Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Being Better

Original artwork by Sharry Phelan Wright and Eric Beumer for The Sophia Project

I'm feeling kind of sick of myself right now. I think that's what happens when you spend 3 days in a row exclusively with small children and aside from the person who takes your latte order, you don't have any real adult connection and you spend waaayyy too much time in your own head.

What's making me cranky at this particular moment is stuff. Too much stuff. I know I obsess over the pretty wooden toy stuff and it's making me crazy. I know I can be deeper than that and I want to.

I want to do better. I want to be better.

As if sensing my ennui, today my incredibly lovely friend Christine sent me some information about an organization she's involved with called The Sophia Project. It is an anthroposophical initiative in nearby Oakland serving children and families who are at risk of recurring homelessness. It is affiliated with the Camphill Association and a member of the Waldorf Early Childhood Association. You can learn more about it at www.sophiaproject.org (there's also a button on the right hand side of the blog to take you there).

I looked at the donation wish list and nowhere did it ask for Camden Rose playstands or Ostheimer farm sets. Grocery store gift cards, diapers, warm clothing is what they are looking for and gosh darn it- I want to get it for them. Would it be crazy of me to use some of the money I would have spent hoarding German toys before the CPSIA law comes into effect to get some of these items for them? I don't think so, maybe I just will.

I'm not enough of a warrior to make this a call to action for everyone. I'm just going to put this information out there for anyone who feels the way I do today. I know that everyone has his/her own way to be better. If you have a moment- please share with me what you do. I could use the inspiration.

With Love and Gratitude, Marina

10 comments:

filz-t-raum.ch said...

hi,
i am a waldorf-mama of 5 children,and also i am a felter.
my english is not good,i cannot read your blog,but the pictures are nice.
greetings from switzerland!
filz-t-raum.ch

jumbleberryjam said...

Thank you for posting about the Sophia Project! I know how you feel. I've never been so self-absorbed as since DS was born. There are more reasons than just the challenge parenting has been for me, but still, I look forward to the day when I can really start reaching out again. When it comes, one of my first efforts will be taking the actions I mention here http://jumbleberryjam.wordpress.com/2009/01/02/three-cups-of-tears/#comments

Hugs to you.

Nicole said...

*hugs* One of my New Year's resolutions was to make a charitable contribution to a different charity each month. I'm making my first donation this weekend and am really excited!

I'm seeing this need to give more and get back to basics from a lot of people right now. I know I'm feeling that way as well.

Oh, and another resolution was to get rid of "stuff" and stop buying more "stuff." I was perusing a donation need list recently for a foster home/orphanage in our area and much like you was struck by the difference between real needs and what I sometimes spend my money on. I mean, I can find the extra $20 to donate a package of diapers for a child without a home, right?

I look around our home and see such abundance, and not always in a good way.

sarah.astrid said...

I respect you a lot for writing this - because I feel the exact same way. I find myself despondent over not being able to afford "the stuff" - forgetting that the point of Waldorf and an authentic life is not "the stuff" - When I go to Waldorf boards, I am sometimes struck by how materialistic it can be. But then I get sucked in and spend hours dreaming/surfing the internet for the things I would like my son to have. Really though, it's about me. So, you are not alone because it is hard to resist the beautiful stuff sometimes. My son, though, he just wants my love. Part of my journey as a parent, I've realized, is to shed my own materialism (which has its roots in my own childhood, in the way I was raised, in the way love was shown me by my parents). It is the deepest act of love I can give to him. To stop the cycle so that he can live a truly simple life, without feeling so covetous of possessions - because if I woke up to find my house on fire, it wouldn't be "the stuff" I'd reach for. At the end of the day, I need to remind myself, whether its plastic or wood or silk or stone - that's all it is is stuff. So right on, Marina! Thank you for your honesty.

Marina said...

Wilkommen filz-t-raum! Your English is much better than my German! Thanks for visiting! Your feltwork is lovely :)

Marina said...

Again, I am so humbled by the lovely responses from everyone. One gets in a mood and blogs it, hoping that no one takes offense and will continue to return- if nothing else, for pretty pictures (which I will do soon)... and is overwhelmingly touched by the thoughtful comments

JJam (as I will call you from now on, until you tell me to stop)- Thanks so much for pointing me to that post (how did I ever miss it?)! I have been wanting to read 3 Cups of Tea and will run out NOW to get it *hugs*

Nicole- I really think you're my cyber twin (except I don't think I have your mad crafting skillz). I love that there is someone else who can understand my need for simplicity. I'm so happy about your resolution and your ability to do it this weekend. xoxo

Sarah Astrid- Thank YOU so much for visiting and your comment! I have to admit, this post came from being on a disc, board where people where in a feeding frenzy talking about all the stuff they needed to get before the new toy law comes into effect. I honestly felt kind of dirty and disgusted, but knew I was guilty of the feeling the same "wanting".

"It is the deepest act of love I can give to him. To stop the cycle so that he can live a truly simple life, without feeling so covetous of possessions"... so well said, thank you for that. Please stop by again, I like you :)

minipak said...

well, i don't think that you (not you specifically, but "you" as in anybody out there)need to live a life of austerity to be considered a good person or a deep person. just because you have a lot of things or crave a lot of things doesn't mean you are shallow or lack perspective on what is important in the world. i don't feel they are mutually exclusive.

i think that as long as you are grateful for the (material) blessings you have and keep in mind that these are just things to enjoy, not things of any great importance or tools to use to compare yourself to others, then you have just as much depth as someone who chooses not fill their lives with such "stuff."

people who donate to charitable organization often do so (1) because they were peer pressured into it, like at some school or work fundraiser, (2) to get a tax deduction, (3) because it's easy, or (4) because it makes the donor feel good and they are more than happy to tell every living soul within earshot about how they gave money to help others in need. so in my opinion, sometimes giving is not such a kind activity when the intentions are not pure.

i think it is far better to promote awareness, volunteer time. donations are great, too, but i don't think it is selfish to take care of your own desires first.

just my two cents. based on this, you gotta know i have a lot of crap in my house. Hahaha! :D

angorachic said...

I have been wanting to comment on this since the day you posted it...I totally agree with you...I grew up very poor in the projects of a very urban place, and we didn't have anything close to what my sons have...And we are not rich at all compared to those around us...But we have everything we need, and I need to remind myself of that more often...We have much more than so many, and it is our responsibility to create more in the lives of those around us, not just consume more from those around us...Thanks for posting this...

Miri said...

i just wanted to say, my mum lives in germany, & the toys will obviously continue to be sold there, so , if you want anything i could probably get it for you. <3

Marina said...

Tahara- thank you so much for sharing that *hugs*

Miri- you are a goddess and thank you! Be careful, if things go south with the toys law, I may need your mum to help me get my Buntspechte fix ;}