Taking Back Our Lives

Advertising sells us on the idea that their products will make us happy, powerful, smart and amazing. But if the thing, person, experience doesn't fit our lives, it makes us tired, sad, and numb. This is confusing because on some level we believe getting these things will change us into a better person.

I was working with a client lately who had a lot of products still in the shopping bag, or still wrapped in plastic, or in boxes that were shipped from the online store. It was hard for her to sit still in her home. Her eyes were unfocused. I sensed that she felt lost. Some part of her was scanning for a feeling of strength or stability that wasn't there. She was resistant to questioning the things in her home. It seemed wrong to her. I think that's because she had the belief that many of us do that things are supposed to make us happy.

I get it. Most advertising promotes itself as the authority. They market to create an environment that you are wrong and lost, and they know what's best for you. It places you in the position of child who can't take care of itself. They assume the role of responsible and helpful parent.

It's easy to unknowingly get addicted to this way of thinking. I remember when I took a trip to India about twenty years ago. I flew from Los Angeles to England for a stopover. I had a few hours before the flight to India and took a train into London. As I was walking around Piccadilly Circus I was exhausted and hungry. There were hundreds of local neighborhood restaurants, but I felt a sense of peace and security choosing to eat at McDonald's. I ate a Fillet-O-Fish and fries and soon afterwards had a stomach ache. I remember thinking I'd been duped. It's one of the things that made me start to question what was making me happy and what no longer had a place in my life.

I had my client sit on her comfy sofa. I had her close her eyes. I asked her to focus on her body and tell me what she felt. She said she felt dizzy and that she might puke. I had her focus on her hands. I had her feel the energy in her palms. That's a great source of supportive energy. It's kind of like the source of a spring. She said it felt like her hands were buzzing. I had her put her hands on her stomach. After a few minutes she began feeling better.

I said the dizzy and puking feelings were the side-effects of the excess stuff in her home. Some things have adverse effects. There's no use in blaming ourselves for bringing them in our homes. But it helps to recognize the calamity they bring. It would be kind of like going into a pet store and thinking you bought a gentle lap dog, but then when you get it home you see it's a rabid raccoon. You'd do what you need to do get the negative stuff out of your home. That's taking care of yourself. This is learning to trust what makes you feel good and what doesn't.

I told my client that the fact many of the things in her home were still wrapped in their original packaging meant on some level that she sensed these things weren't serving her. Previously she didn't trust her feelings enough to do something about it. But now after taking a much closer and honest look she sees the harm the extraneous things are causing. I asked if she would be open to questioning each things actual value to her. She said she would be.