You are not a machine.
Looking around these days, whether its in my Inbox, on my social media feeds, or listening to the chatter I pick up on in cafes, I am hearing and seeing loads of messages about becoming more proficient, productive and efficient in your career, workplace, home space and lifetstyle. A near constant litany of ways to improve this, hack that, and strategies for achieving more are even pervasive (as I see it) than in recent memory. In fact, they are becoming just as annoying as pop-up ads. Juxtaposed against this stream of consciousness (am I being too kind here?) are another set of messages warning us about the dysfunctional nature of our lifestyle choices, and how they are increasing our depression, affecting our health, and ultimately calling into question the whole basis of our way of life. Day to day living is becoming a search for the next dopamine fix when you check your smartphone.
Which messages are you listening to?
It seems as if the mindfulness movement has been hijacked to serve our need for ever more security, stuff and to secure some arbitrary ideal of what the “perfect live” looks like. Are we using the tools of metaphysics and spirituality as they were originally designed, or have we co-opted them for our personal ego agendas and possible gain? The wellness industry is a kind of oxymoron really, another adjunct or app to help us to continually cope and produce. However, what happens when you really slow down, and take a closer look, and reflect? The chasing is never-ending. The finding ever more elusive.
Is it all making you happier, or just more miserable than ever?
Worry, anxiety and depression, along with obesity, drug and alcohol addiction, and gender and racial abuses is on the rise. So are authoritarian right-wing politicians and governments. We’re behaving like chronically unfulfilled, hungry ghosts searching for a material or spiritual Nirvana. Perhaps further away from that goal than we’d care to admit. Ultimately, we must ask ourselves, what is it all for, and what is the point?
Whether we like it or not, we are also connected to every other living thing on this world, and we all are having a shared experience. (That’s an even a deeper rabbit hole I could take this down, but that’s for another time.) If you are wondering what the most graceful and sensible next steps for reducing or eliminating fear, stress and anxiety in your life, then here is what I’ve found works for me, and for many of those whom I call my clients and friends.