Today I need to write to our Fair Trade community. To express my belief that we have much to share in this time and we are well poised to do so. In fact, in our fair trade work we have been practicing for these times and learning how to love and care for those around us in the world.
I have never believed that Fair Trade is just another way to do business and to make money. I have always believed it is a way to actively participate in bringing into form a new way of being in the world. A way to experiment and practice, if you will, a different kind of economy. A way to experience, in a community, what it is like to trust one another again, to believe in one another, to work on behalf of each other and to promote a vision where we are all are treated as equals, regardless of gender, education, location, color or religion. All of us have been hard at work trying to re-member these things as we bring them into the re-creation of the marketplace. We have been practicing.
Fair Trade brings people of difference together, helping to build community and understanding. It is a re-creation of how we engage with one another in the most ancient of iterations, that of trade. That is our vision and it is coalescing. But at this moment in the story we are asked to take that vision more boldly into the world. To expand it, test it further, make it available to all. To walk together, support each other and create the world we all know is possible. The divisions are there, much work is yet to be done but we have been practicing
and we are not alone…
As Clarissa Pinkola Estes so eloquently put it in a recent writing,
“I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless.”
We must now ask the questions that for so long have lain hidden.
Can we firmly hold to our intentions in developing the Fair Trade model of justice and equality for those who have been denied access to the table for too long?
Who is our community and how broadly can our arms reach to include others?
How can we truly celebrate the sacredness of difference? How can we trust each other more?
How can we support each other in times of uncertainty?
How can we address each other’s fears without making our world small?
How can we walk in bigger shoes?
We have been practicing….
I would suggest we are ready for this task as a Fair Trade community and ready to step forward into a new world. We can look back at the old and be grateful for the gifts that it has given but we are now tasked to venture forward to embrace and live a new way of being. No one knows what this world will look like but we do know what our present world looks like and where we must not go. We have been practicing, we are ready, there is no other way and we must walk boldly beside each other on this path, holding each other up when we fall, trusting that we will be there for each other, knowing we will make mistakes, expanding the conversation and believing in what we all know is possible.
Denise & all at Ganesh Himal Trading