Early one morning, a Farmer goes into his field to feed his cows. He's distraught to find that they're all frozen completely solid. "Oh no" he thinks out loud "what on earth am I going to do?". With that, as if by magic, an elderly lady appears near by. "Anything I can help with?" she asks. "No, I don't think so, but thank you. All my cows are frozen solid". "That's no problem" she says and walks over to one of them. She drapes her arms around the cow, and the Farmer looks on in amazement as all the cows defrost before his eyes.
"Are you an angel?" he enquires of the old lady. "No, no. Not at all. I'm Thora Herd".
It's amazing how the inspiration to write this blog comes to me. Although the topic of consumer liberation is a broad one, it's quite a feat to write something that respects the effort people put in to reading this. Come on, admit it, you laughed at the joke! It's arrival in my inbox gave me the boost I needed to put fingers to keys today.
I've been sort of wafting around this evening waiting for the gift of words to be given to me. I know that being stressed about not having anything to write is the very worst thing that you could allow to happen but I must admit I was getting a little anxious. Then it dawned on me - the answer was staring me in the face.
I'm very fortunate in my family that we all appreciate a certain amount of silence. I however appreciate it more than most. I read a book recently that I picked up for £1 and, in my opinion it's worth that many times over. It's called "In praise of the art of slow" by Carl Honore.
The book talks about the need of modern culture to be doing ten things at the same time and the withdrawal symptoms we feel if we can't do all we want to. I can really identify with that recently with the computer problems I've had. Generally, while rambling I have Facebook, Twitter and MSN all on at the same time, my emails get routed through to my phone and it'll be flashing with texts and emails by the side of me and all this is going on while I'm talking to goodness knows how many people, and, of course, the telly's on too. That's a bit mad, really, isn't it?
The book talks about "sensory overload" which is really interesting, I think. Everywhere you look there's marketing, design, technology, things that are all craving our attention. Even as I type this I have 7 icons at the bottom of my screen wanting me to use them, adverts, messages. It's all mind boggling and we get so overloaded we forget exactly who we are and instead get mixed up with the assimilated information. I bet your car radio comes on automatically when you turn the key. Mine does.
A couple of times a week in our house, sometimes more, sometimes less, we cut out a lot of the sensory stimulation. The telly goes off, the computer stays shut and we just enjoy the quiet. It's actually really nice to not be distracted and just to simply "be". Try making a car journey in deliberate silence. It's a lovely relaxing experience. And there endeth the sermon for tonight!