Thursday, February 4, 2010

.::Part 1::. Hand Me Up!

I love my shoes. 
I love my clothes. 
I love my stuff. 

At what point does it become too much? It seems like the western world has become consumed with an excess amount of "stuff". At this day in age, we are so spoiled and we don't even realize it. I know I'm spoiled. Fashion is something that I love. Some could even say I'm obsessed. When I'm studying, I often catch myself day dreaming about that dress I saw online the other day. Let's get real here. I could spend a full 8 hrs browsing through different online clothing stores. I mean, if I got paid to do that, I'd be rich!!! (and then i could buy more clothes... haa haa). Sometimes I go shopping and I buy things for no reason. They get worn once or sit in my closet and never see the light of day. 

Through my many humbling experiences in travel, I have learned that those with the least amount of stuff are truly the most generous. Generous in every way. Generous with their hospitality, generous with their giving, generous with their time, generous with their kindness. It seems like they don't have all this stuff that clouds our vision and clutters our life. They have so little yet they have so much to offer. 

When I was in Portugal a few years back, I met a man. He was old. He had wrinkles. He was poor. But he had the warmest smile. He lived in a small fishing town off the Algarve coast. As his fellow neighbors and visitors stepped off the train, he would be there to greet them and welcome them to his town as he circled around on his battered bicycle. It seemed like that was all he did all day. He welcomed me and my friend. At the time I had to pee. Really really bad. I asked him if he knew where the bathroom was. He said follow me... He rode his bike and we followed. We came up to this little shack. As he opened the door, he was gleaming with pride. "This is my home", he said with a joyful smile. It was literally a hole in the wall the size of my bathroom- and NOT my master bathroom. In it was his bed, his kitchen, his sink, which was also the toilet.

After using his toilet slash sink, he invited us in for some tea. He told us his amazing life story as a refugee, escaping from civil war in Africa. With his broken english we laughed and joked around. He wanted us so badly to stay and watch the soccer match at a local pub. But the last train left at 9 pm and the game would only start at that time. He offered us his bed and a couple beers. He said he would sleep outside on a bench. His generous giving opened my eyes. He was willing to offer everything, for who? For strangers- yet he treated us like family. 

So I wanted to create a challenge for myself and others in the name of generous giving. The aim is to create a paradigm shift in the way we relate to "stuff". Rather than "Who I am is my clothes", we shift to "Who I am is creativity and full-self expression. The result of this is my unique style and art".

The challenge for this project is to give up one of your FAVORITE items or outfits in your closet. Yes yes- I know. Tears will be shed when my favorite cocktail dress and set of heels are being peeled away from my tiny little claws. But think about it... when we donate our clothes we usually give away the leftovers that nobody wants. The crap. The unwanted. The rags. What we want to create is true GENEROUS giving. Make it a "Hand Me Up" instead of a "Hand Me Down". 

Target donors: any shoppaholics or fashion-loving peeps!

Result: Gain freedom from attachment to "stuff" and allow someone less fortunate to enjoy things they would not usually get the opportunity to enjoy!

How do you relate to stuff? What does it mean to you? Why are we so attached?

Stay tuned for more details...

I love my creativity. 
I love my self-expression. 
I love my style. 

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