Monday’s Meditation: On Deprivation Vs. Moderation

January 1, 2018

deprivation vs. moderation--the perfect thing to read at the start of a new year.

Most people who have tried dieting, or who have attempted in other ways to use restriction as a means of achieving a goal, will tell you that constraining one’s intake is a tricky game. At best, the limitations leave you feeling cramped, confined, and disempowered. At worst, self-imposed rules for abstaining backfire, encouraging a kind of rebellion against self-imposed rules.

Everything around you is depleting. As you read this, the levels of every entity in your life are moving closer to empty. The oil in your car is being used up. The gas in your tank is being exhausted. The food in your fridge is being consumed, and the food you ate is being digested. You will soon expend your supply of laundry detergent, and clean laundry, and hand soap. In time, you will go through your backstock of printer paper, and olive oil.

But everything isn’t just depleting. It is deteriorating. Everything in your life is somewhere in its cycle between healthy and in perfect operating condition and damaged, defunct, and, let’s face it, decrepit.

Life requires you to refill and repair. It is the rhythm with which you live your daily life. You fill what gets empty. You fix or replace what gets broken.

Begrudging your need to do so is a worthless activity. You Simply cannot get by comfortably in this life without attending to the supply levels of your world.

Your stomach will grumble again soon. (Is it already?)

Your clothes will begin to show signs of wear and tear.

Your gauge will tilt towards empty.

And you will feel the need or desire to replenish what is expended, and to repair or replace what is damaged. There is no shame in this process. Filling what depletes, and doing so in a timely manner, is the mark of a responsible person.

You are not meant to learn to ignore a need. You are expected to learn to discern between genuine need and extraneousness. You are expected to learn how to fill a void with what it actually requires. And you are expected to learn how not to overfill it.

You do not have to abstain. You do not have to batter yourself saying, “bad, bad, terrible self. I am never allowed to eat cake/ go shopping/ buy new shoes again.”

But take care when you fill what is empty. Fill the void with exactly what it really needs, and no more.

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