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Shedding These Layers...

There was always a second tab open on Google Chrome of my computer screen.

I confess that it was for online shopping.

Over the last some years, I developed an addiction to visiting e-commerce websites. My notion was that I had to look the best in order to make the best impression on people.

The pressure led me to scroll through an endless number of online pages … The internet programmed my eyes to skim through 10 pages, 20 pages, 30 pages of websites until I found the most noticeable brand, and the perfect texture and material for the next social meeting.

By the time I received the package in the mail, I just wasn’t satisfied. Countless trips to the UPS store and the post office involved returning and exchanging thereafter. The Paradox of Choice paralyzed me.

Not a day would go by without me checking Amazon for the latest item to buy… My friend eventually told me that it looked like I was stuck in a fortress of apparel. I made an eskimo look light on a summer day. The harsh truth was that I was not wearing clothes, I was actually hiding in them.

I couldn’t sit still without lifting my phone for a minute! I couldn’t continue a genuine conversation with another person without thinking about the next item to buy.

It became the search for nothing.

After moving to a new state, I reached a brink and realized I might fall into this abyss of materialism. I had too much clothing and shoes, most of which I obviously did not use.

My possessions became too burdensome to have.

After moving to Calfornia, I recently saw a film, "Prakasan," at IFFLA. It made me think about how material things do not help us be happy. The protagonist of the film, Prakasan, found joy in the simple and natural moments while living in the lush forests of Southern India. He caught fish in a clean pond with his friends; ate fresh cantaloupe from his mother's hands; climbed trees to gather raw honey; and drank milk directly from the cow's udder. When he got a job in the nearby city, he dressed himself in a white lungi and button down shirt, and walked barefoot. As expected, he wasn't happy doing his job in the city. Life was free for him in the forest without the formality of a dress code or the process of manufactured foods.

All of these thoughts motivated me to donate over 1/2 my clothing to Goodwill. I then donated most of my shoes to the local shoe shop. The owner said he would give them to the church where a few women ask for shoes to wear to work.

This gave me an even realer perspective…

While I did carry the pride of a good Samaritan, I had a deeper realization. The shoes became meaningless to me, but have greater value for the women at their jobs.

This thought felt gratifying in my heart and stomach. In a bigger sense, the relief opened a door to the light of finding greater meaning in hidden places.

I thought to myself, this giving seems to be a better path with a more purposeful reward. However, it first started with me shedding the “things” or layers which buried my own spirit…

I used to greet life with these structured rules, but not the warmth of giving nor being receptive to the greater possibilities in my environment.

So here’s the start to shedding our “layers,” unleashing our true spirit, and living more!

© 2018 Rohini Chandra,

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