Sunday, November 24, 2013

You only lose what you cling to

You only lose what you cling to.

This quote has popped up a lot in my life over the past two weeks.  The origin of this quote is unknown.  Some sources say Buddha said it, but others say it is one of many fake Buddha quotes.

Where the quote comes from is ultimately irrelevant, what is being said is more important to me.

I encourage you to take 5 minutes of silence  and think about what this quote means to you.  Form your own opinion of the quote before you read my interpretation of it below.  I would love to read your interpretation, so please leave it as a comment.

My interpretation

I thought about this quote in 3 sessions of 5 minutes each.  Each session was a few days apart.

First Session:

In the first session I related the quote to the physical world, to my attachment to physical possessions. 

Why is it hard for me to give away clothing?  I have too much clothing, that is for sure, but I only buy clothes I need and clothes I love.  Unfortunately the clothes I love I cannot wear to work and the clothes I need I don’t like wearing around the home because they do not reflect my personality.  So I am sitting with a double wardrobe, clothes I love but cannot wear and clothes I wear but do not love.  Logically, I should have given away the clothes I love because I cannot wear them on a daily basis anymore (and I really don’t need 5 sun dresses and 20 t-shirts if I can only wear them on the weekend), but I love them.  Why am I so attached to these clothes?

Clothing is just one example, there are many other things I own that I love, in fact I don’t buy anything I don’t love.  These are things that I cling to and would feel a very real loss if I was to give them away.

I didn’t come to a conclusion, except that I need to teach myself not to cling to possessions.  By not attaching myself to these objects I wouldn’t suffer loss if I was to lose them.

Second Session:

In the second session, I thought of the quote more in a spiritual sense. This Bible verse came to mind:

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” – Mark 8:35

If you click the link it will take you to a page where you will see the various translations of the passage, as well as cross references to other similar passages.

So I started thinking about how I am clinging to what I want for my life, what I think is best for my life, and how I am not trusting in the dreams that God has put in my head and heart because they are not “safe” options. 

A while ago I read a book with my husband called “When God Writes Your Love Story” by Eric and Leslie Ludy.  Why was it so easy for me to trust God with my love story (the one with Mark), but it is so difficult to trust God with my life story?  Why am I clinging to life?  Why can I not trust God and simply do what  I feel he wants me to do?

Yet again I didn’t come to a conclusion, just a decision that I needed to start working on this.

Third Session:

The third session ended in some form of conclusion: I’m clinging to my individuality.  I cannot get rid of the clothes I love because it is part of my individuality, it is an extension of myself.  I cannot get rid of my DVD collection because when I look at it I see 100+ different aspects of my personality, my individuality.  What I wear (or want to wear) hints to the world who I am.  The books and DVD’s I own shows my interests and likes to anybody who looks through them.  It is all part of me, part of who I perceive myself to be.

While I don’t like opening up my soul to someone until I am ready to (this post is something I am ready to open up, I never write anything I am not willing to be open about to the whole world), I still like to throw little hints of my personality and individuality out into the world. 

Skelanimals T-Shirts are my subtle hint at “I like the dark and creepy, but not too much”.

My jeans, hiking boots and T-shirts show the subtle hint at “I’m a tomboy. I am not a Barbie Doll. I am real. I am not fake. There is a brain in this head” and the summer dresses are my hint at “Even though I am a tomboy, I do like looking pretty, but you will only see me in it when I have proven my intelligence to you.”

By losing my attachment to these things, I will lose a vital tool that I use to show the world my individuality without actually speaking it.

Now comes the quest: giving over my individuality to God.  My individuality is the part of my life I am clinging to.  I am not trusting God to allow the person he created to show through regardless of what I wear, and the stuff I own.  I am using stuff to show it off in my own power instead.

Now it is time… figuring out the next step.  Changing my mind.  Not sure how yet though… when I have figured it out, I’ll let you know!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Media and advertising controls society

If you are reading this, it means you are connected to the internet somehow, so that means you are exposed to advertising and the media in some way or form. And that in turn means that you are at risk of being influenced by the media, just as I am.

Now before I start, I am not opposed to a healthy amount of media entertainment.  It is okay to watch a movie, it is okay to surf the web and it is okay to watch a series.  But you need to ask some questions.

Does the movie/series/website make you stop and think? Does it teach you something? Does it inspire you to do good? Or read up more about a topic?

I loved Stargate-SG1 for that reason, it made me think about real world issues, scientific possibilities and it taught me a lot. There were plenty of hidden warnings for our society in the series.

Other than Stargate-SG1 and a crime series called Life. It has been a very long time since I watched a series that I felt was giving me something to think about with every episode. As a by-product I no longer watch TV series, only documentaries and movies.  And even the movies I have become very selective with.

As far as actual TV goes, I have a TV and I pay my tv license as required of me by law, but I don't think I have watched more than 30 minutes of TV in the 6 months. I have no pay tv, I only get the free channels, and I don't even watch those.

This has allowed me to take a step back and really take a look at the world. How many hours do you spend a week watching a screen or paging through a picture magazine?

Have you seen all the successful people in the world? The ones that are making a difference or have a lot of cash? How much time do you think they spend in front of a screen (actual work on computers excluded).

Don't you think that if 80% of the population got out and actually lived in the present moment, excluding screens from their lives a lot of change could be made for the better in this world?

By sitting in front of a screen all the time, aren't you just becoming a submissive, blindness sheep?  Aren't you helping keep the wealthy rich by only caring about how you are going to get your hands on the next season?

Then I come to another point, how much of the stuff you see and want do you really need to survive and be happy? Here is a good test... if you were to get all the raw materials (for free) and instructions how to make whatever it is you want, would you be willing to spend the next day/month/year making it yourself?  If the answer is no, then really consider if you need it!

Another question: how many shoes do you need?  In my mind: 4 pairs of shoes maximum.  1 for work,  1 for formal wear, 1 for exercise and 1 for casual/beach wear. I will admit I have more than 4 pairs shoes, I have decided that the ones I have are going to be worn until they wear out. No more are coming into my house.

Now the question is where did this idea that women have 50+ pairs of shoes originate?  The advertisers, movies and TV. Right from Clueless and probably even earlier. Clueless was the first time I was introduced to the idea of lots of clothes.

Going back to media and how it shapes society, I ask that you become aware.  You are not a mindless sheep. I encourage you, in this coming week, keep a notebook with you. Every advert you see or hear, make a note.  Every TV series you watch, make a note of the emotions it inspires in you, then stop and think, even if you are immune (or believe yourself to be) how does this advert/series/movie effect the mass public? How does it effect children who are vulnerable to this brainwashing?

Think for yourself, and if you need more convincing,  watch this video.