Thursday, September 6, 2012

On the Meaning of Life and a Kick-Ass Pair of Shoes

Getting rather philosophical today. 

All over a pair of shoes.


I LOVE these shoes!

They are a bit out of my budget range at the moment. But that's okay. I can be patient.

But I'm a little confused and freaked out.

I mean, come on. For years I drove a vehicle (a beat-up but well-loved Toyota truck) with the bumper stickers "tree hugging dirt worshipper" and "I {heart} Strawbale Houses." I have spent the last two decades immersed in the world of environmental advocacy, sustainable agriculture, permaculture, natural building and eco-living. "Live simply so that others may simply live" has been my motto. Tread lightly on Mother Earth, my spiritual path.

Yet last Sunday I spent over an hour in Nordstroms trying on expensive perfumes and drooling over thousand dollar handbags. Not to mention the shoes.


What's happening to me?

Now, a little background here though. I have always loved beautiful things. Well-made, hand-crafted, artisanal items will always get my love. A fabulously arranged table, a tranquil garden, a perfectly decorated room... The graceful curve of a hand-thrown vase, the exquisite brush stroke detail on a canvas... I have always appreciated this side of life.

Consumerism? Greed? Cheaply made products in the name of a bigger profit margin? Material hunger that fills the void of an unexamined life? Not so much.

Yet here I am. Coveting THINGS. Beautiful things. Well-made things, yes. But THINGS.

How can I go from wanting to save the earth to wanting so spend what would be in many parts of this world an entire year's salary on a pair of shoes?

What's going on?

So I've busted out my journal, scribbling fast and furious with all these thoughts pouring out onto the page. I've pulled out the paints and let the canvas and the brush have a visual conversation around these feelings. And I've sat and stared at the stars, listened to the birds in the trees, felt the wind on my face, and savored a hot cup of tea in my hands...

All this, to help me understand this change that is taking place within me.

Why all the angst? Why not just embrace the change and go for it? Well, guilt for one. There are people starving... War and bloodshed... Poverty... Destruction of ecosystems... Exploited and depleted natural resources... I can go on and on. You get my drift.

Yet these perspectives? ~  The simple life. The extravagant life. The impoverished life. Whichever one I see as "right" or "better" or "worse," these are all judgments. Assumptions that one way is prefered over another. Attaching myself to one way over another then implies that I am better for the choices I make. Other choices and other people are wrong. Or for those that are not able to choose, who are dis-empowered, well I can empathize, and advocate, and, well, proselytize. 

Yes. Preach.

Convince others to change what they think. Come over to the other side. Reconsider their choices.

And adhere to a better way. It can be religion, politics, life styles.

But it's all attachment.

All of it.

And so what's wrong with attachment? Isn't there good vs. evil? Rich and poor? Isn't there black and white? Isn't there a great universal moral code handbook that we should all be following? Isn't there a better way we should all subscribe to?

So I ask. Who would write this book? Who would have the authority about what to include or exclude? Would every single culture and inhabitant on this planet have a say about what went in it? Would it be human-centric? What about the animals? Would they get a voice? The trees? And would it change over time? Wouldn't history show us the error of our ways? Wouldn't it need to be updated? How often?

The anthropologist-geek in me sees life through this multi-faceted approach. Wanting to consider the voice of others. How would they describe the same thing I see? How would their perspective differ? How would the lens through which they see the world result in a different set of ethics than my own? 

So how can any one person or group claim the right to decide how others should live?

Whether it's over private property rights or the right to hug trees, how can one group or person be right all the time? Is there a "right" anyway? Will their ever be universal agreement?

These are the thoughts that I am holding up to the light these days.

How in the world do they relate to my new-found desire to buy expensive shoes (you may or may not be asking yourself at this point)?

Personally? I am currently healing a very deep wound around lack. Releasing the old mantra that doing without for the greater cause is my duty. That I deserve no more. That simplicity is the better path. Because I am realizing that simplicity has many definitions, depending on who you ask. That my going without does not in fact lift others up. It's a twisting, winding path. Not straight forward. And hardly simple.

Basically, for me, here's what it boils down to. I am one girl. One woman. One person. Doing the best I can to live the life I am here to live.

I am doing the best I can.

And so is everyone else.

No matter what it looks like from my perspective.

"Walk a mile in someone's shoes..."

All I can do is release the judgment I hold against myself and others for how they are living their lives. How I am living mine. 

All I can do, is walk in peace. And let others walk peacefully as well.

With compassion. With kindness.

Without judgment.

But dammit, I can walk in kick-ass-sexy shoes if I so choose.


  1. This is Beautiful, Indigo.
    A Beautiful, Thought-filled Post.

    I've been running around in my head too, with the thoughts of 'what's right' and 'who determines right, anyway', etc, etc.
    And with the recycling thing i've been "slightly obsessed with" for the past many years...
    "They" say it takes more water to recycle stuff than it takes to just make new stuff... So which "correct path" do i take?

    It gets to be too much at times.

    So you go strut your stuff in those Sexy Shoes that YOU DESERVE, Lady!

    Just 'cause they make you feel AWESOME!
    Because you ARE awesome.
    p.s. I just found this site today. Maybe it can help you get the shoes at a price you can handle better;

  2. Amazing realizations and insights here, thank you so much for sharing! LOVE the shoes and what they represent!