Let’s start with a question.
How can we improve the quality of life by say 25% this year?
If you’re like most people your thoughts might immediately turn towards having more of certain things.
It’s fair to say the media is effective at conditioning us down this path of excess. Advertising aside, business analysts on the news strike fear into the population when the economy doesn’t grow. Suddenly there’s a horrible ‘recession’ hanging over us and people start to panic.
But I wonder about the nature of all this. If we keep growing surely there reaches a point of excess. And if we keep pushing that boundary we must come to a point where enough becomes, enough.
An example was on the TV last week – the plight of a 64 stone woman. I could empathize to a certain extent since I was once obese. But I have to admit I was shocked to hear that more than two million Americans are 40 stone plus (and I suspect there are a growing number in the UK with a similar situations).
For a variety of reasons, as a society, now were nearing capacity, we seem to keep eating. I mean this not just in the food sense, but in the sense of general consumption.
A map produced by the Campaign to Protect Rural England – CPRE shows the shadow of urban growth 1960-2007. It shows urban growth as 15% over 30 years and then shows it as 9% in the next 15 years.
The map shows urban growth in black and when you look at it like that it looks like a cancer across our green and pleasant lands.
We continue consuming on the pretense that “more” will cause greater pleasure, prosperity and contentment.
But is this really true?
As a business owner I’m inspired by enlightened business leaders who have the foresight to say, enough is enough with expansion.
These people make a decision to stop pushing financial growth and start to maximize quality, efficiency, environmental change and community. These people begin to ensure staff are given opportunities to grow as people. These business become a pillar of the community.
When it comes to consuming, my buying choices are governed by more and more joined up thinking. When I buy something I want to know how it will degrade, if it comes from an ethical source, is it local.
I’m not perfect at this yet, but my radar is on. When I get caught out, making a buying choice from habit, I catch it more and more frequently, even if it’s after the event.
An example of this was Christmas when I admit I ate chocolates wrapped in silver foil and plastic wrapping that will end up in a landfill. They were probably driven across the country by a mass producer who doesn’t care too much about the conditions of growing the chocolate, then probably driven another hundred miles across the country to the supermarket that sucks money out of the local economy. And that’s when I arrived, panicked and rushed and not thinking in the Christmas madness to literally ‘grab’ some last minute things.
Having been caught out I’m on a mission now to ensure that by next year my family (and maybe a few other families) support hand-made, fair-trade confectionery, served in paper wrapping by a local retailer.
I’m not going to wait for someone else to come up with the idea, I’m going to go out and demand that change in my local high street.
I think that’s the message I want to get across, that we can all put the radar on, see what’s not good enough, be the leader and drive change by asking the right questions.
I know some of the readers of this newsletter are District and Parish Councilor, teachers, school governors, PTA organizers, business owners, parents etc. And to the last one of us we know changes we want to see.
My encouragement today is to say, make it happen.
Of course we all have our own choices to make. My way may not be for yours, but as you set forth on your path for 2008, don’t be fooled into thinking that only by having more can we be satisfied.
Sometimes, less can be more! Start by trimming back on what no longer serves you. Spiritually it gives you time and space to create the things that really matter.
Out with the old, in with the new.
To be honest there is nothing like clutter to hold us back. I don’t necessarily mean household rubbish, I mean mental clutter, lifestyle clutter – the junk that goes on in our head, the stuff that no longer serves us, the things that we do subconsciously that we hardly notice – this is where we need to start.
The Mouthful That Can Save the World
Start by cutting back on what you really don’t need.
When you eat your dinner, pause after every mouthful and ask if you really need the next mouthful. Ask if your hunger been satisfied. Ask if it’s time to stop rather than to fill up.
Maybe stop eating when you know the hunger is served. Next time serve smaller portions. Buy a little less, become a little slimmer, save money, save food miles, save trees, save the world.
See how the mental clutter clears, when you don’t feel full and sluggish. Feel how good it feels to have more energy, save more money. Enjoy the good of caring for the environment.
What if you lose that excess weight and your body feels 25% better? What if you buy a little less food and your bank savings over a year shows a 25% improvement. What if your mind has fewer money worries and your soul feels 25% better?
Change can begin this simply.
What change would you like to see?
With love and good wishes