Success! I made it through the whole season of Lent without giving in to the impulse to buy (though I was SORELY tempted, thanks to incredible artisans like Concrete Minerals, Meow Cosmetics, Antionette's Revolution Cosmetics, and Mineral Maven, to name a few ;D ). Starting on Good Friday, which this year coincided with Earth Day, I began to submit donations using some of the money I saved during this period of abstinence. To date, I've donated over $200 to my chosen service organizations, including local food banks, Pacific Whale Foundation, public radio, and Aveda's "Water Warriors" initiative, with pledges in to NorCal Boxer Rescue and the American Red Cross.
A great big MAHALO to all my lovely friends, fans, and followers for your positive energy and encouragement (and even the gentle teasing--made me smile all 40 days!!)--you are truly beautiful inside and out!
Ash Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Back in November, I included in a blog post some information on the old Hawaiian tradition of Makahiki, a season of giving to support the less fortunate in the small communities on each island that began in November (around the time of my birthday, as it so happens! funny, life...) and lasted through the entire Winter, ending with Spring Equinox in March. In accordance with this spirit of helping one's neighbors in need, during the 2010-2011 Makahiki, I stepped up and donated time, loving energy, and material support (money and "wish list" items) to several local organizations--public radio, Boxer rescue, community centers and women's shelters--but then, I also increased my contributions to my own "stuffness," spending a record amount over the Holidays and the first quarter of 2011! Oh my!
This is not my usual M.O. I'm typically pretty reserved on the spending and try not to accumulate too much stuff. But in the wake of a burgeoning Etsy addiction, I found myself stalking favorite shops and items, making impulse purchases weekly (at least), and receiving packages large and small on a regular basis right up through the beginning of this month.
After recent events--personal, professional, retail, and global--I decided a re-evaluation of my actions and my life path was in order. I found, to my horror, that I had been neglecting several elements of right action--the kind of daily "well-being" that generates beauty in a person from the inside-out. I had not seen a dentist in more than a year (despite suffering a broken tooth), ditto for the eye doctor (I'm myopic and have been wearing corrective lenses since the age of 7), and had no regular primary care physician. I also felt my personal and work relationships had suffered for the sake of my new virtual ones. Worst of all, I feared my attention to my spiritual health had dwindled from its previously robust level. I looked at myself in this very honest way and did not feel beautiful at all.
One result of this re-evaluation: I chose to extend the season of giving demarcated by Makahiki and participate in Lent for the first time since my childhood, as a way of re-aligning myself with a sense of purpose and to re-establish more meaningful and healthy habits.
Lent is a time of reflection, purification, and prayer in the tradition of several Christian denominations beginning on Ash Wednesday (the day after Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday") and ending on the day before Easter Sunday (known in some traditions as "Holy Saturday"). Here's some information on Lent (you can read more on Wikipedia or learn about it from a neighborhood church that observes it):
There are traditionally forty days in Lent which are marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance. The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigour during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and almsgiving (justice towards neighbour). Today, some people give up a vice of theirs, add something that will bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations. [from Wikipedia]
What I'm abstaining from (fasting): impulse buying aka rabid consumerism (no new makeup, clothes, shoes, jewelry, random fluff that I soooooo don't need & NO ETSY shopping!! eek.)
|No Etsy shopping for 40 days?? Can I really do this?|
What I'm doing to bring me closer to God (prayer): practicing prayers and chants taught to me by my loea hula using prayer beads as a guide, including reciting the Lord's Prayer in Hawaiian, and meditating on the deeper meanings of these prayers; also making an effort to listen more closely to that higher power for guidance in creating my right path in work as well as my personal life.
|The mala on the right was a custom request, made of koa & 'iliahi (sandalwood) beads with obsidian markers; I use it to help me with my hula practice.|
What I'm doing to help my fellow beings (almsgiving): Donating the funds saved by abstaining from my recent spending habits to charitable causes, these include Vibe Foundation (youth leadership development-local), NorCal Boxer Rescue (through whom we adopted our four-legged kids-local), Public Radio (to help keep it alive-local/national), Pacific Whale Foundation (conservation efforts of the endangered Hawaiian ecosystem and assisting in helping that ecosystem recover from tsunami-ancestral), and the Red Cross (aid for tsunami relief effort in Japan-global).
|We adopted both of our adorable Boxer bebehs from NorCal Boxer Rescue. Can't imagine our life without them!|
Now how's that for cultivating a little more "inner beauty"?
Me ke aloha nui loa (because the world can always use more love!),