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July 15, 2010

A friend just sent me this video to watch. It’s about STUFF.  A whole website devoted to our obsession with stuff.  I was blown away by my own buying into the consumer conspiracy perpetrated upon us back in the 50s.  Those of you who don’t remember the 50s are heirs to a legacy you might not be aware of.  It’s pretty insidious and many of us, like me, are hooked into it.  So hooked and our lines so tangled, that we’re about to sink to the bottom pulling the whole world with us.

I have to make changes – BIG CHANGES – in the way I DO life.  I don’t like what I’m attracted to, consumed by, prey to, addicted to:  diabolical marketing ploys and consumer traps and STUFF.  It’s hard to be positive and joyous when the world is going to hell in a hand basket – and quickly.

(Quick right turn – please follow me.)  When I was in Bryce Canyon National Park, there was an astronomy festival.  I heard one of the Dark Rangers (I love that title!), park rangers who are very concerned about how light pollution is destroying populations of animals and of nocturnal habitats all across the globe, give a talk on “Are you afraid of the dark?”  The gist of the presentation was that we should be more afraid of the light – the artificial light that we shine at night all over the world every night – and the absence of dark.

The extent of light pollution in OUR world

Having lived many years in Tucson, Arizona,  I was aware of how light pollution hindered astronomers in their study of the night skies.  But I never thought of this type of pollution harming the habitats of creatures.  The Dark Ranger offered wonderful suggestions of how we can minimize our light footprints.

Yesterday in Walmart (I’m beginning to report an oxymoron), I considered buying the kinds of lights that he suggested for walkways.  You know, those attractive little lights on sticks that require only the sun’s energy to operate.  And after all, they were on sale — half price!  You see, I wanted to be a part of the solution, not the problem.

Then I looked at this morning’s video and thought about how these lights were made, and what they were made out of, and the fact that I was tempted in my consumeritis, consumerholic state, to purchase something that created more problems than it solved.  (BTW, I really don’t need those lights.  I can see just fine outside as long as I eat my carrots.)

I keep finding these oxymorons in my consumption, e.g. wonderful energy saving light bulbs that are far worse in the landfill than incandescent bulbs, tuna that gives me the good kind of oil  yet fills my body with poisonous mercury and kills all sorts of other sea life in its harvesting.  Egad!  Is there no way out?  I feel like an oxy-MORON!

Paul had it right: I do the things I don’t want to do and don’t do the things I want to do (to paraphrase loosely).

I want to be part of the solutions.  Or at least one solution.  And I want to stop contributing to the  problems. But I’m overwhelmed.  Whelmed over. And I don’t have any words of wisdom for myself.

I think I’ll go eat breakfast. My blood sugar is low and that’s not a formula for optimism!

Please watch the video, but eat breakfast first. (And while you’re eating, check out to learn about light pollution.)



The Story of Stuff

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2010 5:47 am

    Hi Nancy, you just reminded me of something by talking about ‘stuff’. You know, there is this strange power against me.. that makes sure that ‘if I like something, it has to be taken away.” I wrote an article on my blog titled ‘Lost?’ a couple of years ago. This strange ‘maya’ that we have for little stuffs.. we want to possess a lot of things.. whether we need them or not, it will one day take man down. Consumerism etc has brought down the real satisfaction a person gets from actually ‘using’ a thing, rather than possessing it. I learnt my lesson when I was 15. I put all my favorite pens, pencils, scales and other fave little stuff in my fave purse so that they could be with me always.. lost the purse!! Imagine, everything that I ‘loved’ gone in a second. That incident made me cry a lot. But I learnt that you can not ‘love’ stuff because it is afterall, lifeless stuff.
    Even until today, Nancy, you won’t believe me, but that ‘power’ is still strong as ever. I have tasted disappointment, anxiety, sorrow and a lot of negative feelings for ‘losing’ each little thing I put my heart into. Something like ‘fate’ working against me.. always.
    But I am now on a spiritual path to find an inner self that I’ll recognise as ‘me’.. so, I am holding on to it.
    Once I believe ‘God is in me’,… I am sure that power will weaken. 🙂 ~Punam

    • July 16, 2010 8:46 am

      Punam, thank you for your response. How alert you are to the movements inside you to teach you and move you away from attachment to “stuff.” It’s an ever-present battle for me. Stuff is God, too, you know. It’s our attachment to it that is what we are up against. Learning to let every little piece and parcel of God flow here and there without our grabbing and holding and possessing. I know this, but still I grab and hold and possess. As if we could ever “possess” God. God is us. We already possess the most precious gift as ourselves alive and free upon this beautiful world. Let’s be like the butterfly, lighting and sipping and tasting, and moving from glory to glory. That’s how the power of “stuff” let’s us go, as we let it go.

      Punam, I hope we can be friends along the path, and sip together the beauties that we find.


    • July 16, 2010 8:47 am

      BTW, I love your email address!

      • July 17, 2010 11:52 am

        Hi Nancy, definitely, friends indeed.. and yes, you are the first person to notice my ‘strange’ email id and ‘read’ its literal meaning. It means what it means. And I am sooo proud of it!

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