Monday, December 28, 2009


My son picked out 2 new toys to give our dogs this Christmas. I pondered and cogitated around this- I mean, they already have plenty of toys, would they even notice 2 more? Can we justify this in our wasteful consumer-driven society... and in a recession no less?

Dog is interested only in the chicken-jerky Santa put in her stocking, but UnderDog has carried at least one of his new toys with him everywhere since Christmas Day. I guess we all like new toys.

As my son says "Christmas has 3 parts- giving, receiving and loving." He's so smart.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Here's why I try to avoid shopping... It changes how I see the world. On-line or at the mall, it doesn't matter. I spent hours flipping between websites to find snowpants in my son's size this week. (when I should have been working on my sermon) After much agonizing I finally came to a decision, but still couldn't stop obsessing- wasn't that shipping charge a little high? What if I had gone to.... Later that night I went into a department store for gloves to replace the ones my son outgrew, and came out 40 minutes later with my arms full. Including another pair of snowpants "just in case." I had a 15% off coupon, what could I do? Now the funny thing is while I was shopping I felt like I was being very moderate and wise. As soon as I got home, though, I knew the truth. I did not "need" another sweater in the same color as that other sweater I never wear, and these snowpants are not the right shape for my son- that's why I had to order them online. So the next day I headed back and returned most of it. Hours later a 30% off coupon came in the mail, and a notice that shipping is now free at the website where I had ordered the snowpants just the day before.

It's like some kind of hunter-gatherer instinct is turned on and I can't flip it off. I was in yoga this morning and the woman next to me had on this great green top. "Green" I thought "Why don't I have anything in that shade of green?" Some part of me now thinks I have some kind of green shopping emergency. I mean, it's a miracle I made it through the winter last year without a sweater in that particularly awesome shade of green, am I right? Sigh. The other part of me, the grown-up part that goes to rallys to protest dangers to our environment and practices meditation and yoga seems to have been shoved out of the way in a violent dash for "free shipping on all hand-made sustainably-harvested wooden toys" sale.

If ever we needed a reminder of the wisdom of the Buddhas 2nd noble truth-- that craving, wanting, thirsting causes suffering-- this is it. The marketing folks in our culture seem to have direct access to the "on button" of my craving for stuff. (I mean, I'm all done shopping, but %30 off is a really good coupon!) The more I shop, the more I want. The more I feel incomplete and am my mind is filled with this nonsense.

I still have to brave the craft store and the artist's co-op before I'm done my holiday shopping. We will see if I can complete my mission without discovering 20 new things I MUST have immediately. I can't wait until yoga class helps me remember to think about my toes and not whether I have enough "smartwool" socks to get through the winter. I will be so relieved to be past the holiday shopping madness -- to somehow restore my inner balance and remember that we already have everything we need to live a full and satisfying life.