“So in fact, narrowing down our choices means less overwhelm, and more creativity.” ~ Courtney Carver
In a previous life, I spent most of my free time in shopping malls buying fast fashion items and tons of stuff I didn’t need.
I accumulated an impressive wardrobe of shoes, bags, and other fast fashionable items by following magazine seasonal trends, but the truth was that I was creating a huge hole in my bank account—and in my soul. I was holding on to things in lieu of creating them, hoarding stuff instead of investing in my wellbeing, and assuming that designer clothes would make me feel worthy and accomplished.
What a mistake. Now, thankfully, I know better.
I was doing this primarily because I felt dissatisfied. I’d chosen a corporate and legal career based on what I thought society and my family expected of me, not what made me feel whole or complete. I needed an “outlet” for more frustration, and shopping was it.
I also struggled with issues surrounding worthiness. I came from a long line of humans who didn’t feel worthy of holding on to wealth, and my grandfather had struggled most of his life with gambling addiction.
Sadly, I did not have the greatest role models in the money mindset department and learned that money was disposable—not renewable.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love wearing fun clothes. It’s a way for me to express my creativity in inventive ways. But, I’ve found that there’s another way to do it—through second-hand outlets, thrifting, and swapping with friends.
Indeed, buying second-hand is terrific. It gives discarded clothes a second life and prevents them from going into landfills. Also, if you’re lucky, you can buy clothes from thrift stores that share their profits with organizations that give back to the community,
In addition to the immense benefits that this type of recycled consumption has on our planet, getting rid of clutter allows for greater spaciousness to receive more abundance and support creative flow in our lives.
In the last three years, I sold, gave away, and discarded more than 90 percent of my belongings. This included designer shoes, bags, and jewelry as well as antique furniture and other knick-knacks. It has given me peace of mind, allowed for many creative ideas to flow easily into my life, including two self-help books, time to create crystal jewelry, and more space to relax and meditate.
It provides the breathing room necessary to think straight and have more time to connect with others. New friends have entered my life and this has been both exciting and soul-enhancing. At the end of the day, feeling unencumbered by stuff is total freedom.
Spaciousness gives the mind the chance to wander, which is a precious gift. This is the magical place where we receive hunches and insights. And if you’re creative, that special place of spaciousness is where you get and receive your most promising ideas. This massive cleanout gave me the impulse to create a podcast about eco-fashion and sustainability: Soulful Couture.
So, how can we do it? How can we live simpler, more rewarding lives?
Here are seven tips to help us manage our spontaneous urges and become more creative while protecting Mother Earth:
When you get the impulse to buy something new, take a deep breath and exhale. We often buy things on impulse to avoid feeling negative emotions. I should know, I’ve done it a million times. Instead of running from your emotions, feel into them, take a deep breath, and then release. You will most likely find that your urge to buy whatever it was has disappeared.
2. Spend time in nature.
Go for a walk, run, hug a tree, dance in the rain, go pick up trash, and see if the desire passes. It may sound simplistic, but it works. Nature fills us up in ways that stuff cannot. And after spending lots of quality time in nature, you’ll become ultra-vigilant and concerned about protecting our precious resources.
3. Avoid shopping malls.
Author and Spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran in his book, Discovering Your Hidden Spiritual Resources says that spending time in shopping malls creates urges within us to buy things we don’t need. According to the author, when we go shopping in malls, we lose some vital energy through our eyesight, as we are drawn to shiny but useless things. Again, I know, I’ve done this once too many times. I rarely visit malls anymore unless there’s something specific I do really need.
4. Meditate and practice yoga.
Meditation and yoga allow us to calm down the mind, regulate our emotions, stop our compulsive behaviours, and manic impulses. Meditation allows our unquenched desires to evaporate quickly. If you meditate once or twice a day, even for a few minutes, this will have a big impact. You will feel connected to mankind, not online shopping.
5. Just keep driving.
See your favourite outlet from the highway? Don’t get off the exit ramp. Spot a store opening on your way home from work? Keep driving. See something you like online? Leave that in the cart and keep surfing, preferably to sites that promote the environment or creativity.
6. Be creative!
Have a book that you dream of writing? Looking to start a business? Want to launch your own online cooking show? The time you spend creating will take away your urge to buy things you don’t need. And take it from me, there’s nothing more rewarding than creating something new.
7. Shop your closet.
My final suggestion is to appreciate what you already have, try to mix and match, play with colors and patterns, and try different accessories to update your look. You’ll be amazed by what you come up with once you use a bit of joy and creativity.