How is it sitting with you?
Hopefully you too have enjoyed a blissful weekend of sunshine, connection, and lots of time outdoors, and are feeling the benefits of all of this in your bones, and your heart.
I’ve spoken with several people over the last few weeks who are feeling more nervous than excited about the imminent reopening, and the gradual ramp back up to the pace at which many were previously living.
Yes, we want to be able to gather again with loved ones, to celebrate important milestones, and to support local businesses to thrive.
But what now do we do with all the realisations that a simpler life, at a slower pace, does indeed greatly serve our souls?
I know this question is beyond a cliché at this stage, and that is has been posed infinite times over the last year.
However, it would seem based on how our ‘return to normal’ is unfolding, that while we may be exploring this question intellectually, we are a very long way from beginning to actually embody its invitation.
I’ve been feeling a pressure to take advantage of all that is becoming available as the re-opening unfolds, and yet the desire, the intrinsic motivation to do so simply isn’t there.
This has led promptly to thought-patterns along the lines of ‘what is wrong with me?’, and based on conversations with family members and friends, I am pretty sure that I’m not the only one feeling this way.
A hair-cut will be fantastic, and I am greatly looking forward to this, but if I tune into what is driving me to consider re-engaging in many aspects of the grand reopening, I see immediately that it is mostly FOMO, or a sense that I will be falling behind, or distancing myself further from fitting in if I choose to not engage.
In truth, much of what we have been presented with over the last 15 months has been an opportunity to put down many of the distractions that were pulling us up and out of the truth of what most nourishes us.
We were offered a mirror to clearly reflect the unnecessary busyness that had crept in over time, as we worked ourselves into the ground in order to consume more, sacrificing our most valuable asset- time- for money.
The spending we do above and beyond our basic needs tends to be in pursuit of pleasure, comfort, connection, or simply put -love.
There is nothing wrong with seeking all of these things. Indeed, we should be leading lives with an abundance of pleasure, comfort, ease, love, and connection.
However, these feelings, experiences, and realities are available to us through natural resources. We can, without spending a penny, generate them internally, and externally, until we have copious good feelings inside to sustain us, and indeed to share with others.
The chemicals created in our systems through buying beautiful pieces can be created through experiences in nature, embodied spiritual practices, creative pursuits, or simply spending quality time connecting with trusted loved-ones.
There’s no one-size-fits-all on this front, and if spending your hard-earned money on new clothes, shoes, or houseware is your thing and genuinely does fulfil your need for connection, and make you feel happy and at peace, then by all means continue with this practice, especially if you have the money to spend.
It is those who are feeling intensely over-worked, perhaps miserable in their jobs, and no more satisfied, abundant, or full in life thanks to their consumption that I wish to address.
Can you identify which activities, sources, or ways of being actually feed that hole you’re seeking to fill?
For me, the sun plays a massive role. In fact, it plays so large a role that I regularly question whether Ireland should be my home, having thrived most when living in warmer climates.
As my most powerful pleasure source makes its return in all its glory over the coming weeks, my plan is to see just how much I can fill myself up from this abundantly available natural resource so close at hand, mixed with other pleasure sources such as the sea, outdoor social gatherings, delicious, nourishing food, and embodied spiritual practices.
I’m not advocating asceticism, self-deprivation, or meagreness. What I’m suggesting is a move towards becoming a more conscious connoisseur, and savouring the benefits that this form of consumption offers.
I love buying nice things, I love wearing beautiful clothes. I love sleeping in good quality bed linen.
However, I know that 2 sets of good quality bed sets are really all I need, and that much and all as I’d like to have 5 beautiful sets rotating, that this is entirely unjustified.
Creating a life where you fill yourself up with pleasures that cost you nothing is also incredibly freeing. Little by little attachments fall away and you realise that you already have so much more than you need.
Much of what we seek in our discretionary spending is connection, and all too often we thwart connection opportunities by spending our time and money on our spending.
One of the reasons there was so much online shopping during the consecutive lockdowns was this desperate need for connection that so many of us felt.
Now that our opportunities to connect again in-person are ever-increasing, and Summer has finally arrived, what little or big things do you plan to do to feed your pleasure bucket??