What I value in life are connections.
Connections to the humans around me, connections to the other non-human animals, to the land, wind, water. Connections to the food I eat, to how and where it was grown, to how it was cooked. Connections to my health, to the medicines I take.
Sure, I may watch a few TV shows, I may wander around the internet, but those things have a disconnect about them. A passivity and distance to them. They're not fulfilling to me on a deeper lever.
And that's what I mean when I talk about connections, and why I can tell people, in all honesty, all I need to be happy, truly happy, is clean water to drink, food that isn't poisoned, a whole and healthy land base, and a supportive, loving community. That's all I need. All I want.
I've been thinking about this a lot, since I've realized how much I enjoy, and always have enjoyed, living as much outside of the commercialized consumerist lifestyle as I can. I adore wonderful thrift store finds, warm wool sweaters and worn jeans, love going to local farmers markets and picking out fresh produce, or, even better, harvesting our own homegrown vegetables and herbs... And this is far from a new thing! This didn't come from when my views got more "radical".
When I was a child, for years I was absolutely obsessed with pioneers (yes, I now have very different opinions on those individuals who took over land already being lived on by Aboriginal peoples, but, well, I was a kid, and those thoughts never crossed my mind). I would dress in period garb, read anything, both fiction and non-fiction, about pioneers that I could get my hands on, and all of that jazz. But even more then that, we made our own candles. Our own lanterns for them. I sewed and embroidered things myself. In the Great Ice Storm of '98, I was positively thrilled when the power went off! Then, as now, our main source of heat was the wood stove, so we really didn't suffer much, unlike so many other people. We cooked on the wood stove, heated water there for our baths, which then had to be lugged upstairs to the bathroom. Burned candles for light when it got dark. I loved it!
That's what I mean when I say connections. That joy, warmth, and fulfillment that comes not from purchased things, not from "experts", but from all the little connections to the little things, that make life feel good.
To be intimately acquainted to all aspects of your life, and as an extension of that, all aspects of the community as a whole: that's my dream, my ideal, and my vision for how I want to live my life, and the world I want to help create (or, more accurately, help to re-discover). I can't think of any better way to live than that!