Chief Nicholas Wigwam: born unto the luxurious lap of mother earth
I cannot tell you how many versions of this blog entry I’ve written. I wanted to write something incredibly open and personal, then I wanted to contrive something everyone could learn from.. . next, I found myself getting deeply into Indian tribal cultures and ready to fly to the Dakotas for some interviews.. . Then I over-thought about who would actually read this and why they would be interested.. . finally, my psychiatrist told me my time was up ;)
This is a dive into my own psyche, and my results in trying to practice what you preach.
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Part I: Consume
I enjoy packaging concepts into nice little understandable boxes I can put on my shelf; a bit of a collector by nature as well. I enjoy looking around a room and seeing the beautiful history of the things I’ve done in my life. Every “nick-nack” reminds me of a feeling I’ve had, expression or thought worthy of remembering. Every crumbled rose petal, dried up and fallen, brings potent nostalgia. Often I ponder why I feel the need to do this. Why this gives me such fulfillment and how it walks the line between consumerism and true experience.
Consumerism often seems the need to feel value, “success”, and validation in what you “have”. Where as to experience something new strengthens the value of one’s soul. A person is truly the sum of their memories. Without memories we would not grow, learn or have any sense of “self” beyond the present tense.
This all leads to how easy it is to justify consumerism through emotions, validation and western mind-sets (the more I “have”, the more “successful” I am). But we design it that way, and we love it. We vote for this every time we select our foods and products. Consumerism creates a system that’s just easier to follow that not. And in today’s society, with all the hours we put in at the office, we only have time to hit the “easy” button to get something faster and more efficiently for convenience to carry on with our day. But what, as a species, are we trying to evolve to or arrive at by default?
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Part II: “eVOLVE”
So often we are blessed to see the world through the eyes of our fellow travelers. My wife, in particular, grew up in a country where she never had chocolate until she was in her late teens and was only allowed 5min of cartoons a week. Where I had all the cartoons I wanted, and a figurine to match.. . as well as trading cards, comic books, magazines.. . more, more, me, me, stuff my face until I’m full-american childhood. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED it (who wouldn’t)! Often I’ve wanted to go back and re-live it. But none of my fondest childhood memories are associated with anything I did or didn’t have. They mostly revolve around a feeling, person, or experience. So to what end do we truly value these things we collect? How do we decipher as to what enriches our lives, and what binds it?
I’ve always had a quiet and respectful interest in Native American cultures. I find them to be beautiful, humble, and have so much to teach us. I wan’t joking about the Indians was I?! I find this excerpt to be incredibly inspirational as it makes me realize that we all have a primal duty.
“…From Birth to death, he revered his surroundings. He considered himself born into the luxurious lap of mother Earth.”
- Chief Luther Standing Bear
How cool is that?! It’s awesome being human. The point of me posting this message is to feel bad for taking advantage of the gift and not returning the favor. Once I really consider that, everything I do immediately becomes a luxury which strengthens my appreciation and love for what I have. It’s so easy to look at “earth-lovers” as hippies that have no understanding of commerce and the structures of society. But that mentality is stripped away when you experience that we need the world far more than it needs us. What follows this realization is then the question of how to move forward. Am I going to start digging holes in Africa.. . no. My activism could be small but still have a big impact. What would it be?
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Part III: “re:POSE”
I figured I would take the work day and try to stay in an existential state of repose, remaining eco-conscious, thinking of native americans, technology, consuming, my collecting habits, and eco-consciousness.. . There was far too much on my mind to get existential. But If I CAN’T truly take a departure from my comforts for one day and do some self-reconstruction, then how can I expect any more form anyone else. I considered dressing like an indian too but I quickly realized that might be distracting… . to others, not me. I’m cool with it. I’ll save that for another blog…I did, however, provide my photo for this blog as an outlet for that thought.. . don’t stare at it too long, there are negative affects.
I walked instead of taking the car and went to a very treacherous place.. . the beach.. . okay, so it wasn’t hard to go to the beach.. . I’m no martyr.. . However, with the very intention of “repose” in mind, I came upon a bench with some writing on it (I’ve included a photo of this). It read “repose and imbibe”. Now, I’m sure it was referring to libations, but I chose to take the other definition.. . to “soak in”. So, to me it says: “pause, breathe, and soak in your moment”. Of course, I’m embellishing the poetics of it all but in existential teachings it is all about the moment. You can feel whatever you want. You are able to take or leave any and all emotions as they come to you. I find this to be incredibly healthy. It allows you to accept harsh realities, current struggles and consider your next step. Just as the crops need time to grow back after a harvest, the same is needed in your mind and spirit. You never know what will come to you to help you on your way. In this case, I sat on the bench someone had created for me that day and pondered my existence. The irony is that I became the “packaged idea” on the shelf I so often find my self creating. There was even a label on it. The tables were turned, and all seemed clear.
Part IV: Catharsis
You are what you do. So pursue it with an open heart, a thoughtful mind, and do not hit the “easy” button if your convictions tell you otherwise.
I leave you with this final Native American quote:
“Guard your tongue in youth,
and in age you may mature a thought
that will service your people”
~ nick waraksa ~