Let me begin with some shocks:
Eating out has lost its charm!
A new dress does not excite us anymore!
The cup of coffee no longer tastes as it did sometime ago!
There’s just no fun left in life!
Do these statements seem familiar? When was the last you spoke/felt them? Today? Yesterday?
Its just not you. There are many around us who feel similar. Living in a materialist world, a spending culture is taking a toll on our wallet and health and makes us ‘check-out’ from our body! We seem to indulge in more activities than before, with no satisfaction or impact on our well-being.
Eating out has become common place. It is a convenient substitute for cooking at home; it is easy to indulge and you have passed over the hassle of decisions and efforts to someone else. What used to be reserved for special occasions is now common place – a daily occurrence. So what’s new here? That special occasion has been reduced to a perfunctory activity.
Our wardrobe is full of cloths, shoes and jewellery; yet we struggle to find anything ‘nice’ to wear. And we end up buying more. And more. We keep on replacing our emotions by materialistic things and, honestly, we feel stuck.
Coffee, cakes, biscuits are available just everywhere. That convenience makes us grab them without being thoughtful of our need or pocket.
And yet we miss that sense of fulfilment. The special taste that came with eating out on special occasions; the taste of cappuccino that was just not there in home made coffee; the feel of a new fabric against your skin when you wore a new dress after couple of months! Our money is draining, our health is ruining and we need more space for our stuff. We buy more storage boxes, we buy products to lose weight, we try new food joints for that ever elusive feeling.
Not at all.
We try to cope, but what if it is not about coping but living life to fullest? What if it is about celebrating each day with substance and meaning? About creating a life which is not dependent upon materialist things and food to energise us? About our own self that has the ability to shine brighter than what we wear?
Mindfulness practice has helped me achieve this. Most days, I start with a couple of hours in a cafe. I do this to be away from my daily chores and business calls and to think creatively. Some days the smell of freshly brewed coffee is very tempting and I feel like buying a cuppa. If this happens too frequently, I honestly ask myself if this is turning into a habit/need or is there something else which want my attention and I am replacing it with food?
I always get my answer if I am prepared to listen.
Same with cloths, shoes, bags or jewellery. I love browsing them in the shops. But then, I remind myself of things what I own in my wardrobe and the space what is there and I mostly come out empty handed. Believe me the temptation is very strong. And my mind conjures a lot of excuses: I need a new dress for the weekend party; the weather is turning too hot or cold and I don’t have enough clothes….. Hey! Wait. Why do I need the dress? Am I buying to look apart from others? To look beautiful? Or just to ‘fit in’ because everyone is not repeating their dress? Usually a challenge to the temptation is sufficient to stop it. Deep within, I know I am wasting my money for one evening. I will be loved by right people who accept me as I am. I love being feminine and I can dress myself in a way which can satisfy my feminine side. And most importantly, its a party where i meet friends, have a good laugh, fun and connect. Its not a fashion show where I will be walking on the ramp!
Its the same with food. If we are not mindful, then where ever we go, we are a threat to our own body and well being. When we are offered free drinks, it is easy to lose control and indulge to a point where it stops being fun and causes harm to your surrounding. Being surrounded with food means you can keep on eating/nibbling without being hungry. And when you do that, you no longer enjoy the taste and the aroma.
When we eat out, or order prepared food, it is just not the money (remember for the price of a meal you can buy groceries for a whole week!), but we also compromise on the quality and hence our health. The food tastes same everywhere – more or less. And then we seek new eateries to ‘try something different’. Instead, try minimising the frequency, and you will find the taste returning.
What I have discovered is, if I reduce the number of times we go out to eat, if I find a special occasion to indulge, I find more pleasure in my indulgence. I look forward to ‘special days’ where I can go out. Going out less means going to special places to celebrate those special occasions and the after taste in your body and mind lingers for much longer time.
Instead of buying new clothes overtime you don’t have anything better to do, if you reserve special occasions for new clothes – like your birthdays, or festivals – the joy of new clothes is much more. And for other occasions, like parties (your usual excuse), just be creative. Try mix and match and you will be surprised by your results (and it is very satisfying for you too!).
Less stuff in your home implies lesser time spent in arranging and it will give you more time to do things what you love on your free days.
By far, the biggest advantage I have noticed is that I am very content and fulfilled with my small home, my things and my lifestyle. I go for holidays when I can afford, I have time and I really need one. We go out for eating out to celebrate our achievements or on special days.
I am not there yet but I am mindful of what and how I am living my life, what I am buying and what I am eating. If anything goes out of alignment, I can immediately see its effect on my health, my money and moreover it also affects on my happiness.