When I walk into a grocery store, I wonder how we got here, why we stay here, and how we might leave.
So much salt, sugar, plastic, gasoline, and cyclical celebrity gossip. (There used to be cheap paperbacks at the checkout. Now I’ve noticed cheap DVD’s have taken their place.)
No one thinks this stuff is good for us.
Everyone thinks this stuff is bad for us.
So all the stuff at the store pains not only our bodies but, since we buy it even though we know it harms us, it also pains our souls—souls sensitive to any disconnect between who we want to be and who we are.
There’s a story about how we, despite the pain, got here.
And there’s a story about why we, despite the pain, stay here.
Some of our best art tells the basic story that
where we shouldn’t be
we can’t stay here any longer
we should do things differently.
One of my favorite bands, The Talking Heads, satirically tells part of the story—the “we’re here, where we shouldn’t be” part—in one of my favorite songs, “(Nothing But) Flowers” (lyrics superimposed in video):
I Miss The Honky-Tonks, Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
The last line—I can’t get used to this lifestyle—hints at why we stay here: we do what we are used to doing, even when it hurts. We have our habits and no song or post—alone—will break them.
So it’s on us to consciously take up some new, happy act each week or month to displace some old, harmful habit we inherited when we were young. This way our children, cousins, nephews, nieces, and grandchildren will feel a little less loss when the unsustainable Honky-Tonks, Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens are weeded out.
With that in mind, here are some new habits we might try to take up this week or month. Please add more in comments.
(1) Bike, walk, or bus whenever possible.
(2) Strive to buy whole foods with minimal packaging and processing.
(3) Turn the TV off and play a family/friend board game (or other group activity).
(4) Go out to eat less, cook more.
(5) Make a weekly donation box and give at least a few things to Goodwill each week.
Dan lives in Boulder with close mountains and friends. He loves to read, meditate, and bike about town.