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Why do I feel empty?

 

 You know what? I used to go about my business as if on auto-pilot. I didn’t stop and observe, I mean really observe, what was going on in my life. I would settle into a routine and in time I would become autonomous in my every thought and action.
It was as if I was asleep. Like I was dreaming. Have you ever felt that way?
When I think back on how I felt back then it makes me cringe. I was fast asleep, I was allowing life to pass me by. I can still vividly remember the never ending cycle, day in and day out, as it transported me into the future with no real growth and very little change. I was suffocating and I didn’t even know it.
Back then I carried out each thought and action by reflex, I was catatonic to everything beyond my familiar routine. I was hypnotized by the rhythmic passing of each successive day. It all became a blur. Work. Money. Spend. Repeat.

 

Is any of this sounding familiar?
I used to plod through my daily course like I was solving a complex yet familiar equation. Every step known and predictable, each calculation precise and accurate, with the same answer each time. I wasn’t living, not really. I was just existing.

I don’t know about you but I find creative endeavors to be the most rewarding and enriching. Building and producing so that at the end of the day I can feel a sense of accomplishment. There is nothing quite like it. That sense of pride and fulfillment that comes from creating.

The only way to top that is to create with the intention of serving others. To see others benefit, to see them actually gain something, is the most amazing feeling in the world. We can be creative and we can feel enriched and inspired, but when we create with the intention of changing the world for the better we feel driven.

There was a time in my life when I was pursuing a course that had only one beneficiary; me. I had no intention of improving the life of anyone else unless theirs improved because of their close proximity to me. I believed that in order to have a better and more fulfilling life I had to make more money. I believed I had to amass material wealth. I thought money was everything.

I guess I wasn’t being any more selfish than the average American male. I may have even been less selfish in many ways, but at the end of the day I was still being selfish. I had a mind-set that was fundamentally flawed and driven by selfish intent. I was fueled by a desire to obtain and possess physical things. I was plagued with a litany of phrases that echoed in the back of my mind… “I want…” “I need…”

It isn’t something I was able to understand from within. I had to step out and look back to see the full picture. I had to lose everything, all the material wealth… and all the people associated with that material wealth… to see clearly again.

Our culture is largely dependent on a consumeristic mentality. We desire to obtain material goods. The psychological conditioning we experience daily has us equating our basic human needs with material gains. We shop to feel. We feel alive when we have cash in hand. We feel everything more intensely when we have money to burn.

But why should mere pieces of paper empower us to do so? Why should we rely on a symbol of the physical to enjoy this thing called life?
The greatest things are arguably the less intangible and often non-physical joys of life. Why should we focus on the acquisition and ownership of goods when they mean nothing without relationships? The short answer is this; we shouldn’t. Although, when you think about it, there are those who stand to gain enormously if they can convince us to do so.
We all need some degree of material wealth to feel comfortable and to aid us in accomplishing our goals. A Builder needs a set of tools. An Artist needs her brushes. A Baker needs ingredients and ovens.
But it is the creative production of each individual that carries true value. It is the work of human hands that gives money its power and each product its worth. We are the creators that manufacture each and every item on the shelf.
Imagine for a second that your whole neighborhood was transported back in time before technology or government or civilization of any sort. You could then cull the land for everything you needed. Those resources would then be valued according to the work needed to acquire them. In a time without money and trinkets and nonsensical baubles to catch the consumers eyes, men and women would find the true worth within themselves. Are you a Creator or a Consumer?
Consumerism relies on the hypnotizing patterns of thoughts and behaviors that are propagated through mass media. We are bombarded incessantly with messages that teach us to think and act like good Consumers. In time we react so precisely to the cues we are given that we might as well be controlled by remote.
Do you know what the problem is with this system? We are told exactly what we need to purchase in order to be happy. When it doesn’t work we buy more and more, to the same ends. In time we run the gambit of absolute essentials on the list of obtaining the American dream. What do we do when we have it all but are still unhappy? Consume more. It is all we’ve been given. It’s our only option… at least thats the deception we are told to believe.
We all have a passion for something. Art, architecture, poetry, drawing, video production, geology- who knows, the list is endless. My advice to you is to buy the tools you need in accomplishing your goals, and learn to recognize that most of the stuff they want to sell you is worthless trinkets and baubles. Stop being a Consumer and start living again. Become a Creator. Find your inspiration and start creating. Take that hard earned cash of yours and buy the tools you need to realize your full potential!

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