Faith and The Greater Good II

imag0351Its just a touch after midnight. You’ve all read about my infamous inability to sleep. Today was a touch different. I got about 3 hours last night trying to push out some orders, get some work done, and stay on track. But, I derailed this morning, pushed myself into something of a corner. I was a bit like a zombie. Glossy eyed and staring at the needles as I worked SLOWLY, much slower than usual.

I’ve had some stress lately. I still haven’t made my rent. Sales this last month were dreadful. That coupled with the lack of sleep has just made me, well….to be simple and blunt: a little scared. So, I set the needles down for a while today, and lit a candle. I have a prayer candle I picked up over at the Cuban grocer’s just for this sort of thing. It’s a candle of the the Miraculous Mother, Maria Milagrosa, The Virgin Mary. I’m not a Catholic, but I don’t think that sort of thing should matter when it comes to prayer, nor to faith. The prayer on the back has this one idea, this one moment of meditation that I was clinging to a lot today. “…let us obtain purity of heart, so that every word, deed, and thought leads us to the greater good.”

I worked upon that in my heart today. Kara was here earlier and we had a discussion about my little teddy bear business, and she, like others have said, “You’re having money problems because you’re not charging enough.” And I have been so resistant to that idea for so long. To begin with, I want everyone to be able to have one of my little bears. I don’t want them exclusive and expensive so that only a select could have one. I, in my heart, can’t bring myself to charge any more for them. Smiles should be priceless. Hope should come at no cost. Blessings should be free.

I knit up my little bears and send them on to lives and loves knowing that the moment the box is opened, that first glance, that first hug, brings me back to that greater good. And that has to be the mission, that has to always be the approach to everything in life, not just with my teddy bears. And this is what these bears have taught me, each and every one knit up and born from these long, cramped fingers: that the lives affected, the lives touched, the joy and the smiles brought on by the clutching of one of these bears brings me closer to the greater good; that with some purity of heart my talents and my skills, and the thought of you as I make them, the thought of who will receive them and why, and these words that you read to remind you that I am still always thinking of you, brings me closer to the greater good.

So, if I be a poor man, then forgive me. Some things in this track of life do not require a heavy bank account. If I can maintain my simple little life of yarn, books bought at Goodwill for a quarter, and a 10 by 20 studio to call my home, then I’m ok with that. As long as Mario and I eat and get to stay together, then we are content when we rest in my bed at the end of the day. And as long as I get to use these hands and this hopeful heart to continue sending smiles into the world, hugged greatly before bed time by little ones who will never feel alone, then I am a very wealthy man.

I can’t bring myself to charge more for these bears. I just can’t.

I’m going to try and get a touch of sleep in now. Going to curl up with little Mari …..and pray that this all works out for the greater good.

I appreciate all of the help over the last day, and all of the words of encouragement and support, however, I still have a long way to go to get all of my funds for rent together, so I’ve had to put the donate button back up. Thank you all again for all the wonderful kindness you show me.

Gregory

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14 comments

  1. I seem to remember you use to have a donate button on your page but I no longer see it. Perhaps you should put it back on here somewhere.

  2. How about putting a minimum price rather than a fixed price, so that those who want to can pay a little more.. maybe one month someone has a little extra in their account and decides that a bear would be perfect, but also wants to pay it forward… that way you can keep the core philosophy of making them available to all.
    Or maybe add a ‘birth certificate’ to the order for an additional $ – that could be just an online printed form so only costs a little time and no materials…
    Just my thoughts… hope you found some quiet peace with Mars. x

  3. Dear Teddyman….(I don’t like to call you MADMAN because you don’t look Mad, angry or crazy!)…I am glad you lit the prayer candle. Amazing things are wrought by prayer and especially with the help of the Blessed Mother! I have seen so many miracles! I will help spread the news of your teddy’s that need homes. I myself have no income and continue to work on selling off things I own to feed my 20 animals (alpacas, dogs, cat, lovebirds and chickens!) and pay bills. If we are doing what we love and what helps others and honors God and we have a roof over our heads, clothes on our back, food at least once a day, then we have all that we need besides the smiles of those we make happy! I will keep you in my prayers. I know you have angels watching over you so do as I always say – SLEEP WITH THE ANGELS!

  4. Love your philosophy! Have you considered maybe making a ‘collector’ one of a kind bear just a few times a year and auctioning it to the highest bidder? Then you aren’t deciding the price, the customer is. Keep your other bears’ prices where they are in your Etsy shop.

  5. I’m sorry you did not make rent yet Greg, I wish that I could help you out, sadly with everything I my self have going on i am unable to help you out, though I may be able to do something special for you as you do for others to put a smile on their face. I think someone should do so for you in return. Have a good day Greg.

  6. Have you heard of fiverr.com??? I have a small sign business and I have the same issue that I don’t want to overcharge for my signs; however, came across an ebook about fiverr.com. It talks about selling on there BUT I believe I will support someone elses endeavor by making a $5 purchase to promote my etsy store instead of offering up my signs for $5. This is just one of the posts I found. http://fiverr.com/bargaintweets/advertise-to-112000-twitter-followers-any-product-for-women-girls-teens-female There are hundreds more to choose from. Sometimes we have to take a leap. Best to you! My daughter loves her bear!!!!

  7. By keeping your prices so low you are putting stress on yourself. You have to take care of your own needs first before you can become a real fountain for blessings. Setting a minimum price is a great way to start. I know it’s a tangled issue, I used to be a poor seamstress, and then I woke up and began understanding balance.

  8. I don’t blame you for feeling frightened, I would be too if I was in your situation. Nonetheless, hang in there buddy! Things are bound to get better, especially with prayer. Although I haven’t been a Catholic for many years now, I have always maintained my devotion and confidence in our Holy Mother. Keep praying, she has worked many miracles in the past. I have so much admiration for the principles you hold dear to your heart and how you have decided to handle this situation. Keep the price low on the bears so they’re accessible to all, but put the donate button back up. That’s the way to do it! And if you ever have the time to write down some of your deepest thoughts & feelings in a journal, you could make a fortune selling it as a book later on. I don’t kinow if you’ve realized it, you are a truly gift writer with the ability to touch many people’s heart. I will be praying for you, while you are working on my very special, emerald green bear. (((((HUGS)))))

  9. As a crafter I do feel you should charge more……we never charge enough, especially for our knitting/crochet. I thinki minimum wage is $7 something an hour and I am sure it takes more than two to three hours to knit the bears, that also being said you should charge more. I hope to be able to buy another bear soon. I love mine

  10. i respect you for your choices; it’s hard for a sensitive person to charge higher prices for the art or service. if we could, we would charge nothing – the benefits of gifting are so great.
    i make little money, but i have a very rich life, extremely rich life. most of those riches have come because of the respect others have for me – b/c i put others first and don’t try to keep score. life is going to reward you for your kind and genuine heart!
    z

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