Working Together

"We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again..."

Excerpt from "Working Together" © David Whyte
in The House of Belonging

Many Rivers Press

Monday, April 20, 2009

Love your MOTHER!


We have many Mothers. No one knows this better than women - especially women who have given birth or realized children in their lives because as soon as this happens (in reality or in a spiritual sense) there is a keen awareness that we are not and will never be "alone". Many women have come before us. We are but spawn, essentially, of an accumulated experience of women. Like Chief Seattle stated,
"The earth does not belong to us; we belong to the earth"
...so it is with our Mothers. We sometimes refer to the Earth as our Mother. Replace the words The Earth with the Our Mother in the quote above and you begin to feel the weight of it. My word of the year is value. In these terms, I find myself contemplating the value of all of our Mothers these days.

I can hardly turn a blind eye to the opportunity these times are offering at every bend for our reinventing the economy. Not with a word like "value" wending it's way into my daily thoughts. So lets take a look at what we commonly buy for our Mothers on Mother's Day, shall we? Florist flowers and potted plants that have been genetically altered to last 48 hours longer than the plant you bought last year. A dinner at a restaurant, perhaps? There are any number of things that might be a tradition. I want to explore outside that tradition here for a moment and look at the bigger picture.

We all are beginning to understand that we have a responsibility to learn new ways to get where we are going, whether it is opting to taking a bus or biking downtown or sending a message that actually speaks from our hearts. I am thinking now of gift giving - shopping, if you will - that is an act of supporting Motherhood while honoring our sisters and womankind and, while we are it, the earth as well. Shopping as a political act?

As I stated in a previous post, I blew through Portland town in March and had the good fortune to visit with my friend Kristi Jo Lewis. KJ is a new mother of a beautiful baby girl and the creator of a business that she shares with her sister and associates called Global Sistergoods. KJ is a woman of conscience and when she imagined her ideal job she did so with her compassion for women of the world and alternative ways of economics firmly in mind. Recognize a woman's talent, support it and let her support her family. Yes she can! ...and she did. Basically KJ and Global Sistergoods fences finely crafted goods made from artisans who are Mothers and Sisters themselves....are you following where this is going?

From "About Us":
Global Sistergoods was founded in 2006 by two sisters, Beth Kapsch and Kristi Jo (KJ) Lewis, who combined their professional backgrounds in living wage issues, international development, public policy and women's equality and their personal love of beautiful, handmade goods to create this marketplace for women artisans from around the world.

We provide a living wage to economically disadvantaged women in fragile economies by supporting entrepreneurship, self-reliance and microenterprise development through fair trade. We partner with international non-government organizations who provide resources to women, governmental trade associations who support women's economic empowerment, women's cooperatives/collectives, and individual women artisans. We sustain traditional craftmaking techniques, provide high-quality products and educate consumers about women's issues in the countries our partner artisans live in.


I am suggesting you take a few minutes and take a look at what Global Sistergoods is offering. I'm suggesting, as well, that we all begin to realize that our spending habits are essentially a political act. When one trades with Global Sistergoods, this is what happens: You get a superior gift for your Mom made by women who are Mothers and you support a woman who is supporting her family. When you choose to trade with conscience, perhaps forgoing the florist's forced attempt at beauty, you are supporting much more than some strange person 1000 of miles away. You are engaging in an alternative way of doing business that gets you what you want while supporting the people that you want to help.

Kristi Jo and her sister are people who are dreaming of a better way and giving birth to it everyday. Love your Mother and hold your sister close. They just might be able to show us how to heal our economy by trading in new, alternative and exciting ways. These are brave and intelligent women who are teaching a new meaning of value. I am learning that conscious action coupled with value has a strange and powerful positive implication, while tacit in its employ, it is dynamic in its execution. Making a conscious choice is one of those things that requires doing to understand. I'm suggesting you try it and see how it feels.

The best way to spend time with your Mother on her day is to sit with her and ask her who she is on her own terms. Perhaps go for a walk with her or enjoy the outdoor market with locally supported goods on display. Or even go to an independently owned bistro for lunch. Whatever you choose to do make it an active choice with intention and love at it's core...like a Mother's love.

Photo credit: blawk359

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