Arjan, my eldest, turned 8 years the other day. He is growing so fast it freaks me out a bit…a lot.
Time is a quick passing. One day you are lying in a hospital bed and waiting for a little person to come out of your body and the next scene is that little person blowing out candles on his eighth birthday. He went from wailing for breast milk to pronouncing full Latin names for his favorite dinosaurs.
We just moved to the mountains and now reside in this dreamy community of charming little towns and thick forest trails. We live our dream life where we nap on the porch (well, I do at least) and we can walk to town or to get groceries all via the woods or sweet little neighborhoods. Even the run-down homes have charm here…that is how delightful it is in this area.
I named my old house Arthur and I truly, as crazy as this may sound to some of you, believe that there is a guardian spirit here. I find things when I lose them. I sleep like I used to sleep when I was young and stoned all the time. I feel guided. Not just tuned into the Infinite Intelligence or God Force…but even a bit more personal and up close. I can’t explain it.
Before Mother’s Day I had a rough week in that I felt drained and had bouts of depression and feelings I haven’t had for decades. Feelings of “less than” and “not good enough” and “still a wounded person”. I also had issues with my sons. They acted out terribly a few times and I had to stop and look at myself.
The depression, the poor feelings about myself, the naughty boys…
When these things happen it is NOT time to bring down the hammer or tighten the belt on finances or discipline harder or go on a crash diet or start taking Prozac. It definitely isn’t time to start drinking or escape in some other way. It is time to sit with the feelings and ask, “Why? What is missing? What am I not doing that I should be doing or what do I need to stop doing/quit?”.
There is a documentary, How To Cook Your Life, about Zen preist Edward Espe Brown. It is a slow documentary that one has to be in the mood for and pay attention, but so worth it. I’ve watched it many, many times. In a nutshell it is about food and the connection to our inner well being, how we make it, how we choose to feed ourselves, and it’s ability to heal and shape our inner selves physically and emotionally.
I love watching the documentary because I want to capture the essence of the Zen life and recreate it in my household.
I picture a home that is super clean and neat, free of clutter. A home with good music in the back ground and me in the kitchen making bread and healthy foods and sauces all day. I see myself in the garden harvesting large baskets of organic produce. I’m then spending days in the sweet Fall days canning wonderful things all day. I see myself taking long walks daily with my boys, sometimes the husband is there, sometimes the dogs join us. I see myself on the porch at my laptop writing a novella. I see us surrounded by piles of books, spending afternoons with the window open letting in a warm breeze as we pour over novels.
What I don’t see is me spending time on the computer with the media.
Over the years I’ve slowly rid my life of news…then Facebook was deleted completely…then Twitter, Instagram, Linkden, Tumblr and so on. But I still have myself plugged in to YouTube as I have a thriving channel. I watch a lot of good things about gardening and cooking, but then I get sucked into the ‘other’ channels that get me into ugly spaces of comparison, envy, wanting things I don’t have. I watch some homemaking channels and feel less than or seriously lacking in my craft.
YouTube, like FaceBook, can become a competition. It is about subscribers, likes, views. We become addicted to it. We are like rats hitting that lever for the next treat, wanting more and more. I’ve heard from former CEO’s and those studying social behavior that social platforms such as FaceBook and Twitter hires “happiness engineers” to study human behavior and what keeps us hooked in and coming back. They are the same people hired for setting up casino games. We have been studied and everything is set up according to how quickly they can get us addicted.
The interesting thing is that many people in the industry of technology and social media often won’t let their own children have Facebook accounts or iPad’s. Why? Because they know how damaging they are to one’s well being, development and sanity.
I recently went through a dark week of feeling depressed and exhausted. Part of it is this endless quarantine, part of it is my need to realize that the social media and being too much a part of this world is still happening in my life. It is bringing me down.
I don’t know if it’s age…I’ll be 50 years in a few months…or I’ve just gotten to a place of serenity and too much of the modern world and humanity gets on my nerves, to put it simply. I adore people. But only a little bit of people at a time. I enjoy some modern life but I’m very selective. Most of it seems shallow and this constant chasing of ones tail.
Sadhguru mentioned that 70% of humans are addicted to some form of drug or drink. I think it’s more when you include shopping, gambling, and such.
We chase the dollar, we gorge ourselves on junk food. We don’t think of the connections and vibrations of everything we do, think, consume, or surround ourselves with. When we eat the cheap burgers at McDonalds we don’t think of how cruel the factory farming is to be able to afford to turn out cheap meat or the burning down of rainforest and amazons to create grazing land for cheap cattle and the Indiginous people that went from living in beautiful forest to ghettos because they are displaced now or the animals that are starving and also displaced because their habitats are gone…and all so we can buy off the dollar menu at a fast food drive thru.
