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Addiction to Convenience

By Dr. Margaret Paul
September 22, 2015

Is convenience bringing you fulfillment and joy?

How did we get so deeply into instant gratification? How did we get so far away from receiving satisfaction from doing things that take some time?

A good example of this is food. Fast food restaurants would never have flourished if people weren't addicted to convenience. What happened to the satisfaction of preparing delicious food from scratch?

I never used to like cooking, but now that I've learned to prepare the kinds of foods that people prepared before we even had refrigerators, I'm loving it. I'm loving pickling and fermenting foods. I've been curious about why I love it so much and why it seems to give me such deep joy and satisfaction. I received some understanding of this recently, when I read the following passage, in "The Gut Balance Revolution," by Gerard Mullin, MD, associate professor of medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine:

"Learning how to ferment your own foods can be fun. It connects you to ancient traditions just as it offers a deeper understanding of the ecological relationships between you, your flora, and the world around you." P. 106

There is something deeply connecting about making truly healthy and delicious food. It does take time, but is that a bad thing? Often, the things that take time are the very things that bring the most joy.

Nowadays it seems that everything has to happen fast. How much joy do you receive from rushing around, opting for convenience rather than for depth and authenticity? Packaged foods, drive-through restaurants – how much joy do these actually bring?

We are losing social skills because of the convenience of texting, emailing and social media. Yes, it's all very convenient, but how much joy do you feel in texting rather than face-to-face talking? How much connection do you lose?  

While sometimes I love the convenience of Amazon, it’s nothing like walking through specialty shops and galleries. I've never wanted to read books on a Kindle, even though it's convenient, because I love the smell of books, the feel of books, and turning the pages of books. While it's more convenient to download a book on a Kindle, it would never bring me the joy of an actual book.

What are you giving up for convenience? Take a moment to think about it. What true pleasure or joy are you by-passing for convenience?

What do you avoid because it's not convenient? Do you avoid visiting friends just because they don’t live close to you? Do you say no to helping others because it's not convenient? How much deep satisfaction and fulfillment might you be missing out on?

It's definitely more convenient to purchase my veggies at a market, but I love planting and harvesting my garden. It's not at all convenient but it's oh-so-satisfying! There is something wonderful about eating a tomato right out of my garden or chopping up a big zucchini that I just picked. And the wonderful aroma of my just-picked garlic! Of course my garden takes time and I'm a very busy person, but there is such joy in sitting down in the midst of my garden and just breathing in the energy of these wonderful growing things. And, to top it off, recent research shows that we receive millions of beneficial probiotics just from putting our hands in the soil – and I never wear gloves! Yes, my fingernails get dirty, and that's not convenient, but I don't care. I love the feel of the dirt - and knowing it's healthy makes it even more wonderful.

Same with making pots on my wheel. It's far more convenient to just purchase a new set of dishes, but the joy I'm receiving in making us a set is incomparable.

You might want to explore the price you are paying for convenience.


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