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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. September's Theme: "Opening"
Volume 3 Issue 6 ISSN# 1708-3265
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Order Out of Chaos - Time to Wake Up!
by Tira Brandon-Evans

Rampant consumerism is creating bizarre epidemics in North America. Children are in danger of heart attacks before they reach puberty because they and their parents gorge themselves on fast food and junk food. People fill their homes with useless things. Women and men literally 'shop till they drop' to buy clothes, shoes, toys, games, cars, accessories for their cars and computers, knick-knacks, gimcracks, and just plain junk.

This pusuit of material goods has reached the point of insanity. Parents neglect the welfare of their children so they can work longer hours to buy more things. Abandoned children seek to fill their lonely and anchorless lives with the things their parents hand them.

Three popular television shows are built around out of control eating, out of control hoarding, and out of control kids. In each of these shows women from England are invited into North American homes to bring order out of chaos.

Most of us are not in the dire situations we see on television each week. We do not live in filth, compulsively hoard useless things, let the kids rule our homes, or indulge in gross gluttony.

Many of us do wish we could get out of debt, stop spending so much on things we don't really need, and organize our homes around the things that really matter - our partners, our kids, our families.

Few of us need a super nanny or a cleaning lady from foreign shores to get our lives together, but most of us simply don't know how to begin. We know we have too much stuff but we don't know how to get organized.

Here are four simple steps to taking control of your life and bringing order out of chaos.

STEP ONE: Bring Nothing But Food Into Your House For One Month

Except for food and health care products, don't buy anything at all for one month.

You will be surprised how much money you save and how little you actually NEED.

STEP TWO: Reduce Clutter

STEP THREE: Everything In It's Place

When your "keep" box is full find a "home" for each object you wish to keep.

Every single object should have it's own "home", the place in which that object belongs.

Every object's home should be in the room where it is most frequently used and as near the place where it is used as possible.

Pots and pans should be in the kitchen, near the stove. Magazines and books should be near your reading area. Towels should be in or near the bathroom. Laundry baskets should be kept in the laundry room and so on.

When you have finished using any object always return it to it's home.

STEP FOUR: Subtract BEFORE Adding

Now you are organized how do you stay organized? Follow one simple rule: subtract before adding.

Once you have everything you need, you don't need anything else. Don't buy things you don't need.

Of course, we use things up. We eat food, run out of detergent, break dishes, and so on. Buy only what you need to replace what you have used up or broken.

Don't buy things you don't need. Some people are so attached to shopping they feel anxious or deprived if they aren't bringing new things into their homes on a regular basis. If you are among these, you can still reduce clutter in your home if you always subtract before adding.

If you have been in the habit of buying yourself some item of clothing, a knick-knack, computer game, or a 'gift' every time you go shopping and you intend to continue doing this, put some equavalent item of clothing, knick-knackery, etc., in the "give-away" box before you go shopping. You must drop the item off at the Salvation Army box before you enter the store.

Make it your rule, if you have given up one thing you may purchase another. If you have not given up one thing you may not purchase another. In this way the clutter stays in a steady state and does not grow larger and less managable.

The same rule must also apply to your children. If you always buy your child a toy, item of clothing, or 'gift' every time you go shopping, and you would feel guilty denying your child new things every day or every week, the child must select one item to give-away before you go shopping together. As with purchases for yourself, you must drop the item off at the Salvation Army box before you enter the store.

If your child refuses to give away their one item, make it plain to them they will not get anything new until they do. If you feel the child intends to make a scene in the store, don't take him/her with you. Do your shopping alone.

It may seem hard at first, but you are responsible for both the education and well-being of your children. Teaching them to hoard is not a good thing. Subtract before adding.


Our culture of consumption is, literally, consuming our planet. Every item we purchase has a huge ecological and social price tag, even if we only pay a dollar for the item. That Barbie knock-off you buy at the dollar store is made from oil. It was almost certainly made in China or some country half-way round the world. Oil was used to produce it. Oil was used to transport it to the port. Oil fuelled the ship in which it crossed the seas. Oil transported it from the port of entry to the local warehouse. Oil moved it again from the local warehouse to the store in which you found it. All this polluting hydro-carbon spewed into the atmosphere so a child can enjoy a momentary, meaningless pleasure. Is it any wonder asthma is the leading cause of hospitalization among North American children?

The human cost of that "cheap" toy is even greater than the ecological cost. North Americans are able to purchase things we neither want nor need at such low prices because we are the apex of a slave economy.

We have moved the slave quarters from behind the tall white plantation houses to the other side of the globe, which is nice because we don't have to be bothered by guilt when we buy the things produced by the slaves.

These slaves work in factories in China, India, Taiwan, Korea, and many other places in the world making things specifically for Wal-Mart, K-mart, Target and the dollar stores. I may assuage my conscience by assuring myself I am really helping these people to prosperity when I buy an item for five bucks in Wal-Mart that some poor Chinese woman, imprisoned in a camp for political dissidents, was paid two cents to produce. But, in my heart, I know it's not right to save money on the ravaged lives of millions of slaves when I buy at the big boxes or dollar stores.

The slavery is now moving into North America, too. We are working longer hours for less because our jobs are being outsourced to countries that exploit workers or our jobs are being given to illegal immigrants willing to work for very little in the hopes of attaining the American dream. I heard a statistic on CNN recently. Illegal immigrants in the USA amount to about twenty-seven percent of the total work force in some states. I found this an interesting figure because twenty to twenty-five percent of the population of the Roman Empire was enslaved and slavery was as essential to the Roman economy as slavery is to ours.

Our consumer society is based on misery for the have-nots. If you have a job and a good line of credit you can have anything you want - whether you need it or not. If you don't have a job - tough. I find this "I'm okay, Jack" attitude very disturbing and something in me keeps whispering, "This can't go on. This level of consumerism cannot - and should not - continue." We are taking, taking, taking and giving nothing back to the Earth or to those less fortunate than we are.

That is why consumer awareness groups like The Compact are so immensely important. I believe we are going to see oil rationing within the next ten years. This will either be direct rationing, in which governments allocate how much oil goes to the military, transportation, industry, and private citizens or rationing through raising prices and taxing the citizen at the pump.

Ships need oil to transport all those cheap goods from the slave-labour countries. There is a law of diminishing returns. Eventually the cost of buying slave-made goods will mean there are no more cheap foreign goods. And, here is the really interesting thing, when that happens we are going to find we have allowed the multi-nationals to divest themselves of all - or most - of the manufacturing plants in North America.

With no means of manufacturing the things we really do need, we will have to continue to import everything - at least until we re-establish North American industry. China is connected to Russia and Europe by rail. Steam engines fired with wood will work as well in 2016 as they did 1916. Europe and Asia will have a huge advantage and we North Americans are going to have get by on a lot less. After years of thinking our orgy of affluence is our God-given right, I wonder how we are going deal with it?

Perhaps those of us who love the Earth and care for all Her children should volunteer now to take less and give more.

Tira Brandon-Evans is the Founder and Moderator of the Society of Celtic Shamans, an editor of "Earthsongs: Journal of the Society of Celtic Shamans", and is, herself, a Faery Shaman.

Her books, "The Green and Burning Tree: A Faery Shaman's Handbook",
"Portals of the Seasons: A Celtic Wheel of the Year",
"Through the Unremembered Gate: Journeys of Initiation",
"The Labyrinthine Way: Walking Ancient Paths in a Modern World",
and "Healing Waters", are all published by Elder Grove Press. She is presently writing a book about the Ogham. You may contact Tira by email.

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