Thursday, April 12, 2012

Climate Matters. K is for out of Kilter

This is for K in the A-Z blogging challenge 2012. Link in the sidebar.

Many of us are acutely aware that the world as we've known it is changing. It's evident in the unsettled climate and unpredictable, extreme weather systems which are out of kilter leaving many of us feeling acutely uncomfortable.

For the past 40 or so years, we've focused on working excessively long hours, maybe at jobs we don't particularly like, commuting long distances in heavy peak hour traffic, negotiating aggressive, abusive drivers, becoming tense and irritable not only with ourselves but with our frazzled time poor families. Trucks, noise and fumes assault our senses while we mindlessly scoff sugary snacks simply to get us through the stress and as a "treat" for surviving. Out of kilter indeed.

The words temperance and moderation are considered old fashioned, as we've been encouraged to consume more and more at a faster and faster pace, forcing us to work crazy hours a two or three jobs simply to make repayments on "essential" goods we often have little time to enjoy. Houses large enough to double as a boutique hotel are considered normal, purchased with borrowed money and astronomical repayments that can feel more like a stifling life sentence.

Some of my male clients confess that they're empty inside, life feels futile and pointless, yet they appear to have "everything". It's often only when their marriage falls apart that they stop and question the vortex they've become caught in.

It can be confronting to realise that the lifestyle we've fallen into isn't meeting our fundamental human needs: happiness, time for relaxation, and making space and time to feed ourselves with wholesome food and nurture ourselves and those we love.

Many of my clients say they've forgotten what it's like to slow down and just be...
  • that they're not sure who they'll find
  • if there's anyone even there any more
  • that they don't know who they are
  • what they want
  • what they believe in
  • and whose values they're following anyway
  • and when they stop they feel empty, unsure, afraid - so it's easier not to stop 
  • like they've sold their soul and are feeding an addiction that they weren't aware they had 
This out of kilter habit can be broken, and whilst it might initially seem outrageous, a complete break to take stock and visit or revisit your values alone, then with your partner can be be a first step in looking at what makes a rich, full and meaningful life for you.

It's generally not something we do when we're young and may have fallen into a job without examining what it is that we value in life. We may have plodded along for years feeling vaguely dissatisfied and frustrated. Sometimes it's only when crap happens that we're confronted with the need to question and perhaps change unhealthy patterns.

Often in the act of stopping, sharing and reflecting, a new way of thinking is permitted to grow. You might choose to attend a class on sustainable living, learn to cook your own fast, nourishing foods, explore a long ignored desire to learn a language, or enrol in further study for your career.  All of these things feed into our capacity as humans to be creative learners, to be revitalised and to adapt better to a changing world. We become more flexible, less rigid, more independent and enthusiastic and less willing to follow the advertising machine blindly and without question.

In the process, some people decide that having less will actually lead them to have more. They realise there is a choice and choose to downsize and make purchases mindfully.

We've become so accustomed to being out of kilter living at breakneck speed, that it's easy to forget that having an enormous mortgage, constant pressure and irritability isn't written into our DNA. It doesn't have to be the blueprint for the future.
Borrowed money can feel like a crushing burden.
What single step will you take today in the direction of your preferred future?

Last year I wrote about the Known triggers for bullying for K in my theme of workplace bullying. Here.


Rena said...

I wish I could slow down. I love the nature of this post. I'm really trying to eat better. It's been a 5 year journey. Your insights were very helpful. I'll definitely be back.

A to Zer!

gunu kumar said...

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MAJK said...

a Brilliant reminder that life is about balance. Great instructional guide for those who have forgotten how to take stock. I'm bookmarking it for those times when I get "off Kilter"

*~ MAJK ~*
Twitter @safireblade
A to Z Blog Challenge

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. such an important reminder - if only we just took time out everyday for a little while and thought about what we're doing .. don't just do .. think before we act, is the same as think before we speak ..

This is a wonderful set of articles - so glad you're doing it .. cheers Hilary

sue said...

thanks for dropping by Rena. It's worth trying to slow down if you're stretched, life is so much more pleasant :) Looking forward to seeing you again.

MAJK Balance is hard to achieve for so many of us. I rather like the word 'kilter' and have wondered if it's possible to be 'on-kiter'

Hilary. We don't need to take a long time to just 'be' just a couple of seconds a few times per day is good :) It's lovely of you to drop back and keep encouraging me, I really appreciate it!

cheers everyone, hope you've all have a lovely weekend.


a.eye said...

At the end of last year, I started getting rid of things (sending them to others/recycling/donating/etc) in my place of residence. It feels so much better to just have the items I need and use. I wonder if I can do like those who live by the 100 rule.