In this series of postings, we’ve been coloring the landscape of self-kindness and examining healthier alternatives to shopping. The catalyst for this is the current economic downturn I refer to in the title and the way its dramatic ratcheting up of financial pressure is forcing overshoppers to, well, take stock of their habit. When they look beneath the surface, at what the appeal of shopping is really about for them, they find unmet personal needs.
Finding creative ways to meet those needs is what self-kindness is all about. Invent or pursue positive activities that satisfy your needs, and the pull of addictive habit drops sharply. But just what are such activities? Thus far, we’ve looked at examples for four categories of needs: Action, Spontaneity, Relaxation, and, in part, Sensual Joy. Today, we finish looking at the Sensual Joy, with examples for Sight and Hearing. As always, try anything from the list that appeals to you, and create half a dozen other examples for yourself. Then, when the urge strikes, choose one of these happier alternatives instead.
Sight-Color, Pattern, and Beauty: Do you love color? Do you buy too many beautiful things or spend more than you can afford on things so exquisite they take your breath away? If you deeply appreciate well-made, high-quality objects, stopping overshopping doesn’t have to mean depriving yourself. Congratulate yourself on your capacity for aesthetic appreciation-and now, how might you discover or experience visual delight without buying?
• Paint-watercolors, oils, or bathroom walls-for yourself or maybe for someone you love.
• Take digital photos of objects you admire and share them.
• Look at art forms, in a museum or a book or outdoors.
• Visit beautiful places; take house and garden tours.
• Behold nature, whether tree or forest, flower or bouquet.
• Take a course at a local botanical garden.
Hearing-Sound and Music: Do you groove on the music piped into your favorite stores? Do you love eavesdropping on other shoppers at the mall? Do you love the noise of the city street when you’re out window-shopping? What other sounds could fill your ears and lift your soul?
• Sit outside in springtime and listen to the birds.
• Listen to a free public lecture.
• Volunteer to usher for a benefit performance.
• Sip something at an outdoor café and listen to the street sounds.
• Sing a song from your childhood.
• Play, really play, a musical instrument.
• Go to a pond at night and listen to the frogs and crickets.
We’ll finish personalizing the landscape of self-kindness with the next two postings, the first on Emotion and Intellect, the second on Discovery and Spirit.