How old colored pencils can teach us how to care

Posted by in Self-Care

This blog spot was previously written on MJ’s former blog site, on 10/08/2012


Kids are forgetful. That’s in their nature: they are too busy  being in the moment. So my daughter lost her nice wooden colored pencils during our summer trip. A few weeks ago, I found my precious colored pencils box, the only gift I remember receiving from my godfather, and  decided that it was time to give them to her.

She brought a few of them  at school and her teacher noticed them.  The teacher asked my daughter how long we have had this box and she answered, unknowingly, 10 years… Well that is a long time but she was not quite there in her guesstimate. I have own these pencils for over 30 years! The teacher jumped on the occasion and used this example as a lesson to  her students about attending to pencils, among other things and being mindful of how they use them in the classroom. They did the math of how much  the class fund would be needed to pay for a box of 12 for each child. They all realized it was quite pricey to get this specific high quality brand, especially if you don’t take good care of them!

My mother taught me how to really take care of things. Quite frankly, we all know that better quality also  means durability. I said to my  daughter that it would not make sense to buy this brand at school if students are not mindful with the school’s belongings.

Being mindful and thoughtful is a demonstration of respect. Respect for the item itself, but as well as for  the raw material that was extracted from the earth to make it, the workers who give out of their time- and sometimes even their health into making a product, or the thoughtful gesture of a friend  who bought it for us.  Nowadays, it is easy to find product replacement anytime anywhere, and for such a low price that we don’t bother taking care, repairing, maintaining, etc.

I learned the opposite as a child. When a piece of clothing was no longer in good shape to wear, the garbage was not an option.  My mom would sit at the kitchen table and remove buttons, zippers, elastic and if possible, would make rags with the fabric. We had a tin box for each of these accessories and this was our own notions store!

To this day, I am doing the same thing when some garments are way to hold to send to my friends as hands-me-down.  When my mother was a child, this habit existed out of financial necessity. When I dismantle a piece of garment, I do it out of this sense of interconnectedness with all there is and the respect I have for our Mother Earth. Because we have so many choices and we live in abundance, we rarely consciously take the time to attend to our belongings any more. It makes me really sad.

If we would see the divine in everything, including our stuff, our world would be in such a better shape. A society that is solely based on consumption is not in line with the universal laws of nature. We have lost this necessary connection and because of that, so many choices are made daily without any thoughts about their consequences. Of course, creating such a habit in our family takes time and commitment. This is  a reflection of such a greater purpose and change of perspective.

Once we start acting out of reverence for this world, it seems like there is no way we can go back to our former habit. What may have looked like a sacrifice of our time may be then perceived  as a meditation in action on how we live. We feel that we share with others the responsibility for the use of the earth resources and acknowledge other people use of their time too.  What a wonderful lesson to cultivate with our children!  How does this apply to your household? Which habits have you created  that reflect this innermost respect for things? What is your motivation behind these habits?


Butterflies in the stomach

Posted by in Self-Care

This blog spot was previously written on MJ’s former blog site, on 09/17/2012

I heard many times that when you do something that both excites and scares you, it means you are living your calling. Well, I think I am at the right place because this is what is happening. Here I am writing my first blog post ever!

I am both excited and in a state of puzzlement. How will this be received? Will my website and blog help me reach the people I  expected to reach? Will my words find some resonance with you? I know these questions are legitimate as long as they do not interfere with my entire life and take all the space in my brain.

Mark Twain once said: ”I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”  This says a lot about how we are worrying way too much.

The issue is that, as adult, we use our head first, We think first (most of the time), feel  (Do I like this?) and then if the thinking and feeling make sense  together, we may take action. Sometimes we think and act and then realized it does not feel good. However, if you observed young children, you will notice that they act pretty quickly, without too much thought. Either they engage into something and they keep doing it because they feel like it, or they felt an urge from the heart and then act upon it without analyzing all the pros and cons of it.  Either way, they seem pretty happy.

In the last few months I took many small steps to get to this professional path of mine. I realized that acting upon what feels right and paying attention to these butterflies in the stomach were by far the best way to know if I should take a step forward or not. Why don’t you try to imitate children this week and see if you can let your heart and hands take more space? It doesn’t need to be big-  it  might be as simple as deciding between chocolate or walnut banana ice cream (i think either way you win with  ice cream- isn’t it wonderful?). Work once more on this project or play with the kids? I can’t wait to hear what you did do instinctively.