Have you ever felt a dreadful sense of scarcity creeping up on you? I'd say a lot of advertising plays into this very human feeling of the fear of running out. Any major disaster sends people rushing out to buy batteries, water, you name it. That's an extreme example, how about simply "2 for 1, supplies are limited, get yours now!" Why is it so effective on us? Do we truly fear that if we don't get the item, we'll never have a chance again? Do we really need 2 of something, vs, the 1? Maybe. Probably not.

I thought of this lately when our power went out for about two days, in the heat of July. Suddenly power felt like everything that was unsatisfactory or not quite right in life, in a strange way. It was sorta like life stopped a little, even though time was marching stoically on of course. Time honestly did seem to slow down, we got to chat with the tree trimmer than was very jovial and a true character, and caught up with a family member that helped fix the electricity on the snapped line.

No cool air, couldn't open the fridge for fear of spoiling the food, no chance to dry my hair or even light to see to put on makeup, until I adapted, and used a mirror by the window one day, and just went makeup free a day or two, not a huge deal in the grand scheme of life, actually probably good for you! I realized if I have a kid someday, it's going to alter my life like this, but times 1 million, and lots of awesome parts too of course! I'm not sure what really bothered me the most about no electricity, in fact I found myself realizing that it felt like my time in Mexico and Spain, where natural light was abundant, and I found a true happiness of scrimping in using the same towel for a week, (although two would have been nice, there's the scarcity elf talking!).

Eww, the American in you might bemoan, but there is an honest and simple pleasure in using a bottle to the last drop, and I think it's missing from our American lifestyle. It may actually be a source of lack of satisfaction. Lease a new car every 3 years, throw your old clothes out often, huh? I do love the fact that my car is paid off and now it's free driving for years, I hope! I have a few shirts from high school that are very dear, connecting me to another time and place so they will never get tossed, even if they're a little worn. And yet there is that scarcity imp on my shoulder that does keep egging me on. Get a fancy newer car, you can "afford" it, the newspaper is no help, neither are the multiple emails to buy buy buy. Such a good question, "just because you can, should you?"

Yoga talks about many concepts where using only what we really need is good. I'm not going to to go into them today, but they are there. To summarize, you might say, "be good, do good", and part of doing good is not stomping a Yeti-sized carbon footprint all over this lovely little planet. I know I should try to embrace austerity, even though it's hard. I'm making some progress, even if it is in baby steps. I gave away my chair and a metal shelf that were simply taking up space, now they'll get good use. I stopped delivery of the paper and donated it to local schools, rather then collect them all when I get back from a trip and probably won't even have time to read them. These are tiny movements, true, but they do mean something. I read somewhere and it keeps coming back to me, the little things that you do, actually DO count. In the end, some happiness comes from not getting what we want all the time. It's actually loathesome if we never embrace a little scarcity. Look at Willy Wonka's delightful dispatch of several spoiled children. Charlie was much happier than the rest of that lot.

Here's to embracing or at least tolerating a little lack every once in a while, goodness knows we go for extra quite a bit, and balance is often the key to enjoyment of life. Now the air is flowing, the laundry is whirring and while I'm grateful, there is a part of me realizing I enjoyed washing a few dishes by hand, and now I really appreciate a little coolness as I come in from the swampy conditions of soccer camp each morning. Ahhh! Refreshing, and I wouldn't have realized it so well, without having gone without.


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