Last week my young daughter’s poignant observation that her life was far from free, set off a chain of thought that led me to the point of realizing we needed to do some good old fashioned (and somewhat cliché) dream building with our kids.
That then made me realise just how little time we assign to any conscious creation of the life we actually want. Instead, most of the time our thoughts are lost in everything we’re observing and experiencing and that just perpetuates more of the same.
So, as I vowed, I started a conversation with the kids about our ideal life.
It has only been a brief conversation so far, which in itself is ridiculous as the kids and I have spent enough time together to have had several really good goes at putting together a pretty good picture of the kind of life we would like.
As you might imagine, the kids had no problem in coming up with ideas.
What I found interesting was the tack they took in their line of thought. Everything they dreamt up appeared to be based on the premise that they would create a lifestyle purely from nature, and it would involve nothing we have commercially available.
When I asked them why this was, they replied that they didn’t want to use money. They have none and they have seen the life of bondage it creates in adults.
It was fascinating to realise that the kids and I seemed in tune about our ideal lifestyle, even although I have shared very little with them about the direction my own thoughts have taken of late, involving a great deal of contemplation about getting back to a more natural lifestyle.
While we spent only a few minutes talking about our ideal life, it has set in motion further thoughts and comparisons with the life we lead now. I have no wish to make life harder than it is, and it can often feel hard just to think about bucking the ‘normal’ ways of living, never mind doing it.
I don’t have any aspirations to Tom and Barbara in The Good Life (a 1970’s British Sitcom about a couple escaping commercialism to become self sufficient), I have more of a vision that the new normal will be a return to self sufficiency and sustainability.
To create the kind of lifestyle that we would find ideal needs to feel easy though, and not like we would be pushing uphill, though admittedly alternatives lifestyles are certainly more on the agenda these days than they were in the 1970’s.
For example, when I consider the schooling choice we have made for our kids, it has exposed us (perhaps more so than in a state school environment) to alternative lifestyles; mainly evident around food choices.
Gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free and vegetarian are all common place dietary choices and, while it certainly poses a challenge to cater for any event that traditionally involves ‘treats’ for a number of kids, these types of food are certainly more widely available and easily obtainable than at any other time in my life.
Despite that, food shopping, baking and cooking are not high on my agenda. Neither is gardening, although I do appreciate plucking lettuce leaves and other fresh things from our garden - courtesy of my partner’s endeavours - to eat only minutes later. For my own part, I find it simpler to avoid anything involving catering and am just grateful my daughters’ birthdays generally fall in strawberry season, since these are fairly universally regarded as yummy and meet most of the ‘free’ requirements.
While I’m not a zealot, I am an advocate of natural living (including food) and feel that, quite simply, the closer something is to its natural state the better it is for us.
Yet here we are plopped right in the middle of an age and society that has created a crazy world (see Escape the Insanity of Your Life) where, instead of it being easy to eat richly beneficial food that grows under our noses on the land where we live, it’s easier to eat food that we go online or get in our car to obtain, and may have been flown half way around the world, be genetically modified, highly refined and/or pumped full of enhancers or preservatives.
In this regard, I think I need to take more of a lead from my kids, who were not in the least bit concerned about how we would make any of our ideal lifestyle happen. I was busy telling them we could just trust that whatever we came up with would no doubt unfold so long as we trusted and believed in it. Yet there I was, contemplating all the uphill struggles I could foresee.
I know it’s not down to me to make everything happen, and I know things always work out, I have just been programmed the way most of us have. Despite all the work I’ve put in on raising my conscious awareness of the thoughts running through my head, and in starting to focus on the thoughts that are more beneficial, that old societal programming still has the ability to kick into overdrive at times.
So much so that a whole week has gone past and the kids and I had only that one conversation about creating our ideal life. What happened to all my intentions of getting them to draw pictures of it? Like happens with all of us, life gets busy. I could give you the run down and you may even sympathise, though most likely you’d simply recognise the same craziness in your own life.
That is okay, even if it takes me a month, or six, I know we will spend more time dreaming the lifestyle we want into existence. We’ve just made a start, and that will do for now.
What about you and the life of your dreams? It’s almost holiday season; most of us get at least some time out. How about just taking a moment of that to dream a little? You never know what could happen, and it’s certain to at least take you in the direction of your best life.
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