Do You Consume Or Collaborate?

As we glide, negotiate and at times maybe struggle through life – how much do we consume versus collaborate? Where does our intention, energy and finances go? And how does it feel?

Consume means to use, use up or completely destroy what it is we are consuming. It is a finite process, it is unconscious and most often it is one way. It is a very receiving emotion and action.

Let’s put this into context. I am in Ireland for a month and enjoying the beautiful countryside that is the West Coast (being from Limerick, I am biased towards West Ireland!). And yesterday we arrived in a well-known beach area for surfers. The vast and beautiful atlantic sea water is - Brown. Brown! So are the rivers flowing into it.

The beach was closed for a number of weeks this summer because bacteria from the surrounding lands and farms are running into the sea. The bacteria was deemed too high to swim in and so the beach was closed. Yesterday the foam laying on the sand was brown, the water was brown. And while I love cold swimming, I also know that 70% of what goes on my skin also goes in through my skin and into my cells and organs. So I declined the swim here.

Our consumption and demands on ourselves mirrors our demands on our planet.

Consuming has now taken over our lives. We are over-fed, under-nourished, sleep deprived with over stressed immune systems. It has a directly correlation with the effect on nature. She is also stressed, having to slow down, sending us warning signs so that we might listen to her.

Our body does the same to us. She sends us signals. She sends us whispers, sometimes ongoing dull messages. Sometimes really sharp messages. Our consumption and demands on our planet mirror the demands we place on our own well-being.

On the other hand collaboration is choosing consciously and has a feeling of calm and flow about it.



On the other hand collaboration is choosing consciously. How do we collaborate with ourselves and how do we collaborate with nature? For me that is attempting to know if I need to buy, lean on and use that which I surrounding myself with.

What do I buy and who do I purchase from? How much do I need it? Has the land been worked with, or against, to produce it? Has a child or woman being exploited to gain this, so that I can buy and consume something cheaper or to satisfy an emotional need?

Collaboration looks like sharing. Again, I am home in Ireland and I see my parents community sharing their garden produce, seeds, garden plants and yummy jams and pickled vegetables. These are small, thoughtful ways of collaborating. It means we are not just heading out into our car, driving to a shop, to buy seeds produced from some unknown factory, shipped countless miles. And if you re-read that sentence, how much do you have to earn to have that car, consume that fuel and buy mass produced stuff.

Consuming feels out of rhythm with our body, our mind and our soul.


Collaborating feels nurturing. It feels empowering. We collaborate with ourselves, our relationships and nature when we are in rhythm.

Collaborating feels nurturing. It feels empowering. We collaborate with ourselves, our relationships and nature when we are in rhythm. We flow with choices that feel aligned to the planet around us. We feel nourished when we breathe deeply into our heart and down to our pelvis so that we feel the earth holding us and caring for us. And when we breathe out we send that out to those around us.

Collaborating is what brings us ease in our life. Consuming moves us away from it.

I choose collaboration, with nature, with myself, with the people and especially the women around me.

Susan Sheehan is the founder and lead of Back Yourself Mentoring. This September she is guiding and leading a group of women on a journey of re-connecting to their bodies, mind and soul. Each woman will connect into her unique cycle and rhythm, to feel grounded, nourished and speak with clarity and energy aligned to her values. You can email her on hello@backyourselfmentoring.com.

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