Days

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I can loll, cruise and procrastinate with the best of them. Nothing like deciding to banish all responsibility, plop yourself on the couch with a good book and just paddle into the kitchen when you want a snack, a cup of tea or a box of chocolates. Then in the evening, order some pizza/Chinese/Indian etc., open a bottle of wine and watch a movie, listen to music or check your Facebook account, just because. At the end of the day you will probably feel rested. I have this theory that it’s because we don’t pay attention to our bodies and the environment as the industrial revolution is only slowly giving way to more humane schedules. Rain, hail, shine or storm, we go to work if it’s a work day and we are that way employed by ourselves or, more often, by others. Does anyone else think it’s just slightly silly to do so? I imagine the birds sheltering in their nest during a storm look very puzzled at the soaked human beings rushing towards their various places of money earning, as if they couldn’t wait for a better day.

But I digress ๐Ÿ™‚

So here we are, refreshed after a day of blobbing, but feeling rather guilty, some of us anyway. Because we’re adults, and responsibility is our middle name, whereever we are in the civilized world.

Then there’s the other sort of day. When we have plans but for some reason or another the Universe itself is conspiring against us. The beautiful day it has been forecast turns to drizzle that puts an end to clothes drying so your house starts looking like an obstacle course with clothes horses taking up precious, scarce space. The previously healthy toddler starts throwing up and looking miserable when you are trying to get the housework done. The usual discussion at the end of the day with your special people turns to an argument involving killer eye contact and slaming of innocent doors.

I tend to smile because the Universe enjoys sending these things in threes, so I kinda know there’s no point in fighting too much, I just try to ensure I don’t kill anyone accidentally. This has worked so far! ๐Ÿ™‚

And then we have those days! When I have a plan. Everyone who needs to be involved is there more or less voluntarily. Everything goes smoothly, things get accomplished and are visible to the naked eyes of others (show-off that I am! ๐Ÿ˜› ). The Universe sends a kind glance and the world is wonderful. A productive day in an expected sort of way, with tiny, mundane surprises that happen anyway when people work together because they want to. Synergy, you might call it ๐Ÿ™‚

Evening comes, and the last experiment turns out beautifully. Tired and happy, I am off to bed.

To fantasize (in the human way) of a day when I don’t have a plan, but beautiful special people happen to do amazing things and I get lost in a maze of brightness, and love, and spontaneous happiness I am at a loss for words to explain.

Discontent? No, just a desire for what we know ourselves to be capable of, that happens but rarely, due to responsibilities, and plans, and routines. There is so much potential for happiness in each of us… and so much fear that this means breaking the dams of our control…

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Efficient

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I purchased a mushroom growing kit late last year. It had been an idea I had toyed with from time to time but the price for a retail kit was pretty steep for the result indicated, so it was only when I found a cheaper one that I finally gave in. I had partial success but before I could reap the full benefits it started to dawn on me that it wasn’t a very efficient way of doing things.

Let me explain: growing mushrooms in a bag implies several times a day watering despite the fact that outside it’s raining. It is not a difficult chore, don’t get me wrong, it just struck me as non-efficient, and that, more than hard work, has the power to stop me in my tracks. Just as an aside, I don’t mind hard work, as long as it’s smart and the results are visible in a reasonable amount of time… or the long term results have good ROI ๐Ÿ™‚

I liken this to growing chicks with an incubator: hard work, good results (if not perfect) and cheaper than the other way. What other way? Get a hen, of course! Then and only then, when the hen sits on fertilized eggs, will you figure out how far away from nature (therefore inefficient) incubators are. Not bad, I repeat, but a clumsy attempt at a short cut.

