Legacy Of Lack

treasureI don’t want whatever I want.
Nobody does. Not really.
What kind of fun would it be
if I just got everything
I ever wanted just like that,
and it didn’t mean anything?
What then?
Neil Gaiman

Lack – Deficiency or absence; to be without; to be short or have need of something.

Once upon a time, with roots that go back to medieval marketplaces featuring stalls that functioned as stores, shopping offered a way to connect socially. But over the last decade, retailing came to be about one thing: unbridled acquisition, epitomized by big-box stores where the mantra was “stack ’em high and let ’em fly” and online transactions that required no social interaction at all — you didn’t even have to leave your home.  Stephanie Rosenbloom http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/08/business/08consume.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

In childhood I learned a legacy of lack. My family was poor in many ways: financially, morally and spiritually. Such an environment shapes one of two types of people: 1) another just like the others with photo-copied habits and beliefs or 2) someone who does their best to be the opposite of what they saw and experienced. It has long been my desire to be one of the latter. I have consistently applied myself to being so, although in ways not nearly as successfully as I wish.

Four  ‘extra’ pair of unworn jeans, three new ‘backup’ cases for my iPhone, four ‘replacement’ Timex “Indiglo” watches, eight or ten new pair of drug store reading glasses ‘for when I need them’ and so on. All of those things are in my possession now. If thinking about them did not convince me I had a “little problem”, writing them down certainly did.

Always I have told myself I buy ‘extras’ because I like something very much and want to have ‘replacements’ on hand when what I am using wears out. “They stop making what I like” has often been reasoning I add to my pile of logic. When I step back a bit and take a broadened view I can see stirred into my thinking is not only what I consider completely rational. “Perception of future lack”, “conspicuous consumption” and even “low level greed” is mixed in as well. Ouch, that hurts!

My plans do not include suddenly giving my “backups” away to charity, although I will continue what has been my past practice: give to friends when they are in need. What I have now is front of mind awareness of my tendency to “buy stuff”. With awareness can come understanding. With understanding can come change. Further, it is important to be thankful I have the ability in the first place to purchase the majority of my wants. What matters is what I do with it!

As I open more to learning and practicing wise and prudent ways of being, lessons in the classroom of wisdom continue to arrive in an ever-increasing quantity. I am indeed truly and deeply blessed. I have no clear spiritual understanding or profound concept of God and the Universe to be overtly causing my growth. But deep down I suspect all are at work though my porthole of gratitude. Only when the student is ready can he be taught.

…what you need
and what you want
aren’t the same things…
Cherise Sinclair