This is my not only my first posting of the new year, it is also my first post in almost a year. You see, the more I thought about 'the green bubbie' the more I liked the idea- so I decided to stop everything I was doing, and BECOME a green bubbie myself! I see 3 parts of the 'green bubbie'
First and foremost, a green bubbie is an energy efficient model of grand parenting- you don't need to have your own children- use local sprouts and shower them with love and attention! While I do have my own grand children, living in other states, I have become a green bubbie to children and adults alike. When I was younger, I was fascinated by very young children- now I find that so many adults seem very young- and the 30 and 40 somethings seem very open to having a green bubbie in their lives!
2. the 'green bubbie' is an identity, and by extension, a special relationship, which you can extend, to choose to confer by choice: For instance, when asked what I do, I began to introduce myself as," I am a green bubbie" which sparked great conversation. When I recognized a kindred spirit, I found myself fully confident in offering, "I would like to be your green bubbie." Of course anyone who I would identify as a kindred spirit jumped at the opportunity. I admit I am somewhat surprised at how easily and with great enthusiasm, these people refer to me as 'green bubbie' in email salutations, phone messages,and in actual real time conversations!
For me it's a bit like being 'fairy godmother/mentor/volunteer life coach/supportive guide" on the frontier of life. An added perk is that I don't have to pay tuition for any of these new people in my life,
3. A green bubbie is a Jewish Environmentalist, of a certain age. My definition of this age is we remember when the world looked like 'paradise, before they put up a parking lot.'
now for the personal SEED This is the time of year I love best as a gardener. The arrival of the Seed Catalogs. Every green bubbie- or wannabe- take note: Sign up the children in your life for their own personal seed catalog. They are free, and they arrive in the mail with the designated names. These full color magazines can be the beginning of countless conversations, activities, projects and plans. Whether you are a green bubbie to a child, a family, or to younger adults- sign them up for their own seed catalog and follow up with gardening tips and suggestions and become a conduit for even greater garden wisdom.
So just as a seed is the beginning of life- think about the relationships you want to nurture, to start or to season, with greetings and deepening connections. Branch out. Let people know you are thinking of them and if they don't garden, you can do, as I do, and invite them to come and work in the garden of your life. It makes for a richer life than I ever imagined.
The day is short and there is a great deal of work; the laborers are lazy but the reward is great and the Master is pressing. (Pirkei Avot 2: 15)
A modern American proverb would have us believe that “Time is Money.” This ancient Jewish parable from Pirkei Avot tells us that time is infinitely more precious than money: Time is life. Life is so short and there is so much to do; it’s so easy to procrastinate, but when we use our time well, we accomplish so much.
Being human means living in time and with awareness that time is passing as we live. To get the most from life, we need to put first things first. For most of us, the top priority is our families. And, I would maintain, that as we gain in wisdom, our sense of 'family' can be markedly expanded as our concerns and caring can reach well beyond our biological families. It’s always the right time to become a Green Bubbie, to spend time building new connections, and on the relationships that we already cherish, to actively pursue a spiritual path, to learn in new ways, to live passionately each day. To make a difference. To make ourselves more vibrant, vital, and compassionate. If not now, when?
Charting a life course for yourself as you get older is an incredible gift to yourself and to those you love. Also, think of yourself as a gift even to those you haven't met yet. When you look in the mirror, or in your closet, what do you see? What else would you like to see? What else would you like to do? to learn? Where have you not yet traveled to? IS there a color you've never worn? Are you wondering how you would look in glitter? Could you see yourself in a net enclosed tent wearing white gauze and khacki- perfect for a safari? Are these the clothes of a daring artist? A cook? A globe trotting celeb? A monk? I have found that this time of life is a wonderful time to explore not only alternate identities, but without using any of your 'miles' you can cover a lot of ground by just looking at color, texture, shape and form. And what better way to play out all the possibilities than through art- or, in this case possibly a craft.
