By Jane Bauer
“In our consumer culture, we always want the next best thing: the latest, the newest, the youngest. Failing that, we at least want more: more intensity, more variety, more stimulation. We seek instant gratification and are increasingly intolerant of any frustration. Nowhere are we encouraged to be satisfied with what we have, to think, “This is good. This is enough.”— Esther Perel
It feels as though every December I sit down to write my editorial and I say the same thing- shop less. Our planet and our lives are full of clutter. People have so much junk that the storage business is booming just so they can store their ever-growing piles of stuff.
So rather than issue a de-cluttering challenge where I encourage you to get rid of one thing a day for the next year- a pair of pants you haven’t fit into for the last five years, your CD collection, the junk that decorates your life. Rather than tell you how great it is to do your Christmas shopping from your own home- give your sister those earrings she covets, give your best friend your favorite book with a handwritten note.
This year I encourage you to sit with yourself and ask yourself what you need. What do you need? I guarantee it isn’t an insta-pot or a new dress. We all have a hunger inside of us that needs filling and I promise you it can’t be ordered through Amazon.
Sit with yourself and breathe- even better if you can do this in nature- the forest, the beach, rain, snow or shine- somewhere away from the traffic of consumerism. Search your body and soul for parts you want to fill- listen closely and you will hear them. Maybe your hunger is for more community, maybe you need deeper connection with your children, your spouse, your parents. Maybe you want more intimacy. Maybe you want to feel safe- financially and emotionally. Maybe you want to be less lonely. Maybe you want more time alone.
The information coming at you would have you believe that you can buy your way out of these feelings. Technology has given us a vertical expansion of comparison so that we aren’t only getting feelings of inadequacy from our neighbors buying a new car, we are comparing ourselves to celebrities and people with no visible talent but millions of followers. No amount of stuff, power or money will ever satiate what you really hunger for.
So this year buy whatever you think you want. Throw away the packaging and enjoy your shiny new toys. Then see how you feel after the luster has worn off the high. Sit long enough with yourself and you will find the path to fill the hunger and maybe by the next holiday season you’ll buy less- not because it’s good for the environment but because it’s good for yourself.
Spread love and light everywhere you go.
See you in January,