I was taught to approach consumption from the perspective of moderation.
“Everything in moderation.”
Hoo boy, how I hated being told this as a child. Moderation is so….MODERATE. Puritan. Buttoned-down. Laaaa-aaame.
“Yes, you can watch TV, but just a little.” “Yes, you can have a cookie, but just one.”
It’s a qualified “yes, but”.
And while we all love a “yes”, nobody likes a “but”.
It became apparent that this version of moderation was all about going without, based on cultural mores rooted in gluttony, politesse and virtues. It made for some complicated relationships: I want this, but can only have a little, which has me wanting it more.
It is the “more” that was — and remains — the problem.
For me. (And maybe for you?)
More food. More conversation. More obligations. More information. I had lost the sense of how I wanted to FEEL during and post-consumption. Back then, it was about filling up, not fueling up.
I wasn’t savouring, I was shoveling. A bulging calendar meant a life well-lived. A heaping plate meant abundance. A full closet meant affluence.
So why was I feeling so depleted?
You know the answer: I was choosing quantity over quality.
In choosing dubious quality, I was producing dubious quality in my relationships, work and art.
Crap in, crap out.
There is this truth: there is only so much room, and there is only so much time. And mercy me, this truth becomes more and more acute with every passing year.
I now approach MOST consumption from the perspective of a small plate at a large and sumptuous buffet of life.
I’m not talking about scarcity here. I’m talking about INTENTION, ’cause, Darlin’ I don’t doubt for a nanosecond that you have the capacity to receive many more gifts, much more wealth and much more joy in your life. And don’t you dare doubt that either.
What I am advocating is crystal-clear clarity about your intention as you approach that buffet.
What do you want from this meal, conversation, hour, visit? Do you want to feel energized? Inspired? Alive? Accomplished? Comforted?
Let this intention inform your every choice.
Will you be satiated with filet or filler? Fact-finding or Facebook? Meeting your mother or “How I met your mother”?
You get to choose.
And if you find yourself becoming overstuffed, overwhelmed, overscheduled or overweight, notice what — and how much — you’ve invited onto your plate.
Believe as I do that you can handle it AND choose differently the next trip to the buffet.
So go ahead and fuel up. Just don’t forget to leave a little room for dessert.