Needs and Wants

Oliver James, who wrote the book AFFLUENZA, a theory based on a virus of shop-till-you-drop mentality, says that placing too high a value on money, possessions, fame and outward appearance is bad for mental health. He says that it’s time for cold turkey and in the short term, as with any addicts cleaning up their act, there will be pain. In the UK, with a change of government, mega debt & world recession we are about to experience the worst government cuts since World War 2. I hope we receive food parcels from overseas.

It takes courage to face the unfaceable, but when you stop to think about it, shopping has no boundaries for many shopaholics as they have learnt to confuse real needs with disposable wants.

It’s clear that we don’t need a lot of what we buy, we could reduce without too much pain but like a child who refuses to go to school the mouth says ” Why should I? “. A real need is for things like emotional intimacy or to feel emotionally secure: a new HD TV are wants stimulated by the “must have” advertising industry. My Fisher TV was purchased in 1986, from John Lewis and it still works perfectly; I am rigged up for digital but I don’t have time for 4 channels let alone multitudes of cable adverts. I just don’t need it, nor want it. Traveling three months of the year in homes and hotels shows me what crap sat TV is anyway. Having said that, many a night I have sat comatose watching BBC News on a loop in a foreign hotel.

Two new studies on the psychology of spending concludes that buying stuff is the ” heroin of human happiness “and that shopping malls and pedestrianized High Streets have replaced parks and other forms of nature to have a day out. We may want to go to the Mall to fill time but do we need too? Do we need to buy another pair of trainers, a handbag or a sale bargain. Most people are bored when they shop, lacking motivation or imagination in spending disposable time. Like the addict they are desiring a quick hit, and a mode of escape. Cinema’s and Food Courts in Malls complete the addicts junk day out. This so called ” Family ” Entertainment is like processed cheese, yummy but no long-term nutritional value.

I have hit hard times in the past as a recovering bankrupt but 5 years with no credit was what I needed to sort my habits out. You don’t need to go this far but it may be of value to see what you can live without, or what you need to feel gratitude.

These 2 links may be of interest :

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/all-consuming-by-neal-lawson-1728878.html

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227121.900-review-ispent-sex-evolution-and-the-secrets-of-consumerismi-by-geoffrey-miller.html

Open Your Eyes To Happiness

Like poverty happiness is relative, so create your own scale. I used to think that ” loving too much ” was intimacy & true happiness until I found drugs further up the ladder. Now drug free for a few decades and then some, HAPPINESS is whatever I choose it to be, like the freedom to make mistakes without beating myself up afterwards, freedom to make clearer choices and waking up on clean sheets without a hangover or comedown makes me very happy, I can tell you. Small things count.

They say that RESENTMENT kills the container it’s kept in, and my fuselage was well corroded when I was in a coma of drug use all those years ago – counting up all the things I did for people and the people that gave nothing back.

Maybe you think this :  I will be happy WHEN I get a new job, flatmate, partner and lose weight.

A Course In Miracles states that ” everything is temporary “, and once you get that notion and accept that happiness can’t be captured, freedom arrives quickly, as freedom is intrinsically linked to happiness. Freedom to be who you are, to be authentic without editing, to be open about lifestyle and character defects.

Losing past and present resentments is a key to Happiness. What works to anyone’s advantage is to write down 5 resentments about past or present, and be prepared to drop the hurts that burn inside. The Great Escape of drink and drugs are great tools to employ relaxation, release and realizations, long may that continue, but not so hot when the returning resentments capture your happiness and take you back to prison camp. I heard someone say that they drank to drown their sorrows then their sorrows learn’t to swim. Well, it was true for me.

Ironically, one of the happiest periods for me was 1994-96 just before the arrival of combination therapy for those HIV Positive. I worked soley with people living and dying from AIDS, as it was then, all with CD4 counts below 10. A healthy person has over a thousand. I took one guy to Turkey with a CD4 of 2, he was determined to have a holiday before he died. He was so happy to have made it ( and he lasted another 3 years with combination therapy ). Another wanted to be wheeled in a wheelchair to see David Hockney’s Mr & Mrs Ossie Clark & Percy at the Tate Gallery for the last time, while another decided to die on crisp white French linen so off we went to Peter Jones with cash in hand. Humour in times of darkness is an essential breeder of joy. With these guys I assisted them to complete their life, releasing resentments before they passed into light but anyone can lift the luggage they hold without the threat of death, though I do accept that fear is a great motivator. Try being motivated by joy instead.

For me happiness is a pile of freshly ironed and folded shirts. I get great satisfaction from that. Babaji said Karma Yoga (work) breeds happiness. Happiness is knowing that you have cleared the wreckage of the past. Happiness is turning the phone off. Happiness is being silent in a persons arms. Write your own list each day as an antidote to losing the plot and start running your life with a new set of rules to fuel happy thinking. You can get this through therapy, coaching or flicking through inspirational or self -help books. But deciding not to bother with the exercises mentioned is likely to end in a half-measured result.

In Rehabs like the Priory for a 6 week stay, people often do 16 hours a day of individual writing, group sessions, individual counseling and emotional management including the suggestion to LET GO OF CONTROL. Just think about how your sense of happiness is determined by the behavior of other people. Learning to detach from fixing others, pleasing others and then fixing and pleasing yourself is perhaps the ultimate shift in contentment and codependency recovery.

David Weeks scientific study, the first on the subject of Eccentrics, found them to be the happiest people and they live longer purely because they gave up taking notice of what people thought of them. Happy people are happy from within – not unhappy to be without the latest label. So remember that you don’t have to have a fit body to workout from the INSIDE, and once you start to focus on solutions you will realize that a perfect waist is not the key to a perfect life. Happiness is there for the taking if you open your eyes to seek it.