Comparison and Confession
Some of our friends are really just trying to make sure they and their kids are able to afford a granite kitchen island. Some of them devote a big chunk of their daily lives to being healthy, local, and organic. Some spend a lot of energy being informed about or trying to influence world events. Some of them are not so into politics but they can tell you all about Shakti and Bhakti and chakras and radical self-acceptance and stuff like that. Some of them have moved to places like Bali and Costa Rica and Hood River.
And then there’s Mike and me. I buy stuff made in China and I cook on non-stick pans. We eat “big organic” from the chain supermarket even though there’s a farmers’ market option a lot of the time, and even our own snail-ridden garden to harvest. We recycle but we don’t compost. I voted but I didn’t campaign. I don’t bring my own mug to the coffee shop. My IRA has mutual funds that support companies that pollute and probably worse. I get my hair colored.
I spend a decent amount of time feeling guilty about what I’m not doing rather than good about what I am doing. When I hang with the granite counter set I feel I could be doing more to secure our child’s financial future. When I hang with the eco peeps I’m thinking about how all the plastic and chemicals we have in our house are killing our son and our planet. The chakra crowd reminds me that even though I do yoga I don’t meditate every day, and when I do it’s not for that long. I could also get off coffee if I’m serious about cultivating calm.
Some days it gets so loud in my head, the self-criticism, the seemingly-grave decisions about chicken or fish or non-gmo tofu or legumes. On those days I have to re-set my standards of what’s not acceptable, and measure myself against those. Like the Ten Commandments are there as a reality check – did I kill anyone today? No. Did I covet, cheat, steal, or lie to anyone? No. Well alrighty then. I’m not so bad after all.