Recently I ran into a Dollar Store to get some Christmas wrapping paper. I picked out a few rolls, checked them off my list, and headed to check out.
Then it dawned on me….where did these rolls of gift wrap come from? They certainly didn’t pop out of the ground as seeds that are nurtured until they grow into big rolls of Christmas paper and are then harvested. They came from trees. What I had in my basket was the remnant of a life force from a forest.
I stood in that Dollar Store in semi-paralysis. What would be a better alternative…recycled paper?…bamboo paper?…newspaper? And critically: how would I make time to search these alternatives out?
In those moments I had an epiphany; or maybe it was that I connected the dots. I stood there in that store and realized on multiple levels what convenience is. In many ways whole food and real food is not convenient or easy. But it is easy to pick up bags of commercial horse feed, walk down the grocery store aisles and pick up packaged and prepared microwavable food, then grab some Milk Bones for the dogs, and maybe a quick stop to pick up a bucket of chicken at a fast food drive up window. Or a quick trip to the Dollar Store to get Christmas wrap.
I was overcome with sympathy for all of us who have made purchases for convenience. In a time-compressed day, who doesn’t want and need to save a little time – who doesn’t want to make her/his life easier? Or save a few dollars?
Yet the troubling aspect of convenience is that it is like a drug: we search it out, we put a high value on it, and it separates us from a conscious way of living. When we become addicted to “easy” we no longer have to consider the ramifications that “easy” has on the planet, the environment, our bodies, and our animals.
The challenge is, of course, how to stay in a conscious place, able to make choices based on consciousness and compassion in our everyday living and being.
I left the rolls of Christmas wrapping paper at the Dollar Store, went home and faced a roll of paper towels staring at me from the kitchen counter. Another convenience I had given no thought about. Another tree I was wasting, another tree absent from the forest. Time to go back to the time-honored tradition of my grandmothers’ kitchen towels.
The things we purchase for convenience have origins, whether they are from the bounty of the earth, or the by-products of the oil, gas, and coal industries or from the chemical concoctions in a laboratory. Convenience in a way, allows us to turn a blind eye to the origins of the products we purchase, because convenience takes the mental effort away.
So what did I do about my wrapping paper dilemma? I found a source for recycled Christmas wrapping paper that used soy ink. Unfortunately I could not find a source for hemp Christmas wrapping paper, which would have been my first choice.
Every time we choose consciousness over convenience we make a stand for a new paradigm of compassion, of respecting all sentient beings, and loving this planet we call home.