Tag Archives: Priorities

waste not want not

2 Oct

There’s nothing like being on a budget to make you appreciate the value of every little thing you consume.  Every mouthful of food, the electricity that plays your music and powers your computer, each sip of wine and the roof above your head.

And it’s not just the dollar value but the energy that has gone into making the things you enjoy in life.  The energy to dig the garden and nourish the soil, to plant to nurture and to harvest.  Then the energy to chop and flavour and cook.

Given everything that goes into providing you sustenance, building your home, creating your technology and your entertainment, how can we waste any scrap of it?  Why do we buy food we don’t need and then throw it away because it is past it’s prime, or buy a dress because it’s ‘on sale’ and then never wear it?  What is it that makes us feel so indulgent that we think we can waste anything and still expect to have an abundance available to us at our whim?

So, suddenly when we have little or no money we become thrifty and careful.  We count every item we put into our shopping cart and we plan our meals.  We only buy clothes we need, and we sew the holes in our shirt before we get a new one.  We turn off the lights when we leave the room, and only use the heater when wearing a jumper is not enough.

Imagine if we lived like this all the time, even when we are going through a feast phase and have money enough for whatever we want.  Imagine if we were always thoughtful about what we consume and before every purchase asked ourselves “do I really need this?”  Imagine if we never wasted our food, or our water or any of our resources.  What a different more balanced world we would be living in.

So, the question is: what can you do to be less wasteful and more productive in your everyday life?

For me, I am going to try living like I am on a budget even if that is no longer the case.  I will grow any food I can, plan my meals and only buy food I know I am going to eat.  I will compost my waste wherever I can, and recycle everything I can (both in my own home and in my rubbish).  I will chose to buy things that use less packaging and wherever possible things that are made locally and sustainably.  I will turn off the light when I leave a room, and wear a jacket before I turn on the heater.  And I will make a considered effort to think before I buy and to always appreciate the true value of the things I consume.

I hope that we can all change the way we live either a little or a lot, and  I really hope that is enough to make a difference in the world.  I want to live in balance and I want to appreciate that life.  Here’s hoping that consciousness can spread.

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what if?

17 Sep

So what do you do if your whole world turns on its head in a moment?

A moment of realisation, a moment of drama, a moment of unwanted truth.  Just imagine:  life is good, you are (mostly) happy.  You have a home, you have people who love you and people who respect you, you eat good food and you feel like you are achieving things which are valuable.  Then, just a small shift of the dime, and you are suddenly looking at the end of it all.

We all believe ‘it won’t happen to me’, we all believe we are special and significant in some way.  Such striking shifts in fortune are stories told by other people; they cannot be for you.

So, what do you do?  How do you continue when in the blink of an eye your world turns upside down?

Life’s plot twists come in so many forms – it can be sickness, death, loss, change of lifestyle, change of place, violence, accident or just an abrupt shift in your perception of reality.  But suddenly you are living in a different life with no experience in navigating the way.

Maybe you are living in a topsy turvey world where you are vulnerable and lost, or maybe you are still in the land of the main character who always wins.  Either way what are your priorities?  Would your priorities change if your world was ending?  And if they would, why don’t you make those your priority today?

I hope (and am hopeful) that I can enjoy the hero’s life in the future (and yes, yes I know the hero falls down again and again – but they also enjoy the rewards for their determined efforts) and my greatest wish is a peaceful life with the people I love and the fruits of the earth that I enjoy.  But if I could not have that… if I had to accept the inevitable end of that dream then what would I do differently?  What are my priorities in Life as opposed to my priorities to make it from one week to the next?

It is time to go back to the jar of my life, what is important and where do I choose to focus.  And, just in case it breaks and falls apart, is there anyone or anything I am missing from my equation?  So now: prioritise, balance and enjoy.  It may all turn on its head any minute, but surely these principles remain to guide me…

no regrets

15 Aug

No regrets.

Some days you remember that it is the little things in life that make a difference, be that good or bad is entirely up to you.  Life is just too short, and it always finds its way.  So you can choose how you live it.  You choose how you respond to all the little stories that sweep you up from time to time.  And you choose what life means to you.

So, many years ago, I decided that I had cracked the meaning of life, and that I could sum it up in two words: To Learn.

Sounds simple, right?  And, in fact, in every existential pub conversation I have had about the meaning of life, those two little words always seem to win.

Someone will say: “The meaning of life is to be happy”  to which I can say “You learn to be happy”.  Someone else will say: “The meaning of life is to love” to which I can say “You learn to love”.  Someone else might say: “The meaning of life is to contribute and make the world a better place” and, you guessed it, I can say “You learn how to contribute.”

Every day you learn and hopefully you grow.  You become wiser and fuller.  There are a handful of people who refuse to learn, and life just keeps them going around and around reliving the same lesson until (hopefully) one day it clicks.  So, unless you learn and move forward you stay on repeat.  To truly live you must learn and advance.

