by Jackie Stewart
How do you feel now that shop displays are filled with Christmas gifts, food and wrapping paper? What’s your reaction when TV adverts trill Christmas carols with a promise of ‘The Best Christmas Ever’ if you buy their products?
Do you welcome the opportunity to shop till you drop and delight in having an excuse to spend, spend, spend on people you love? Or does your Inner Scrooge start to frown and rant about materialism gone mad and impending ecological disaster?
This is the perfect time of year to uncover our feelings about shopping and the degree to which we’re doing it or not. Taking a closer look enables us to get to grips with some of the beliefs we’re carrying around that get in the way of being in a loving heart space in all areas of our lives.
The energy of lack
When we carry feelings of lack in our hearts, we’re susceptible to clever marketing that tells us that buying more stuff will fill the gaps. We can become endless consumers buying products to make us feel happy. Buying things to make us feel good gives a brief burst of joy, but if we’re looking for external things to feel good it’s not long before we need to buy something else to make us feel happy.
Retail analysts spend a lot of time researching consumer behaviour and an interesting article from the Guardian states that ‘Unhappy people are most likely to be trying to change their lives through purchasing.’ Unhappy is one word trying to convey the mixture of energies that are at play here. When I look at the desire to spend through the eyes of flower essences I see neediness for love and a belief in being ‘less-than’ propelling the ‘must have/must buy/can’t live without’ society we live in.
When you tune into your heart does it feel full, empty or somewhere in between? When our hearts feel full, we want for nothing. Our love spills out and warms everything around us with its abundance. But when our hearts don’t feel full, we try to find ways to fill the gaps – most commonly with relationships or possessions. The Bach flower essence for this energy is chicory, which releases feelings of emotional neediness and lack of love so that your heart feels full rather than lacking.
Advertising taps into our insecurities too. Do you think you’ll be more beautiful if you buy that gorgeous dress, more successful with that new car, a better cook with the chef-endorsed blender, more sexy with this designer aftershave?
The more we focus our attention on the desire for more, the more dissatisfied we feel with what we already have and it reinforces our feelings that we are ‘less than’.
If you resonate with the desire to buy because you want to be more of something, then turn to Bach flower essences to release inner feelings of being ‘less than’. If you’re lacking self-confidence then larch flower essence will help you to feel limitless and confident about yourself and your choices. If you feel less than other people who seem more deserving, then pine flower essence will release these feelings of unworthiness. Crab apple flower essence is the one to take if you obsess about needing to have the perfect home or perfect image and buy things to make your life more ‘perfect’.
As we release the subtle aspects of our personality that are lacking and less than, we move into a deeper connection with our true state of inner love and happiness.
Most self help and spiritual gurus agree that buying things won’t make us happy, we need to be happy inside first. Change comes from within and that state of inner happiness doesn’t come from shopping, it comes from self-acceptance.
So the choice not to buy must be right then? Or is it?
The energy of self-denial
This is a popular time of year to knock materialism, rant against consumerism and justify our choice not to buy if we’re trying to live more consciously or economically. I’ve recently become involved in our local Transition initiative and a big part of me wants to boycott buying stuff altogether but I need to be careful. It’s easy for me to go off on one and move into an unhealthy place of rigid self-denial.
When we carry feelings of self-denial in our hearts, we turn against buying and consuming to prove that we can do without and secretly hope that others will follow our rigid example. If your decision not to buy comes from a perspective of not allowing then this is unhealthy. You might decide that you won’t allow yourself to buy things because it’s bad for the environment or you won’t support big business etc. This is quite a different energy from genuinely not wanting and not needing something. The question to ask yourself is this: ‘is there an element of self-denial and wanting to change the world by my example in my choice not to buy things?’ If there is, then rock water essence will release the rigidity so you can move into a softer and kinder relationship with yourself. Carrying rigidity like this in our minds invariably leads to rigidity in the body so soften your thinking and allow the world to feel like a kinder, more gentle place.
Perhaps you find yourself judging other people for buying things they want. Beech flower essence will release the intolerance and criticism you feel as others head off to the shops on Saturday while you’re doing something you perceive as much more worthwhile.
And there can be energies of anger and fear in there too. Do you get angry about how much money is spent on plastic toys in the West when children are dying without enough water to drink in the Third World? Are you furious about how wrong our material world is and you want to change people’s minds for the better? Then some holly flower essence for the anger and vervain flower essence for wanting to change the world with evangelical zeal would help bring those feelings into balance.
If you don’t want to give because you fear you haven’t got enough yourself then mimulus flower essence will help you release fears of not having enough.
As we turn our attention to the parts of ourselves that are exposed in our attitudes to shopping we find the beliefs and feelings that subtly operate in other aspects of our lives, keeping us out of a loving connection with our true selves.
The energy of peace, love and joy
So where do I sit with this? I’ve been in both places. I’ve been so unhappy and insecure inside that I’ve bought things to feel better. I’ve been so rigid and ranting that I’ve refused to ‘buy into’ consumerism. Neither of these positions made me feel good. Neither nourished my heart.
We find peace within when we don’t need to consume to be happy, nor do we need to deny ourselves to feel good. Observing how our attitudes influence our choices and releasing the energetic blocks by taking essences moves us into a gentle space of love and acceptance. That nourishes our hearts.
To buy or not to buy? Neither is right, neither is wrong. When we buy from a place of feeling our hearts are already full and overflowing then we buy as an expression of love rather than an expression of neediness.
And if our decision not to buy comes from a soft open-hearted place of ‘I choose not to buy because my needs are met already and I show my love for myself, my friends and family in other ways’ that is healthy balance too.
Just check in with your heart and allow your choice to come from a heart-centred space of peace, love and joy. Regardless of religious or spiritual beliefs, isn’t that what the festive season is about? Isn’t that what life is about?
If you resonate with any of these feelings, I can combine a 25ml bottle of the Bach Flower Remedies that release them to bring you back into your heart space again. Releasing Lack blend combines chicory, pine, larch, crab apple and mimulus; Softening Within blend combines rock water, beech, holly, vervain and mimulus. If you see all of these aspects within yourself then these can be combined in the Accept and Allow blend.
Email me to order the Bach Flower Remedy combination bottle that resonates with you. All blends are amplified under a crystal pyramid with love and healing and cost £7 +p&p.
Select and buy stock bottles of Bach Flower Remedies to use again and again here.
Do you want to explore your feelings in more detail? I offer one-to-one consultations and intuitive diagnosis to help you shed light on unhealed emotions and beliefs. As you gain greater self-awareness you can move back into a deeper connection to your heart again.
First published in the Essence of Wild newsletter November 2010. © 2010 Jackie Stewart.
Click here to receive articles like this delivered to your inbox every month.