Sunday, January 20, 2008

Thoughts from My Week

{We awoke to a thermometer reading of 2.3 degrees this morning! But the sun it shining brightly and the sky is a clear blue. That makes a big difference :-) }

I'm not trying to make this journey towards simplicity about deprivation. It is also not my intent to make others feel bad in the process. Heaven knows the mainstream media does more than enough of that for us already.

Instead, I'm seeking to assess my true values and priorities at this time in my life - and then align my spending/consuming habits with those. My starting point, family situation, and choices will be different that each of yours. That's okay. We can only decide what is right for ourselves.

So often we tend to adopt patterns of behavior over the years, not realizing when they no longer serve us. This is a process of living with eyes wide open; a deeper awareness of our wants, needs, desires and their implications, ramifications, consequences.

Much of this quest has to do with our emotions. Much of my spending, including donating to worthy causes(!), comes from attempting to meet an unmet need. So for the year ahead I'll be doing a lot of homework on looking at things from a feeling perspective. Be assured there will be future blog posts on this topic.

But, enough about that...

On Friday I made a trip down to our local Basically British store. It's a lovely shop run by a delightful British gent and his American wife. My purpose for that particular destination was to pick up a package of these. (I could not foresee going through this frigid winter weekend without them!)

Another great thing about this store is that you can sample a cup of tea while you're there - for free. It's a nice chance to rest, chat, enjoy the surroundings, and savor an afternoon treat.

This time she had a new chai tea on the counter that caught my eye. I opened the can and, with one deep inhalation, instantly knew it was a winner. Ever in search of the perfect cup of chai tea, I sensed I had found *the one*. With a bit of milk and two lumps of sugar, I was not disappointed. I grabbed a can, paid for the tea and biscuits, and left the store one happy woman.

I love this tea so much that I want to share its spicy, warm goodness with you. Send me a comment about what's warming your heart and body this weekend and I'll send you a sample in the mail :-)

So, you see, it's not about deprivation. I didn't NEED either of these items. (Which means that, according to Levine's book I wouldn't have bought them.) But I have chosen to forgo purchasing other things - assessing what I spend each and every day - so I am free to allow room for treats like this that nurture my body and soul.

I think I'll venture into the kitchen right now and heat some water on the stove. The temperature is up to 12.4...and that's perfect tea weather!

There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims


firewings said...

Gosh I'm always on the lookout for the perfect chai! (Ha, I tend to blog about that too.)

It's hard to reflect on good right now with some of the things I have running through my mind...although I have to say I'm oh so glad that I do have people that will be willing to stay with me and hold my hand, continue to text me encouraging messages, and try to call me to support me even if I'm too frazzled to pick up.

I do need to focus on these things, but it gets so bogged down sometimes. Sometimes it's just the chatter of worry in your own mind. Let me share this will you:

Westcoast Walker said...

Hi There - found your blog through JMGB at Lulliloo who posted a link to you on her blog .

I admire your little experiment. For me, having kids has caused me to reevaluate the want vs need paradigm in my own life. Also, I am motivated to examine how my own consumer habits send different signals to my kids around what values shape our lives. I am starting small, and for example, I am choosing not to shop at Wal Mart due to the destructive business practices that it engages in.

You are asking questions and examining your motives which is a sane and reasonable way to start making changes. This simple act of having an internal dialogue each time you pursue a purchase is a radical notion in and of itself, as the consumer driven culture we live doesn't lend itself to critical self-reflection. Re-examining the validity of long standing, though rarely question patterns is a healthy endeavor.

Just look at the current concerns about the economy in the U.S. and throughout the world - there is this destructive notion that if people simply just get more money via tax cuts they will spend more and thus keep the wealth flowing for all. Though true in purely economic sense, there is a disconnection from the far reaching consequences of this framework and the over all cost that over consumption has on our personal lives and on the planet.

Its quite the balancing act - being part of this culture but not wanting to be totally sold on all of its unquestioned constructs. You are off to a good start and I look forward to reading more about your journey!

Who knows, perhaps the want vs. need discussion will be one of the most important discussions throughout this young century.

GailNHB said...

We awoke to 17 degrees this morning. Wow! Quite cold for those of us here in the South.

What's warming me today? My freshly washed purple robe. Slippers. A few cuddles with Steve. Plum harvest and yerba mate tea. Thoughts of you.

Listen, you don't need to send me a sample of your tea. Instead, tell me where you bought the stationery (with the Paris images) and the envelopes you sent me. NOT that I'm going to buy them, but I am going to drool over them for a while. I really liked the side opening envelope. And your beautiful handwriting on it made it look even better. Kristiana too commented on your lettering...

Yes, there are new ways to think through this consuming and not buying it thing. Decided not to get new eyeglasses today. I'd lost a pair in early December but have an old pair I can use. Steve wanted me to get new ones; I decided to live with the ones I have. Saved over $300! Now where else can I cut back, choose not to buy? Live more consciously and intentionally?

Lisa said...

Fabulous, Gail! Congratulations! I'd say you're ahead of me on the total savings so far for this year :-)

The note cards were purchased at Half Price Books. But it's been a year or so. They have a great selection of cards at really reduced prices. Glad you liked it!

Missing you,

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