Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Culture of Scarcity

(Sea lions are symbols of
abundance in many Northwest Coast tribes)

We live in a culture that tells us there is never enough. That we are not enough, that we are not good enough, that we can never be safe enough, perfect enough, certain enough; that there is never enough time, energy, money, love, creative ideas, etc. I grew up with this message. My psyche was imprinted with this message. This message is like a cancer that permeates every area of living and eats away at the passion of living, of being fully alive. For women it is often mirrored in our relationship with food.

How aware are we of the many images and messages of scarcity we are constantly collecting every day? Consider how often you “should” or “shouldn’t” yourself.

And how many times do I hear myself say “I don’t have time” or “There’s never enough time!”? Scarcity of time.

Or what about “I’m so stressed because there is so much to do and never enough time!” Scarcity again.

Our culture strokes and rewards busyness, and programs us to numb our feelings of vulnerability. “I’m so busy!” in our culture translates into productivity, importance, carrying one’s weight, and the *right* to be here. Think about it. What are your internal messages about work and productivity?

My father had an internal message I don’t believe he was conscious of. The message, productivity is determines one's value and worth, means the more productive I am, the more value and worth I have. Living with him and being raised by him, I too carry this message, although my awareness of it has helped me choose how much it drives me and my choices.

Our compulsive busyness has a payoff. It keeps us distracted from the truth of our lives. The truths we don’t want to look at. We all have truths we don’t want to look at. It’s the product of being a fallible human living in a world with other fallible humans.

What are the consequences of avoiding those uncomfortable truths and numbing our vulnerability? Well, for one thing, it is not possible to only numb the unwanted emotions. If we numb the unpleasant, we also numb the joy, the love, the passion, etc. Personally, I’d rather be vulnerable. I want to feel it ALL. Our culture wants us to believe that vulnerability is weakness. Vulnerability is at the core of fear and shame and anxiety and the difficult emotions that we all experience, but as Brene Brown points out, vulnerability is also the birthplace of joy, love, belonging, and creativity. I love that idea. It is a *birthplace*. How cool is THAT?

These are the kinds of things we will be exploring on the Women’s Body Wisdom weekend July 18-21. For more info, e-mail info@sagesoulsisters.com