We are fast approaching the time in which gifts are supposed to be exchanged and happiness is to fill our homes. It is indeed lovely to give and receive gifts, to see how a loved one responds to a meaningful gift, and to express joy at the thoughtfulness of a gift given.
Given that many of us are in debt up to our eyeballs, or may not have the kind of income we would wish, we often ask the question, "What does it cost?” A wise person pointed out that one very good way to measure the financial cost of purchasing an item would best be to ask the question, "How many hours of work did it take to earn this amount?”
When we ask the question, "What is the cost?” it is usually asked as, "What is the cost to my credit card/bank account if I buy this?” Sometimes we might ask, "What is the cost to my relationship if I don’t?” Too seldom we ask, "What is the cost to the planet?” Perhaps another question could be, "Will the cost of my activity, thought, purchase, or word be worth it if I/we help to create peace and joy in the world?
These lofty questions, unfortunately, are easy to forget while living in a very capitalist society. We are constantly bombarded with the message that we must buy things and services in order to be happy. We are fooling ourselves believing that advertising images do not affect us. Perhaps this is one reason why the unhappiest people on the planet are those living in the most consumer-oriented regions. We try to make up for lack of connection and relationship with "things”.
The readers of Synergy are already likely aware that the value of what we say, do, and participate in is not measured by the dollar. It is not even truly "measured.” What we truly value: meaning, connection, a sense of belonging, loving and being loved and the physical necessities – these are the foundation of a life worth living.
At the end of life it isn’t what we own that is so valuable (even though these things often "cost” us a lot!), it is the memories, achievements, relationships, and such that people remember and cherish.
To live with the satisfaction that I/we have done something to make a difference -in one area or another and however small- brings peace, satisfaction, and yes, harmony for not only us individuals, but for this wonderful planet we call home.
Ian Gartshore is a minister, therapist, and energy consultant (www.shoreenergy.ca).