Taking & Leaving


“Take what works for you, and leave the rest.” I find myself saying this to my college class as we begin to cover some more weighty and challenging topics. Just saying this goes a long way to bringing a sense of relief into the room. And permission. Permission to choose on behalf of what works. Permission to choose differently than what is currently being offered.

Have you noticed that despite all of the choices, and all of the information available to us, we often live as if we do not have the right to opt out? To choose to say “No?” To give ourselves the permission to say this is all that I can do? All that I want. All that I can handle. Leaving us far too often suffering under the weight that we need to be doing it all. Need to know it all. Need to be up to date on it all. And always, and in all ways, needing to be doing more. Ever-more.

In a time where we are consuming more information and content than we can healthfully make use of, can you imagine what your life would be like if you only took what you really needed or wanted, and left the rest? Can you imagine deciding for yourself when you had had enough?

It puts me in mind of an old Saturday Night Live skit where the scene opens invitingly to diners enjoying themselves at an “all you can eat” buffet. People are laughing, chatting and happily eating what they have chosen for food. The opening scene ends as the people naturally and easily let the wait staff know when they have had enough, and would like the check.

The next scene is cast in semi-darkness, where diners are bound to chairs while the wait staff forces enormous and unworkable amounts of food into their mouths. People are screaming, crying and trying to get away from the force feeding. But to no avail. Between the bondage, the screaming, and the mess being created, it presents as a kind of modern day hell made complete by the booming and ominous voice saying, “Not all you want to eat, all you can eat.”

I find parallels in this dark humor to what we are up against in The Age of Technology. That being, a kind of boundary-less imposition of something that in the right quantities, and under the right set of circumstances, would nourish. But that under the current conditions, creates suffering and overwhelm.

What would your life look like to take what you need, and leave the rest when it came to the use of the screen technologies, or anything else for that matter? What if your criteria became, “I will ingest only that which feeds and nourishes my mind, body and soul?” Only that which offers contentment and fulfillment. What then, would change around how you use what these times have to offer, if you actually started with how you felt and what you needed, in any given moment?