If I had one wish this Thanksgiving Day, it would be to liberate everyone around the world from over-consumption. Because stuff never brings genuine happiness. It may bring fleeting moments of happiness, but not a deep abiding joy.
Karen Ruby beautifully explains the sense of freedom that comes from recognizing this simple truth:
"Now that I am debt-free, I look around at all the things that I had put on my credit card and line of credit and can just smack myself in the head. What was I thinking? I was probably thinking that since I couldn’t stand my job and since I worked so hard (if sitting in front of a computer all day long is hard work), that I deserved to spend my money on some retail therapy. Instant gratification. On things I ”wanted”, rather than ‘needed’."
Doesn't she hit the nail on the head?
Think about it for a moment. Isn't excessive spending often driven by a need to fill an emotional gap of one sort or the other? Do you ever find this to be true for you?
Somehow though it almost always backfires.
The satisfaction is momentary and then we crave more, which creates an endless cycle of never having enough. Stuff never really fills the gap. Most of the time it brings a slew of its own problems. Like bills, debt, repairs, loss, fear of theft, breakage, wearing out, not meeting our expectations, or not giving us the same charge as when it was new.
It's mind-boggling to learn that:
"Americans spend more money trying to look young than we spend on educating our young. We also spend more on dieting than on feeding the hungry, although modern agriculture has made feeding the hungry an attainable goal." - Eileen Flanagan
Despite all these pleasures and indulgences, we never seem fully satisfied.
A New Vision of Abundance
The minimalist movement is all about nipping over-consumption in the bud and embracing simplicity to secure a deeper happiness. Don't worry, I'm not proposing that everyone become a minimalist. I don't think it's necessary to do away with consumption altogether.
But I do wish - with all my heart - for a new vision of abundance.
It's a vision of prosperity defined not by:
"having an abundance of material wealth but more in the sense of flourishing mentally and emotionally." - the Dalai Lama
In short, to be always well within.
When you are always well within, outer circumstances can change - they always will - but your sense of contentment, confidence, and happiness will not be troubled too much. Big sufferings may come, it's just a fact of life, and you might be thrown off balance for awhile. But in time you will find your way back to center and reconnect your own inner spring of genuine happiness. Real happiness is an inside job.
So before you are lured into unnecessary spending on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, take a moment to consider: what do you truly need? What do others truly need? What will bring you true happiness?
Sure, it's the holiday season and there's no reason to be a Scrooge. But there are many reasons to be moderate, including your own sense of sanity as well as the health of the planet. Enjoy yourself fully but in a sensible way that doesn't bring more stress and hassle now or in the future.
Ideas for Green Gifts
Here are some green gift ideas to help you keep it simple and sane this holiday season.
- Holiday Gifts That Keep On Giving at Groovy Green Livin
- Organic Christmas Gift Ideas at Simple Organic
- Green Holiday Gifts: Book Ideas at Simple Organic
- Thoughtful Teacher Gifts (with A Natural Twist) at Simple Organic
- Green Gifts Don't Have to Suck at Fake Plastic Fish
The Joy of Gratitude
While you are still in Thanksgiving mode, you might also enjoy my article on gratitude: 101 Rays of Gratitude. Creating a list of 101 gratitudes is an incredible exercise that I recommend to you. It will definitely strengthen your gratitude muscle.
I also want to take a moment to tell you how enormously grateful I am to all of you.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, leave comments, tweet and share my posts, and support me in so many other ways. Your interest, kindness, and insights bring a sense of richness to me each and everyday. Thank you with all my heart.
This Thanksgiving, I wish you true abundance and prosperity. May you always be well, happy, and safe.
Any thoughts to share on true abundance? What are your plans for a saner holiday season?
Thank you for reading. If you liked this article, please share the link with others. Thanks so much! Sandra