I always thought I ‘did my bit’ by recycling, by choosing locally produced, organic foods when I can, by fundraising, donating to and volunteering for the charities I support. In reality, however, I realised that there’s an element of pantomime even in that. When I came home from the recent retreat in Buckland, I became acutely aware of an embarrassment I couldn’t escape from – I have so much stuff. So, one of the first things I did was take two large bags of stuff to my local charity shop – something I have done for many years now, but always with the surreptitious excuse that I ‘now have room for some of the new things I’d like’. I’m changing that deeply warped perception now – giving the things I don’t need away to charity will no longer be an excuse to fill my life with other (ultimately unnecessary) things. Instead, I’ll work on being a more conscious consumer and on really trying to live a simpler life with fewer material needs.