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The funny thing is, people don't really think of themselves as "consumers." It is a label or an idea that is imposed on us from the outside. Those involved in advertising, marketing, economics and so on will be well acquainted with this idea and what it means for modern society. If we slow down our own consumption for a few moments, we will begin to see how rapacious this activity truly is.
Beyond consuming what we need on a daily basis to survive, we are inundated with endless "extras," things we don't actually need but, for whatever reason, consume with as much ferocity as if it were our last meal. The way I talk about consumerism basically means anything that you perceive as being outside yourself that you desire to make part of yourself.
Information is a huge part of modern consumerism and people can actually get a sort of high out of the stimulation provided by news, "fake news," and social media interactions. We imagine there is a vast amount of information that is unknown, but available for us to consume and digest. We may find ourselves on information overload and suffering from indigestion as we try to fill ourselves with more than we can process.
Of course, the more conventional means of consumerism involve tangible, material things. This is still going on as strongly as ever; people are always searching to find ways of filling the void within and feeling better about themselves. Perhaps they are simply distracting themselves from the deep pain within that is perpetuated by the consumer society itself.
The beauty of this mode of human behavior is that it is designed to run its course and come to an end. Much like a caterpillar consumes voraciously up to a certain point, it then enters a cocoon phase to eventually emerge as a butterfly, an entirely new creature that transcends its previous life altogether. Many of us are now in the "cocoon" phase of our development.
We still have to consume in order to survive of course, but it has lost its magic and holds no power over us. We're not longer as excited about the things we used to chase after. There can be a growing impulse to slow down and simplify life. It can be a rather lonely time in some ways, if many people around us are still very much locked into consumer mode. Take heart- if you feel the need to slow down and rest more often this is a good sign of a coming renaissance.
The key to navigating this pupal phase in human development is to start to look more deeply at ourselves and allow the natural maturation process to take place. I've talked to many clients who spend a good deal of time sleeping or resting, meditating, or being alone in nature. The things that once drove us no longer seem compelling, and we are drawn ever inward into the heart of our true creativity, love, and inspiration.
It can be common in this phase of life to have lots of ideas but not much energy to act on them. This is akin to a slowly hatching butterfly who imagines its life flying around but has not yet gathered the strength to burst forth from its cocoon.
Being a butterfly in the human sense involves being a co-creator. Whereas consumers see everything as separate from themselves and seek to fill themselves up to become complete, a conscious co-creator of life sees themselves as inseparable and at one with all that is. This enables them to bring forth a deep level of true joy and inspiration that benefits not only themselves, but all of life as well.
A consumer's definition of self is actually very small. It involves identifying with one's limited body and mind, and seeking ways of dealing with the pain of life through temporary pleasures. The co-creator knows they are deeply loved and supported by life, and so lives in a way that blesses and nurtures every aspect of creation, including themselves.
I have been having conversations with people about these ideas for over ten years, and I would be honored to speak to you if you are interested in exploring the deeper aspects of human life. I currently offer free initial consultations.