Shopping doesn’t have to be mindless and superficial. It’s got a bad rep but it doesn’t have to be a necessary evil. Anything can become a sacred act – shopping included.
Shopping is the modern day equivalent of hunting and gathering; we’re just hardwired to want to get out there and find cool stuff. It’s natural and necessary – and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing!
It’s only when shopping becomes destructive to us on one level or another that it becomes problematic: to alleviate boredom, chronic overspending or as an attempt to fill a dull inner emptiness. It’s easy to see why shopping sounds so superficial and negative to many: the image of the stereotypical mall rat (or Carrie Bradshaw) ticks all those negative boxes.
But on a fundamental level, shopping only involves us spending our money on the things that we enjoy. We choose to spread good energy (aka money!) around to the places we most think deserve it.
Our spending can actually help those that we care about in our own community survive and thrive.
(That’s another reason why it’s so important to buy handmade and shop local whenever you can. You want to give your money back to your community, not to that already grotesquely wealthy family in Bentonville, AR. )
It’s only when our shopping comes from a place of disconnection that the act goes astray – and unfortunately that disconnection is quite easy to come by in the shopping mall! Keep in mind that the goal of most mass marketers is to make you feel somehow grossly inadequate: too old, fat, out-of-shape or plain old uncool. Traditional marketing pokes holes in your self-esteem in order to make some sales for them (and that’s pretty shady right?).
So first of all – don’t get down on yourself for falling for the marketing ruse. They are really good at their jobs and we will all fall victim to marketing now and again. You’re human and it’s okay.
But it’s also important to rally yourself after you realize you’ve slipped. Part of the equation is simply self-awareness so just realizing that you’ve fallen for a marketing ploy it all is a sign that you can rise above.
How to Shop Mindfully
Sacred shopping can be done with grace and reverence; it just takes a little practice.
Stay grounded and present as you hit the shops. Do a grounding exercise beforehand if necessary (which is also a great antidote to the stress of being in big crowds, if you are at all like me).
Keep your monkey brain from taking over; always know exactly why you are in a store and what you are doing there. Browsing can be dangerous! We tend to get overly excited by new stimuli and that leads to a shopping binge.
Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Get really excited about what you are buying! The more excited you are, the happier you’ll be with your few purchases and the less likely to go after more unnecessary shopping highs.
Be very strategic with what you buy. As great as it sounds, we can’t just shoe shop forever and have our closet magically expand to keep up. If we bring in something new, that generally means getting rid of something old. Are you ready to part with something you already have? If not, really think twice before making a new purchase.
Stop to consider where your money is going. Think about who made your items and where they came from as well as the store where you are buying them. Does it feel good? Is there a way it could it feel better?
Slow down and savor your shopping experience, just as you would any other personal act. Don’t rush through it. Instead, fully appreciate the experience while it is happening. Lots of poor decisions are made when we are rushed. Shopping without a clock to beat just leads to a deeper and more meaningful overall experience.
I hope these sacred shopping tips serve you well! Let me know how it works for you.