I think our culture/society has become so caught up in replacement theory that we forget to value things. we are used to replacing things. from plastic containers to put leftovers in, to clothes we don't like anymore, to electronics. My parents weren't replacers. They didn't entertain themselves by shopping. Shopping had a purpose and it wasn't a way to pass the time or a way to try to fill empty spaces. They used things up or until they were beyond repair and then replaced them. None of this frantic consumerism.
I long for that. I long for just enough. I long for a way to honor the quietness of life. I think part of my decision to join the monastery was fueled by that notion of just enough. Even in the monastery I would gather things around me and periodically purge. My dear friend and sister Macrina would laugh at me because she had similar longings as well. I think back to those days when 30 dollars a month was all the allowance I needed. I rarely had any left at the end of the month- I would still find ways to go to fast food or buy books or items at the thrift stores and pay for long distance calls. But overall, it was enough.
Now I catch myself spending money out of a place of "I deserve this" or a way to pass time, or fill the empty places. I don't like that. It's not who I strive to be.
The last couple of days I have become aware of how deep this issue is in my life.. how much energy it consumes and how much havoc it causes within myself, my marriage and my self worth and self esteem. I buy things because I say this is the last shopping spree and then I will stop or if i get this new scrapbook paper it will be perfect for the next project, or that tie-dye sparkly scarf for belly dance is a steal at 20 dollars and it will make me feel less self-conscious about my appearance. Or if I order all the skin care stuff I will look better and feel better about myself. Or those cute shoes will make me look less dowdy and frumpy and I won't feel so ugly. Or that large cafe mocha and banana nut muffin is something I deserve after working out. It is endless.
I think I have reached rock bottom in terms of this addiction. I ordered a few 12 step materials for debtors anonymous and will see if there is a group in the area. I want to feel at peace financially. I want to relax and not feel I am going to be grilled by my husband (who really is a saint for putting up with me) and I want to have a clear conscious again. I want the feeling of space and order...