Thursday, November 13, 2008

Deviancy and Compassion

When I was younger--nineteen, to be exact--I spent a year living in inner-city Philadelphia, volunteering in the community and at a local high school.  It was easy during that time to be mindful of the needs of others, especially in a neighborhood where provision for the basics wasn't always easy to come by.

Since returning home to Colorado, however, it has not been as easy to be so mindful.  I am fortunate to live in a community with good schools, safety, and relative wealth.  Those fortunes make it seem like everyone is blessed, when really I know that they are not.  Even if the people in my community are provided for (which I know some are not), there are millions around the world who struggle just to find the basics--food, shelter, water, health.

I mentioned earlier this week that I didn't want my new, flexible, work-from-home lifestyle to just benefit me.  I sincerely feel that if I can't help others, than what is the point?  And so I submit that one of the key tenets to Deviancy 101, in addition to working grassroots jobs and going off the grid, is to be a helper of those in need.  Now, I haven't figured out exactly how I personally want to do that through my life and business (there are so many options!), but I know that it is important to start.

Fortunately there are examples all around of women who are doing just what I'm talking about.  Amanda Blake Soule of Soule Mama for instance (one of this Fall's Marketplace Mavens) recently launched a project to provide caps and receiving blankets for new babies in Haiti.  Her project demonstrates well the notion that "Don't Deviate Alone" means that as women we take special care to care for others, and to reach out beyond the shelter of our own lives.  I admire the Mama to Mama project, and any woman who is using her creative talents and passions to help those in need.  Note: she also has links to other "craftivism" projects on her site ("craftivism"--isn't that a clever way to phrase it!?)

Maybe you know someone who also demonstrates the kind of creative compassion I'm talking about.  I'd love to hear more about them and their special project!  Please share by emailing me at or commenting here.  Or tell me your thoughts on how we busy, modern ladies can be more mindful of others and actively compassionate.  I'm open to any tips or ideas you might have!

A peek at what is to come:  I'm wrapping up Deviancy 101 at the end of this week, and am really excited to start a new series, Handmade Holidays, soon!  We'll talk about some great DIY projects, oogle over gift ideas, and I'll wax poetically about how supporting "grassroots jobs" is good for us as women, and good for the world.  Stay tuned next week for more!

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