This works for me, but as nice as it is to sum up the meaning of life, it is not all there is.  What about when life is over?  Is learning in life really going to seem satisfying in the end..

Whenever it is over I want no regrets.  I don’t want a single undone moment to lament.  I hope to have said and done and tried everything I want to do.

These can be the little moments on any given day.  Saying goodbye when you leave for work, appreciating the flaming colours of the sunset, telling the people you love that you do love them.  It can also be big things.  Adventures and challenges, or trying something new you have never tried before.

So, this is a reminder.  Live life to its fullest every day that you have.  Learn in life wherever you can.  And live with integrity and passion so there will be no regrets, and only valued memories.

I will try to remember this every day, and try, try again.

shuffling the jar of life

25 Jul

Sometimes you realise that your life is full of pebbles.

So, take the opportunity to re-evaluate what is really important in your life.  What are your big rocks?  You control your life, you can choose the priorities it will follow.  Anytime you want to shuffle the jar, focus on your rocks first and the rest will fall into place around them.

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A professor stood before her philosophy class with some items on the desk in front of her.  When the class began, she wordlessly picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks as big as golf balls.  When she could not fit any more rocks in the jar, she asked the students if the jar was full.  They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.  She shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the rocks.  She then asked the students again if the jar was full.  They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.

Of course, the sand filled up everything else.  She asked once more if the jar was full.  The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the
sand.  The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.  The rocks are the important things in your life—your family, your health, your beliefs, your friends and your favourite passions— if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

“The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

“The sand is everything else—the small stuff.  If you put the sand into the jar first,” she continued, “then there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks.  The same goes for life.  If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

“Play with your children.  Spend time with your parents.  Visit with grandparents.  Take time to get medical check-ups.  Take your partner out to dinner.  There will always be time to clean the house and fix the light.  Take care of the rocks first—the things that really matter.  Set your priorities.  The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised their hand and inquired what the beer represented.  The professor smiled and said, “I’m glad you asked.  It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of drinks with a friend.”

Challenging beginnings

20 Jul

How easy we are sidetracked by the mundane petty events of each day.

I still believe that you make your own reality and that you can achieve anything you set out to do, which you strive for with determination.  But it has been one of those phases where the distractions of everyday things make persistence hard to maintain.

There is the initial motivation which carries it’s own momentum.  It is truly easy to believe in possibility then.  To believe in your own capacity to create, persevere, and achieve your goals.

Then the momentum wears itself down, you procrastinate or excuse yourself just for one day.  And suddenly life throws its distractions at you.

Distractions, insignificant dramas that suck you into their segment of time.  Suddenly you are just your day to day moments and all that inner glow is drowned out in just making it through another hour and the next one and another day…  Make it through all the scenes just to get closer to not being in them anymore, closer to the mystery day where it will all be better and you will be all activity and satisfaction.

Every week that mystery day on the horizon, is for me ‘The Weekend’.  Every day, to convince me to get out of bed I remind myself it is one day closer to the weekend.  Aaah, the weekend, when I can wake up the morning without alarm, and get up for myself and My Life.

I am always going to do so many things then… I tell myself this each day of the week.  Of course then it is the weekend, and you can do whatever you like then, it’s your Day Off.  So if you want to do nothing, that’s what you do.  Now, I realise this makes me sound lazy, and I wish I truly was but unfortunately that’s not reality.  I just put my energies into things which are not of true importance to my heart and soul.

I work.  For someone else.  I work at work, I work at home, I work in transit.  I think about work, sometimes dream about work.  I worry about work, I am genuinely concerned about work related things.  I am distracted by work.  And it is not of true significance to My Life.

So here I sit.  Tired, distracted, emotionally drained and feeling like I am not achieving.

And, then he reminds me..  I have love!  How fortunate I am.  What more purpose do you need in life than love?  Love, learning and whatever else it takes to support both.  Everything is better when you see it from a life with love.

So, inspiration, there you are!  Step by step, persistence, perspective, hope.

All I need is a good night (or two) of sleep, and the occasional reminder of what life is all about.  Start filling the jar of life with the big rocks, and the rest will fall in between the spaces.

Something new

6 Jul

I have always believed in possibilities.

I also believe that you have to create your own opportunities, and steer your life in the direction you want to go.  It may go off on it’s own tangent most of the time, but you have choices and those choices will alter your course.

So, something new, for me at least.  The blogosphere.

I am challenging myself to take hold of life and my dreams again.  I intend to do this while maintaining the mundanities of my life which keep a roof over my head (e.g work which does not satisfy the soul, and hours on public transport).  And, while enjoying all the little things in life which give me joy.  Good food, good company, ideas, observation and life.

And so, it begins…