What makes what we have enough?
A few weeks ago I found myself wandering the isles of Kohl's looking for something to purchase with my $10 reward certificate. In my frugal thinking that was "free money" that I needed to use, right? But, after wandering awhile I realized I had succumbed to consumerism. I didn't have a list of things I needed, but there I was, shopping. Realistically, even if I had a list, would they be things I really need?
Plato said, "The greatest wealth is to live content with little." Compared to the world at large, none of us have to be content with "little." But can we be content with what we have?
Melody Beattie has found the antidote to wanting more. She says, "Gratitude turns what we have into enough."
During this season of Thanksgiving I challenge you to be grateful for all you have and to exercise the Timely Tips that will help develop a sense of contentment all through the year.
TIMELY TIPS - Steps to Contentment
1. Start each day with gratitude. Choose to have your first thought be one of thanksgiving. Maybe it's as simple as "I'm thankful I'm alive!" Maybe it's being grateful for a nice warm bed that you don't want to get out of, or a good cup of coffee waiting for you in the kitchen, or an opportunity you know is coming up later in the day.
2. Place a journal or calendar in the kitchen. Each evening record one experience from the day that you're grateful for.
3. Use your senses to trigger gratefulness. When you smell the sweet scent of orange blossoms, feel a puppy's fuzzy fur, hear beautiful music, taste adelicious meal, or see an awesome sunset, be grateful for the senses you have that allow that enjoyment.
4. Live in the present. Say no to "what if" and "should have" thinking. Focusing on the past or future destroys our present contentment.
5. Shift your focus. If scanning the ads, web catalogs, Pinterest, and Craig's List is is a daily occurrence, consider investing that time in a relationship, exercise, or a hobby.
6. Express your gratitude. Buy a box of Thank You cards and determine to send out one a week, or month until they're gone. Be creative in acknowledging people for things they have done for you or what they have meant to you. (You might end up buying another box when you're done!)
7. Volunteer with a group or organization that provides for the needs of those less fortunate.
8. Choose to hang out with people who are content.
9. Donate money to bring relief to victims of natural and manmade disasters.
10. Purge the things you're no longer using and share out of your abundance. Make your donation a blessing to someone in need.
BONUS TIP (from my soap box): Make gratitude a priority this Thanksgiving. Don't succumb to the pressure of making it a shopping day.
As I work with people and their stuff, I find a repetitive theme-- more stuff doesn't equal more happiness. In fact, it can be just the opposite. Paul Graham's essay provides a timely perspective on our stuff.
"Gratitude turns what we have into enough"