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It always begins with chocolate chips in the trail mix

The cascading impacts of breaking our core value of restraint.

Sensemaking a SpiritDAO community-created weekly column about applying our philosophy and practice to everyday life.

This weeks contributors: Ron Rivers

"It always begins with chocolate chips in the trail mix." My partner and I laughed about the common theme of finding ourselves in moments of prolonged breaking of our core value of restraint towards food. We just wanted a treat in our standard nut and dried fruit mix. Before you know it, a cake arrives at your door, and now your days consist of a second breakfast. This past weekend we went strawberry picking, which our young child was exhilarated about, so now we have four pounds of strawberries, and we're making ice cream. The momentum had taken us, and we were consuming an unhealthy amount.

The relational universe possesses humor of its own. Our direction of focus and energy towards a thing is, at the same time, a process of mutual becoming. The thing influences our understanding and behaviors, and we manipulate its interactions with the world. In my family's circumstance, we were consuming more poison and exerting more resources.

But what is restraint, really? Restraint is the practice of exercising disciplined choice within the moment. It is the ability to say no when it would be easier to say yes. And yes, when no is an rejection of our commitments to others and ourselves. The willingness to delay gratification and make sacrifices in the short term for the sake of long-term goals. Restraint is about choosing discipline in the moment. It extends beyond us and frames how we interact with others. To embrace the responsibility of not exerting ourselves upon others and ensuring that our efforts are not generating disadvantages to some for the benefit of others.

Restraint is always about choice at the moment. Still, to fully embrace it, we need to leverage our philosophy and practice of awareness. Restraint can only be fully expressed with the agency necessary to identify it and the courage to act upon it.

Restraint is a core value that is essential to living a fulfilling life. It is a value that can be applied to various degrees and frequencies in life. When we practice restraint, we live intentionally and purposefully in the moment. We are choosing to be in control of our lives rather than being caught in the flow of experience.

Restraint is not about depriving ourselves of pleasure or denying ourselves what we enjoy. It is about finding balance and moderation in our lives. It is about learning to enjoy the things we love healthily and sustainably. It is about making choices that align with our core values and visions.

In a world constantly pushing us to consume more, do more, and be more, restraint is an act of resistance. It is a way of saying no to the culture of excess and embracing a more mindful and intentional way of living. It is a way of choosing discipline in the moment and living with purpose and intention.

Fortunately, our exercise of restraint is also an act of becoming more powerful. It gets easier over time and transcends a specific vice. When we possess the capacity to exercise restraint most fully direct the flow of our time experiences. Better equipped to express our divinity in the moment.

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