Why do we need to change? Can’t things just go along in a nice peaceful way, full of the same old recurring things that make us feel safe? It would be nice to be stuck in a loop of harmonious living, but what if we were stuck in a loop of constant suffering and lack? I wouldn’t want that to continue, and neither would you! Change is the means to achieving the things that elevate us to a better place. Remove us from harmful situations and empower us to be more than we could ever imagine.
This time of year is catalytic in making us examine our lives. It brings many of the things we push aside back to the fore with a bang. Money, health, basic needs, become problematic as we struggle to fulfil obligations and try to find a little something extra to bring some joy into the constant battle of being and having enough.
Traditionally our ancestors had it covered by the end of autumn. Harvests in, food stored, fuel gathered, clothes, blankets, all the necessities accumulated before the dark months. Family and animals gathered close, they sat in the midst of the fruits of their labours, waiting out the long days in the safety of hearth, home, and community. Unfortunately, our modern lives are less simple. We have moved away from the earth calendar of the Great Wheel, substituting it for the ease of shops, paid power, and every other modern comfort we value so highly. Yes, it is much better to flick a switch for a warm home but the price we pay is astronomical, and we fall prey to the foibles of supply disruptions in bad weather.
I envy the ancestors, although their lives were hard, and depended on the natural world to cooperate with the production of food, and shelter, they achieved what we strive a lifetime for every single year. As we approach the festive season of Yule, Christmas or whatever you might celebrate, modern life turns us into greedy monsters striving to have, give, accumulate the most expensive and dazzling things possible. It’s crazy to think people put themselves in debt to seem affluent, and then spend the rest of the year paying it back, to do exactly the same thing next year but bigger!
As the darkness arrives, I find myself reflecting on how I could have been more like the ancestors. Food is something that is always covered, store cupboards can last a few weeks. Warmth, well that relies on the power companies, but it’s limited when supplies are down, or water pressure drops. Clothing I don’t really buy that much, and labels mean nothing to me, I prefer to recycle and reuse. But I still fall foul of the need to make big gestures, buying more than actually needed just to be seen as, well, affluent. Truth is there is no need to appear as something I’m not. I have enough, I live comfortably, have a happy home, everybody is well fed, cared for, and loved, I have enough money to provide all I need so maybe I am more like the ancestors than I thought.
The more I reflect, the more I see that a change has happened, imperceptibly manifesting in the dark. I see the missing ingredient to a simple life. Our ancestors knew what it was, the one thing we lack. They had no interest in getting one up on the neighbours, they all worked hard to provide for themselves, and the community. Nobody went hungry, nobody lacked shelter, nobody was left to feel alone or lesser than anyone else. They celebrated the abundance they had and celebrated the effort that went into getting it. They lived in gratitude not greed.
As I have grown older, and turned to the wisdom of the old ways, this whole need for extravagance has diminished, not yet fully gone but almost, and an appreciation of having enough to be happy is far more important to me than any amount of designer stuff. Wisdom lives in the dark, change lives in our hearts, used together they are a mighty catalyst for positive changes in the way we live, work, and treat each other. I’m not that stupid to believe we could wave a magic wand and make the world understand the need for appreciating the basics of life as more important than the dazzle and glitter, but I am hopeful that little by little we can look into the dark and find small changes that will start a wave of understanding that brings us back to gratitude and respect for each other and the world that provides us with all we need and more. All it takes is a moment to sit in the safety of the dark and learn from its wisdom.
Interesting viewpoint, I find as I get older I need and want less, I was never extravagant, o don’t care about posh things if something is made better it lasts longer, I am still happy to wear rehomed clothes like hand me downs I wore as a child, I give less bought Christmas gifts and try to make a few that I think will be appreciated. I bit simpler food, less take away or meals out and don’t miss the social swirl most of the world loves. Winter is lovely you get the beach to yourself, I enjoy natures constraint in winter, the stark beauty of the trees on misty days and squirrels on the bird feeders remind me other creatures live quietly around us.