I love that quote by Gandhi; I have embraced it and strive to live by it but it’s surprisingly difficult. Not so much in the principle of it but rather the not-being-preachy-to-others part.
I try hard to live a simple life: happy with less needs, less “stuff”, less impact on this planet, less treating being financially successful like that’s the be-all, end-all of life. However, time and time again I need to be reminded that people will likely internally consider and respond to the subtle suggestion of observation of the way I conduct my life rather than having to explain why I think that the way they are doing things is wrong. If they see with their own eyes and in their own way how I respond to the challenges I face or handle certain lifestyle decisions and see that I am still happy (maybe less stressed, more free time, etc…) and functioning quite fine with less then perhaps they might want to consider incorporating some changes in their own life. Even if it has nothing to do with being personally happier as such, but seeing that I care about injustices, the world we live in plus the consideration for people around me, then the need to do something for the greater good might be inspiring in itself.
Even writing this down makes me feel preachy though. And a bit self-righteous. As if I am living the perfectly low-impact, community-centric, walking-with-the-poor, know-your-neighbor, self-sustaining lifestyle that I think everyone else should be striving for. I guess the aim of living this lifestyle that I believe in is that if there’s something — even if it’s just tiny — that makes someone reconsider something they could improve on in their own life, then the ball might start rolling to get more and more people beginning to change.
The reason for dwelling on these thoughts recently stemmed from my frustration the other night with hearing yet another self-absorbed person talking about how important and expensive their new car/house/furniture is, as if this is the most important part of their journey as a human being. I was frustratedly telling Heidi that I’d like to remind them of a few facts about how wasteful and shallow their consumer-driven, Earth-destroying lifestyle is, but she quickly reminded me of the risk of being labelled a hypocrite if even one thing in my life could be argued the same way (ie. driving a car, flying too much, using too many carbon emissions, living in a comfy house instead of under a tarp in the gutter, etc). Best to keep doing my best at what I’m trying to achieve and let examples of those actions give people some ideas.
Anyway, the very fact that I’m even writing this post is probably sounding hypocritical in its own right, but sometimes I just need to blather on to maybe make a point… 😀
Here; these guys say it really well and are being rather quite blunt about it!