A better way

Thanks to all of your for your encouragement on my first post. I’m still trying to figure this bloggy thing out but I’ll get there (generation X and late adopter that I am). I’ve changed my heading picture for Provenance and Providence to something that seems more local: beautiful rock roses. However, these are native to the Americas… so much still to learn.

So where does one start with defining a better way? I’ve decided on what I think is a logical beginning: a clearing process to declutter my space, my mind and my thinking. I came across Marie Kondo purely by chance but am really interested in her method, ‘Konmari’. She is a Japanese organising consultant but beyond what you might think is just an obsessive compulsion is where the appeal lies: it’s about decluttering your existence, retaining only the things that ‘spark joy’ in your life, creating calm simplicity and using your space and time efficiently.

Understanding that this is an enormous commitment, I’m convinced that Konmari is going to be the right place to start. Not only do I have a small house with limited space, but I’m sure I have loads of stuff that I don’t need and many ways in which I can organise better. I’m looking forward to December when I have some leave to get started on this. I’m hoping this will free up a fresh energy to start planning my journey in earnest.

Talking about December, I hope you’ve made your lists of time-consuming and adequately valued Christmas presents to demonstrate to the people in your life how much you care about them. In my next post, I’m going to share my ideas about Christmas in the spirit of wellbeing. I’ve just made my first gift for very dear people: home-made kimchi which is now fermenting with great calm in the fridge.

Optimistically yours, until then.

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A better way

Pink Floyd summarised it aptly in the track ‘Time’ from Dark Side of the Moon:

“So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking 
Racing around to come up behind you again. 
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older, 
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death”.

It’s a rather bleak opening to my first blog but it’s where I am and have been for years. It’s where a lot of us are: trapped in a system that starts at school, passes through Varsity, if we’re lucky enough to access that , into our first, second, third jobs (The Career), not forgetting that we need to achieve, succeed, and build a retirement, which we’ll be too old to enjoy fully anyway (don’t forget to plan for all that medical care). Earning, spending, saving, wasting, losing, winning. Keeping ahead of the inflation curve, being charitable where we can afford it (so many poor folk on the wrong side of democracy, but what can I do about it).

Contract to contract, month-end to month-end. I am The Consumer, spending Saturdays and Sundays in parking lots and retail outlets of varying descriptions, in queues, loading the boot, unpacking, counting what’s left. It’s never much, if anything at all. And I’m still one of the privileged ones.

On Thursday evening, 23rd November 2017, I attended what was, for me, a seminal event where I met Professor Lorenzo Fioramonti, author of Wellbeing Economy. On Thursday evening, for the first time, I realised that perhaps I may have a choice to change something radically, for me, for my family, for the human beings that exist around me, known and unknown, and for the eco-system that supports me.

I love Pink Floyd, don’t get me wrong, the revolutionary icons of our youth, challenging the system with their nihilistic cynicism, teaching us how to think about The System.. Oh the years we spent listening to these lyrics, fantasising that we understood what the problem was. But in their words again, “Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time… Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines.. And then one day you find ten years have got behind you“. No-one told us how we would get trapped into the cycle, how we would be chasing our tails, watching our investments in life jump around nervously from year to year, decade to decade, knowing that things are not really getting better for anyone. Hunger, slavery, war, disease, inequality, corruption and environmental destruction rage around us (don’t look now, it’s too upsetting).

So I’ve decided to embark on a journey and I’d like to share it with you. I can’t define it in any great detail, yet. But what I would like is to be free – liberated from the never-ending cycle of consumption, captive in a system that wants to extract everything it can from me regardless of the impact it has.

I want to be self-determining, I want to do it with a clear conscience and I want to enjoy it to the full. Would you like to join me?