Lyrics which seem apposite are by City and Colour ‘Against The Grain’   and when the wind does  blow against the grain    you must follow your heart. are often advised to do the exact opposite. Favouring logical, brain decisions have often caused endless confusion and can lead to people pursuing careers they have no desire for.

A Lily in The Writing Retreat Courtyard This June

I listen to this track often and think about decisions made which have led me here. It’s very easy to become embroiled in what life has to offer, I mean in a material sense. It was only when I was clearing out my house in preparation for my voyage of discovery to set up a writers and artistic retreat that I realised how seduced I had been, by what can only be described as ‘stuff’.

Marx would have called it ‘consumer fetishism’. We learned at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution we could sell our time for money and this is what we have been doing ever since. In effect it is catching up with us and anyone following the Euro debt crisis will see what happens to a system which is underpinned by debt. On a personal level, our spending dictates just how much we need to work, how much of our time we have to devote to other people’s demands. I honestly believe many people are labouring under the delusion that ‘things’ bring happiness, they may well possibly but is it worth the sacrifice?

I am not unrealistic, we all have expenditure associated with living in today’s world and there are possessions I don’t particularly want to live without, obviously, but it is worth considering whether the additional pair of shoes, more complex mobile phone, tv package and all those additional coffees and cabs, warrant spending additional hours working, unless you are lucky enough to have your dream job!

We tend to value ourselves, in contemporary urban societies, by the money we earn and our surrounding personal paraphernalia. Why would you spend heaps of money on a small wallet to keep a mobile phone with a tiny moniker that says what exactly? For many people that would represent an 8 hour shift and in other economies much more.

What means more I wonder? Time or money? The writers retreat is situated in a small village where people still grow much of what they use, the pace of life is slower, although no less productive, and although we cannot all evade life, a look at another approach is always beneficial and sometimes simply inspirational.

Would I swap my writing life for a bling life? Is there anything I could want instead of knowing each day I will be writing or creating. Living outside of consumerism’s reach – I even avoid internet shopping – means I feel I want for nothing, because I am not tempted. My concerns are very different from when I worked ten hours a day in an office and would rise at 5.30 and not return home until 6.30 in the evening.

We can change our lives sometimes and I would urge anyone thinking about it, to follow your passion, follow your heart and don’t be left wondering, ‘what if?’ After all, if you don’t make mistakes it means you are not trying and it’s so easy to become trapped in the spiral of credit, work and the ‘well, if I can’t buy this as a treat, what’s the point?’ Now I think how many pleasurable things happen which are not paid for with currency and living in a writers retreat is definitely a passion worth following.

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