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The Multi-Rs: Revive
Recently, I thought of another R to add to our list: Revive. The concept sprang from a quote in Alan Durning's How Much Is Enough? "Thus many of us in the consumer society have a sense that our world of plenty is somehow hollow -- that, hoodwinked by a consumerist culture, we have been fruitlessly attempting to satisfy with material things what are essentially social, psychological and spiritual needs." Durning later goes on to say that we will seek fulfillment through leisure, human relationships and other non-material avenues.
What tweaked me here was that we need to revive those social, psychological and spiritual practices that have worked in the past and we have put aside in the quest for ever-increasing consumption and accumulation of things. We too need to revive the spirits of thrift and responsibility, stewardship and social equality. We need not seek all new answers, many are already here awaiting a reawakening. In doing so we reduce to a large extent our consumption of materials and generation of waste.
While we cannot turn back the clock on technological advances, we can revive many of the solid social, psychological and spiritual practices of times past. One of the common threads in Amy Saltzman's Downshifting, which caused many to step away from their intense career streams, is the need for more relationship time with family, partner, friends. We need to revive the arts of conversation and story-telling. We need to spend more time observing, listening, touching, laughing and accentuating the positive.
To give you an idea of how far we have to come (or maybe how far I have to come), when I sat down to make a list of things to revive, the process was much harder than providing a list of recycling tips or gardening hints. Here is some ideas I came up with for a start.
Revive the Front Porch: Begin sitting on your front porch, or the front lawn or driveway if you don't have a porch. In a friendly manner, acknowledge folks passing by. Start up a conversation with your neighbors and invite them over for a chat. In the past, the front porch was a natural gathering place for folks to chat. Today we hide in fenced backyards and turn the front of our house over to the automobile.
Revive Story Telling: Hold a family/friend group story-telling party (BYOS - Bring Your Own Story) Invite them with the stipulation that they must bring one personal story to share with the group. For variety, you could make it a theme story party, e.g. a fishing story, a cooking story. As a kid, I loved to hear my folks, relatives and others tell their stories. Now we rely on television or radio sound bits.
Revive Discussions: Invite family/friends to read a common book or article and hold a discussion on it. How many of us remember fondly the group discussions of our high school or college days?
Revive Reflection: Find a conducive spot and watch the sunrise or sunset in silence. Reflect on the meaning of the start/end of the day to you.
Revive Spiritual Renewal: Read a book, listen to music or attend a religious service that is spiritually uplifting to you at least once per week.
Revive Body-Time Control: Spend one day without any reference to clocks and interruption by phones, pagers, etc. Eat, sleep, do things on your body's pace. Repeat as often as possible.
The Multi-Rs, Revive by Keith C. Heidorn, PhD . ©2000, All Rights Reserved.
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