A couple weeks ago, I started moving furniture around. It’s one of the things I do when I’m restless for new energy (see also: shopping, baking, napping, cocktailing and, when I’m at my tip-top, meditating, sun saluting or plank posing.) I repurpose entire rooms, enlist the brute strength of my annoyed husband and compulsively move things around until the energy feels right. I recognize this may be one of my gut-check behaviors to stuff down something deeper that would be better served by my own stillness, but a girl can only change one major habit at a time, mmkay?
Interestingly, it turns out the act of rearranging a room thrusts me into acquisition mode, if not immediately, then days down the road. (Snap! I really thought I was getting away with something.) And so today, a week after a weekend rearranging spree I was literally holding my hand strong on the steering wheel to keep from turning right into Target, turning left into Marshall’s, right into Anna’s Linens because I have decided, unequivocally, that I need a new duvet cover or quilt for the guest bed. And apparently I am still drawn to the discount stores because, if I find something of great quality at a great price, then it must be ordained in heaven that I acquire it. Same goes for the sale section on Nordstrom-and-Pottery-Barn-esque websites.
Sidebar: As I write, I’m a little bit sickened at my very struggle with this issue. There’s no way this dilemma enters into the minds of those in poverty, and maybe not even of those who live in other countries. This inner link I’m feeling between my own enoughness and my material possessions/how I look on the outside strikes me as a uniquely American, middle-to-upper-class problem. In the spirit of being gentle with myself, I must remind myself it’s helpful to be examining this rather than ignoring it. If you’re right there along with me in this project, please be gentle with yourselves as well. It does no good to get harsh.
Though the jonesing was fierce, I kept it at bay and continued on my route, feeling much relief when I was in the clear. As the skinnies of the world say, it’s advisable to wait 15 minutes before indulging in the treat of your dreams just to make sure you really want it, and all the calories that come with it. I had better luck thinking about the duvet cover for 15 minutes than I often do when it comes to, say, a homemade M&M cookie from my freezer, but the principle worked. Also, I told myself, “If you still want this in July, you can have it.”
A friend asked me yesterday if I had a list of things I was going to rush out and buy as soon as my Enoughness Project is over. My smug answer was no. Sometimes I jot notes in my mind, but I have no real, lasting list. (well, ok, I just remembered I do have some organization-related things I think we need at Ikea, but any time my mind turns to the organizey place, I redirect it because organizey Emily–see a post about her here, if you dare–always leads to stuff-buying Emily and there’s no room for those exacting gals in the Enoughness Project.)
Related to one reader’s astute comment on a previous post, my intention is that this is a journey in change, not an exercise in self-control. For those of us who’ve caved on an M&M cookie in our day, we know self-control alone has its limits. Me? I’m banking on the belief that self-control charged with intention will develop new habits that are more in line with the person I want to be.
What I’m noticing in this moratorium on shopping is that the burning need for X, Y or Z item one day is off my radar the next day. Or, better yet, in some cases, I have a brainstorm about how to repurpose something I already have to sate my present whim. It’s causing some white knuckles, but it seems to be upping my resourcefulness. Which must be worth something. Baby steps.
Note: This post is part of a series about my experiences in uncovering my own innate enough-ness. For three months, I am abstaining from frivolous material purchases, accepting all blessings that come my way and focusing on gratitude for all that I have. The idea came to me in a meditation-induced haze and it has nothing to do with politics or morality. I’m just a girl who’s hoping to: separate the association between looking good and being good; get comfy with receiving; become a glowingly grateful human being; get acquainted with my own motives for material consumption; grow my understanding of when/why I buy things; and establish new habits that are more aligned with my values. We’ll see how this goes…