What a bizarre world we live in that some people got up at 4 am on November 26—not to meditate, not to practice yoga, not to write in their dream journal—but to get in line to shop for “Black Friday.”
I decided nearly 40 years ago to abandon the custom of gift giving at Christmas. I used to make a practice of staying away from stores like Walmart from Thanksgiving to well past Christmas. When I became seriously interested in yoga, about 25 years ago, I learned that part of the practice includes observing ethical precepts, and one of those is aparigraha, or non-grasping, non-hoarding, essentially non-greed.
Of course, other spiritual traditions also emphasize the value of simple living, and value spiritual practices and traditions over possessions. In the Christian faith, we can look for example at the Quakers and Mennonites. Believe it or not, the expression “Enough is as good as a feast,” in The Fruits of Solitude by Quaker William Penn (1682), goes back to 14th Century England. I love this expression, because it suggests that we can be satisfied with enough—if we know what that is.
The trouble is, we not only don’t know what enough is, we don’t feel like we ARE enough—that we are good enough, and we do enough, that we give enough. Along with this comes the notion that there is not enough time—but of course each day still has 24 hours and that hasn’t changed.
So don’t we have enough stuff already? I’m betting the many of the readers of Harrsionburg Times are equally dismayed by the emphasis on consumer culture at the winter holiday season.. Here are some ideas of ways to share some of yourself with family and friends without shopping:
- Put a favorite recipe on a card, and on the back include a favorite grace or meal prayer/chant
- “Shop in the house”: look for something that has had meaning and value for you but that you are done with, and give it to someone with a note explaining the value to you and why you think it’s the right gift for this person.
- Record a story from another family member or neighbor/friend. See http://nationaldayoflistening.org/ for resources on how to do this.
- Give the gift of time: eg. For a child, a weekend of camping with just the two of you, or for an elderly neighbor or relative, a few hours of cleaning up the yard, etc.
- Create a Thanksgiving Book or Christmas/Hannukah Book: Each family member writes on one page 10 things from the previous year they are grateful for, and on a facing page, 10 things they look forward to in the next year. (This is not about goals or resolutions, please). Each page is then signed and dated. After all have written, the book is put away and not looked at again until the next year!
- If you “must” spend money, consider a gift certificate for a service like a massage, shiatsu session, haircut, etc.
- At the end of each day, make it a point to review the activities, events, and sense experiences of the day, making a point to look for the “enoughness” in your life.
For more ideas and resources, visit:
- Power of enough teleclass series (no charge) : http://globalsufficiency.org/poe
- Currency of Connection: http://www.currencyofconnection.com/
- Listen to this children’s (and adult) song, Enough is a Feast: (Free Download in November):
This post was submitted by Diana Woodall.