Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Thinking and Buying Local for the Holidays

In a holiday that has become largely commercial, we should all endeavor to support our own communities and artisans by buying local, especially at this time of year. How does this topic apply to Ancestor Work? It’s simple. We are the catalyst for the change we wish to see in the world. We make choices every day that shape the world we are leaving for our children and grandchildren, for our nieces and nephews. And that includes everything our dollars support. Every single dollar bill. Every cent.
Where do you spend your money? Independently owned businesses or chain corporations? Where do you shop? Where do you eat? If you spend your money on chain stores and franchises, do you know where *they* spend their money? What political causes do they fund? What humanitarian causes do they give money to? For all you know, you are spending all of your money in a store that funds everything you despise and disagree with.
When you buy food and gifts from local stores and artisans, you feed your hard-earned money into your own economy. Which is good for where you live, as it keeps that money circulating locally. It also keeps the carbon footprint of your dollar down with little to no expense for shipping and packaging. Peeling back another layer into this mindfulness, where do the products you buy come from? Why send money to China when there are artisans and craftsmen in your own city who need your support?
I know, I know. But this is *exactly* what I wanted. Sometimes, it shouldn’t be about getting exactly what you want or need. Sometimes, compromising on your vision due to money or geographic constraint is the lesson. And it’s usually where you start to work outside of the box and the magic happens. Anyone can buy a gift off a list or registry. But who else is going to get them that custom mug made just for them? Or that glass wind chime custom colored to match their house? The hand-forged kitchen knife with a handle made of wood from their favorite tree?
Do you want a mug poured in a mold that looks just like every other mug in the box? Or do you want a mug hand-thrown and glazed, with all of the artist’s energy and concentration poured into its creation? Which of the two do you think will feel better in your hands? In the hands of your loved ones?
Supporting artisans over corporate stores is first and foremost of importance to me. If you’re buying on-line, look into sites like the Etsy shops, where craftspeople sell their own items. I am blessed to have good friends who are jewelers, potters, bladesmiths, metalsmiths, candle makers, herbalists, visual artists, carpenters, seamstresses, poets, etc. I love giving them business and I love sending them business because I know where that money goes; it pays their rents and mortgages. It pays their utilities. It buys them more supplies to create more wonderful items. It means they can also have a good holiday with their spouses and children.
Being able to do that and/or buy items locally is of secondary importance to me. If I can’t find an artisan who can make the gift I need, I at least try to buy that gift from a smaller independently-owned store versus a chain. Take a drive around the yellow pages and see what little stores are tucked away in your community that you haven’t visited yet. Check them out and see what treasures they have to offer. If I have to buy from a chain store, I buy it from the one whose beliefs are most in accord with mine, based on what they do with their own money. We vote with every dollar we spend. I believe that.

This year, instead of trying to find gifts to appease people, buy them a unique item no one else would or could have (if you are capable of it, craft one for them). Find them that treasure that makes you think of them, so that they’ll see your heart in the gift of it. And if you are a potter, a toymaker, a dressmaker, a knitter, a felter, a jeweler, a carpenter, a bladesmith, a writer, a visual artist, a glassblower, a baker, etc… thank you for taking a risk. Thank you for sharing your gifts and your energy. Thank you for brightening my world.

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