So I've been gardening and learning about homesteading, permaculture, and increasing home sufficiency and lowering my outputs or frankly, spending extra money. There's been a little voice nagging me for years about my consumerism. "Your wasting stuff! Money and resources!" "Are the working conditions for this product humane?!" "How much more plastic do you need to throw into the trash can before you wake up?!" These are the kinds of things that go through my mind. You get the idea, maybe you have your own little voice. Maybe you don't, and you live peacefully in this crazy world that seems bent on destruction.
I'm going to point out that I have the privilege to think about these things. I am half of a partnership/ownership that provides for our family via our business so I can take time out to think about and worry/do these things. I know that some people would kill to have the space and time in their lives to be able to take a year off to learn a new skill while being supported financially.
There are days that I am at a complete loss at what comes next and so I walk around the gardens and think. I also get on YouTube, but it feels sometimes like a never ending well of talking and showing, but not as much content as I felt like I was signing up for when I clicked on the video that promised to teach me some skill. And then I look up and it's been a few hours (whoops). On the other hand, I wouldn't be who I am today without some of the amazing creators out there making me feel like I can do this. I am stuck in the can't live without it, can't live with it paradox of a lot of the internet these days.
I can't help but wonder how much my life would change if I just let it all go for a while, consuming the ideas of others, and maybe even consuming any products outside of the necessary goods. I know if I put the internet down, I'd pick up books. I have been known to go on some legendary reading kicks. My husband hates this. When I get into a book I love, everything about normal life bothers me until I can get back to what happens to my characters. So yeah, balance has never really been my thing, and I want to consume, just innately. I am looking and seeking. I'm looking around for whatever is next. I'm sure there's some yogis out there, or some super-naturalists out there who can tell me what it's like to stop consuming all ideas other than my own for a length of time (probably on YouTube). Not going to lie, I'll probably google it in a minute.
So, the reason I'm doing all this, and questioning all of this is really just to feel good and find my life's purpose. You know, the thing you see in other people who are at the top of their game, because they finally gave into the thing that was calling them, and thus they became the best, most effective, version of themselves which ultimately lifted humanity, or at least a lot of people around them into a higher vibration and community. I think a lot of the people who I feel inspired by have spent a lot of time in nature and on their own, seeking from within versus without.
The idle-business of the internet and all it's trappings are not inherently bad I believe. I mean, here I am writing a blog for others to read (okay, mostly for me), but I don't want to get stuck there for too long, so I know I need discipline around it. One of the directors at our treatment center often says "freedom through discipline" and he's talking about the 11th step. Sitting in prayer and meditation each day, whether we want to or not. Because just doing what I want all the time is the thing that landed me in rehab in the first place. I have to do a few things I don't want to do in order to get the things I do.
There is of course a paradox here. When I fill my life with only the things I think I "should" do, I'm miserable and dragging everyone around me down too ( i.e. continuing to be a therapist when I loathe the idea). My Al-anon sponsor once pointed out to me I had a bit of a superhero complex, and I think I got it from media. I'll explain. When I woke up in the morning I was going to "conquer" the day and "really make things happen" or "do epic shit" is another way of putting it. And the internet and a lot of it's creations are shouting these same tidings. If I watch a few videos from Patagonia or a few TED talks I might start to think I'm not doing enough and that I need to make some drastic changes in my life...immediately. Back to my Al-anon sponsor : "Lauren, don't you think there are plenty of people in this town that need your help, that maybe just need a smile, or a hello, or a little of your time?" This was a question in response to me proclaiming I was going to join the Peace Corps and spend two years in Timbuktu saving some people who needed saving (superhero complex). I tilted my head and stared at her in contemplation, because she had a good point. And furthermore, I was in Al-anon because I seemed to be having interpersonal problems in my relationships and was there to get my head (and mind, body and spirit) straight.
And I'll be darned if her words don't continue to echo in my ears. Yesterday I was under my superhero spell a little. I felt like I wasn't doing enough with my time at work away from my kids. My thoughts went a little like this..."If you are going to pay someone to raise your kids, you should have more to show for your time away from them." Dude, that is pretty freaking harsh. And I bet there are a lot of people who would even agree with my little inner bully, but not me. Not today. When I stopped being a therapist, I had no idea what I wanted to do and still don't most of the time. But I do have faith that my path and purpose will develop in due time and for now, I'm living a small life that has a lot of room for creativity and love in it and damn if it doesn't feel 100% better and more authentic for me. And yes, some days I'm going to spend too much time messing around, but one thing I do have is a little awareness and a little hope that I will continue to get better and healthier and more peaceful. In kindergarten my aptitude test said I should have been a farmer. And I think it might have been pretty close to right! I like quiet spaces, and quiet people, and growing things, and painting, making pottery, making videos, writing and creating beautiful, minimal spaces that invite peace, laughter and leave plenty of room for dancing. And I also love the people who are doing beautiful things and telling the world about them, whether on the Internet or elsewhere. Thank you for listening to your heart in a world that shuns you for doing so. Amen