Thursday, January 25, 2007

One Cup-simplicity at work

I want to invite us all to talk more about something that I have been sort of dodging and darting around for some time now, but that is really as firmly entrenched in my values-system as homeschool, homebirth, etc, and that is this:
There are spiraling advantages to simplicity, and as the true meaning of the sentiment known as "appreciation" becomes more a part of people's lives, WHETHER OR NOT DUE TO VOLUNTARY OR INVOLUNTARY FORCES I.E. POVERTY, LACK OF RESOURCES, the results are the same.

Peace. Freedom. Calm. Power. Strength. Purity. Clarity. Insight.

To me, these words embrace and embody the very highest levels of human achievement, the upper eschelon of our journey here. There is a very strong goodness and wholeness that comes from all of this, and there are infinite ways to apply it to our lives, and so I will start with the example I like to call One Cup. It goes something like this:

If you had only one cup, regardless of why, (if it helps, try to imagine camping or a time when you were in financial constraints such as being a college student or something) it would be your Cup. That is your cup. You drink from it. When it is dirty, you wash and dry it. If you were to lose it, you would be out of a cup. If you were to break it, you would be out of a cup. So, by this postulation, you would know where it was. You would take care of it. It is, after all, your Cup. Thats what you drink out of. You might even grow a bit attached to it, a little sentimentality in the name of Value would then be involved. It would no sooner be left in the sun to rot or forgotten at the beach than would, say, your car keys, and if and when something like that happened, it would be a Big Deal.

But somehow, someway, in the mystery machine of Capitalism, and its twin sister Materialism and its evil son Greed, has come a WORLD of people with so many cups, that are not special, that are not cared for, that are not unique, that are not appreciated, that are not VALUED....and still we crave and yearn for this feeling. So we try so wrongly, so ironically, to stop this bad feeling, this feeling that nothing has meaning, by buying more cups, then better cups, then different cups, then Antique cups, why isn't it working? Why can't that feeling come back? Retro cups? Re-issued Retro cups? Vintage? Perhaps a new whole set of cups, and an armoire to hold them all in? Anyone?

This of course goes way beyond cups and you can fill in what you may. Look around your home. Look in your car. I'd even say Look in your Mind, but that might be getting ahead....
What is all that crap? Who bought it? and W H Y? What are we so afraid of, that we pretend we "Like to stock up"? What empty holes in our hearts are we trying to fill with all this crap? Which local mega store chain's current slogan do we silently chant until we believe there is ANYTHING behind it besides profit? SIX dish scrubbers? Really? ELEVEN ladles? Really? EIGHT shampoos? Really? SEVENTY red nail polishes? Really?

We have four kids and they each have a spill proof cup. One. Because when they have One Cup, it is the most cherished thing in the cupboard. When we had a giant drawer dedicated to sippy-cups and their lids and stoppers, they were ALWAYS LOST. Because no one cared. There was a big drawer of them, so who gave a damn? Nobody, thats who. And it was bad. And we changed it. We have two small cupboards and they have enough dishes cups bowls and plates in them for our family. If it is dirty then wash it. Your sink will not fill up because six bowls never filled a sink, but thirty sure does.

What if you had 65 cars, and one got stolen?
What if you had 3000 husbands and one died?
Did I lose you just then?

To be in such a priveledged nation that we have to do little things like "teach appreciation" is kind of grotesque in itself, but we do, and even on our modest salary, we make a concious effort to do this kind of stuff all the time.

Does thinking about it make you nervous?
Do your possessions possess you?
Who are you without all the stuff?
Would you be willing to practice?
What do you look like straight out of the shower, white t shirt and jeans?
Do you like it?
Do you feel the way I do, that the people on Survivor become so beautiful by the end game that to see them on the reunion show (or even the jury) is almost nauseating? Is it the tan, the weight loss? Or something so much more?
Is it the way they gleam of Pure Living has been replaced with pancake makeup, slick chunky hairdos, and a puffy sweater? Is it so wrong to eat fish, fruit, and rice, to drink water, to sleep outdoors and to get in battles of mind and body each day? To take a nap or two? To sit by a fire EVERY night? Not only when the power is off, not only when you are camping, but purposefully, to do something human?

I frequently seek out experiences and activities that, in my modest understanding of history, are historically traditional to being Human. To smell wood burning. To share food you have prepared from whole ingredients.. To discuss and debate. To run and play games. To laugh and cry. To sing. To wonder. To explore. To spend vast amounts of time outside roaming and researching. To love. To mate. To birth when it is time, and to then rear young in the way I see fit. To cherish the older generations. To include the children. To keep animal companions. To set up and take down each day and night. To tell others about what I feel. To be how I am.


Amanda said...

as much as I love this whole Idea...i think i would fail miserably at it! It woudl seriously interfere with my shopping addiction. we should analyze why i feel the need to shop....

Housefairy said...

My first comment on this blog! Thank you!
It has to be something that you want to come to, and it might be figurative "clearing out" of junk perhaps in a more symbolic way, like old thoughts and beliefs, or even old acquaintances. It isnt about not owning and dishes, and I know you know that. I would say it is more about purposefully doing what ever it is that you do, even if that is shopping. Buy what you love and own it like it has meaning, and it will.

Barbnocity said...

This post is so beautiful.


:) Barb