Sunday, November 26, 2017

kairos time

It is a gift to live a mile from my daughters’ elementary school and we’ve walked as often as possible for the last eleven years. I walk for days like today.

Ready earlier than usual, Karios, the last one in elementary, was glad we could stroll rather than race the tardy bell. Her name, Greek for God’s timing, represents the qualitative, feminine aspect of time as opposed to Chronos--male, masculine time.

Yesterday we were late, cross and spoke hardly at all, Chronos time. But today we are on Kairos time. We talk. Or rather, she talks. Or rather, nuggets of ten-year-old gold pour from her mind and heart, her whole being really, and I scramble to collect them before they evaporate.

Taking turns leading, we shuffle through leaves. We stop to rub a neighbor’s rosemary bush then inhale each other’s hands. She makes vibrant leaf bouquets then rains them on us. We peek into a restaurant being renovated, finally, after a fire. The barber, Jim, pops out of his shop to ask about grades and Christmas wish lists. Counting the number of tires on trucks, we speculate on how it’s decided if a vehicle needs to be a twelve, sixteen or ten wheeler.

Such gold already.

Soon she whispers she's had a bad dream but won’t share it because it’s too scary to say aloud, especially outside. I mention feeling the same at her age. Then I ask her to promise to tell me or her dad if anything scary happens to her in awake life. She agrees and holds my hand. Some people, I offer, believe dreams help us sort through daytime stuff we can’t figure out. Like messengers, she quips. Yes, like that. This nugget of understanding; it is what I strive for as a parent.

We’re quiet for a moment. Then she confides: A stalker who shoots birds entered our house with his gun and she’s frantic to escape.

I remark on her bravery. She’s shared what minutes ago was too scary to say aloud, outside. Gold. May she look what scares her in the eye and name it. May she take wing in the presence of what aims to take her down. May she know the strength of her wings.

Later, we notice mottled bark on a tree. She comments it looks like Snowflake Obsidian then asks if I even know what that is, her tone an affectation borrowed from the twelve-year-old sister. I don’t, which means she gets to educate me. It’s the toughest stone there is and native peoples used it for arrowheads. There’s a piece in her classroom she can show me when we get there. But, she questions, how did they break it if it’s unbreakable and strong? Another nugget, ‘can you imagine how tightly packed the atoms and molecules are for it to be the strongest stone?’

I kiss her goodbye at the classroom door, our hands fragrant still with rosemary.

At home I learn this about Snowflake Obsidian:

It is calming and soothing. It teaches you to value mistakes as well as successes. A stone of purity, Snowflake Obsidian provides balance for body, mind and spirit. A stone for transformation, fulfillment, metamorphoses, manifestation. 

Kairos time.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

does Dave Ramsey cover this?

Confession: I have never budgeted.

I’ve gotten by because I’m frugal. Plus my dad’s addicted to Costco and ensures I never run out of granola bars or cereal. But rather than relying on my cheapness or a stream of bulk items, I'd like to be smarter with money.

Then, Halloween.

Middle daughter and three friends dressed as M & M’s. Now, this did NOT mean a colored pillowcase with M & M Sharpied on it thrown over jeans. These are middle school girls on snapchat and instagram M & M’s. 

This required—
1) rainbow knee high socks
2) white Keds
3) white leggings 
4) suspenders
5) M & M t-shirt
6) a tutu

Yes. A tutu was essential for the M & M Halloween ensemble.

Middle produced the list at the same time I read this year’s stats on Earth Overshoot Day, the day on which humanity's resource consumption for the year exceeds Earth's capacity to regenerate those resources for that year. We hit overconsumption on August 2.

Meaning, we’ve already shot our planetary budget for 2017.

For the remaining 151 days of the year, we will be consuming resources we don’t have, borrowing from the future. Buying all this stuff new is the environmental equivalent of paying with a high interest credit card or cashing out at a Payday loan. It fucks up the future. While there may be a line item for Halloween in a family budget, there is no ecological line item for this expenditure. We are deficit spending the planet.

Since Earth’s revenue is maxed out sustaining life for all earthly beings, how can I ask the planet to supply these items in order for my daughter to be a yellow M & M for six hours, max?

But budgets are concentric rings.

The first ring is my daughter’s needs and wants to be considered.

Then there is the 12-year-old middle school girl ring. The priority in her social budget is to be included in and match the pack; belonging is paramount. Good grief, I remember.

Next ring out is the practical consideration of do I have the finances to manage all six items given everything else I’m responsible for.  

Most of us stay within these budgetary rings. For my lifetime and I suspect yours, we’ve been taught these alone are our priority. While we strive to balance our input and output columns to the penny, we have been woefully ignorant of the reality that we exist within a finite planetary ledger. But denying the overarching ecological ring renders all others pointless. Yellow suspenders cannot substitute for clean water.

Unlike my dad who inflates my fiscal capacity with a steady supply of string cheese, there is no one outside this planet sending in clean air, water, soil, intact ecosystems, carbon sequestering forests, and whatever else we need for a life-supporting healthy planet.

There’s not even a Costco, a big box planet store.

Clearly, there is no ecological budget to justify Costco. But my dad feels connected, useful and gratified providing my daughters high fructose corn syrup food product. Yet another ring to consider.

How do we honor the budgetary rings we daily operate in-the personal, familial and social- while being mindful of the ecological circle that encompasses everything? Clearly neglecting this ring is catching up. 

The planet is the ring that rules us all. 

Attending to my daughter's first two rings if it jeopardizes her capacity to meet her future needs is not in her best interest. I struggle with this tension daily. 

So with Middle’s Halloween list, or when I have to purchase anything, these questions run through my mind:

1)   What do we have? (white tutu, rainbow socks, keds)
2)   What can we borrow? (yellow suspenders)
3)   What can we find at the thrifty? (white leggings)
4)  What can we make from what we have? (dye white tutu) 
5)   Do we absolutely need it? (Friends dressed as M & Ms)

Wait, does that count as budgeting? Yes, yes it does. 

In a planetary vein.