A defining feature of life

I’m in Dallas today, where I looked out my car window at one point while in traffic to see this:


It seems as if a majority of American suburbs are surrounded by the sort of strip malls and shopping centers I’m seeing as I’ve been driving along the highway. So maybe it’s only somewhat by chance that I came across Leo Babauta’s piece on purchasing as a response to uncertainty and insecurity:

We don’t like the feeling of uncertainty and insecurity – we try to get rid of it as soon as we can, get away from it, push it away. We have lots of habitual patterns we’ve built up over the years to deal with this uncertainty and insecurity … and buying things is one of the most common, other than procrastination.

Here’s the thing: it doesn’t actually give us any certainty or security. We buy things and we’re not really more prepared, in control, or secure. We hope we will be, and yet the feelings of uncertainty and insecurity are still there. So we have to buy some more stuff.

We’re looking for the magical answer to give us control and security, but it doesn’t exist. Life is uncertain. Always. It’s the defining feature of life. Read the quote from Pema Chodron at the top — it says it all, we have to accept the uncertainty of life.

And in fact, this is the answer to our drive to buy too much stuff — if we lean into the uncertainty, embrace it, learn to become comfortable with it, we can stop buying so much.

We can learn to live with little, sitting with the uncertainty of it all.