I am not the type of person who advocates a complete return to nature. I like my comforts and am grateful for the era in which we live. But I do like to tweak my life to make it MORE comfortable, and that, ironically, implies getting back to more natural ways. Another personal example: most supermarket soaps, creams, detergents etc. dry and irritate my skin. I could go the standard way and get some more stuff from my doctor to soothe it, instead I chose to go more natural in my cleaning choices and it has become a way of life for me. I am also saving more money than I expected, even with the few products I do buy being more expensive that the standard ones. These choices have also led me to many, mostly happy, mostly cheap experiments: anyone fancy a nice galenical concoction of beeswax, olive oil, rose water or orange blossom water and just a tiny bit of borax to fluff it up? I garden a lot, so that has been my saviour these few years, which reminds me, I need to make another batch!

I hate waste, so re-usable nappies for the little one also struck me as an efficient choice at the time.

The thing that puts most people off doing things efficiently seems to be a higher initial investment cost as opposed to the cost being spread out otherwise. Going back to the cleaning products described above, natural soap is more expensive than the standard one (why, I ask myself sometimes?), beeswax, extra virgin olive oil, flower waters, essential oils, re-usable nappies don’t usually come cheap, instead of opening a jar you actually have to melt the wax in oil, stir in the other ingredients, then stir again until the three, usually incompatible, main ingredients actually agree to stay together. Hard work? I think I mentioned above that I am not afraid of it… and it’s not, just out of our comfort zone. Worth it for me โ€“ and it makes nice presents, too ๐Ÿ™‚

How about the mushrooms, you might wonder? Plan: invest in some wood chips and a different sort of mushroom (one that prefers the ground as opposed to the trees), mulch a shaded area of my garden that would otherwise remain fallow; inoculate the wood chips with the mushroom; go away and do something else for a while; water the garden as usual or enjoy the rain and let nature do the hard work for me ๐Ÿ™‚

Dream

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I was talking with a group of colleagues about money. Although the discussion was fairly specific I (of course!) managed to generalize and pontificate on said subject ๐Ÿ™‚

Aside for pet hates of mine (reliance on banks exclusively, for example) we were touching on subjects like values, attitudes, ideals and frustrations linked to financial matters. So, being in an environment where things will be taken at face value rather than judged and found lacking, I expressed a dream of mine about the uncomfortable issue of social welfare. While I am repulsed by the idea of people as economic units and I regard a good life as a right, welfare dependency is something I struggle with. I cannot see an easy way out in real life though, so this dream of mine is so called because it has nothing to do with life in a โ€œcivilizedโ€ society.

It seems to me that welfare dependency stems from a separation between the person and the society it belongs to. If you have to go to a government department to beg for your daily bread and prove to said department that you are worthy of living… well, I know I would rebel (privileged, much?). Because proving myself worthy is a personal thing, it is private, to be shown off only if I choose to do so, not as a matter of public (open plan work space) record. And proving the worthiness of one’s life seems insulting, notwithstanding โ€œwhy should I pay for you to be lazy?โ€.

Add to this that you don’t know what you don’t know. If you are raised in an environment that has no work ethic, it takes time, patience and investment later for you to learn this. Who will teach you though? And how will you keep learning if this has never been of value to you?

So if at a family level you’re missing something and the societal level is way too alienating, then the answer seems to be somewhere in the middle.

The short of it is that I believe in the small community as the basis of society, with all of its wonderful qualities and outstandingly flexible drawbacks. As expressed in another post, community is a limited number of people living and working in the same place/area/environment. It usually includes entire families as opposed to individuals. The community feels (and I believe should be) responsible for its people. Of course, responsibility has to be matched with an equal amount of power.

So if a youngster is born in a nuclear family without much work ethic he/she may live in a community where his auntie and his cousin and his friends work hard for what they have. When this young one is of an age to work or create (and no, I don’t mean 18!) the community is responsible for offering him those opportunities and mentorship… and the payment for it, too! The community is also entitled to withhold payment while still providing a roof over the head and simple food on the table if the youngster would rather do something else than work or create โ€“ for the benefit of the community.

It is one thing for a case manager at social welfare to say โ€œyour benefit will be cut because you haven’t attended enough work seminarsโ€. It is a completely different thing for your nephew to say โ€œsorry, mate, no money for you until that garden is spic and spanโ€. Same result, if you will…

Now how are we going to clarify creativity?