The days are slipping by fast and while Christmas is drawing close, another year beckons us from the not too distant future. We often find ourselves thinking, where is our time and our life going to and the older we get, the faster it seems that it is going! It appears that the things we do most day’s we do with speed, even while booking an airline ticket online, one has to do so quickly or miss out on the 24 hour special and making up one’s mind to push that button to confirm a ticket is highly stressful! It never used to be like that, there was more time, surely there was?
Has technology pushed us so that now the answering of emails, checking face-book and other social media, is one more ‘job’ to attend to each day so that we are part of the web of life? Life was more relaxed once upon a time, it may not have been easier but it was lived at a pace that was more in balance with nature, when the word web was usually talk about a spider’s web and not a world-wide web (www). We speed on and we are cramming things to do in our already busy lives. The www is just one example where entire generations can look backwards to a life that was slower and more simple before wify entered into our lives. Perhaps it is at ‘a certain age’ that we come to realize this and we lament our childhood, teen and early adult lives that drew us more outdoors into nature and where we were less hurried and less worried.
How best can we get off the fast track and how in this day of technology can one do so? We first need to look deep inside and figure out who we really are, what makes us tick and what fires our passion. Decades ago, if we missed a phone call, we missed it, but then came the answer phone where we could at some point collect our messages. Now, a text can arrive and we have to check it immediately for it has hooked our attention and matters more to us than anything else in that moment!
How did we arrive at this? We have all seen video clips of friends texting one another back and forth while riding on the same bus and we recognize the waste of time in them doing so, a wasted opportunity to exchange in a real conversation with a friend or to look around at the world outside and at nature, a bird on the wing in flight, a cherry tree in blossom or the simple beauty of leaves dancing in the wind. The simple act of seeing beauty in nature outside our windows is what connects us to the real world in our natural surroundings, in real-time far more than the www can ever do.
We cannot change the world, but we can change our attitude and we can change the way that we live our lives, only we can do that. For those of us who have known a less hurried way of living, where technology and social media was basic where there were no computers or cell phones, we really do know what we need to do, but for those much younger, it will be so much harder because they have always known a hurried pace of attending hockey, ballet and music practise and they have always had a computer, a cell phone and head phones to listen to iTunes on. Their lives have been busy lives going some place almost all of the time and fast food is often their norm just as social media is, both are addictive habits in their lives.
We all have to make a living and work today involves social media, but our ‘time away’ need not involve social media. Back in our homes, if we unplug ourselves from our computers and television including Netflix and cell phones, we will suddenly find time! There will be time to sit and watch nature quietly outside our windows and to walk outside in nature alone or with our family for nature connects us and is our greatest teacher. Video clips and surfing on the www can be entertaining, informative and wonderful and can teach us greatly and we get absorbed, but suddenly we look at the clock and realize that hours have gone by and we are living those hours without living “real life-time!” I can be looking at my laptop screen and miss viewing the finale of a brilliant sunset, eagles soaring majestically or orcas passing by outside our window!
In the end, there is a real world and we human’s are apart of it. We keep on hearing the words “It is time for change, ” and those powerful words of Mahatma Gandhi, “we must be the change that we want to see in the world’. Change can only come when we truly want that change and are willing to do our part in creating change that will make our world a better place, not only for humans but all other species. That change can be as simple as changing a christmas menu to one of plant foods, raw and cooked in a variety of festive ways and if a roast turkey is in the plans, make it an organic grown and free range turkey. While it will cost more, it is costing our planet less in more ways than one.
Your gift giving can be a thoughtful one of giving donations in the name of your family and friends, especially to those who have a passion for animal and bird species, the environment, land, rivers and ocean conservancy, human and animal right issues and issues close to home, as close as your nearest food bank. The list is endless for organizations who need financial support and that alone can become an empowering gift to choose and give away. For children, gifts are a special delight and today there are so many gift’s available that are meaningful that are not plastic throw away’s, gifts of the heart are always the best and most of us older folk will remember the hand knitted woolen hat’s, gloves, scarves and socks knitted for us by our Mothers and Grandmother’s. The giving of hand crafted gifts should never change, even when not personally made for so many of those gifts can be purchased at local craft venues held year-round but especially closer to Christmas. We all know this truth but media hooks us and shows us bigger and better gifts to give to our family and friends and we allow clever advertising media to take hold of us including the frenzy and madness of shopping sales on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day!
By changing our way of giving in Spirit, gifts from our heart are what truly matter. Recognizing how much we already have and that we really do not need ‘more stuff’, will change everything and can help to slow us down immensely. We can bring peace into our lives and that of our family this Christmas if we truly want it. We do not have to stress about Christmas which after-all is meant to bring joy, love and peace into the world.