Day 299/366 days Towards Self-Mastery.
It's that time of the year when I begin to think about Christmas gifts for family and close friends. With it usually comes a deluge of desires fuelled by overwhelming temptations delivered in glossy magazines and glittering window displays.
Back in the day, for that very short period of time when I had the capacity to shop for extravagant gifts, displayed in beautiful boxes, wrapped in gorgeous papers and tied with silk ribbons, indulging my own wants didn't require too much consideration.
Nowadays when things are a little leaner, well, a lot leaner, I have to fall back on some of the gift buying and crafting lessons I learned as a kid.
Staying clear of the shopping malls and averting all advertising material, (I don't even have a letter box, nor a TV), is just the beginning. Glossy magazines full of gorgeous images of delectable beauty no longer enter my radar for fear of enticing my deepest desires to the surface.
It's about denial and deprivation.
And whilst I've made some very workable changes to my idea of gift giving, my heart still skips a beat when I stumble across a glossy at a cafe.
And I have to admit, its quite a delight when I reach into my secret stash of collectable Christmas glossy mags that span 20 years.
Sarah has a great suggestion, one I wish I had heard earlier. When the glossy marketing material hits your letter box, put them aside until you have the time to browse through them with a cup of coffee or glass of wine. With a felt pen slowly indulge your wants by circling all the loveliness that you can see yourself wearing, dining with, showcasing and drooling over. Then put them aside.
With your desires satisfied by the time and energy you have taken to meet with them and acknowledge them, you'll likely find that your heart feels full.
Of course gift shopping expeditions will eventuate, and you'll know your budget and carefully plan to see it stretches the distance.
Then after Christmas, take some time to revisit the catalogues and see which of your wants are still exciting and inviting. You might find them on post Christmas sales or you may find that the desire has drifted off.
When I gave up gloss and returned to the life that I was meant for, I realised just how delightful it was to find joy in the simple things in life. By simple I mean caring for my home, creatively planning and planting my garden, being a tourist in my own home town, sharing a home-cooked meal with friends, making Christmas cookies for the family, having brunch out in a funky cafe on Sundays.
You can choose denial and deprivation, but the real solution, the permanent and painless one is knowing yourself deeply. Until then you'll find yourself running after every want that presents itself, or you'll use a great deal of energy and willpower to contain yourself.
My soiree into gloss was driven by social conditioning that prescribed my lifestyle and my desires, and sold them to me in glossy packaging that was difficult to resist. Consequently I lost myself in the pages of Vogue and a life that was never mine.
If covid has done anything, I hope it has given you an opportunity to reflect on the life that you are living and compare that with the lifestyle that you really wanted. It's not surprising that so many people have discovered that being at home with their family and pets is actually what they really wanted all along, instead of spending time working to support a lifestyle that they couldn't afford.
366 days Towards Self-Mastery
When I considered my New Year's intentions for 2020 I had just one: To allow my heart to love what it loved...and let it lead me. (If not now, then when?)
I've spent months working on integrating my life. To live life more fully with my home life, my interests, my work, my responsibilities, all coming together, all connected. I want to give each the attention that they desire and need, and still have time and energy for the others. That means living and working from the heart.
As I was clearing out my bookshelf over the Christmas break I discovered Simple Abundance. I set it aside to explore it on New Year's Day as I lazed through another delicious day of nothingness. Sarah, the author, says this book is about living in grace. Living in grace I realised, is about Self-Mastery.
My thirst for understanding the human condition has driven me all my life, and hand-in-hand with self-mastery it has been a life-long goal. And seeing as I love to write, that living in grace is about self-mastery, and I love a bit of a challenge, then if I am truly going to let my heart lead, I really don't have any other choice. So scary as it feels, I'm starting out on a daily mission of leaning into the suggestions of this daybook and making a daily post to keep me accountable. If not now, then when?
I'm Josie. You can find out a little more about me here.
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy: by Sarah Ban Breathnach.
This book is written for the Australian and NZ market because it refers to seasonal changes. It's available on Amazon here if you'd like to follow along.