With every waking moment we experience, we take in some form of energy, whether through food and beverages, purchasing, movement, social interaction, watching television, listening to music, physical touch, reading, transactions, and social media. Even breathing is consumption–you’re inhaling various gases, after all! But anyhow, there seems to be this immense emphasis on consumption in terms of food, drink, and purchases. While these three areas are critically important, what about everything else we absorb from our universe and from within? Additionally, are we nourishing ourselves correctly, whether actually hungry or just in need of something to fill a void?
There truly has evolved a longer distance between the mind and the body. With the evolution of technology, we now have far more resources at our disposal to influence our decisions. Get this car to make you feel suave! Read my book because you’ll become the owner of a seven figure business afterwards! Watch our new show to laugh until you cry! Try my new recipe–it’ll transport you right to Paris! It’s absolutely fantastic that there are countless options for everyone to improve the quality of our lives. The various amalgamation is not the issue. What will resonate with someone who is interested in quantum mechanics and politics might not click with an individual with a passion for cooking and gardening. The main issues entail consuming what does not fulfill us and being obsessed with consuming too much or too little.
There is something about silence and emptiness that often makes us feel uncomfortable. White noise in the middle of a conversation signifies a lack of chemistry. A blank piece of paper serves as canvas that is starved of ideas. An empty shelf essentially symbolizes minimalism or having no money to store objects. A phone that isn’t loaded with apps or pictures is ultimately useless. Not to mention, if you grew up in an Asian household, specifically one with many relatives, an empty bowl or plate doesn’t exist. It just doesn’t.
Whatever it is about this emptiness, we are programmed to distress over it. For this recent generation and in the more recent years, it is supposed that if we are not listening to anything, watching something, reading a series, or following anybody, we’re failing because we are not learning anything. We are told that we do not know everything, barely anything at all, really. Leave it to the experts and the businesses–they have the money and the degrees. Obviously, this is absolutely valid and holds true in many situation, specifically if you want to start a business and have absolutely no clue where to start, or if you are misguided by an eating disorder and need intervention. I am in no way downplaying how critically important these resources are. We need them. They are phenomenal. However, it is so easy to trap ourselves in this cycle where we consume more and more resources that we forget what we truly believe and what we truly crave in life.
To bluntly state, perhaps this space of hearing less, reading less, eating less, or thinking about less is exactly we need to figure out what truly resonates with us and brings us the energy we need to flourish. When we are asked any questions, we often (not always) pull responses or answers from external influences. Truth of the matter is, someone else’s voice and words is not necessarily the answer you need–it is very likely that the motivational speech that you listened to lit a flame from a candle that was always inside of you. The candle was left untouched because you were not simply thinking about it at the moment. It is equally likely that this candle was previously lit, but something you watched or read instantly blew it out, helping you escape any energy of resentment or fear within.
By less, I do not necessarily mean quantity. Less also entails variety and frequency. As of now, I follow around four hundred and forty two people on Instagram. Self-evaluation: I could totally afford to follow less accounts. It’s challenging for me to figure out who those people may be, but I have muted many accounts so I simply don’t have to constantly feel obligated to like a photo because of a digital tie that they probably don’t even care about. I listen to podcasts for probably around ten hours of my day, essentially 42% of my day. Imagine wearing your earphones and drowning your ears out to the sound of people talking for ten hours straight.
However, there are many ways I balance out this conglomerate of variety. I wear less than ten different clothing items. In my diet, I primarily eat the same items, switching foods on a biweekly to monthly basis, though I can afford to switch up some ingredients (for once, why can’t I bring myself to buy sunflower seed butter instead of almond butter? I’m just so obsessed with almonds right now, can you truly blame me?). My makeup look is 97% identical every single day–I stick to four or five shades of eyeshadow, but that’s it.
Ultimately, we need to be completely satisfied with the variety of content we consume, but we also have to be even more so with our own thoughts and voices. There is absolutely nothing wrong with educating ourselves on countless subjects and current news whatsoever, but the intent behind these actions truly matter–do we consume from a place of emptiness or a place of nourishment? Do we believe we are incompetent and need to know more or are we simply expanding our horizon? Are we forcing others’ opinions into our minds or forcing ourselves to feel a little uncomfortable with listening to the opposing perspective? Should we eat to change ourselves or love ourselves?
Whatever your approach to consumption may be, just practice awareness, even if it is as simple as listening to yourself breathe or biting into a strawberry. You may either feel superbly confident or direly embarrassed in the fact that you watch reality TV and you can feel the same way as your choice to be sober. Challenge yourself to unfollow a couple of people whose photos you don’t double tap on with true intent. Take an hour a day to ease in silence. Eat foods that bring positive energy. Stop procrastinating on washing your bedsheets–after all, you consume the warmth, the softness, and the insulation of your bed while you slumber, and the cleanliness makes a world of a difference to improve your sleep quality (note that this is partially a call-out to myself). Surround yourself with people who love themselves and embrace growth opportunities. But most importantly, own what you consume and embrace how joyous everything makes you feel.
Do you practice mindful consumption?