Like I said in my last post, I am reading "No Impact Man's" old blog posts. This one, just knocked me out. I want to shout... YES, YES, YES!!!
I feel this often, this loneliness and I do fill it will things like being on the computer or shopping. BUT, what I am truly needing is people, a community. Thankfully, I am part of a great homeschooling community here in Arizona. Giving up things and replacing them with time for people, time to connect; well, that doesn't seem like a bad trade off. Maybe what environmentalism needs to focus on is a re-connection with each other, so we feel that need to change because we know we are all in it together, all of us. It is easy, in a way, to buy your way out of feeling crappy and lonely. Hell, you don't even have to leave the house. Just hop on the computer and spend. What is challenging is to open yourself up, put yourself out there, be vulnerable, connect with other people... living, breathing people. Not on the internet, but face to face.
In Buddhism there is this idea: the hungry ghost. I read about it years ago in the book "Buddhism: Plain and Simple". The author takes out all the dogma and just leaves you with the bare bones of what the Buddha was getting at. The hungry ghost, there for, isn't an actual ghost but that feeling of constant craving. Never being satisfied with what you have, always, always wanting more. Always hungry. The need, the desire for more and more stuff that so many of us have (myself included), is keeping us from experiencing life. There is always more stuff to have, if we can not find happiness in what we currently have, if can not connect with actual live people, if we can not help each other out... well, what hope is there? Stuff will not fill us up, no amount of shopping will fill up what is missing in our lives.
That is why, for me, trying out the "No Impact" experiment might just be the balm I need.
Here is an example (how I see it maybe working), when you want to go someplace you hop in your car and drive there, alone. Completely isolated from the world. BUT, if to get someplace you have to take a bus, or use the light rail, or ride a bike, you are out there. People are around you, you might even chat with the person in the next seat. OR you will feel the wind in your hair, the sun on your skin, hear the birds, you will be a bit more present. It is hard to see what is going on in the world when you are flying through it at 60 miles an hour.
OR you are at the farmer's market. You know what is in season because that is what they have. You can talk to a real live person who grew the carrots, okra, lettuce, etc. You can connect with them. There is no real connection at the grocery store, even a fancy organic one like "Whole Foods". They didn't grow the food, they didn't raise the hens, they didn't care for the cows. But you can get that at the farmer's market. That connection. You can talk to the rancher, discuss the joys of hens with the farmer, ask advice about the eggplants. There is a smile, a voice, a touch. This is the connect I think we are missing.