Weeding out the want


How many times have you passed by a boutique window, seen a beautiful piece of clothing and gone inside the store to check it out first hand, only to find that the masterpiece of material would cost you more than you make in an entire paycheque? You leave the store feeling dejected and disillusioned with all the items you do have in your closet, focussing all your energy on the one that you can’t have. Or, even worse, you buy the skirt, pair of shoes, dress—whatever it is—put it on credit, of course, and tell yourself that you won’t buy anything else until you’ve paid for the thing you just bought (cue buyer’s remorse.)

It’s only been a week since I instituted the shopping ban and already I find myself seeing stuff that I want and feeling upset because I can’t have it. Apparently, my recent cases of the “greedy gimmes” extend further than clothing. I saw pictures of a friend’s new room earlier and was overcome with thoughts of how I could make my room as cute as hers. I thought about how to improve my room the entire way home from work, and by the time I parked my car outside my own house (which is very nicely decorated and people say is cute and homey), I felt anxious and frustrated at the thought that my room isn’t as nice as someone else’s.

Fortunately, I’m in-tune enough with my thoughts and emotions to know when something is really wrong or if I’ve made up my own problem and put myself in a bad mood (which, I’m sorry to say, happens more than it should). I knew I had no one to blame but myself for my sour emotions. So I did what any writer in my frame of mind would do: I decided to write about it.

I was honestly not at all inspired to write, so I decided to ask a few friends their advice on “weeding” out what I don’t need. The response was phenomenal; it really gave me the inspiration I needed.

The major weed I decided to pull out of my mental garden was ridiculous expectations, a.k.a. the “I Wants” of life. This weed of ridiculous expectations causes us to be discontent with everything. Nothing and no one is ever good enough for the person whose mental garden is crowded with ridiculous expectation weeds. So many of us are guilty of letting our expectations grow unchecked for so long that before we know it, the things that should blow us away with gratitude end up just upsetting and frustrating us.

I have a wonderful house and a big bedroom, but the weeds make me want a condo downtown on Bloor Street with a view of Holt Renfrew. I have two closets so full of clothes and accessories that I don’t have room for any more, but the weeds tell me I’m not truly stylish if I don’t acquire the latest Coach bag or BebeSherling Bomber jacket. I’m blessed with a great job, amazing family and friends who love me, a beautiful house and a wonderful city, but the weeds tell me I don’t have enough time, my extended family lives too far away, and this city is too boring.

At what point do I stop and count my blessings? The world is not created to serve us. I need to understand and see material things for what they are—man-made and short-lived.

I know that surrendering my overfed desire for material possessions (or even just clothes and accessories) is going to be a long and difficult process, but I’m committed to doing the necessary weeding. Are you?