Do you sense that there is something more, something is missing?
This sense is a good thing, a very good thing- we need this sense to open our eyes to the possibility that something isn’t working. And indeed- if we are living and participating in this culture- your intuition is right- something is absolutely amiss. As a society, we have missed the mark. Progress defined by material wealth. Corporate emptiness. Environmental disaster.
Sharon Blackie, author of If Women Rose Rooted, calls our current state of affairs "the Wasteland".
“For those who sense the Wasteland, we are caught not only in an industrial wasteland, but in a wasteland of the heart and spirit. The wasteland is not just outside of us, a sickness in the system, in our culture: The wasteland is in ourselves.” - Sharon Blackie
Your intuition, your sense that something is amiss, is pointing us to what you (and all of us) have lost sight of.
We have lost ourselves. Our true Selves. Our internal compass. We may have sacrificed them to be able to meet the norms of our culture, we may have hid them in an attempt to protect ourselves, and lost sight of them over the years, they may have been so malnourished that they retreated on their own. We need to reconnect with our internal compass again- our species and planet depend on it.
We fill the emptiness with consumption, we need the latest gadgets, buy our subscription boxes, pile up our stuff shipped from who knows where from who knows what wasteland. We may try to avoid or numb the discomfort binge watching Netflix, gaming for all our waking hours, social media, having a few too many beers. Perhaps if we add a few more things to our schedules, we can wrap ourselves in the comfort of business and stress and not have time to worry about the void we feel.
Some of us look at others, especially on social media, and feel like everyone has it together but us. That they have passion, meaning, and purpose in their life. This easy-to-make assumption can lead us to feel like we are the only ones. That we need to try all these things that others are doing because those things will give us the purpose and meaning that the others are (seem to be) experiencing. (<--Definition of FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out).
Think about it. Why FOMO. Why are we so fearful to miss out?! What lack do we feel? What void? What do we sense is wrong?
There has been, over the past decade or so, this collective idea that ‘happiness comes from experiences and not things’.
This belief fuels FOMO and actually keeps us from returning to our internal compass, our true Selves. It keeps us distracted and feeling like we need more and more from outside of us to feel whole.
In the belief that 'happiness comes from experiences and not things' we just substitute experiences for material things. The root of this consumption- fueled- belief is not addressed. Sure experiences can be great and so can material things, but with the belief that we need more of them to make us happy- the collection of experiences is no less damaging psychologically than the collection of material things.
We have learnt not to trust ourselves, disconnected from what we truly need, we turn outside to look for meaning, purpose and passion.
What if meaning, purpose, and passion were not a static things that you can find outside of yourself. What if they were a dynamic, fluid state of being aligned?
We cannot have these things in our life if we are not attuned, even a little bit, to our true Selves, our internal compass. In order to align with what feels right, we need to be able to connect to that compass. The work is in disentangling ourselves from the messages we have inherited from the culture. What is not ours to hold. When we begin to create more space between what thoughts and beliefs are ours and what aren’t, it becomes more clear- who we are, what we believe, and the path forward to reclaim our true Selves.
The more we notice these states of alignment internally, paradoxically, the more we are able to feel connected to something bigger externally.
How can you start listening to your internal compass?
Ask yourself what beliefs and feelings have you inherited vs. what are yours.
Get out of your head and into your body. Linear, rational thought without intuition and wisdom can be dangerous and has led us here. Rationality certainly has a place, however we need to tip the scales back into balance by connecting with how things feel.
Connect with your gut feeling. How things feel in your body when you think about them. For example, notice how your body feels when you are on social media. Learn the signs.
“When we stop, when we let ourselves see, when the torn veil of this broken civilisation lifts away from our eyes- we can find our way back home”- Sharon Blackie