Professor X: [voiceover] Sharing the world has never been humanity’s defining attribute. —X-Men 2
Mindfulness seems to be the new catchphrase of the era. I’m trying to cultivate some of that, myself, based on the suggestions of others. Meditating and balancing chakras and eating more healthy and a bunch of other new-agey crap.
But, I get kinda sick of myself after a while. Of my own headspace. And I get kinda bored, truthfully. (So, I’ve got a lot of work to do, it seems, on being “mindful”. *laugh*)
Then my mind starts to wander, despite my best attempts.
I’ve been bogged down with a lot of worry and stress (hence the mindfulness attempts) over lots of stuff. Mainly about me and crazy things going on in my life, unfortunately, while the (natural) world is dying all around me.
And I start thinking about the human condition, and how damn self-indulgent we are (myself included–see above).
It’s like the consumerist attitudes we protested back in the alternative subcultures day have returned with a vengeance. Like the 80s on steroids. Gluttonous Starbucks coffee sugarfests, obscenely large brand-new homes with open floor plans and granite countertops, outrageously expensive phone service and cable and heating bills (while pay-rates fail to advance with inflation), and people on (especially in the U.S.) TV shows and movies that look like plastic perfect dolls rather than real humans (I can’t even begin to imagine the pressure on cinematic actors these days.).
Right now, I’m trying to downsize and live more lightly, and to fight consumerist urges in myself (being broke helps, but books and Etsy and Tee Turtle are among my shopping temptations.)
Fighting depression and anxiety on a daily basis creates its own set of motivational challenges to get off my fat arse and do something. Not that I mean to suggest that I’m using that as a crutch to hide under the covers while the world burns outside the window, but…it just makes things a little more muddled and confusing.
And, because I’m harshly analytical, even with myself, I begin to think that those things are the height of self-indulgence. But I didn’t write this post to wade through my personal battles online (something I try really hard to avoid, seriously!)
Something posted by Dominic Monaghan on Twitter fell in line with things I’ve been thinking about for a long time (kinda integrated into my belief system, by now) about the human way of thinking in regards to the planet and its non-human inhabitants. (See Twitter post here.)
And that’s this–it’s maybe human nature to want to be comfortable, to have creature comforts, to indulge in things that make us happy and feel good (on a transitory, fleeting level), to eat good food, and to have clean water–a roof over our heads, etc. But these things are not only self-indulgent, they are also not a reality. Unless it’s organic and GMO-free, the food we eat is proving to be not very good for us…our lifestyle choices as humans have given us toxic, polluted water to drink, our manufacturing practices has given us livespaces that are poisoning us, and our lack of a sustainable life and a sustainable society (liveable wage, safe working conditions, health insurance/adequate health care) has pushed more and more of us into poverty, homelessness, and despair.
The things we have grown accustomed to as humans in society (if you have adequate income, and financial and mental/emotional/physical security and safety) are just not feasible if we want to pull the world back from the brink. The time is now for making sacrifices–all of us.
Self-Indulgence Awareness #1: I believe that the environment can’t sustain factory farms, genetically modified foods, overuse of pesticides, and a meat-based diet. I’ve been vegetarian since 1991, and have expanded this to eat non-GMO foods, organic food, and locally grown food whenever possible. I’ve also tried to eat more healthy–less wheat, less sugar and more fruits and vegetables (smoothies, stir-fries, etc.)
Self-Indulgence Awareness #2: Consumerism and too much stuff. I’m trying not to impulse buy, and am working on downsizing my possessions. I also don’t buy/have a lot of new things. I reduce, re-use, and recycle whenever possible. Thrift stores and antique stores are my friend. (not that I have a lot of disposable income, but most of the stuff in my house has been passed down through the family…a lot of it dating back to the 70s or even the 50s, maybe.)
Self-Indulgence Awareness #3: Driving my car. Okay, I don’t really have a solution for this. I used to bike all the time, but for reasons left unsaid, that’s not really an option right now. I had plans to move to a city with a good public transportation system (I miss European cities so much) but things didn’t work out that way, and where I live is a little rural. So, I try to consolidate shopping trips into town on days when I have appointments or other engagements, and use my car as little as possible. While not electric, I have a car now that has fairly good gas mileage (when compared to my former SUV). Plus, it helps me save on gas costs!
Self-Indulgence Awareness #4: I’m trying to work through a lot of issues right now, and practicing mindfulness and meditation is actually helping clear away a lot of crap. Which is surprising to this practical skeptic wannabe. Just trying my best to get my life back on track and more in sync with the things I used to love and believe in…environmental causes, social activism, animal rights, etc. It’s a slow process and a little frustrating to the part of my self that’s used to being a go-getter aka steamroller when achieving goals. So, trying not to be so hard on myself and succumb to the pressures and other things around me at the current time.
Self-Indulgence Awareness #5: I try to look at people living inspiring lives, or people setting a good example of things I would like to achieve/be on the internet. Things to remind me of who I would like to be in my future incarnations. Maybe that’s self-indulgent…I don’t know. Just trying to keep my hopes up.
Self-Indulgence Awareness #6: I’ve tried to do this my whole life, even though it’s really made me a misfit among other humans, but love all animals and plants and trees and insects. Stop bringing new human life into this world when the ecosystem can’t sustain it. Like Dominic Monaghan said in his tweet (link is above): The planet is not solely ours to use up as we will. It’s not a place to dump pesticides on, pollute the water, the air, and use up all the resources, selfishly. We have to change this mindset. Period. Otherwise we, too, will go extinct. But maybe that will be the best thing for the planet.Because I often wonder whether we humans really have a place on this planet, aside from our ability to destroy it.
I’m trying to do all I can, and not give up, but it still doesn’t feel like it’s enough. And I’m so tired. Talk about self-indulgence, right?