Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Brave and Beautiful "No"

I tell myself I live frugally.  At times meagerly.  Truthfully, my income is less than many of my peers but I con myself into thinking, often thinking, I am deserving of more.
And in this entitled state I buy what I need or want.  Granted, I buy the cheaper version of whatever it is, be it a generic, on clearance, previously owned, etc.  Never-the-less I consume and create a large cache.

I've become aware of this trend.  It's a stealthy mindset, being deserving, craving more.   I spot it in my heart on occasion, seeing it like spotting something in my preferential vision.

But I have a trick to spotting it full on, to freeze, and to examine it empirically.

How?
I have started strategically, in the bathroom, where so  many of my days wind up and down.

Here, in the bathroom, I take stock of things.  Not in a compulsive sort of way, but as a way to push back on my voice when it says, "I need," because this voice can be true, and it can be false.

"I need face wash," it might say.

"Oh really?  Let's go see."

And this is what I found.  (Three other bottles didn't make it into the frame).


Clearly my "need" vanished facing this.

"I need nail polish" it might say.

"Do you need that?  Let's take a look."

And then I look at my inventory of goods.
"Nope.  You  have 20 bottles of nail polish.  You don't need more."

This line of inquiry and resistance is productive and real.
It also gets to the very real question of "why."  Why do I say I need when I clearly don't?
What is consuming and commercialism hiding?

More often than not, my need masks a desire to change without working; instead I varnish the surface and neglect the core of who I am, which is ultimately cowardice.

And bit by bit I know what I have and don't and enact voluntary embargoes with myself.  Like no buying new face wash for 30 days.  I'm 1.5 months into this one and still quite well stocked.

So I spy on myself, catch the thoughts with sidelong glances, test my motives, and finally, say a brave and beautiful no.
Saying no can nourish.

“Most of the time nowadays we human beings are referred to as consumers. What does the consumer think? What does the consumer want? How ugly. Forest fires consume. Cancer consumes. I want us to be nourishers.” ~Madeline L'Engle