Monday, April 28, 2008

Finding Meaning in a Latte

I respond to Kinsi’s post: I can still be Unitarian and love facebook, starbucks, and birthday princesses

With apologies to Meg Ryan:

"Yes, YES, YES, YES!!!"

Speak it!

"If our kids can see how they can find spirituality in Dance Dance Revolution ..."

And again, YES! I know that there are some UUs who are quite happy with their all organic co-op, "we keep a tv in the closet in case of emergencies," "I don't wear labels" lifestyles ... but where they see a moral lifestyle, others see as "inessential weirdness." That doesn't mean that they should change, but this assumption that their lifestyle is The Way and The Truth will keep us small.

(Great article about inessential weirdness)

I will blushingly admit that one of the big spiritual breakthroughs I experienced was prompted by ... a Rick Astley song. (No, not “Never Gonna Give You Up.” I was not rickrolled.)

Meaning can be found in all kinds of places. It does not reside exclusively on the mountaintop, surrounded by nature and wide blue sky. Tish-tosh, who couldn’t find meaning there? But I don’t live on the mountaintop. I live down in the suburbs, and I think the Internet is a force that can pull together people like nothing else before; having “Dora the Explorer” DVDs and a portable DVD player have been lifesavers this week, and some of my favorite family memories have been us eating pizza in the living room, watching a movie or even American Idol.

In the summer, Good Lord Willin’, we’ll go back up to the cabin we stayed in last summer, no tv or internet, where we’ll read books, go fishing, gaze at the stars and play “Poohsticks.” And I’ll find profound meaning there.

Rather than encouraging people to leave the current mainstream world, why don’t we give them tools to find meaning in that world? To make mindful, meaningful choices. Some will find great meaning in avoiding Starbucks. Others, like my sweet baboo, will get up early Monday morning and run across the street to the Starbucks opposite the hospital and buy someone a Venti Peppermint Mocha to give their beloved a little bit of happiness, before leaving to work in the corporate world of computers and systems.


h sofia said...

I think probably most UUs partake of brand names, etc. But they don't speak about it because they don't need to. They are in the mainstream. The people who are trying to live another way are more vocal because they want to find people who are also living another way.

I live in Portland, a place of weirdness and wonderfulness. You get some snobbery about these things, but most people are a mix. They'll go to a protest and then pick up some things from Target on the way home ... they'll wear Gap and refuse to drink Coke products. I'm that way. I buy organic meat, but drink Minute Maid. I don't give a crap about name brands, and we drive an 8 year old Daewoo, but I've shopped at the outlet mall for good bargains.

Even here there are very, very few purists. The ones I know are hardly on the Internet at all. They are too busy canning, raising goats, teaching at cooperative schools, sewing their own clothing, collecting glass jars to drink water out of, or biking to work.

kinsi said...

We might be spiritual twins.

Peppermint mochas are one of the best things about winter. If not THE best.

h sofia said...

p.s. The point I forgot to make is that I don't think there is any kind of "normal UUs" vs. "mountain top UUs" culture war going on within UUism.

There's nothing wrong with lattes, but the discussion Kinsi started at ze's blog just sort of reminds me of the "war on Christmas" stuff, which I found to be largely manufactured. I don't like to see us going down that road because it strikes me as being divisive.

ogre said...

Meaning is what we need.

We find it where we find it, when we find it.

Be alert to it.

It may be found in the pebble in your shoe... or the organic, fair trade coffee... or in somewhere else. It's not the where that matters. It's the what--the meaning we find.

Grab it.

The value of meaning is meaning.

There's a value in brandlessness, etc.--but it's not in the brandlesness itself. That's mistaking the pointing finger for the moon.

Christine Robinson said...

People in hospitals get all the peppermint lattes they want. (a virtual peppermint latte to you this very moment, LE, and a cocoa for LW!)

The rest of us can consider how much of this sort of thing is good for us and our world. We don't have to be precious or snobby about it, just brew our coffee at home sometimes or most times and think about where and why we spend our money. That, too, is making meaning.

Terri Dennehy Pahucki said...

Most of us fall somewhere in the middle I think...trying to figure it out. (My family community garden, can vegetables, AND dances to "Best of the 80's" and watches Dora videos, for instance...)
The point? Listen to the stories...we all have them. We judge each other way too much. I think we all have a lot to learn from each other...