Hyperreality

I’m sure you’ve seen this video before.  If this woman stood next to her picture that went on the billboard at the end, you wouldn’t recognize that it was the same person.  Every time I see this, I have a thought at the end:  Why use a model at all?  Certainly technology can create a fake pretty face for a billboard.  Maybe sometimes they do that, I don’t know.

This morning at church, the pastor talked about this video as an example of hyperreality.  It wasn’t the main focus of his message, just the hook.  Hyperreality is an issue created by all the media and advertising that occurs in our world.  Everything we see on t.v., every billboard, every magazine ad, is selling us this idea of what life is like.  We sometimes see more of this hyperreality, this imaginary ideal, than we see of real life.  It sets us up for feeling inadequate and disappointed. 

It starts from little on.  Full House tells us that when we are mad or sad, our parents will come up to our rooms and talk to us and make us feel better, and they don’t.  I remember having conversations with my friends joking about how we began to expect this.  Our parents had never once come up to our rooms when we ran away mad, but after watching Full House, we expected them to!  🙂 

Then we grew up a little bit, and we became addicted to chick flicks.  Romantic comedies teach us the formula for getting married:  Boy meets girl.  Boy and girl are enemies.  Boy and girl realize that all the fighting means they actually love each other.  Boy and girl get torn apart by circumstances.  Boy and girl overcome circumstances and live happily ever after.  Throw some sex into the story and you’ve got a paperback romance novel.  Real-life relationships are not so predictable, and if you’re in a good one, generally not so dramatic.  So when you experience a drama-free relationship for the first time, it’s a disappointment because it doesn’t feel exciting enough to be “real.”  Not like what you expected from a relationship.

Then you get through a few relationships that, whether drama-filled or not, are nothing like the chick flick formula, and you realize that you can predict a chick flick, but you can’t predict real life.  And every television commercial that works its way into our lives shows us what our house/body/clothes/family/car/food/etc. should be like.  I think I should be immune to it by now…but I don’t think any of us are really immune to it.

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Hello, Again!

It has been awhile, I know!  I will post about my adventures soon, but for now, just a quick post about something I stumbled upon.

Sara at On Simplicity says: “If you consider life on a spectrum or as a pendulum, there’s no going off-track. There’s only swinging from one side to the other as needed.”

Hey, that’s me!  🙂  For awhile I want to eat lots of vegetarian, raw, organic, mostly vegan food, then suddenly I’ll have nothing but Hot Pockets and Chinese take out for awhile.  One week I’ll be happy to throw myself into my work, another week I’ll be so happy that it’s summer and I can lay by the pool for hours!  Sometimes I think of myself as “middle of the road,” but I am almost never in the middle of the road!  I like this idea that we swing from one side to the other “as needed.”  When my body needs some health, I can be passionately vegetarian.  When my life needs simplicity, I can live on processed frozen entrees!  🙂

This idea that “there has to be a sane middle ground!” is not altogether true.  Why does there have to be a middle ground?  Why does one thing have to be right?  What is right today is not always right tomorrow.

Mindful Spending

It’s an election year, so it’s all about voting.  We have the valuable privilege of choosing the people who make decisions for our government and our nation, by our vote.  But today I want to talk about a different vote, one we have the opportunity to make every day, whether it’s an election year or not.  I read an article today called The 7 Principles of Mindful Wealth by Mike Adams.  Mr. Adams is passionate and extreme in everything he writes about, and this article is no exception.  But his penchant for the very end of the spectrum just means that he has the potential to be effective at making change.  The reader doesn’t need to be Mike Adams, the reader just has to be open to his message.

The message that struck me in the article…I vote with every dollar I spend.

So how do you spend money in service of protecting life? It’s an important question, and the more wealth you have, the more important it is to find the right answers here.Essentially, you must be mindful that you vote with your dollars. Everything you buy is something you encourage. If you buy meat harvested from a cow, for example, you encourage the harvesting of more cows. If you buy gasoline, you are voting for more drilling of oil. If you buy non-organic junk food, you’re asking the food corporations to manufacture more non-organic junk food! What you buy (and consume) determines what your money supports.

On the other hand, if you buy organic, non-processed foods, then you are using your money to vote in favor of organic farming. If you stop buying cow meat, then you reduce demand for cow meat, and you deny revenues to the cow factory farms that produce the meat.

If you hire natural-oriented health practitioners to support your health (chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, homeopaths, etc.) then you are voting for their professions. Every dollar you spend is a vote for the thing you spend it on!

Mindful redistribution of wealth means spending money in the service of life. So every dollar you spend goes to support something (or someone) that’s having a positive, creative impact on the planet. In this way, the more money you mindfully spend, the greater the positive impact on the planet!

Did you read that last sentence carefully? The more money you mindfully spend, the greater your positive impact on the planet!

I’ll bet you never thought about spending money as bringing you good karma. But it does when you spend it mindfully.
It’s easy to think of the good our charity dollars can do.  If I support my church, or sponsor a child, or donate to a cause I believe in, those dollars can make a positive impact on our world.  But the dollars I spend on goods and services also make an impact! 

In reality, you can’t vote positively with every dollar.  Whole Foods Market may promote organic farms and buy energy credits to offset their footprint…but they don’t sell Charmin!  Have you tried recycled toilet paper?  Oh yes, it’s a real thing.  And while no one said anything, everyone who has been over at my apartment in the past week or two might know just how it feels.  🙂

It’s about mindfulness.  Don’t get stressed out trying to be perfect.  Just be mindful!  Think about the choices you make.  Don’t shop somewhere just because it’s habit.  Make your votes for a reason.  Does the company make choices you agree with?  Is the store convenient for you to go to?  Is the price right for your budget?  What’s important to you?  What can you live with?  What can you sacrafice, and what do you need to keep?