Is it time for us to make time to read again? You know, slow down and read something properly. Set aside adequate minutes to give our undivided attention to someone’s carefully crafted words? Because really, most posts like this only take three or four minutes to read, but how often do we bother?
We’ve developed an insatiable need to be stimulated and entertained, and hurry up and give it to me, fast. Social media sites have trained our brains to crave novelty every few seconds. We’re running off chasing shiny objects every time we pick up a screen and those intelligent digits of ours have pretty much developed lives of their own, tapping and scrolling before we even have time to register what’s going on.
So how do you feel? I mean, are you feeling antsy about how long it’s going to take to read this blog? Are you already craving some digital sugar? What if this post is a waste of three minutes? What if there’s something better going on in an app that you haven’t tapped on for oh, twenty seconds?
I feel your discomfort, I’m familiar with the sense of anxiety to know more, see more, feel more and have more. But where’s it really taking us? I just finished ready Sarah Wilson’s new book, This One Wild and Precious Life and it was a fabulously relevant book for what we’re facing as a collective on this planet right now. I loved every minute of it, and it also scared me quite a lot.
It shook me up because Sarah’s done her homework and she lays out, with very little ceremony, just how completely crazy our world has become and also, how brain-dead we all seem to be in the face of some pretty massive challenges hitting us in the inter-species face. You see, I agree with pretty much everything she wrote in this book, which means, I’d better bloody well find a way to make a contribution to make our world a friendlier place. I have no idea what that will be yet, but I’m putting it out there.
My first step is to get creative, instead of shuffling along being a passive consumer of stuff and entertainment. I’m on a work break right now but you know, it’s pretty tricky for a Virgo sun, Aries rising to be on holiday and let time roll by, when there’s ideas flowing in and ample time to act on them. So far on my holiday, I’ve completed an online eating disorder treatment course for my psychology role, finished an edit of my book manuscript, re-jigged my website design and words, and begun writing my first blog post in about nine months. See! It’s really hard for me to lounge around sipping pina coladas and reading trashy novels. I know, you’re probably the same.
So truly, how can we, as a community of concerned yet puzzled individuals begin to make a difference to issues like climate change, racial inequality, government ambivalence to said issues, and the seemingly unending dominance of greedy capitalism across the world? I honestly don’t know, but Sarah has some wise advice borrowed from her friend, Sister Joan; start where you are. Do something small and meaningful in your local community or be inspired by and support the people you see who are already doing good and helpful things.
Even if we all simply vowed to limit our use of plastics, takeaway cups and containers and used our cars less, that would be something worthwhile. We could even go a little further and cease making unnecessary purchases of clothing, shoes, homewares and electronics. How much do we really need?
So what does this all have to do with spirituality and healing? Well hang on, ’cause I’m getting there. The other strong theme in This One Wild and Precious Life is going out into nature as a way of getting back to basics and realising what’s really important. Sarah Wilson is a big fan of long hikes and camping. Same! Well, long walks anyway. Also nature photography, native orchids and all flowers, swimming in the ocean and birds, I really love birds. And my dog Leo, I really love him.
I think the biggest message of 2020 was to SLOW the heck DOWN. Do you agree? When we slow down, we get to notice what’s really important to us, put more energy into our close relationships, our connection to ourselves and the natural world. To me, going outdoors each day is my spiritual food. It grounds me. It’s essential to all of us, and I think perhaps many of us have rediscovered nature as a healer and ally in times of stress and uncertainty. Have you?
Can we agree it’s time to return to a simpler way of life, so that we may all live and prosper and our precious Mother Earth gets a chance to heal? Here’s an oldie, but it’s more relevant than ever; Live simply so that others may simply live ~ often attributed to Mahatma Gandhi but also may have been first said by Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821).
I’ll leave you here. What are you going to do next?