Even if you can't thread a needle, you can get a glue gun, a doll form, and all the fabrics that capture your imagination. Cut, wrap and glue- and viola! You are a doll maker- and if you can tell stories, the theatre arts are about to unfold around you.
Children love dolls, puppets and stories. Truth is, adults love them as well. It is great fun even to lay out the elements of a 'potential wardrobe' and depending on the age, interests, and skills of those around you, you can involve them in the development of your dolls and stories. OR, for your own sanity and a great deal of fun, treat yourself and your friends to a night of imaginative dressmaking, and a new way to think about 'character development.' Trying on the world is how children learn their place in it- as adults we too can try on worlds we've never encountered, or cultures we have yet to see. Try beginning a fabric collection (you can buy 'fat quarters' which is about a quarter of a yard depending on the width of the fabric- it has nothing to do with waistlines or hips! Exercise your imagination- it's good for ever part of you!
I remember once reading a poem, something about women, and there was a line in it- maybe it was, 'when I am old, I will wear a purple hat' Well, my fabric collection is well beyond purple, and the possibilities of designing my life are wide open to new color, new textures and new ties of all kinds. Try to imagine....
I’d like to introduce you to Mirele Goldsmith, PhD.
Mirele is a perfect Green Bubbie- she is passionate about the environment, passionate about sharing all that she knows, is always learning- she can even chart your carbon footprint. And she is devoted to making new friends- of all ages. Along with her wonderful husband Rick, their home is known form welcoming singles, marrieds, and even families with young children to their home. Their Shabbat and Yom Tov table is always a meeting place for diverse minds and lively souls. Mirele's dissertation was all about WATER- and she has been speaking internationally on the topic- so turn your water off, and value every drop, and invite the neighbors over for a cup of tea.
Mirele is a Green Bubbie!
Are YOU a Green Bubbie- let us hear about you, and let us learn from your example, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or, would you like to tell us about a Green Bubbie in your life?
Here is where we get to know the green bubbie in each of us- and identify the people who have been the green bubbies in our own lives. The ‘green bubbie’ is really a name of a relationship. It is about charting a course in our lives, about what kind of person we want to be and become as we age. It is about the kinds of relationships we can create and nurture. You can “grow your own” family. Nurture the relationships you have, and branch out to establish new roots with the people who live near you- its a bio-regional focusl it’s about giving life through sharing yourself and helping those around you connect.
First of all, a 'Bubbie' is a Yiddish word for grandmother- every culture, language had its own name for this relationship, and within families idiosyncratic names emerge -- usually from the first adorable utterance of a first grandchild. The warm associations with the name "Bubbie" may be from previous generations, when families lived within inches of each other, and generations shared language and religion as well as meals together.
Today families are spread out geographically and spiritually. The definition of 'family' keeps changing, and in many corners, the multi-generational Jewish family could be nominated for the endangered species list.
So, in this rapidly changing world, I'd like to offer a new relationship for consideration: it's "the Green Bubbie." I have been toying with "the Green Bubbie" for over a year- I wasted months thinking of it as a non-profit organization, or considering it as a for profit company. I concluded that there is nothing the Jewish community needs less at this time that another non-profit, and on the other hand, there is nothing we need more that a renewed sense of 'family.' And who could be more nurturing, accepting, connecting than a Bubbie- full of the wisdom of our sages, coupled with the passion and know how to plant real seeds and bring beauty and meaning to the (younger) generations around us.
So, I see a " Green Bubbie" as a person who can draw on her roots to establish relationships. She also knows how to plant real seeds, and how and when to pull the carrots out of the ground. Now, you don't have to be Jewish to have a Green Bubbie- and when I first started with this idea, people thought it was about teaching preschoolers how to garden. Well, that may be true, but it is also about establishing relationships with 30 and 40 somethings- it turns out, people are 'open for wisdom' and and there seems to be no limit on the number of caring relationships you can build. In this world, the more you give away materially, the less you have, But on a spiritual level, the more you give , the more you 'are' the more you 'become' and realize all you can be. It's shifting perspectives from a world defined by what you have, to a world of becoming all you can be!