blue with white mixed in to it. I am not a knitter (although I have made several half hearted attempts to learn and just never got it), but I can guess that knit and purl stitches create the wave like effect. Some rows are closely knit and others appear looser but it all works together to not only provide warmth and comfort but a pleasing complete pattern.

The aunt who knit this was not someone I saw often when growing up as her husband was in the Army and they lived in different states. My memories of her are of a warm, practical woman with a wonderful laugh who enjoyed her family and friends. When we visited her she treated us with love and was able to make even children feel respected and acknowledged as individual personalities.

What is all this pondering over an afghan? I am not a person who is much attached to things (or so I think😊). In fact I need a home as uncluttered as possible and often say I could easily live in the simplicity of a Japanese style home. However I am very appreciative of what I have. But I was surprised at my seeming “attachment” to this object. And I am beginning to see that the meaning for me is on several levels.

First, it is connection to family. Something that brings smiles to my face and loving memories not only of her and her family but of my father and grandmother. It reminds me of the heritage I have of strong women and men. Some bonds are tight or close and some loose with family members but all are connected and a part of who I am. Ultimately the afghan is connected to the Creator who provided the talent and interest in its creation and another reminder to me to appreciate the connections of love in my life. It helps me to be aware when I discount “stuff” lovingly given to me by family and friends that in truth keep the presence of Love always before me. And I have been graced with some beautiful extraordinary handcrafted gifts.

Oh I still will never have an over abundance of things and prefer open uncluttered living spaces. But I am learning to honor those gifts that raise me up in the love through which they are given. What a wonder that such kindness flows through life.

What “stuff” or “things” in your life hold special meaning for you? Why are they special? If there is nothing, why is that? Does it define your experience in life? Are there gifts you have given to others that have special meaning?

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A Sustainable Life

Recently I watched Nathan Crane’s 12 episode documentary “The Search for Sustainability.” Nathan, his wife and daughter travelled the country interviewing women and men from many disciplines and walks of life who are in some way involved in bringing focus to sustainability of the Earth and all creatures including humans. In other words all express in. Arching ways a passion for LIFE that not only survives but thrives. Those contributing to the documentary focus on areas of growing and eating healthy foods, education, community living, use of herbs, the urban environment and the arts. They include a homesteader, permaculturists at several levels, herbalist, business owners, educators, musicians and even a government official who heads the environmental quality department for the city of Washington, DC. It was amazing and wonderful to see all that is going on and to see the women and men following their hearts and passions. Passions that remind us of our connection to the Earth and all life.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines sustainable as able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed or involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources. Watching the documentary I was reminded that it is time to pay attention to how we live, how our food is grown, the condition of our water and air. Two areas or questions jumped out for me. Do we need to determine if we are heading toward “completely using up” that which supports our life and even more importantly do we need to examine whether we really believe all life is connected in a way our human eyes may not see. I highly recommend checking out the documentary at nathancrane.com. I am going to briefly mention a few takeaways I got and that may provide you with ideas and concepts to investigate.

When you watch something such as this it is easy to be overwhelmed by so much information or to decide all those involved are just a bunch of tree hugging crackpots to ignored. I believe those are just reactions that come from a place of fear and our resistance to change as well as our unwillingness to accept different ways of life and opinions that differ from ours. Many of us put up immediate barriers if we think we will have to change our way of life or “lose” something in the process. Believe me I am certainly familiar with that dance! But the point is to remember we do not have to agree with everything we see and hear during this exploration. Yet we can be grateful for the thoughts and information shared and commit to at least additional exploration if anything “pings” us at some level.

I certainly did not agree with everything but some ideas and projects rang as Truth for me. I decided to initially focus on two areas: the food I eat and the packaging that comes into my home. I plan to pay more attention to where my food come from and how it is grown. Even if it is labeled organic I may not buy it if it has travelled thousands of miles to get to me. I want to be aware of all the impact on the environment in the process of getting food to my table. My commitment is to explore what is available locally at different times of the year and if I go to a Farmer’s Market talking with farmers about their growing practices.

As for packaging, even though I recycle, I am taking a close look at how what I buy is packaged. A simple (embarrassing) thing is the pods used for coffee in the Kuerig. Thousands of these are probably piling up in landfills daily and as far as I know are not biodegradable even though I think they will be one day. However, I have a reusable filter for it and I can use it more which for me is another “Duh” moment. And I can take my own travel mug to my favorite coffeehouse to not only save cups but the millions of little green sticks going into landfills. As I pay attention to packaging I may see other ways to reduce what comes into the house even by just buying larger sizes as several of those interviewed suggested.

These things may seem simple but they are a start. I also believe it is important to recognize we are often not told the truth or the whole story by the USDA and FDA or any government agency. Huge corporations have more influence than we want to admit and research is beginning to come out that underscores this. To continue to believe all we are told about our food, water and medicine without questioning is naive and will only harm us and our beautiful planet.

For you a first step may be just looking around at your style of life and beginning discussions with family and friends. What does sustainability mean for your family and you? You may already be doing recycling, growing some of your own food and or shopping at Farmer’s Markets. Pick something new to focus on such as water. Explore where your water comes from; how it is treated and how you use it. If you have young children help them see where their food comes from including taking them to a working farm. Help them understand their partnership with the natural world which will help them appreciate the gift of life.

Small actions will make a difference. There is no time for guilt, angst or finger pointing over what is happening. As more and more humans begin to think and live sustainably great change will occur in the world. And for me one of the most important reasons to be thinking about and feeling into this more is for the generations that follow me-for the children of today and those yet to be born. And I believe as our consciousness opens and expands we will be more at peace with ourselves which moves out into our beautiful world.

Below is a small list of websites you may want to check out:

nathancrane.com
greenamerica.org
spiritbees.com
peiasongs.com
tobyhemenway.com
ormeschool.org
starschool.org
doee.dc.gov
permies.com

Ideas to ponder or comment on:
What does sustainability mean to you? What are you currently doing that supports sustainability? Where will you focus next? Do you believe it is necessary to take a closer look at how we are living in our own communities? What responsibility do we have to the generations that come after us?