The trick of no-shopping wasn’t just to stop buying things. The trick was to stop shopping. That meant no trawling the sale section of the J Crew website in idle moments. It meant the catalogues went into the recycle bin unopened, on the theory that if I didn’t see it, I didn’t want it. Halfway through the year, I could go to a store with my mother and sister if they asked me.Orange Lingerie I could tell them if the dress they were trying on looked good without wishing I could try it on myself.
Not shopping saves an astonishing amount of time. In October, I interviewed a famous actor in front of 1,700 people in a Washington, DC theatre. Previously I would have believed that such an occasion demanded a new dress, and lost two days of my life looking for one, when in fact the famous actor had never seen any of my dresses, nor had the people in the audience. I went to my closet, picked out something seasonally appropriate, and stuck it in my suitcase. Done.
I did a favour for a friend over the summer and she bought me a pair of tennis shoes. Her simple act of kindness thrilled me. Once I stopped looking for things to buy, I became tremendously grateful for the things I received. Had I been shopping that summer I would have told my friend, “You shouldn’t have,” and I would have meant it.
It doesn’t take so long for craving to subside. Once I got the hang of giving something up, it wasn’t much of a trick. The much harder part was living with the startling abundance that had been illuminated when I stopped trying to get more. Pink Lingerie Once I could see what I already had, and what actually mattered, I was left with a feeling that was somewhere between sickened and humbled. When did I amass so many things, and did someone else need them?
If you stop thinking about what you might want, it’s a whole lot easier to see what other people don’t have. There’s a reason that just about every religion regards material belongings as an impediment to peace. Printed Lingerie This is why Siddhartha had to leave his palace to become the Buddha. This is why Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor.” It’s why my friend Sister Nena, a Catholic nun well into her eighties, took a vow of poverty when she entered the convent at 18. Sister Nena was my reading teacher when I was in the first grade, and in the decades since she’s taught me considerably more. When I ask her if there’s anything she needs me to get for her, she shakes her head. “It’s all just stuff,” she says, meaning all of the things that aren’t God. (If you’re in the market for genuine inspiration on this front, I urge you to read Gregory Boyle’s Barking at the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship, a book that shows what the platitudes of faith look like when they’re put into action.)