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Something I discovered a number of years ago was the ability of fair trade shopping to re-instill the true meaning of gift giving... I love giving gifts to the people in my life; yet I felt troubled by the over-commercialization of our "special occasions." These feelings became even more pronounced during times of personal hardship. Was I a slave to the system? Was I just playing at roles that no longer fit? I was working in retail at the time; consumed by the desire to dress myself and furnish my home in the latest styles; yet becoming increasingly ill from stress and the daily exposure to toxic products and people. When I developed chronic sinus infections and desperately sought help from a European doctor practicing in a nearby office in the mall, his main recommendation was that I quit my job. I experienced a sense of impending doom. I knew that if I started to make bold changes in one area of my life that it could not end there. If I was going to be truly honest, it was not just my job that needed to end. It was my relationship and the entire life that came with it, including the city where we lived and the semi-comfortable life we had made there. It was nine years ago.
I made the necessary changes, spent a number of years picking up the pieces to create something new, and am glad to report that I am now in a happier place. However, those times of desperation were also the birth of artsciencespirit.... the need to find deeper meaning and a way to contribute to the world, as I strove to become whole... in times of darkness, I was able to find solace in the fact that I was supporting individuals and artists in poorer places who were also trying to make an honest living.
At the same time, what's not to love about LOVE? If you have the means, by all means, express your love this Valentine's Day, and support the world's artists and artisans at the same time. Wishing you all a joy and love-filled 2014 xoxo! And welcome to the new and improved artsciencespirit.com :)