Over the past few years, I, like a lot of people, have been trying to escape excessive consumerism and have been going through a “stuff journey.” In this process, I have culled a lot of stuff I owned and extremely reduced my purchases as well.
What does this have to do with enchantment, you ask? Well, I realized something strange about myself that I would never have learned if I hadn’t severely cut down on shopping. Shopping makes me happy. Just a little bit. I get that “zing” that I suppose is my brain receiving a dopamine boost. Maybe it’s the very primitive part of me feeling the rewards of “the hunt.” I think our brains need that feeling, don’t you? In some shape or form? The act of searching, comparing, and deciding on a product is something that moves me forward and gives me drive. To me, that psychological aspect of consuming and its affect on the awards center of the brain is something that minimalism as a movement often doesn’t fully acknowledge.
I am not sure that I have the perfect answer to this. I know that I don’t like spending lots of money. Nor do I like unnecessary clutter. Nor do I like focusing on consumerism as a lifestyle and the negative consequences it can have.
My current happy medium is what I have recently called “little treasures.” I try to buy a little something every week. I got the idea from a relative who used to give little gifts, such as lip gloss and the like, that she called “happys.”
For me, my weekly “little treasure” is a thoughtful something. Often, it’s a needed something. I try to make it a responsible something, too. For instance, one week I purchased my favorite aromatherapeutic, eco-friendly cleaning product. Another week, I purchased some locally-made soap. Another week, I purchased a fair trade bracelet. Another week, a little holiday garland. Another week, a favorite childhood film. Another week, a t-shirt from my favorite second-hand store. All of my purchases are things that are very inexpensive (between $5 and $15) but that I know I will get good use out of. I allow myself to contemplate one week what I will purchase the next. It’s a little something fun to look forward to.
I’m only a couple of months into my “little treasures” project, so I will have to let you know how it goes when I have practiced it longer. So far, though, it seems to strike a good balance for me. It makes me grateful for the very simplest of things in my life. It also takes my focus away from those bigger, more expensive items, which I now take much more time to contemplate and research before purchasing to make sure they are truly wanted and needed. While I may pay a little extra for the aromatherapeutic cleaning product or a local soap, I end up spending less money in the long-run because every purchase is thoughtful and I use the products very carefully.
The link between minimalism and enchantment is something I will be exploring more in future posts. Please let me know if there is an aspect of this you would like me to address. Do you love minimalism? Hate it? Let me know.
December 9, 2016 at 2:12 am
I tend to view it like this – Shopping can be part of one’s spiritual path. It’s not like God closes his or her eyes the moment we enter a store! And if there are still people there, and not just machines for checkout, then the social interaction can be rewarding if we don’t view those people as objects or automatons. But if I purchase something that I don’t need, it brings no joy. So like you, I am somewhat minimalist. I like to recycle old tech stuff too. A hobby or sorts… 🙂
December 9, 2016 at 10:24 am
That is a beautiful way to look at it (and something I wouldn’t think of since I am pretty introverted.) But you are absolutely right; when we are open to opportunities, they will present themselves.
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December 9, 2016 at 10:27 am
I’m introverted and contemplative by nature too. But I come out in public and during family get togethers! Like Cinderella (male version). 🙂
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December 9, 2016 at 10:28 am