Monday, November 19, 2012

Celebrating pocket change

I love how this little scene (from Allied Arts in Menlo Park) reframes pocket change.  Nickles, pennies and dimes, rescued from a linty, crumb-laden destiny, have been given new life.  

Offered instead of spent, they delight passers-by.

Each life accumulates abundance in its own way.  If you're like me, you may have an abundance of groceries, laundry, car pooling, single socks, or unanswered voice mail.

At the beginning of the holiday season I'm curious about creating mental shifts that can help reframe the usual excess (like pocket change) into an offering or celebration.

In a family experiment, which I think will become our new holiday season kick-off, I took a stab at reframing grocery shopping.  

The kids' school had organized to have Second Harvest Food Bank food drive.  Normally, we'd clean out our pantry to participate, but this year, to celebrate that we are able to buy our own groceries every week, I decided we would shop for food instead.

By deciding to take a special shopping  trip, our effort became a family quest (I'm into quests lately).

On Friday, Chloe and I did a little reconnaissance work by inspecting the food collection barrels to see what was really needed.  Then on Sunday I took the three girls to Safeway.  We talked about how we grocery shop about 100 times a year for our family, but that on this one trip we would shop for other people.  Most wisdom traditions suggest tithing, and so we talked about how that would mean going to the grocery store TEN times, but we were going to go this once and MAKE IT COUNT.

This was a great reframe for me. 

Lately I've been feeling like I grocery shop all the time, but this experiment rekindled my love of grocery shopping (I bet you would not guess that in my first apartment I took a picture of the cans of tuna in my pantry--yes, I love my pantry that much).  

From the moment we decided to fill two carts, I was full of a spirit of celebration, and the kids caught on.  

Here's Chloe, she really had a good time with this.

For some reason, filling the grocery carts with other people in mind was really FUN, and I got a boost, a real sense of excitement about being able to do something that seemed extravagant--like fill two grocery carts for people we don't know.  But the reality is, it wasn't extravagant at all in terms of cost, maybe it was just paying special attention to the fact that we actually can buy all this food--perhaps it was extravagant attention.  Yes, that might be it--the shift in mind set I was looking for!

Organize moments that allow for extravagant attention to be paid to the normal everyday blessings.  

I think I'll try to do more of this over the season!  How about you?  Are there holiday reframes that you use to create fun, wonder or generosity?  I would LOVE to hear about them!


  1. What a great kick-off to the season - made more enjoyable when I imagine the girls' delight in the participation of it! Our culture makes it too easy not to appreciate what we have and how fortunate we are. I get a wake-up jolt each Tuesday as I volunteer at church. People come by the church seeking help with rent money, utilities, etc. We help or refer each of them. It's never enough, but its better than nothing. It helps me be more rooted in reality.
    Thanks for reminding me to share

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