Do you ever find yourself just feeling grumpy, sick of smiling outwardly, snapping at people you don't know (even inside your own head), head down, annoyed, frustrated? I certainly do. And I know there are those who would encourage us, in those moments, to put on a happy face, to look for our good humor, to lighten up. Today I am looking for inspiration for how to find that good humor, and I find it thinking about Anita.
Anita is my good friend, a beautiful young woman who lives with her family at Refugio Rafael, the second family to move into the sheltered housing portion of the project in Marquina, Bolivia. She is one of 5 children, the only girl, and has such a tender and sweet nature, I love to see her toughness and heart when they appear. She made the earrings she is pictured wearing, from washing the wool, to helping to dye it, felt it and then assemble the earrings with her own design ideas. Making these earrings is a privilege to her, an opportunity to learn from the mothers in the community, and to share her own design creativity and to express herself.
I don't want to walk you through all the challenges Anita has faced, because her good humor has been evident to me, even from the day her family arrived at this project, clearly in crisis. Anita's good humor does not come solely from overcoming challenges and becoming part of a community, it seems to come from her innate love for herself and others, a genuine appreciation of life. I think true good humor is based in exactly that - a genuine appreciation of life.
To me, this gratitude sometimes feels like something we have to create out of thin air, when nothing seems fantastic. But if you've ever washed wool (especially working that caca out, that's the special part), dried it, dyed it, felted it, then made it into a lovely pair of earrings, maybe you have the tools to make gratitude, too. Life does get us a little shitty sometimes. Finding our authentic good humor is like washing out that caca, drying out our bristly attitude, coloring our heart with some bright colors, and fashioning our approach to the day with some creativity and charm.
Anita is making earrings to support her desire to continue her education rather than choosing to marry now, even though marrying at her age is culturally appropriate. I am so inspired by her approach to the world, her genuine good humor made out of gratitude and love.
I brought sample earrings made by Anita and the women of Refugio Rafael, back to the States in the process of becoming official products in the World Peaces line. They can currently be found at Global Gallery and at the pop-up events we are doing throughout the spring and summer. Find your reminder to be a touch lighter, to be in good humor, and to spread that to others. If these earrings help you in that journey, we appreciate that and hope your good humor will spread out to others.
For more information about Refugio Rafael, visit www.refugiorafael.com