What do you consider to be a luxury? What do you turn to for indulgence and a sense of abundance, to reward yourself, as a pick-me-up or a feel-good thing? Becoming a Druid is very much about re-imagining all aspects of your life, and is also an on-going process. If you want to be a Druid, there is no point at which you cease to do the work of becoming a Druid.
I’m not going to be all ‘hair shirt’ about this one. While I do believe in living lightly and trying not to consume excessively, life without anything that you consider to be a luxury can be bloody depressing. Feeling deprived of the good stuff is not conducive to good self-esteem or a sense of wellbeing. However, it is worth noting that a sense of abundance, luxury and wellbeing does not depend on specific external sources, but on how we think about them. If you’ve pegged your sense of self and your happiness to having very new, very fast and expensive cars, only that thing will do it for you. The marketing world encourages us, on a daily basis, to feel that only their product can deliver us the sense of inner peace and happiness we crave. This is of course, bullshit, but we are subject to rather a lot of it.
More often than not, the wonderproducts do not deliver for us, or have inbuilt obsolescence. Many of them are only luxuries, (in our minds) because of their newness. Once they are older and a bit tatty, those shoes, that gadget, no longer delivers and we ‘need’ another one. We fear being seen as poor, behind the times, out of date, and so we get locked into buying things we don’t really need simply because we are told on a daily basis that without them we cannot be happy or fulfilled.
One of the most reliable places to go for a sense of luxury, abundance and indulgence, is the body. There are balances to strike here because while one cream cake can seem like indulgent delight, a whole packet has implications. There are pleasures to be had in using the body (assuming yours works passably well) movement brings its own rewards. Walking, dancing, singing, working up a sweat, making love… if we have a mindset that recognises these as good things, rather than horrible and unwelcome impositions, they can be delightful. Making love, having the time and space to do that slowly, sensuously and with someone you really want to be with…. That can feel seriously luxurious.
Sleep is another. Early nights and long, languid rest periods, letting the body and mind unwind, relishing the smell of the clean sheets, the softness of the mattress… If you struggle to see how glorious a good bed is, spend some time camping, or sit on a hill all night to get a bit of useful perspective. A hot shower or long bath can feel deeply indulgent, relaxing the body and bringing sensory pleasures.
The company of friends, a few glasses of wine, a good view… feel indulged depends a lot on what you consider indulgent in the first place. That is a choice; one we are often influenced in by people who want to sell us stuff. What really makes you feel good? How can you get to that without it costing the world? The Druid path is not one of abstinence and denial; it is a path of finding your happiness in a way that does not take too much. What underpins this is a perspective. Learning to be genuinely happy, rather than reassured by participating in consumer society, is incredibly liberating.