Remembering that excesses which are harmful to human beings are abhorrent to Friends, what can I do to lessen such excesses in my own life, or by example to help others?
I generally think of this query as being about addictive substances. I don't drink to excess any more, I have valid prescriptions for all the drugs I take, and I've smoked about 3-5 cigarettes in the past year or so. I encourage my friends to hang out at times in ways that don't include drinking, especially those who might be drinking a bit much lately. I don't share my pills with folks who would like to take them recreationally. All of this could make answering this query quite easy.
But when I broaden it out to think about what excesses I do have in my life, the picture isn't as pretty. Do I spend my money and time on frivolous things? All the time. How many pairs of leather-free shoes counts as excessive? Okay, I really don't need to ask that question. I know I have more than enough pairs of shoes. But is my shoe collection harmful? I don't know. The hot pink pumps are frivolous, to be certain, but at what point does frivolity become harmful? Is there a time/financial limit? Is one hour of mindless television okay? What about four?
I debated on whether to buy the pink pumps. They are utterly ridiculous. They were also less than five bucks at Goodwill. They amuse me and a little bit of money went in a charitable direction. I think that so long as I'm asking myself if each decision is frivolous, excessive or harmful I'm going to come out okay in the end. It's about being mindful, not about precise pre-prescribed judgments. At least, that's how I see it right now.