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Holiday Shopping and Beyond
by Stephanie Davis
The holidays are upon and a new year is presenting itself to us all, bringing with it the opportunity to start a new practice. This practice involves being conscious in everything we do. More specifically, how and where we spend our money. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you an epiphany I once had in a past holiday season and present some new ideas for future holidays.
Over the years I have become more and more aware of the ‘reason for the season’, and in the eyes of the corporations and big box stores, it has nothing to do with Jesus. My epiphany came to me in the form of what I’ll call capitalistic schizophrenia. A couple of years back I was in a big box store even though I’d already decided I did not want to shop there anymore. A relative specifically requested a gift card from that particular store. It was Christmastime and the lines were extra, extra long. As I was standing in line, trying to zone off into my happy place, I was continually brought back to this reality with the constant beep of the scanners at the registers. Beep. Beep Beep, BeepBeepBeep. Beep. That is all I could hear. The chatter among the customers, the loud speaker occasionally going off, crying babies; none of those things were audible anymore, just those annoying beeps. I just wanted to get out of there. I grabbed that card and checked out as soon as I could, never to return to that store again.
During my moment of insanity, I also had a moment of clarity. One door closes, only for another to open. The realization that how we live our lives based on shopping and monetary consumption, especially at the holidays, is a game. We are so consumed with feeling like we have to spend, spend, spend, and go into more debt shopping for all these things, that we lose focus on what is really important. Once I dared walk into one of those stores with my eyes and mind open, particularly around the busy ‘shopping seasons’, I tended to see the worst in people. People’s eyes are glazed, they fight one another for that last doll, they steal, they act nasty to the cashiers because they are in a hurry to get to the next store, etc…
When Christmas Day came that year, I was absolutely nauseas when I saw how much stuff was being opened (and don’t get me started on the wrapping paper that was wasted). It wasn’t just that morning, it was an all day process! There were even duplicate things opened. I was disgusted. That feeling had never come over me before. Now I don’t know if this happens in anyone else’s family and we are by no means rich (remember when I talk about going into debt for Christmas?) but this was unacceptable to me.
I know that this story sounds fairly negative but there’s no need to fret, I have solutions! Even though I felt I had to purchase that gift card at that moment during my frustrating experience at the big box store, I had already made everyone else gifts. I made everyone something that year, and it felt great. It was wonderful to put my loving energy into individual gifts and see the surprise on their faces and feel that unconditional love returned. Nothing can compare to that, (especially not giving someone you love some cheap plastic crap, on its way to a floating continent of garbage in the Ocean).
One of my goals this year is to not accept any gifts with barcodes. We receive so many gifts and it’s not that I’m ungrateful for all the thoughts that go into the purchasing of those gifts, I’d just like people to be a little more conscious about what they are buying and where that money is going. Let’s face it, people aren’t going to stop shopping overnight, and not everyone is going to sit down and craft a gift (but it would be nice). Try shopping at second hand stores, antique shops, and consignment stores. This would help in a lot of ways; you’re re-using, you’re helping someone else out by buying their stuff (or barter), and you’re giving a pretty unique gift that isn’t mass produced and lacking thought.
So I hope this little story was entertaining and inspiring to some degree. We don’t have to wait until Christmas to enact these new practices of conscious shopping. There are all sorts of gifting circumstances that arise throughout the year; weddings, birthdays, and Valentine’s Day are all coming up. So why not put some real thought into a gift and work some crafts! Or go ahead and take a gander in that little shop on the corner. They may just have something that will wow you!
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About the Author
Stephanie Davis: After receiving a standard American education and graduating with a degree in Psychology, I felt as if I was just going through the motions in life. I have spent the last five or six years exploring and searching for what I really feel is important for me to do. I moved back to the town I was born and opened my heart and mind up to all things possible. I started educating myself in literally all things healing. With my body, I have eliminated any desire for dead food through veganism and raw foods. This in turn, has cleared my mind to be open to a newfound spiritual journey - one that I have always been on - I just took a couple of detours.
I never ask anyone to 'convert' to this lifestyle, and I do not profess that this is 'The Way.' All I ever want people to do is just Be conscious, Be present, Be aware and Be awake. Know what is going into and on your bodies. Make choices based on the knowledge that is all around you - you just have to open your eyes. I am here to educate and be as loud as necessary. Too much information has been diverted from us to be able to make conscious decisions. We are human, and we have the right to know what we are consuming to be able to make those choices.
With all that being said I feel very well-rounded, and I aim to live as simply as I can on a continuous path of learning all that life will show me. When you discover how everything is connected and to not close yourself off to anything, you can do anything! The doors will open, they are just waiting for you to walk through them.
I am currently working on several certifications to further my mind, body and soul journey. I reside in the Coastal Carolina region of the U.S., however I am working on completing the Educator Program at the Living Foods Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. This will give me the training to run a living foods kitchen and educate others using emotional therapies and living foods to heal the body from within. I am also completing a Balancepoint Training program in Pilates where I can incorporate my obsession/passion for the Hula Hoop. This beautiful meditation tool can transform your life. It changed mine by giving me so much joy and stress relief as well as adding some great exercise and body awareness into my life.