Toronto Life

(Or Greed, Entitlement, Atonement & Grace)

So, I’m in Toronto (T.O.) – I’m often in Toronto – but I’ve been reading Toronto Life magazine (I almost never read T.O. Life; I’m a country mouse, not a citified mouse girl – the world of T.O. Life is not just from another planet, it seems to me, it’s about another actual whole Universe altogether from the one I inhabit)

& I just read an article by a man who’s had both of his retinas detach, & he has very good reason to suppose his (previously) pretty crazy Toronto lifestyle of desire & hard partying (accompanied of course by lots of booze & drugs) might just be to blame

& I find I am quick to judge because no, no, no – I am not greedy like him, not me

but here I am in a comfy T.O. bed & breakfast room on a Saturday morning, comfy blue comforter pulled up around me as I snuggle in a warm bed & read T.O. Life magazine – old yokel me gawking at photos & stories of the T.O. glitterati (some maybe just wanna-be glitterati)

& previous issues have apparently told of families pulling in $200,000 annual incomes who consider themselves “almost rich” & who lament their paycheque-to-paycheque granite countertop lives, apparently, & an even older issue that kind of flukily fell into my lap a while ago told of utterly absurd salaries & absurd (to me, at least) happenings among the very-very-rich

& I do know that I am greedy too – I am greedy right now for some coffee – this B & B is not providing breakfast on this occasion & I am not paying the bill (yay for friends!!) so I am grateful for the lovely room but I am greedy for coffee, & I’m also greedy enough to have eaten not just one but two chewy fruit bars I’d intended to stuff into my knapsack for an emergency some day down the road

& I muse a little on entitlement, & privilege, as I am so often wont to do

& I have a privileged middle-class Canadian life even though in terms of income, mine is a long way below the poverty line (dipping into modest house sale savings is what it’s actually called) & I am never hungry for very long at all, & I do get angry probably a little too often (too attached?) about all the rape I see taking place all around me – & to me it seems a little as though a lot of these T.O. Life types are maybe rapists too?

but then of course we’re all rapists – we’re all grabbing grabbing grabbing & taking taking taking – & we don’t seem to care that we’re awfully goshdarn greedy aren't we? & refuse to see that having infinite wants on a finite planet has only one way to conclude its unfortunate trajectory, ultimately

& so we turn a (wilful) blind eye to all these rapes we’re all part of & party to

  • we all use resources (& are complicit in their messy polluting extraction from the earth)
  • we all make garbage
  • we all use energy (plenty of us waste plentiful quantities of it, too)

& the more we have

the more we want

& the more we want

the more we seem to feel entitled to

& the more too many of us feel entitled to so very-very much

the more we go on raping & damaging & destroying everything

for all of us

& even me, I know it, me & my lust for my daily fix of coffee (coffee is not without its resource use, impacts & the climate change to get it from where it grows to my door & yours…coffee & other things, of course; I do not lust or live by coffee alone)

& while it may be true that I am not as greedy as these people I read about in Toronto Life – & for sure I do not envy them – being a modest little country mouse suits me very-very well, thank you very much; living under a rock suits some of us to a T, as they say,

but for sure too, I am greedy, & I am also privileged(1)

& I do wish, I so wish, that some of us…okay let's be honest…a lot of us…would make the choice to be a little less greedy

& reflect perhaps a little more often on just what it is we really feel we are entitled to on this still-very-pretty & generous but terribly terribly polluted planet (& why we have these feelings of entitlement)

as I sit in my comfy warm bed & gaze out on Toronto (plain old Bathurst St., as it happens) & reflect that the Earth & “the powers that be” (whatever that means) probably have plenty to say about all this

& maybe

I think probably

some of us or maybe many of us may soon be trying/needing/working hard to atone for

our greedy grasping past selves & lives

the way our no-longer-so-very-very-young man whose piece I read in Toronto Life magazine now seems to be more or less doing, post-retinal detachments & other sobering & potentially maturity-making life developments

and I guess there is quite a lot some of us have to atone for

isn’t there?

Janet

p.s. & until we do atone, or continue doing whatever it is we may continue doing as the infinite wants & greed on the finite planet continue to hold us in their stubborn grip, we can, I see from an ad in the same aforementioned Toronto Life magazine, go out & buy ourselves a very very very sturdy umbrella indeed, one that costs only $579... $579, for an umbrella!!!

p.p.s. so I’ve wound down now & run out of breath before I could quite get to the “grace” referenced in my alternative title of this odd little essay, & this has gone on quite long enough already, so I guess all I will say about it now is that my life is just plain chockfull of grace, & I know it, & I write lots on this blog about gratitude, simple old gratitude, & you can find some postings about it here if you want to know more about this simple magical/transformative habit…this habit that can help us all be a little less greedy & grasping (I think), & also bring plenty of plain, unvarnished joy to our lives, & plain unvarnished joy is not such a very-very bad thing now, is it???

‘Quote of the day with this post: “You can never get ENOUGH of what you DON’T NEED to make you happy.” ~ Eric Hoffer (plenty of other relevant quotations to be found here & here)


 

(1) & I always remember what John O’Donohue (Irish poet, philosopher & former priest) said about privilege: “We are privileged, and the duty of privilege is absolute integrity.”