I had a beautiful shell nightlight, but it burned out.
I mourned it as a loss.
Then God told me I had lost nothing.
Real light comes from within.

How do you invest your time? Today is a good day to make choices. Many have bought into the illusion of the 9-to-5 grind…working on someone else’s clock and chasing dollars to provide a better nest for the children. But it isn’t the nest that makes the child. The parent is the main ingredient influencing the child…and when the parents have lost touch with the things that celebrate their own inner child, they are at a disadvantage at teaching their children how to foster similar connections.

In the Western culture of consumption, we have been consumed — and it’s killing our children…literally and metaphorically.

The further one climbs on the ladder of success, the more demands are put on your time. Everyone seems to have an idea how best you can invest your time and energy in their interests while sacrificing your own. Sometimes that comes with offers of prestige or more money. Is the money and recognition worth the necessary loss of family and community…? Do you want to make an impact being seen or being?

We can all recite the names of the so-called great leaders, but what of their children? It takes someone willing to commit to becoming a great parent to produce future leaders. If that parent is also a great leader, it’s gravy. Too often, great leaders have no time for children. The community thrives in the superficial sense, but it is spiritually bereft because the children have become casualties who then produce more casualties. Parents who do not value their children are the least likely models for parents who do. The focus is backwards. To produce a great community, one must produce great children.

Take a pulse
Immerse yourself in the illusion to take a pulse. In the land of plenty, it’s quickening. There is a revolution going on. The natives are restless. They’ve seen too many children fall casualty to the information age. Very much in tune, they sense the hungry wolf of consumerism on the prowl. Some are beginning to separate themselves from the flock, stepping out of the lock step that leads to anonymity and oblivion to join other small packs in well-chosen, isolated and insulated pockets. Their goal: to save the children.

The mind-numbing ticker tape of consumerism is replaced by the colorful parade of the seasons in the garden. Conversation is interactive, incorporating neighbors as opposed to the talking head on the six o’clock news. When a name is offered, it is remembered. This community reveres life and family. Privacy is respected, but no one is anonymous. Conversation is intimate. When asked how you are, a response is welcomed and you are given time to reply. There are no cracks to slip through. Each birth is celebrated, each death mourned.

The focus is community, simplicity and a return to a less-frenetic lifestyle. When a child is “missing,” there is no cause for alarm. It is a community with shared obligations and responsibilities. Everyone is a vital and integral component, accounted for in their working and their playing. His presence is soon recounted from one of the keepers of the web.

Children are tutored in a grounded environment, educated about the sanctity of life and the necessity of death. They are guided in the exploration and conservation of their environment firsthand, minus the wild card play-by-play of the television or the internet. Information consumed is monitored and very lovingly censored or refined to facilitate growth and discernment prior to exposure to the obscenely overwhelming fodder of minutia dumped carelessly upon the masses.

Energy and thought
It is a communitybased upon interrelationships with others of like and disparate interests, each offering, to the best of their ability, necessary food for energy and thought. The basis is not a utopia, for in every community there are outcasts and degenerates for whom, for whatever reason, love is not an option. But they are an anomaly. They are tests of our ability to love and to be loving.

If they become a force to be reckoned with, the method of engagement becomes a community decision rather than a police state edict. For each and every one knows this person has family ties amongst the group. The resulting action will have ramifications impacting the health and welfare of the entire community. The result of that short-term focus upon the individual will produce an outcome that is a community legacy.

Every player is a reflection of the whole. A wise position might be to incorporate an adversary rather than enthrone a lethal opponent. The paths determined by the individuals are reflected, at some level, in the community. True power is seen in how communities treat the weakest link. Do they offer respect and a hand up or cast the offender adrift to become a potential adversary in a new form.

When children, elders, and outcasts are treated as lesser or expendable, the death knell sounds for the community. All begin as children, and progress to elder, hopefully, while keeping the child alive inside. Without compassion for those reflections on the path, the individual lacks heart to tolerate or celebrate the outcast, thus, cannot model that behavior to subsequent generations.

The land of plenty
The wolf is at the door. In the land of plenty, the sheep are getting fat at the table of gluttony; too obese to bend over, too repulsed to look in the mirror, too complacent to push themselves away from the table. Those who have sensed the impending confrontation have exercised their will power, monitored their intake and diligently honed their skills to become warrior, explorer, healer, activist, shaman, navigator and survivor.

Sit at the table of consumption and your choice is to eat or be eaten. Walk away and you discover you are the steward of a wondrous world where beauty is multifaceted and not confined to a parade of possessions in a little box called home. The joy comes from connections rather than collections. You have recovered your child and the sacred calling of spirit to keep the children safe.

When the wolf throws open the door, the survivor reflex is automatic: The herd runs. The young are not the targets, because the fat sheep are immobile and, most likely, still eating. Yet another day, the wolf is guaranteed survival. It’s called culling the herd. The only thing remaining to mark a lifetime of consumption: “possessions.”

Are you still at the table? Listen to your inner child. Reclaim your joy. Get your children, turn off the television, and start your life.

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Wendy Garrett is a writer and a channel, among other things. When life offers a wake-up call, transformation is an understatement. Email her. Copyright (c) 2001 Wendy Garrett

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