Everything we do will and does effect others, the Earth and its creatures. I believe we feel that pain but we don’t know this, we just feel not so good.
We chase after money and positions at work. What happens when we get the position? The money? We buy a big house, a big boat, nice car. Then what? We are now trapped and our life actually belongs to the company now. Joke is on us.
In today’s society we are encouraged to challenge ourselves, reach higher, go for it! Just Do It! Remember that Nike ad? But what are we reaching for and when we get there will we be fulfilled? Happy? Satisfied? Not usually.
I remember watching Minimalism on Netflix. A man shared his desire to climb the corporate latter and get a huge promotion. It was his life goal. The day he received the dreamed of promotion he hide away and cried. He now felt trapped in this “dream” life. I think many feel this.
This quaranteen is forcing many of us to be alone with ourselves, our families, in our homes and in our lives. It is not fun to suddenly be trapped alone with ourselves if we have kept very busy for most or our lives. We have to face old pains, wounds, hurts. We may realize our life feels meaningless. We may feel like we can’t stand the thought of returning to the rat race, the long commutes, the stressful job that devours our lives.
Maybe you have become unemployed and now you have to learn to live on a whole new income that doesn’t cover much of the old way of living.
Maybe your addicted to something, maybe your drinking has increased during this time. Alcohol sales are way up these days. I’m sure a lot of ugly things are up and devouring peoples souls right now.
But many people are waking up. The air is clean, the animals have some peace from us, slaughter houses are closing, traffic is thin and pleasant. Some parents are deciding to homeschool in the near future because it’s turning out to be a happier existence for their children…some parents are praying for schools to open in the Fall. Some people are looking at ways to not return to exhausting jobs. I hear talk of planting or expanding vegetable gardens and learning the art of frugality. A lot of houses may be on the market soon as some try to downsize and we may see many people navigate a new world of simplicity.
I truly believe that many of us will not be able to go back to life as it was. We have had the chance to slow down, even stop completely. With this time of reflection we can draw up plans for a new lifestyle. Maybe one less based on money and titles and more on slowing down to embrace the sweet spots of living life. Maybe finding our passion is more important than getting that partnership or position at work.
Ah, but it takes faith. But as the Bible says, “only the faith of a mustard seed”.
I would love to see a future where cities are made lush and green and biking/walking paths are increased NOT highways. I would love to see more people focus on their communities and support their local small shops and businesses…for those small business are what make your community. I would love to hear of people finding their true paths and desires in this life and not striving to earn more money. I would love to see more people practice eating less animal products. I would love to see more front yard gardens and see people outside in their yards socializing with neighbors and planting trees. Maybe even turning their garages into wood shops or pottery sheds.
Let us take this time to love ourselves enough to care about what it is we truly need from our life. Take the time to discard what no longer fits. Don’t be afraid. Everytime we get rid of something that hasn’t felt right for a long time, there is a great sense of relief and a space is opened up for something new that will suit you better.
The other day it was my bedroom dresser mirror that needed to go. It sounds small and silly but the mirror is big and instead of reflecting light and opening the room, it seemed to crowd and darken it. The other day I caught my tired reflection and with the lighting I looked awful. I called my husband in the room and ask that he help me remove it immediately. He knows me well enough now, after nine years of marriage, to not ask. Once the mirror was removed and stored, I put up a lovely painting of a cottage by the sea. The room opened up and brightened and I’m very happy to look upon the beach rather than my face in poor lighting. Thank you very much.
I’m making bigger changes as well. I have had Spirit send me messages as to how to conduct my life to bring more joy to myself and my family. I can’t discuss some changes just yet but I will soon. Happiness is on the menu for us all. That is my only focus right now; how to find that peace and fulfillment right here and now and expand that in my household.
I cook for my loved ones, that includes my dogs, they are also my children. I nourish my new fruit trees and garden, it will nourish me one day soon. I am careful about my surroundings, what music is playing and how it makes me feel, what I read and if it is fun or fills me with ideas, movies and if they make me laugh or inspire me.
We are simplifying life all the way around. My husband is working less hours, I’m working less on projects. I just sat down with the budget to see how little we can live on. I am commited to us eating organic and drinking good coffee. I’ve started cooking vegetables, eggs or meat for the dogs and they seem more energetic and happy. We walk everywhere. The boys and I walked six miles to the grocery store the other day and loved it.
The Universe will provide. Yesterday we thought a local library was open and the boys and I rushed off to get new library cards. It wasn’t open. We are starving for new books. Then later that afternoon my old library called and said they just opened with curbside service. They had an old CD on hold for me. I’ve been with that library for years and we would pick up and drop off huge bags of books weekly. I knew the ladies by name. Despite living in a new county, the ladies said we were welcome to continue ordering books with them until we can get new cards in this town. Blessings, rightt?!
Have faith and make the changes. Time for a new life!