As the crazy consumerism of Christmas permeates every aspect of western society, it is a relief to know that around the world many people are getting back to basics, remembering the important things in life (Not Shopping!) and understanding the links between our consumerism and the suffering of people and the planet. I remember the years that I spent protesting Christmas, doing vigils and week-long hunger strikes against over-consumption in shopping malls. Now, I look at my children and cannot deny them a cause for celebration but try to focus on the charitable acts of giving and celebration of life - not the destructive impacts of consuming and buying entertainment! Our family has an agreement to only give presents that are reused, or hand made. Pacha comes home from her kindergarten singing Christmas carols and displaying hand made decorations. Yani has a fascination for Santa Claus and tries his best to communicate with him when he turns up at street parades. I think he was asking for a 'truck' for Christmas!
In Ayr, our Chistmas tree is the Mango tree! Bountiful and benevolent! Over the past 4 weeks, I managed to collect about 100 organic mangoes (despite the yield being 70% less than last year due to dry weather), sliced and sun dried them to make about 5 kgs of dried mango. It became my morning meditation as the kids were splashing in the pool or running around the yard (coming back to me from time to time for a slice of fresh mango. Cutting the sweet,juicy flesh reminded me strangely of cutting raw fish (with a slightly better smell!). It took about two days to dry in the sun. I like to think of the mangoes absorbing the power and energy of the summer sun, concentrating the sweetness and flavour of the mangoes delicious!
It was a successful experiment and I hope we can expand the project next year. Some lucky friends in Japan will receive a sample of the dried mangoes and I am curious to know if they love this delicacy as much as me and the kids!
Last week two very special packages arrived from Japan; the beautiful new Hummingbird book and the cd of the new Hummingbird song. It is humbling and exciting to be part of this campaign and I pray it will bring empowerment and new hope to all people in Japan and the world.
My small slow actions in the past few weeks have been in planting about 20 native trees in our garden and writing 3 letters on environmental issues to the local newspaper.
My New Year's resolutions include buying a special bicycle trailer that can carry my children as well as advertising green transport around town. I also plan to start a Green political group here by starting monthly stalls at the local markets.
Hopefully next year will also see the beginning of Hummingbird/Deep eco-tours from Japan to Australia. Megu Ogata and I have planned the first 10 day tour to start on Jan 28th taking in the rainbow region of Nimbin, Lismore and Byron Bay. It will offer an introduction to deep ecology workshop with John Seed and Ruth Rosenheck, visits to permaculture communities, renewable energy, seedsavers, beautiful beaches and pristine rainforests. We will try to repay the environmental cost of journeying by plane by planting at least 9 trees per participant.
Finally, I have enrolled in part time study next year to become a teacher's assistant. It is a way to learn more about education methods and how to guide my own children in their life learning adventure (especially when home schooling in Ecuador). Life is full as a Slow Mother!
In just over a week we will travel to the Gold Coast by slow train (22 hours!) to be with our friends and family over solstice. The children and I am very excited, so much looking forward to being with our families and going to the beach every day. Actually, one Christmas morning tradition my family follows is to go down to the beach with a box of juicy mangoes and eat them in the ocean.
Celebrating Life - What more do we need?