We’re getting closer to increasing our shopping habits, nearing holiday expressions that we Americans feel an increasing need to shop.
But that’s not all of what this piece is about.
America has a shopping addiction.
Shopping has become an escape from life. Some of us have daily packages delivered to our homes attempting to fill a void with the arrival of something “just for us” waiting “just for us” at the doorstep upon returning home from work or play.
Like a drug, alcohol, or any addiction, when we don’t get our fix, we get angry and aggressive. Seeking to fulfill the need by any means possible.
Sometimes it can be by stealing or manipulating, sometimes by overspending that appears normal as pie —simply by overstocking the pantry.
World renown astrophysicist Stephen Hawking had said aggression would be the downfall of civilization. Though he also stated empathy could course-correct it.
We can draw a connection between his statement and our current state of confrontational acts here in America.
Sales are up, not necessarily because people have more money to spend but because they have more trauma to bury.
The last decade, more specifically the past five years has pitted family against family, party against party, even wellbeing against ill intended lies created to misinform the general public.
A crescendo that all of us now face on a daily basis wether we are part of it or witness to it. Daily accounts show people in retail stores fighting over items — even fighting over protocols developed to keep them safe.
The bottom line is that we are numbing ourselves through buying product.
How much do we need? Or rather, what need is being filled?
Days long lines of cargo ships wait offshore to restock our stores.
There are people in lines in those stores to checkout with hundreds of dollars of merchandise they don’t really need or perhaps they plan to return in order to fill a fix that’s unconsciously asking them to fill. Complete the transaction.
Of course it will never be enough and like any addiction we must query —when will we reach rock bottom? May it not be at the cost of our family units, personal freedom or worse at the cost of our country.
Our disengagement in spiritual and emotional growth carry the burden of a socio-cultural deceleration.
Maybe we should ask ourselves more questions.
Why does the rush we get from the purchase exhilarate us?
What are we trying to fill, and what is the pain we seek to cover?
Life used to be simpler. A trip to the store was to replace the worn out jeans or pick out Joey’s birthday gift. How did we become a culture whose habits enable and approve of separatism and rugged individualism?
Walking like zombies we once saw in movies is now what seems prerequisite as we navigate up and down crowded isles numb and sometimes unaware of shopping carts banging into co-isle-walkers next to us.
We live in a continually faster world.
Technology is soaring far beyond our mental capabilities and more importantly far exceeding our emotional capacities.
Corporations chant “sell, sell, sell” and consumers in secret trying to muffle their pain pull out credit cards in the hope of filling and filling and filling.
There’s another way though.
There are ways to adjust and alter the way we're living, not making it less abundant, but by adding more richness to it.
A new way of living, not by adding richness of material, but adding a richness of spirit.
We used to know this as communities, as villages and as neighbors and friends.
We knew when things got rough we could count on the folks around us to lift us up. To listen to our pain and suffering and, if nothing else, give us breathing space to work through our problems.
We can reactivate that.
We have the tools we need to counter our aggressive and self-destructive patterns.
And we have the people who have become experts in trauma resolution and collective awareness.
Now we need the will and the understanding and approval from our selves to trust the way to peace and harmony is to slow down and re-welcome each other back into our lives.
“You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one” —John Lennon, Imagine