What My World's Like

Consider this…

Nov
26

Buy Nothing ChristmasI sought to participate in the US Buy Nothing Day, but didn’t quite succeed.  I did successfully participate in the UK’s Buy Nothing Day, which didn’t negatively impact either economy, since I don’t live in the UK…but nonetheless, I did it.  (Okay, what did you do?)

The next step is the Buy Nothing Christmas, which I’m happy to be a part of again.  Last year, I didn’t buy anything for Christmas either.  It was amazing.  I actually had fun.

A friend of mine asked me about my Buy Nothing Christmas and wanted me to share my thoughts about Christmas, consumerism, etc.  This was my reply:

Okay…Christmas. 🙂

Two years ago, I was working with no pay for three months. On December 1st, I started working for $200/week. Right before Christmas I got a check for $2,000. Now I knew that I only made $200/wk and that that’d probably be my pay for a while. So I had more money than I’d ever had that I didn’t have to spend right away or allocate for a specific fund (e.g. rent when you get your refund check). I was trying to keep as much of my money as possible, and was stressed about Christmas. I felt OBLIGATED. Ever since I was a kid, I bought Christmas gifts–even if that meant shopping at Walgreens.

It occurred to me that Christmas that my satisfaction with the season was wrapped up in how perfect a gift I could give and how perfect a gift I would receive. It wasn’t about love or peace or family. It was about buying…mine or someone else’s.

Because I was trying to save a lot of money, though, I got extremely clever about my gifts. I remembered a birthday gift I gave one of my friends. First, I gave him this card with something I wrote in the inside and later in the day gave him this book called The Prophet.

He almost cried after he read the card. The next day, he told me that he got a PSP for his birthday and loves video games, but mine was the best gift. I had an epiphany: God’s gifts to you are your gifts to the world.

Last year, I didn’t buy anything for Christmas and when I went home to be with my family, it was GREAT! because it wasn’t about gifts. It wasn’t about THINGS. It was about us.

A few days ago, I was talking to my 12 year-old cousin and told her I wasn’t buying anything. She responded with, “Well then, what are you going to give?” I said, “My love. You don’t want my love?”

I know my cousin adores me, so yes, she wants my love, but she also wants a tangible gift. As for others, some do, some don’t. No matter how they feel about you or vice versa, a little gift never hurt, right?

Wrong.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been awakening to some hard truths. Hard only because of the ways we’re attached to living our lives. So many external things are used to help us make up our identities: what we have and want to have, what we own, how much we own, and how much we CAN own. And it’s all B.S. It doesn’t serve us…it serves the people that are ruining our lives by telling us that we need these things in order to be x, y, and z. Can’t be fulfilled and happy without a 3,000 square foot home, 2 cars, diamonds, and hi-tech gadgets used to surveil you.

All of this stuff is ruining our lives, not enhancing them like we’re led to believe. Our interests aren’t being served, financial or otherwise, but the financial interests of these manipulative corporations are.

So who’s going to hold my power? Am I going to keep it or give it away to corporations that don’t give a hoot about me, except for the money I have (or don’t have) to give them?

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Why? Because as soon as the poor get money, they give it to the rich to get something they didn’t need to validate themselves. Please be mindful of the fact that I use the term poor very loosely; I’m not referring to a specific socioeconomic group. During the Paris Hilton-Lindsay Lohan spats, one of Paris’ friends said, “I think she’s worth about seven million (dollars), which means that she’s really poor.” Aristocrats versus the proletariats–it’s a different kind of math; that’s what I’m talking about.

You aren’t what you own or what you buy or spend. Thinking so is a complete nonsensical myth that consumer societies have bought into. People are so stupid. Buy, buy, buy…give all you got to get more than you can handle.

How do you avoid it? Realize that the way that Christmas is celebrated is a con that you can choose not to fall for.

If someone gets upset because you didn’t get them a gift, either they don’t really care about you or their ideas about what equates to love are distorted. Distortion is a state favored by big business. Those people don’t ever want you to be happy–truly happy–because if you were, you wouldn’t buy the way you do.

It’s actually quite interesting to not celebrate Christmas that way while watching the stress levels of everyone else. You realize how CRAZY it all is and looks. It’s stupid. Point blank. A comedy of the absurd.

Right now, I urge you think about how you spend your money and WHY you spend your money.  Quit living a passive, uberconsumeristic lifestyle.  Products will not make you happy.  Pills will not cure you.  The answer is not outside of you.  Quiet all the voices outside of you to find the truth…it’s quiet and still.  Meditate.  Steward.  Consider.  Reuse.  Care.

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