I adore Mexico.
Everywhere you look, you see the tell of a hand; the uneven texture of adobe, the hand-painted floral fences, the big barrels, painted and repurposed as geranium gardens. I love that country because the people don’t yet know that they’re not ‘allowed’ to be artists. They haven’t quite caught up to our socialized beliefs that tell us ‘boughten is better’.
It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. This is true. When you don’t have a lot of money, you make do. As Mexicans get more money, they too, tend to run right out like the rest of us, thrilled to buy instead of make. But there is more than the unsustainability for the planet that is at risk. There is the commensurate dimming and dying of our own creative spirit.
No matter what the advertisements tell us, we are not here to buy our lives.
We are here to create our lives…one brushstroke, one stitch, one word at a time.
We must do this in spite of the admonishments to live otherwise. We are surrounded by subtle, and not-so-subtle images and messages, that instill in us that, like an out-of-control Pacman we are only here to consume.
Shortly after September 11th, the President of the most powerful nation on earth did not quote Kennedy and say, “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” Clearly, that was a message for chumps. Instead, he rallied his nation by telling everyone to shop. “Shop,” he said, “or they will have won.”
Forget being a citizen. Be consumers!
I am not suggesting we all sit in the dark and pound a dress out of cedar bark. I am, after all, a woman who proudly possesses two pairs of Fluevogs.
However, I truly believe that without a real connection to the making of our lives, our spirit diminishes.
Lately, I’ve been seeing signs encouraging more take-out. They are sprouting up on the windows of Vancouver restaurants, “Don’t cook. Just eat.” Trust me, I know better than most that insatiable need for instant gratification. There is something lost, and not much gained, from outsourcing the last of our needs of shelter, clothing and food. We no longer build our own homes. We don’t pin and sew our clothes from patterns and now, apparently, we no longer cook.
I know people are pressed for time, but cooking is such a beautiful and essential part of life. There is nothing better than the sweet benediction from the scent of frying onions, the earthy warmth of sauteing garlic, the comforting aroma from the yeasty-warmth of rising bread.
I have observed my own personal contentment grow every time I brush another stroke of paint on canvas or cook a new recipe. I am proud of the turquoise silk lining I recently stitched into a basket from South Africa, creating my very beautiful knitting basket (though the jury is still out on the viability of the knitting endeavour). My lemon-rosemary cleaner is brewing in a mason jar as I write this and when I’ve finished this post, I will be making some ginger syrup to satisfy my endless craving for all things ginger.
Creation is not reserved for professionals. Creating our lives is the gift we are given. We must free ourselves up to fail.
Risk something. Risk it all. After all, imperfection is where beauty lies.
So in the spirit of being free to create anything, including lousy poems, I leave you with this:
Make supper from scratch,
Or sew a patch,
Knit a sweater,
Make your world better.
Bake a cake.
Create & make!
-Written with imperfect words and lots of love.