Rekindle Your Wild Joy and Deep Belonging to the Earth

Relationship with Stuff: Toy Stories September 22, 2013



Gabriele Galimberti wandered the world to photograph children with their favorite toys. He would first play with the children so they would get to know one another a bit, then he’d do the photo shoot.

I think the project reveals some interesting insights into peoples’ relationship with our stuff — not only in the photos themselves, but in the photographer’s experience of doing the project.

The first interesting observation is that cross-culturally, the toys were not that different. Dinosaurs, cuddly stuffed animals, dolls and boy dolls – er, that is, “action figures,” toy trucks and the like showed up across the globe.








Of course, the favored toys naturally

“…reflected the world each child was born into: so the boy from an affluent Beijing family loves Monopoly, because he likes the idea of building houses and hotels, while the boy from rural Mexico loves trucks, because he sees them rumbling through his village to the nearby sugar plantation every day.”

These toys were of course provided by the parents, who offer their children implements of their own lives: the taxi driver bought her son a lot of miniature cars, and the farming family bought small plastic rakes, shovels, and the like.

With the exception of computer games, these are also, Galimberti noticed, the same kinds of toys that have been around for the past 30 years — a continuity that gave him a sense of calm belonging.






But bigger cultural differences appeared in two ways. The first is the way the parents dealt with the child’s participation in this project.

“Parents from the Middle East and Asia, [Galimberti] found, would push their children to be photographed even if they were initially nervous or upset, while South American parents were “really relaxed, and said I could do whatever I wanted as long as their child didn’t mind”.”

The second big difference lay in the way the children play with these toys.

“But it’s how they play that seemed to differ from country to country. Galimberti found that children in richer countries were more possessive with their toys and that it took time before they allowed him to play with them (which is what he would do pre-shoot before arranging the toys), whereas in poorer countries he found it much easier to quickly interact, even if there were just two or three toys between them.”






Both of these hold significance when looking at the world ecopsychologically.

The first brings up the question of whose will is more important and sovereign: the outside authority, or your own smallest family member?

The second begs the large question, how does the number of possessions we own correlate to the quality of interaction we have with others involving their use?

In other words, does a richer standard of living naturally lead to more possessiveness, and a poorer or more simple one lead to more sharing? We could make the argument that the first part has indeed been so since the dawn of agriculture, which allowed for some groups to store great quantities of food for the hard winters while those without such walled, rodent-proof containers sometimes starved — unless the walled-in folks were generous with their surpluses, or unless the nomadic hunter-gatherers began raiding.




If more wealth does indeed lead to more possessiveness, is that still the case if the entire community attains a certain level of wealth, or only if there’s great discrepancy between the haves and have-lesses or even have-nots?

Regardless, can recognizing the likely possibility of behaving in a stingy way lead certain folks in affluent societies to deliberately keep themselves poorer in a subconscious (and likely misguided) bid for deeper community connection? I ask this question for myself, often: does my deep-seated fear of becoming an entitled jerk keep me from having a surplus of money, even a modest one? I’ve always had enough, but something deep in me fears extreme wealth and keeps me from having it.


But I do have a lot of stuff. What I miss, living now in a new place, is people to want to come play with it.




What about you? What is your relationship with stuff like? And how might we move toward a more caring, sharing society and world while still enjoying our toys?


All quotes and photos from

Please go there to see more of his excellent work.

Images are published here with permission.


Native Lands Back in the Hands of Native Peoples December 1, 2012

Filed under: All My Relations,Spiritual Ecopsychology — BrujaHa @ 10:43 am
Tags: , , , , , ,
Pe Sla victory poster

Pe Sla victory poster

We made it!!!!!

Years ago, an activist I admire shook his head sadly as he observed, “Every environmental victory is a temporary one.” But not this one. A lot of people responded to the tribes’ urgent call for donations of money to keep their sacred lands out of the hands of developers. I was among those who gave what they could, and now this land will stay wild. Well, wild in the really old sense: in partnership with people who will be with it as equals instead of lord-and-masters or museum-goers. Tears of gratitude are flowing.

And yes, the very idea that the native peoples had to buy their own land back is completely perverse. But the important thing is, They Got It Back. This is cause for big time celebration.

Here you can read the full story & watch a video:
“Tribes Reach $9 Million Goal and Purchase Sacred Site of Pe’ Sla after months of high-profile fundraising that drew celebrities’ attention.”


Early Spring Cleaning February 17, 2011

I think my instincts are turning toward, or pulling me back towards, Beauty.

I just made a very simple supper snack – pear with cheese, but it was clear that the BLUE plate would be so much more striking against the creamy colors than the yellow one with lemons printed on it – so I yielded to the impulse, and oh how true that is.  I found myself laying the pears out in a fan pattern around the perimeter, with the three cheese slices forming an echo along the bottom. Then it seemed to need something… pecans! In the middle!

Is it food or art?

Who cares?

When I eat it, I will become it. Its beauty will nourish me inside as it does now through my eyes. My whole life could become this delicious feast of moments.

I am so drawn to this idea.

I’ve been taking inventory.

Paring down.

Over the past two days, it looked like a tornado hit in here as I hauled the couch to the other side of the room and deconstructed my bookshelves.

Like they do in Bali, I took every one down off their shelves, and dusted the shelves. Then I chose each book deliberately to either go back to be used and loved by me for some specific purpose or just because I value it or want to read it; or to be given away to either a certain friend or to the bookstore, thrift shop, or laundromat to find their new lovers.  I honor them for the knowledge and insights they contain. And some, although I’m sooo drawn to them, I know I will not be reading soon – so out they go too. This appreciative yet unattached gratitude feels good.

And the funny thing is, even though I’ve collected over ten bags full to give away, every shelf is still completely packed. How did that happen? Where were all those books before?

I also had the wild hair idea to shelve them according to color, and damn the subjects… this is the yellow shelf.  But stopped myself, thinking someone might actually ask me for a book, which would be embarrassing when I couldn’t find it for the life of me  (unlike before, where I could unerringly point to every blasted one, however buried.)

Finally, I sharpened all my knives.

It’s like I’m preparing all my tools – but for what?

For the future journeys/adventure ahead, of course.

Leaf buds will open soon.