I’m unsettled. None of this feels right. Walking down the main shopping mall in my city has me spooked. Shop after shop of badly, sadly made clothing – most of it made from synthetics and non-organic cottons that are messing with the environment and with people’s lives.
I want to burn it all down and celebrate the flames.
I want to yell at the people shopping to STOP RIGHT NOW.
Instead I disassociate with the world around me a little and feel alien amongst it all.
There’s got to be close to 60 clothing shops surrounding me but if I wanted to buy just one thing that I was sure was made ethically – I don’t think I could find it. Why are we buying this stuff? Why don’t we care enough about the people who made this stuff to change the way we shop?
I can’t blame people because I used to buy this stuff too. But a switch has flipped in my head and it’s like opening the curtains behind a glitzy scene to reveal the horrors that lie beyond it. It’s JUST like the switch that flipped when I went vegan. Now I walk past people eating meat and it’s such a horror to me that I don’t understand how people can do it.
Why do we draw the lines where we do?
Do you only feel compassion for those of the same religion as you?
Do you only feel compassion for those of the same race as you?
Do you only feel compassion for those of the same sexual identity as you?
Do you only feel compassion for those of the same species as you?
Why don’t we extend our compassion beyond our comfort zones? I don’t know. I know that it isn’t easy to go against the mainstream and that doing so takes time and effort and uncertainty.
I know some people just don’t seem to care.
I know more who do care though but still draw boundaries around their compassion, extending it to some, but not others. I know I’ve done this in the past too.
Once I know though, I can’t un-know. Trying to do so makes parts of me contract and the result is that I move through the world like I’m moving through thick, sticky humidity. It’s not comfortable and there’s no way to relax until my actions match what I know. It’s not living, walking through my life like that. It’s just existing and denying and covering up what’s really going on.
Deciding to unplug from the shopping matrix might be challenging but the result is a life less small and tight. There’s freedom in stepping outside of a system that causes suffering.
Where do you draw the lines of compassion?
Can you stretch them?