319 days ago I thought that a year without buying anything new for myself, would be a nearly impossible task. Now with only 46 days to go i know I will continue with this commitment next year and the years to come.
After having worked through all my personal issues with not buying anything new (see previous blogs ;-) ), it has become so clear to me now how we are all operating under the pressure of our commercially driven environment. The amount of ‘sale’ emails I receive (my personal favourite is “Friday sale”), the ‘great’ deals in the shops (buy 2 get the 3rd one free), the peer pressure (you really ‘need’ to buy this), it’s all there to keep our economy ‘healthy’. Or in other words: ‘to put money in the pockets of the fair few multinationals and their shareholders’.
The main thing I realised through ‘Enough is Enough’ is that:
WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE OUR SOCIETY
Now I have to say that I never realised that the power is with the consumers, but it is! The main thing we have to do i...
So it has been 225 days today since I started not buying anything new for myself (and minimising what I buy for my family). Many people have asked me if I'm still going and the answer is YES :-) I've just become a little more quite about it...
It has become easier all the time and most days I don't even think about it. I have cleaned up many areas in my house and removed a lot of 'clutter'. I love to simplify my life and owning less makes it definitely more simple! I have become less aware of the commercial push (initially I really noticed this and it really annoyed me) and I feel less and less that it is 'sad' for me to not buy anything new.
I have to admit tho that I have 'cheated' a couple of times:
1. I bought a new pair of thongs even though I still had a pair (which I really don't like but still...).
2. I bought a new shirt (even though I could argue that it is a replacement for a similar shirt that broke, I still feel it was an unnecessary purchase and possibly because of that...
I remember when I was about 13 years old how I thought being 18 would be so cool and being 24 would be so very old and boring… Now am I over twice as old as I thought myself to be ‘very old and boring’, and when I see someone who is 24 I think he/she is SO very young and new to life ;-).
Numbers, and the judgement we have to them, are so irrelevant and uninteresting. 49 is just another magical number. A number representing another year in which I can learn and grow and become more of who I am. Never in my life have I been more fit, strong, healthy, happy, content, peaceful and inspired as I am now. I love the woman I have become, I love what I can bring into this world, I love the opportunities I have received and still receive, I love my friendships with likeminded women, and most of all I love how simple things make me happy.
Now, before I continue, I’d like to share something else. Most of my life I have been surrounded by men. Having a mathematical and analytical mind, studying Physi...
For the last 5 months I have enjoyed seeing the students of the level 1 teacher training grow and develop themselves into aspiring teachers. The process of becoming a yoga teacher is a process of personal transformation. It's a process where time after time you get thrown out of your comfort zone to do something new, something where you feel exposed and judged. This 'thing' that you loved so much (called yoga ;-) ) changes into something new and for a while most of us are not sure if we actually like the change... It's an amazing process to see and I'm very grateful to be able to guide people through this life changing process.
I have to say that after teaching yoga for over 17 years it's very rare to be out of my comfort zone when teaching myself. I have taught many different groups of people including for example people with double hip replacements, people under cancer treatment, students with depression and severe anxiety, people with spinal injuries, teenagers dealing with addicti...
It has been 108 days since I stopped buying things for myself and it has been (and is) an interesting journey. Not buying any new ‘stuff’ for myself (one on one replacement is allowed but I keep that to a bare minimum too) is still a strange experience. I have long periods where it’s easy and short periods where it’s really hard. Below I’d like to share some of the things that I’ve learned these last 108 days:
My emotions still seem to be linked to my need to buy. When I feel strong and balanced I need nothing, when I feel tired or vulnerable my desire for something new grows significantly… At those moments I feel sorry for myself and I often think about breaking my ‘promise’. Luckily these moments don’t last and I more and more start to realise what’s happening and the power I give my mind in moments like those. It more and more makes me smile sometimes with a grumble ;-) ) and I start to wait for the moment to pass, not taking it too seriously… Sometimes, however, t...
I often wonder why in pictures, we so easily see the one thing we don't like instead of the 10 things that are beautiful... Is this something we learned as a kid? At school or pressure from peers or from our parents?
Is it the paint brushed images and harsh judgements we get presented through the media?
Is it an inate desire for perfection?
Whatever it is, it bothers me!
Beautiful friends of mine judge themselves harshly for a minor imperfection, an imperfection that I think actually makes them prefect.
When I see I picture of myself I effortlessly can pick something that's 'wrong' which I dislike 😕 One of the ways it is easier to look at myself in pictures with appreciation is when I bring my focus to the 'lines and shapes' I create. I love these lines and how the light can play with them. Looking at the shapes I create I love my body 😍
So 22 days without buying anything for me (and my family actually) has been very interesting and made me realise the following:
1. I don't need anything
This is actually kind of a weird realisation... It's true, I actually need NOTHING new. I have clothes, unread books, and a house full of stuff. Nothing is missing and even when for a moment I think it is (I need a big bowl for salads), I can actually solve this need with what I have (two smaller bowls). Every time a 'buying need thought' comes to my mind I assess the real need and every time I find it actually very easy to find a substitute with something I already own.
I've found myself wanting to buy something out of laziness (forgetting my shopping bags, not wanting to fix something). It clearly requires a bit of a change in attitude here!
2. I buy things to make me feel better
I have found myself multiple times thinking how sad it is that I can not buy anything new. Honestly!!! (and yes it makes me laugh to admit to this :-) ). I...
The time around Xmas always confronts me with the commercial influence there is in our community. For myself I realise that I have everything I need, never the less I feel a pull to buy something new to wear, something that's on sale, or a little something that just catches my eye... At the same time do I see how we pollute the world with all the 'stuff' we buy (and don't really need).
More and more do I realise that it is the consumer (that's me) who can change the world. If I stop buying, manufacturers will stop producing. So I've decided Enough is Enough. Here is my commitment to the world.
In 2017 I will not buy anything new for myself (and minimise what I buy new for my family). One on one replacement (like my toothbrush or shampoo) is excluded here but also this I will minimise to just the essentials.
I know that this is not going to be easy but I'm actually looking forward to it (now that I've made the commitment). Already have I realised how nice it is to not even to look at thing...
When my days get busy and my mind chatty the bliss a continuous flow can bring is unique. It is at these times you need your yoga most that it's easiest to let your practice slide... You just do not have enough time/energy to make it to your mat. Well this is what I do on those days: I find a playful continuous flow!
These flows can be simple or complex (I often start simple and build it up to something more complex). Now these flows can contain your complete practice because you can add all movements in it:
- Some forward bends/hip openers (like humble warrior or standing splits),
- Some backbends (like a crescent lunge or wild thing),
- Some inversions (like downdog or handstand),
- Some twists (like reverse extended angle pose or twisted warrior),
- Some side stretches (like rockstar or extended angle pose), and
- Some balancing poses (like warrior 3 or half moon pose).
- Finishing off with Savasana/Meditation at the end to 'check in' and consolidate.
I have finished many classes with the beautiful Namaste prayer:
"I honour the place in you in which the entire universe dwells.
I honour the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light, and of peace.
When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me,
we are united, we are one.”
Even though I love the concept of 'oneness' and I have the concept explained to me by various people whom I respect a lot, like Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle, Pema Chodron, and Joseph Campbell, I have to say in reality I still struggle with this concept on oneness for what it really means. I mean, I'm still me, I'm not a tree or a flower or my best friend or enemy. And even though I might not like other creatures being harmed, I don't really feel that it harms me personally... And so that's where I struggle with this 'oneness' idea...
And then today I had a moment of clarity, an insight that I'd like to share....
Let me start with explaining a bit more about what I mean with 'oneness'. It's the concept...