Thursday, March 5, 2015

I shop, therefore I am.

There's something that's been weighing on my mind so heavily for many many years now. I'm hoping that sharing it with all of you will lighten the burden on my soul a bit. If nothing else, perhaps it will allow some to think about our world and environment a little differently.

I love this earth. I love it more than myself. I'm in tune with it and very sensitive to it. I feel the need to defend it and be its voice. I can't help that I was born a deeply sensitive person. I feel things on another level, and they can really affect me and the way I live my life. Phew. With that said, here goes. Please bear with me.

I need to speak out against the fashion industry. (And consumerism, in general.)

America is a very wasteful country. Nobody wastes like we do. We have a "throw it out" mentality when we are done with things and don't want them anymore. We also have such a fear of "germs" that we are afraid to wear something a stranger wore or let our kids play with used toys ... you get the drift. Most countries in the world would never throw out perfectly good shoes or clothes or a bag, just because it was "last season". In fact, most of the world's population wears clothes or shoes with holes or stains on them. They are not judged for the stains. They are not lesser people. They simply don't have the luxury of being wasteful.

Guess what? ... neither does the richest American.

The day is coming, sooner than later, that water will be the most precious commodity on the planet. Rivers and lakes are drying up faster than you'd ever thought possible. The precious water the earth has left is being used to make plastics and textiles, and all that is left is a toxic cesspool of unusable liquid. And where does that go? There is no such thing as "throwing something away". It all goes into our soil and/or ground water. This eventually seeps into our fields and food and back into our bodies. How's that for junk food?

What most people see. 
What I see.

If we're not afraid of the threat of water being taken from us by these industries, then at least we can consider the landfill burden of our addiction to consumerism. When I walk into a store (I won't name any in fear of being sued), I don't see what I want to "buy". I instead see the burden it has on the earth. Someone might see rows of toothbrushes, toys, clothes, etc. But I see those aisles times the thousands. I picture every store and department store in the whole nation and imagine everything they are selling in a landfill. Then I picture the earth and wonder how long it will be until we use up every bit of beautiful earth by turning it into one big landfill.

Wow, I'm a downer. But I want to urge others to start thinking of things differently. Our kids are coming home from school, crying, because they don't "fit in". They get made fun of for wearing square toed shoes when pointy is in. Or pointy when round is in. They can't possibly be seen driving their parent's old car, because their friends at school all were gifted brand new cars when they turned 16.

We are creating the very existence that is harming the social structure of our childrens' lives. Instead of sitting our kids down and learning about the environmental damage we are doing just to "keep up with the Joneses", we are allowing this never-ending loop of consumerism to own us. These kids (and most adults, if I'm being honest) are completely owned by what they "own". It becomes the definition of who they are. It becomes the drive that pushes them to work in jobs they might hate, just so they can afford the very things that are keeping us in prison. Consumerism is prison. It's poisoning our land, stealing our water, creating battles between kids, stress for adults, and it's all for NOTHING.

We are not the things we own.

We are not our clothes, our cars, our toys, our shoes. We are not our jobs or even our thoughts. Who we truly are, is the being quietly sitting behind all of it, watching it, observing it and doing nothing about it. Why are we so crazy? I'm guilty of it. Most of us are. But we don't have to be. We have the choice to change.

I find myself daily having to remind myself of these facts. I see something cute and "want" it. But I have to tell myself what I tell my 4 year old son ... "We don't need that to live. What we need to live is water, air, food and love. These things might look shiny and desirable, but the cost is way too high. The earth is paying a big price." We talk daily about the rain forests, ground water and landfills. I smile proudly as he says "The Earth is going to get mad at you for letting that water run, mommy". And I rest assured knowing that the more toys my kids have, the more they want to stay inside. And there is some major mental and physical therapy that happen when we get our kids OUTSIDE instead.

For some facts about the fashion industry and the imprint it is leaving on the planet, please visit:

Consider gifting memories instead of toys for your kids. Trips to the zoo, aquarium or science center; art or music classes; exploring a new city ... are all good alternatives to the typical birthday gift.

I don't think we can talk about consumerism without talking about what makes us feel the need to consume so much. Please stay tuned for grounding posts regarding getting back to our core purpose and being. There's a lot of change happening in our world, and I'm excited to be a part of it and see where it takes us all.

In love for all,

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