No, I don’t mean the TV show. I’m talking about the satisfying life, well considered.
For many of us in North America, we’ve fallen into the cultural trap of consumerism. Our culture is awash in images of the impossibly thin, rich, and perfect. Our heros have become examples of excess and despair.
Sometimes, life throws us a curve. A challenge. And a place where we can stop and smell the roses. Reconsider what is important for us and who we really are. Are we condemed to run the rat race to buy ever more consumer goods, chasing a false God of more and more? Of course not. But we have to stop and re-examine what we are about. Otherwise, we become the zombies of the advertising age.
In a previous post, I talked about Lynne Twist and her book on Sufficiency. She observes that our drive for more and more is based not on a goal of plenty, but in a perception of not enough. Of us vs them. That leads to the illusion that more is better. And we end up filling our lives with “stuff”, often in a futile attempt at momentary pleasure. We bury our feelings in things and busyness and become awash in a life of must-do’s and must-haves. None of which will give us any real happiness or peace. None of it. The levels of debt in our culture illustrate just how far we are willing to go down this path of meaninglessness, in a futile attempt at pursuing an illusory god of falsehood.
We buy the latest flat screen TV and have a burst of pleasure. That quickly wears off. And then the charge bill comes. Ouch. Now – I don’t mean don’t get the great TV. I love the clear pictures for movies. I just mean do it because you really want to and when it will be easy and make you happy. Look to happiness rather than instant pleasure.
Christmas has evolved into a prime example of that. In some families, its become a competition to see who can out-spend on the other. An excess that simply destroys the beginning of the new year it was supposed to celebrate. And what values are we teaching our children?
If you have not already done so, you’ll find it a very useful thing to ask yourself who you are and whats important to you. You may be surprised. Many of us live lives of constant obligation – virtually all of which we have chosen ourselves. A mother always, a business person has to, to be wealthy you must… On what have we based these ideas? A TV commercial? Something our parents said in anger when we were 9? The foundations of our outlook can be based on some pretty flaky grounds. Yet we build a whole life around those unconsidered and untested assumptions.
Perhaps you collect exotic cars as a hobby. Do you do this because you love cars? Or because you think it makes people think differently about you? Any motivation you have whatsoever that is based on others opinions of you is a false flag. You have absolutely no control over how others perceive you. That is based on their life experiences and perspective alone. What you do have control over is how YOU respond to the circumstances that arrive in your life. How do you feel? Right now? We’re talking about you and your happiness because only you can choose that. And you can choose it.
Choosing a simpler life, based on whats really important to you can make a world of difference. For one thing, its often a much less expensive life. So you don’t have to work as hard or as much. You will probably consume less, pollute less, and rush less. You will be happier following your bliss, so you will add to the happiness around you rather than the stress.
Want to make others happy? Get happy yourself. Show them what happiness is. Be it. Love and happiness are what its all about. If thats not your experience, maybe its time to ask why? And if what comes to mind is blame, thats the next mistake. Don’t blame. Just do. Your choice.