One thing about war: you really figure out what matters. I follow “The Accidental Missionary,” for its self-effacing humor and wisdom. This year, the family of four embarked on a mission to not purchase anything new for year. Yes, there are exceptions, such as new shoes for the kids, groceries, staples, and car repairs. But they’re getting away from the accumulation of “stuff.”
Our culture in the US is one where prosperity is measured in what you own, and most people go through periods of accumulating stuff. Sometimes it starts when one moves to their first apartment, along the way picking up a car, continues to buying the first house, and grows exponentially with the arrival of kids. While stuff can make us more comfortable, an excess of it can complicate our lives. I’ve made it a habit to regularly go through the house and take things over to The Goodwill. But still, there’s always that lone closet or garage space I dread opening, knowing that getting rid of the stuff in there will be a logistical nightmare. I imagine it will involve cranes, movers, perhaps a call down to Camp Pendleton for the Marines.
But accumulating less is about more than just uncomplicating our lives. The Accidental Missionary writes it’s about avoiding a “A short-term fix with a long term penalty. Perpetuating the lie that “you are what you own.” And they admit, they’re not going to be perfect. I’m sure there will be some things they buy. But from my point of view, being mindful about what you purchase is important over the long run.
The yoga world isn’t without its temptations to mistake” being” from “getting.” Purchasing that new mat might be a necessity, but it’s just the vehicle for us to do the work to find inner peace. On days when a glossy photo slides across our screen of our favorite yogi striking a pose at the beach, it’s so tempting to mistake inner peace with spiffy clothes, a yoga retreat we can’t really afford, or a new app that we’ll rarely use. It’s all “stuff.” The hard work is taking the peace we’ve gotten from going inward, and putting it toward our relationships with others. Often it’s so hard that a lot of time it’s easier to shop and buy someone something nice, rather than just say, “I love/like/notice you, but you drive me crazy. Can we work on that?”
So, if you have the mat, the clothes, the blocks and props, if your household is set with more stuff than you use –Are you ready to take the challenge and not purchase anything more for the next year?