Friday, October 23, 2009

A Philosophical Morning

Recently as in the past three or four days I have been in the mood to devour books. Sometimes a book should just be eaten whole in one sitting and truth be told that is my favorite way to read.
Twice during this adventure and in separate books I came across a new word I did not know, "sybarite- one who loves luxury". The context in which this word appeared did not seem to be in a setting of wanton luxury but of real home life. It spurred my thoughts.

What do you think of when you think of luxury?

A bubble bath without interruption? Some wonderful dish of luscious dark chocolate maybe 70% cacao? Perhaps a fine fabric soft under the hands or a place by the sea?

Are your thoughts of what is luxury about things which you don't have or do have?
Are your ideas around places you can go to, or where you find yourself right now?

My thoughts have been on a journey back to something. One finds at the half century mark in life certain freedoms not experienced before. For one thing just living to this point, and acquiring a few strands of silver hair imparts some credibility to ones person. The other wonderful aspect to this time in life is the freedom to become a bit eccentric if one desires. We can blame menopause or any other host of mid life nomenclature that would define these behaviors. Personally, I prefer to label it individual preferences.

In my youth I was caught up in the woman's movement and "hippie-ness" as were many, it was the time we lived in. You were completely out of vogue if you had not read Gloria Steinem or attended some small group that discussed "Our Bodies Ourselves." There was a lot of frustration and anger in the world then, women especially were upset. A host if issues were laid out, equal pay for equal work, etc...etc...

My mom used to shake her head and say, "it's a man's world." Being young I wasn't sure of any of it, but the angry women seemed to have a passion for their beliefs and for a time I threw my hat in with them. But something happened during that time. I felt adrift and too small in a world that was too large and very scary. I really had no ax to grind. I was not angry. I had not experienced injustice. I found the whole "explore yourself" mentality to be weird and well--just not my cup of tea. The ideas of liberation were the antithesis of romance. The destruction of home and place. It took me years to sort that out, I was after all choosing to go against the mainstream, to pick up my hat and toss it into the ring of domesticity.

Being domestic is a calling is it not? Making a home is so much more than scrubbing the toilets and the floors. I wondered what kind of mothers the feminists had. Did these women ever come home to warm cookies and soft hugs? Were they tucked in at night with a story and a kiss?

My mother gave me a home. I remember tables full of wonderful home made food. I was especially fond of her buttery mashed potatoes and home made custards. Our house would have never made the cover of a magazine but it was cozy and comfortable. Yes, our toilets often needed a scrubbing but we got around to it, weekly anyway. It seems the new standard of our day is to have bathrooms that are ever ready for a magazine shoot. Not very realistic. We also have huge designer kitchens and then eat in restaurants all too frequently. Everything in the environment of the home has taken on sterility. The home however was meant to be a fertile place.

Where am I going?

On a journey that I won't finish in one blog post. It's a journey that I have been on for some time. Back to my roots I suppose, at times I think I am becoming my grandmother or a woman like her. I would be quite pleased to be like her, as she was a woman of greatness in my eyes. My grandmother was a matriarch in the real sense, she kept the family and extended family together. She taught us rich hospitality and gave us wonderful get togethers that made the holidays a real celebration. I do not remember many packages or presents but I remember every meal around the damask covered table, with Grandpa ceremonially lighting the candles.

The holidays are coming soon. Are you feeling the stress already? Are you going to participate in the madness?

Last year I did very little spending. It was a great relief. I enjoyed the season so much more, and I did it by not going to the stores. If I go to the stores I will be swept away. The marketers are much smarter than I am, they seem to know that I needed all these beautiful objects before I ever saw them. If I don't see, I won't want.

The TV has been off now for many months and like the main character in "Brave New World," without the daily dose of soma all of us seem to be waking up, in this house. My thoughts go around ideas of creating things instead of consuming them. I have even been taking a look at my clothes and wondering about making them. If I did, would I have the courage to make what I would REALLY like to wear? Like Mrs. Whaley and her Charleston garden who always wore a blue dress? Would I really like to be a non-conformist? Do I have the courage?

How about you? What would you REALLY like to do? When is the last time you stopped rushing about long enough to even ask yourself that question?

Life is too short not to have at least a few of our dreams come true.


Unknown said...

Lovely, as always. I love the idea of a ceremonial candle lighting. I think I'll add that to our beginning traditions for our family.

We work so hard to keep our home a place of refuge and rest from the world, but you are right, it is such a struggle. I too do better when I stay and rest....where I'm supposed to be.

Debbie in CA : ) said...

I was raised on frozen waffles and feminism . . . my kids sit down to home-made wholeness and Jesus -- I think I chose wisely (and have never regretted swimming across the current).

Keep singing, sister . . . many still need to hear that there is a BEST way to be found which involves choosing for themselves without a "box" of opinion polls to guide them.

Poverty chose consumer-free Christmases for us looooooong ago. We chose to keep it that way despite a rise in finances. Home-made fun rules around here. I gift my family with a Christmas feast -- no one misses a wrapped package from me. ; D

Kathy said...

I just love this post. I would so enjoy spending a day together over a cup of coffee (or tea and one of your pies) We have so much in common. No TV here either, I devour books, and I don't care for buying 'stuff'. One day I'll tell my story of my quest-journey leading to my peace and joy, and dreams that came true. Now if I could just rein in that crazy cowboy, only a little, we could enjoy some rest also. Your baby kitty sure is growing up too fast! Is he still tormenting you at night? Hugs!

Twisted Fencepost said...

One thing I consider a luxury....not having to worry about whether the bills are gonna be paid...and on time. That is a luxury in my eyes.
I would love to make this farm as self-sufficient as possible.

Mental P Mama said...

I just love this post. I feel like I just had a really great meditation. I want a life that is faaaar simpler than this one.

Rosie_Kate said...

I'm doing what I really want to do --managing my little home and farm and caring for my little family-- and THAT I consider luxury. And I try to thank God every day for it.

Unknown said...

What a great post! All of my dreams are coming true right now. It sure is busy though :) I try to take time every day to deeply look into my sons eyes and tell him I love him. Those are the best moments of my day for sure : )

Jeanie said...

I loved this post, philosophy and all. I think I am a bit older than you, but grew up in the environment you described. I am lucky at this point in my life to be able to make my own choices. Sometimes I don't know what they should be and sometimes I change my choices, but that in itself a luxury to me.

Flea said...