Today is a special day, not only is it my son-in-laws’ birthday and All Saint’s Day, but it is also the beginning of my Mindful Consumption Challenge. I read about the challenge on Eden’s blog here. Instead of regurgitating all the challenge details, I urge you to read about it there. At first, I brushed the mere idea of challenge aside. I thought, “I could never do that!” Why, because it is exactly what I need to do.
You see, every nook and cranny of my house is filled with the spoils of my shopping escapades. I complain that our house is not large enough but the truth is that I have too much stuff filling it. For instance, I have enough makeup to open a store, most of which, I cannot possibly use. Oh, and hair product hits and misses for my wild, kinky curly hair. I think that I’ve tried most hair products for my hair and I have half-used bottles to show it. Then, there are the books. I have books galore. at last count over 600. No, really, I am serious, and that does not include all the books that I have on my Kindle. My bedroom closets are overstuffed with clothing that still holds the price tag. Each year I do a yearly “stuff review” and although Goodwill gains many items, more likely than not, I always find justification for keeping stuff that I obviously don’t need. I have not even discussed my collection of purple pens, candles, essential oils or kitchen ware.
As I gave some thought to my spending habits, I realized that the seeds of my present actions, were planted long ago in my younger years. As a child, we never went without food to eat, clothes to wear, or a roof over our heads. Yet, we were raised by an amazing single Mom, doing all that she could to care for three, and later, four children. She worked hard for so little, and there was no getting around it, we were poor. We had no money for other than the necessities of life. At a young age, I vowed that when I grew up, things would be different. I would have money to satisfy my needs, as well as my wants. All these years, shopping has served as a rebuke to those long ago years when my ‘wants’ went unfilled due to a lack of money. Thoughtless shopping became the norm. After due consideration, I realize that it is time to change.
Today I begin a new journey–one toward mindfulness in my spending habits. Coincidentally, I discovered a relevant book that I’d bought long ago titled “To Buy or Not To Buy” by April Lane Benson, Ph.D. In it, the author states:
“Mindful shopping, the habit you want to develop, doesn’t mean the absence of feeling but rather the presence and engagement of your mind. You observe what you’re feeling and thinking, what your heart and head are saying. You pay attention to what your body and soul are saying as well. You notice how you’re responding to your environment. You remember what you are shopping for, and you stay on track. You remember how much you intended to spend, and you limit your purchases to what you can comfortably afford. You act on your agenda, unswayed by advertisers’ or saleperson’s agendas or tactics aimed at pulling you off course. Your purchasing decisions lock into the grander plan of who you are; they aren’t based on anyone else’s ideas or even your own fantasies of who you might become. Mindfulness helps you make decisions based on conscious choice rather than impulse.”
This is my choice and my goal. I’ll let you know how I am doing, and I’d appreciate your support.