I am feeling very overwhelmed today. I need to respond to emails pertaining to work, friends, and upcoming holiday gatherings, but my inbox is inundated with Cyber Monday emails – it feels like an invasion. How is it that just four days ago we were pausing to give thanks for all that we have and now suddenly we don’t have enough? Black Friday was a non-issue for me, I was exhausted from two days of cooking and over indulging on Thanksgiving. I was not venturing anywhere, other than out for a walk around my neighborhood. I can’t seen to escape Cyber Monday, though. I am not totally opposed to having major sales right before the holidays. Gift-giving and receiving can be a lot of fun. I am, however, opposed to the idea that we need more stuff. I am going to be totally honest, I don’t remember even half of the stuff I have been given. Sure, I’ve been given some great things that I will probably always remember, but what I really remember is the time I have spent with people I love and the things we have done together.
I think what is perhaps at the heart of my discontent with Cyber Monday is the fact that I like to shop, I like new things, and I like to give gifts. I have been working very hard to cultivate a sense of gratitude for all that I have. All of my basic needs are met. I am surrounded by people who love me and support me and whom I love and support. I have most of what I want. My life is not lacking. I am incredibly fortunate to have all that I do have, and in such abundance. And yet, the consumer in me wants to check out every sale, which leads to wanting to buy stuff because suddenly something I didn’t know existed and was living perfectly well without must become mine. How is my life suddenly lacking in a way it wasn’t 30 seconds ago because I now know about that great dress or kitchen gadget or handbag? It’s not. And neither is yours.
So, while I have put several items in my online shopping carts, I have not purchased anything. Every time I feel myself giving in I pause and ask myself, “How is this going to improve my quality of life?” Or I ask, “How is this going to improve the quality of whomever’s life I want to buy this for?” This little exercise has made me even more grateful for all that I have, because not only are all of my needs met, but all of the people I love are doing pretty well in the sense that all of their basic needs are also being met. A thing is not going to make my life or any of my loved one’s lives better. If that isn’t abundance in a world, and country, where so many are lacking I don’t know what is. It is time for me to pause and be grateful again so I do not succumb to the pull of Cyber Monday.