I originally wrote this post in the spring of 2017. Having ‘retired’ in 2015, I would never have considered the fracturing blow that 2020 would bring. Still, the idea and process of ‘consumption’ is perhaps, now, even more critical as we bear witness to unrelenting efforts to cow the minds of those for whom consumption of ‘reality’ demands a more discerning perspective.
I think I’m getting the hang of this ‘retirement’ thing. As I was stretched out on the massage table (yup….hard work but someone’s got to do it…), I had a flash of insight: I am no longer ’teacher’/mentor/coach/etc – I simply AM. And in that, I surrendered all to the simple process of observing what flows – that I might better know my Self.
I have taken care of all that once well served in that ‘first life’ as teacher/etc. In these past 30 years, I have created some remarkable ’stuff’, all of which I hold with great value and deepest gratitude. And in truth, as it is no longer attached to me, so I am no longer attached to it.
I see through different eyes. I am no longer on a mission to make a difference; have things matter. Free (from the prison of my own mind, of course), I move through my world with a sense of cavalier-yet-sacred detachment… and I’m loving it! So many new layers are surfacing. Yum!
Without effort or warning, ‘consumption’ has presented as the next thread in this tapestry of my Life….ripe for the pulling and tugging!
In a recent conversation with two women I hold as having the courage – the willingness and the ability – to be both expansive and insightful in their journey of personal evolution, I found myself contemplating the process of ‘consumption’ as a force along the great curve of creation; that journey from a thought to a construct in matter that reveals so much to us, not only about our ‘reality’ but about who we are as its creators.
We live in a world that is powered by the great economic engine whose fuel is relentless, perpetual and ruthless consumption. We inherited it. We were trained into its perpetuation. And we are now being strangled by its death-grip on the quality of our existence. And as bad as that might be for us, our children stand in line as the bearers of its next and greatest burdens.
Consumption, at all Logical Levels of Thinking (Structures of Thought):
Consumption of the very ’stuffs’ that we ingest to ensure our bodies make it to another day. What lives are we willing to torment and take, in order to sustain our own.
Consumption of processes – like, grow up/get an education/get a job/get married/get children – that ensure that this generation will spawn the next that will ensure our shared reality makes it to another day. What limitation are we willing to impose – on ourselves and others – in order to sustain an inherited-and-unproven ’truth’.
Consumption of ideologies – what’s good/bad/right/wrong – to ensure that a chosen path remains deeply dug into the terrain of our existence; a constant beacon of easy access, and effortless steps, to maintain a trajectory with an intended outcome. What barriers are we willing to maintain that we might never see over and beyond the constructs of our limited ways.
Consumption of thoughts long repeated, ensuring that we don’t stray too far beyond the edges of acceptable, repetitive conversation…. about ourselves, about each other and about what we are capable of manifesting in our individual and shared realities. What lies are we willing to tell – ourselves, each other and our innocent offspring – that we might not rock too violently the boat that we think keeps us afloat.
Our patterns of consumption reveal the intentions of our creations – and they also reveal much about who we are as creators. Over time, we become bloated and heavy with the weight of our accumulations…. finding our closets full of clothes we don’t wear (some even with price tags dangling, as we’ve not gotten around to wearing them) and our basements bulging with the ’stuff’ that we’ve moved out of sight, not yet quite able to let them go.
I often wonder: what would happen to us if we stopped long enough to become the observers to our own patterns of consumption. If we became more discerning about not just what we consume but how we consume and why we consume. If we were to step back and observe the outcomes we’ve created from those patterns of consumption…and all that lives and dies as its byproduct. lf we pushed the ‘pause’ button on our need to own and possess what we admire and instead, simply appreciated the creation and let it simply ‘be’ without having to take it home.
I have long been an observer of human behaviour (my own and that of others), finding them to be such external markers of internal cues. (I don’t think I was 3 when I logged my first memory of sitting on the floor on the carpet outside my bedroom…. leaning up against the wall so I could see around the corner into the kitchen….observing my parents interact with each other in the wee hours of a chaotic night. I remember no sense of judgement or fear, just fascination that I was surprised by their intensity.) As I continue to let go of all that my life has been, I’m finding my curiosity awakened in different ways, to different things. At the prodding of a delightful friend, I’ve been introduced to the phenomenon of the craft show – wandering the isles of vacuous buildings stuffed with the tiny store-fronts of myriad creators. Perhaps what has come most to the forefront of my discovery is that I can meander and wander and admire; I can engage in micro-meaningful-moments with the creators of such diverse manifestations… and I can walk away without the need to consume any of it. I can recognize, appreciate and admire the talent, the skill and the tenacity of such stunning leather creations without the need to possess it and make it’ mine’.
Perhaps our patterns of consumption are a good place to start in identifying the ‘reality’ we are choosing to support; and what that ‘reality’ reveals to us about ourselves. Mindfully choosing to pause and explore; to step back and examine… recognizing consumption as a process upon which we rely to ensure sustainability of that in which we participate. Doing so will also make it possible for us to notice the degree to which consumption allows us to NOT notice ourselves; to quell the inner noise and turmoil, filling the empty Space that lurks beyond the need to keep moving; keep buying; keep it all going ‘round to ensure that we do not find the emptiness.
And should we dare to stop long enough to linger in that empty, quiet and still place, we might discover that it is fecund. In that empty space waits patiently the possibility of discovery of ourselves as creators of something far more potent…. more compelling… and more reflective of our essential nature rather than our conditioned one.
What might our world become if we, as its creators, dared to simply sit in that fecund space… and wait…..