If you want to make the world a better place…

Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

Years ago, when I first heard Michael Jackson sing these words, I only thought I understood them. I was twenty-two at the time, and really didn’t get it, how could I? I hadn’t been raised to have a Global mindset. I feel, that at least for many of us, we cannot truly see past our circles, be it our family circle, our circle of friends, our work friends circle, and/or our neighborhood. We know the world is out there, and that there are lots of other people in it, but our day-to-day thoughts are in the area around us, and with the people close to our hearts. Now, I know there are people who are global minded, for good and for bad; I’m speaking about those of us who rarely give thought to how our actions are more than mere drops in a bucket. We rarely consider that the bucket actually overflows into a river that influences more than just our families and neighborhoods.

Recently, I’ve been talking about making changes, albeit slowly, as I realize that yeah, one person doesn’t make a difference, but as in that overflow mentioned above, one person can lead to two people, two people become four and then we have a Faberge commercial (truly showing my age here). These changes come easily for some people, but not so easy for me. Even if you do not take into consideration that I like my things, and do not like to give them up; I have to point out that change is a major anxiety trigger for me, one that has, on occasion, caused me to break into hives, literally, not figuratively.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Lent is a time of reflection, repentance, lentand sacrifice.  Over the years, I’ve given up some of the typical Lent things, such
as chocolate, wine, etc., but this year I really wanted to give up something that would challenge me; something that might possible cause some personal growth. When I tell you what it is, you will probably roll your eyes…unless you know me.

For Lent 2016, I am giving up online shopping. Now, I realize this is nothing for a lot of people, but you have to understand that we, my husband and I, live in the city, and do not have cars. I cannot just up and go to a specialty store if it is 10 miles away, it requires planning. I do have access to a most of what I want, within a 1 mile radius, and a lot of times, I do walk to the stores to get things. However, I purchase the majority of our food and household items online. I use Instacart, Peapod, and Amazon, weekly, sometimes, daily. The beauty of Amazon Prime, I can order something, have it in two days, same day on some things; if I forgot to order something – it isn’t a big deal, I can get online and order it as soon as I think about it, or even order it from my phone using the app. As long as it is part of Amazon Prime, shipping is free, so I can order 10 things or 1 thing, it makes no difference. I’ve gotten so spoiled by all of the delivery services I have available to me, that I think nothing of it. Need a specialty item for a recipe I’m making? Amazon. Want something from Reading Terminal Market, or a bottle of Wine? Instacart. Want nuggets and sweet potato fries from HipCityVeg? Caviar. If I didn’t want to, I wouldn’t have to leave my apartment, ever.

So, for Lent, I have decided that I will give up ordering anything online. That includes music from iTunes, and games from BigFish as well. I can pay bills, if I receive an invoice for something, but I cannot initiate a new purchase, or order anything. I’m also including calling for delivery, not that we do that often, but I decided that it qualifies, especially since all of my online purchases can be purchased through various apps on my phone. It took a lot of thought for me to come up with this option. Last month, I made note of every purchase I made, every time I used cash, every time I ordered online, in doing so, it helped me to realize the action was becoming automatic. When I saw this, I decided that if I truly want to become more minimalistic, I have to start with the source of my stuff-the stores. If we truly need something, because obviously we will need food, I can go, to the store and purchase it. The act of having to go get it will help me determine if it is a need or a want. I am hoping this will help prepare me for my upcoming challenge in April.

To clarify, no, I do not think this is on the level of suffering and sacrifice that Christ went through, but it isn’t supposed to be. It is supposed to make us mindful of those events, and have us look at our hearts, and that is exactly what I believe it will accomplish. I’m hoping that in doing this, I will be more aware of the differences between wants and needs, that I will be able to grow as a human being and diminish as a materialist.

I leave you with this

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