One Month Mark

Posted by Jill Chivers in My Story

G’day and welcome to blog posting #10. It being Friday, January 15 2010 and we are one month into the challenge… well, as the last thing I purchased was on December 4, it’s really been longer than that but the official figures say it’s one month in. I was reminded of the absurd tenuousness of human endeavour when I came across this quote yesterday: “I couldn’t wait for success, so I went ahead without it“. Ah, so true!

So, how am I doing with the Shop My Wardrobe (no shopping) challenge on this red letter day?

Pretty good! Haven’t broken the rules, tacit, implied, explicit or otherwise since starting the challenge. This may largely be due to Avoidance Therapy, but its true nevertheless. And emotionally, it’s been OK too.

Generally, it feels exciting — it’s an adventure, it is a challenge but in a good way, and I feel supported, like I can do this. Not like one of those Indiana Jones challenges where (apart from the fact that a sequel is in the works) you’re almost certain that some grizzly demonic-inspired death awaits just around the corner. I feel a little more like the Little Engine That Could — “I think I can”….. optimistic and persevering, that’s what I am (today anyway). Ok, for those who wish to cause me grievous bodily harm for being so virtuous, it’s also true that some days I feel a bit scratchy about it – like I’ve been put on bread & water rations. But that’s a fleeting feeling. So far.

One thing I’ve noticed is how I feel when I’m in a shopping centre. Not a place I have consciously placed myself in very often in the last 4 – 6 weeks, true, being a person who likes to achieve their goals I’m trying to “set myself up to succeed”. But when I have been surrounded by shops, I’ve found that my focus is sharper. I’m there to get what I came for (I know what that is because it’s on the list, right?) and I’m not there to dawdle and wander and browse in stores with which I have no business. Like shoe stores. Or clothing stores with 50% off signs screaming from the rack out the front. I seem to have metaphorical blinkers on.

The Sunshine Plaza. Dan and I visited the Sunshine Plaza this week – note my fabulous photography (taken from the car, how very National Geographic of me) above. I’d gone there to get a few things: liquid soap for our ensuite; sunscreen; shakes from the Terry White Chemist (thrilling list, ain’t it? don’t you just wish you had come with us on this shopping expedition?? But you get to relive it all now, so it’s not a complete loss).

Anyways – what I noticed was how much more I put into buying those non-clothing/shoe/bead/fabric/handbag items… how much more I enjoyed checking out all the sunscreen brands (in Australia, the melanoma capital of the world, we are truly spoilt for choice in this department)…. the whole experience felt relaxed rather than rushed, enjoyable rather than annoying. And all this during school holidays! When the shopping centres are crawling with stick insects in shorts & singlets disguised as teenagers! Meandering in front of you in clusters of three, or standing rock solid still in packs, all texting on their phones or tuned into their iPods! How did this come to be?? Have I had a personality transplant and am now chanelling Diann Fossey (see blog post #2)?

The Power of Now. Maybe this is part of what Eckhart Tolle had in mind in his book The Power of Now – that focus on the present moment to the exclusion of all else? (I’m sure he’d be thrilled to know his spiritual classic has been translated into the world of shopping). Instead of having my attention pulled in every which way directions — something that shopping centres excel at — my focus was singular and my inner state was calm.

My girlfriend Tara sent me a card with this eastern wisdom on it, which seems relevant here: “not in stillness is stillness. but the stillness in movement is the real stillness“. Apart from using the word stillness just a few too many times, I just love this quote — it’s easy to be calm in a darkened, silent room with no distractions or other people around. To be calm in a stimulation-rich environment is another matter entirely. Right?

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    2 Responses to “One Month Mark”

    1. Jane says:

      I too have stuck to my resolution of only buying clothing items of which my husband approves–2-3 months later I find I always agree with him anyway! Recently I had to get one more item for teaching a workshop in Saudi Arabia. I too focused on "my list", an item for the brown/tan part of my wardrobe, not the blue/black. Kept me from being suckered into a sale choice that wasn't as versatile. Is intentionality a word? You're right, it adds to the enjoyment.

    2. Katherine W. Hirsh says:

      Interesting thoughts on the attraction of necessity shopping when that is all that's allowed – I love the image of you carefully perusing each sunscreen – and on calmness when the environment is overwhelming. You didn't mention the joy of ticking the items off your list, did you get a bit of pleasure there, too?

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