Weekly Challenge – Winter Panic Buying
Winter moods and conversions are around us all the time at the moment, the discussions of shorter days, darker nights, colder evenings seem to be regular and often repeated at this time of year. Those short daylight hours, thoughts of festive get-togethers, the push for purchasing the must-have gifts and the indulgence of those Black Friday internet deals or cyber Monday bargains are everywhere.
The trips to the tips, the dash to the shops, the housekeeping tasks, the need to arrange everything, perfectly, for the coming weeks and months. We seem to go into a state of organising and consuming, or at least that is what I have observed and certainly guilty of at times.
It feels like we want to bed-in for the winter but we are complicating things. Our need to get the latest deal online or the newest gadget on our gift list overtakes us. Searching for a gift that can improve or add to our lives or maybe something to fix an aspect of ourselves or our lives that we do not take so kindly to.
It’s interesting that a lot of these shopping events coincide and often were ‘created’ in-line with key celebrations within countries, communities and religions. I sometimes wonder if we would naturally, at our very core, rush out to buy a household utensil post-thanksgiving or purchase the number of gifts we do prior to Christmas.
Themes of thanks and festive celebrations evolve, I believe, from our shared experiences. They are a nod of gratitude to our family, friends, seized opportunities, epic failures, loss, births, lessons, learning, time spent together. The intention around our celebrations and get-togethers have compassionate values at their source.
So, maybe, participating in the Black Friday selling, the cyber Monday promoting is a little like jumping into the content of our undercurrent.
It’s great to give and receive gifts and certainly, there are basic everyday essentials and the occasional treat that we all like. However, observing the masses of advertising and people frantically moving around our cities, towns and shops it occurred to me that it is a bit like observing my undercurrent.
On the Mindfulness Association’s Level 1 Being Present course, the Observer and Undercurrent are covered in weekend 4.
“When we train in mindfulness it is the observer that we train. We have learnt about settling the mind, so in that context what we really mean is settling the observer – training it not to jump into the undercurrent every time a thought appears.”
As I observe the shoppers, the adverts and the products, I recognise that I can’t change any of them but I can choose how I shop or how many gifts I buy. The undercurrent and observer model works very well in the midst of Black Friday offers.
Do we really need these spending sprees, dashing round the shops, car park road rage, driving outbursts, I think not. We can appreciate our celebrations and downtime without the need for consuming. My recollections of get-togethers and celebrations are of people, listening and participating together – these times did not require a black Friday trip to the shops.
So, maybe when you are about to buy auntie that extra scented candle, your friend that bottle of wine and your niece the hair kit – pause and consider the necessity of your purchase. They might value your company, a walk under the afternoon winter sky, a game, some festive banter, some music, a chat or someone to ask after them and listen.
Gifts and gestures can be found in many places and delivered in many ways other than Black Friday deals!
This Week’s Challenge
This week when I observe myself starting to get sucked into offers and deals that apparently we all need at this time of year I will hold back. I will find other ways and sources of gifts and giving. I am sure there are many.
I invite you to do the same.
Until next time