Guilt about enjoying my life, Happy Thanksgiving, and the importance of giving thanks
In the past few days, I noticed that I felt strange about spending money and enjoying my life, while living in a world where the main focus is on lack.
When I presented my feelings to Jules, he jokingly reminded me of the old saying, that “Good news does NOT sell newspapers.”
It is a sad and not encouraging fact, that the media ALWAYS focuses on lack, poverty, crime, and on calamity and disasters.
Because I minimize my exposure to the media, I am usually happy and content with my life, but the minute I listen to the news on TV, or read the daily newspapers, I get depressed and feel guilty for living a healthy, happy, safe life and for enjoying myself.
Today the newspaper wrote about people who cut back on shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, because of the high cost of food.
Unless they were referring to homeless people or to people who have no jobs or are deeply in debt, how is it possible that people cannot afford one frigging turkey, a few sweet potatoes, a handful of chestnuts and cranberries?
In some supermarkets you can buy a whole turkey feast with all the trimmings for only $20.
It could feed a family of four and it is already cooked and only needs to be warmed and served.
It is never the lack of $20 that keeps people living in poverty and in fear.
It is a frame of mind of constant focus on LACK and on what they CANNOT afford, that keeps them living in fear and in lack.
In a very realistic way, the saying that the “Rich get richer and the poor get poorer,” is an absolute truth, because each REINFORCES their own state and MAGNIFIES it, by the beliefs that they holds inside.
Even when I was young and had no money, I made sure to budget for the things I loved and valued.
I made sure to afford myself small luxuries that made me grateful and delighted, and NOT to focus on what was missing.
If I had no family living close by, I made dinner parties and invited friends and neighbors, instead of feeling sorry for myself about being alone…
I always found the money to cook a lovely gourmet meal and to buy drinks to feed my friends.
This attitude of gratitude is EXACTLY what the holiday of Thanksgiving is all about.
It is about shifting the focus from what is WRONG, to feeling blessed……..
It is about giving thanks for what we ARE, and for what we HAVE and for the people and blessings in our lives.
In those early days when I had much less money, I NEVER looked at the designer clothing that I could not afford with sadness in my heart.
In fact, as an artist, I felt that I was cool and attractive in faded jeans and a T-shirt (which were my unofficial uniforms).
At that time, I felt that only unattractive women needed the help of high fashion, jewelry and heavy makeup, in order to shine.
I felt pretty and sexy in my simple outfits, and absolutely glamorous, on the occasions when I dressed in a simple black dress, or covered up in a nice full length black coat and a scarf.
I never looked to what I could not afford with desire.
I ONLY allowed myself to feel desire when I knew that I could afford something, and had to make the decision whether to get it or not.
I guess because of the way I felt, I never really felt lack.
Even when I had many less possessions, it was because I valued emptiness, simplicity, and the calm mind that I felt while living in clean uncluttered places.
Does it really matter if I lived in a clean and minimalist place, because I VALUED clean and minimalistic spaces, or because I could not afford more furniture?
No, it does not matter.
I love living in clean uncluttered places, and stuffy places actually make me feel uncomfortable.
Now that I can afford what I want, I still do not like to overstuff my living spaces with furniture and things.
I feel the same about shopping.
I do not like to buy things in large bulk, just because you get a better price this way.
In America, we have these monstrous shopping stores like Costco, that sell items in very large quantities, at discount prices.
People love to shop at these discount stores and to save.
I only visited a Costco once, and I felt dizzy, unwholesome and could not wait to get out of there.
I believe it encourages a sad mentality of hoarding.
Where would I store 48 rolls of toilet paper? 24 huge jars of pasta sauce? 12 fat bottles of maple syrup? Dry Pasta in containers that are so large, that they could break your foot if they fell on your toe?…
And the savings really only amounted to a few dollars anyway…
The cabinets of ANY house would be overflowing with goods… And that encourages people to overeat, because they need to consume all the goods before the expiration dates….
I’d much rather buy small amounts of high quality organic food, and to visit farmers’ markets or small speciality stores and to support and encourage artisan food.
In many ways, this over-consuming mentality, is the kind of America that I want no part of…
I do know that I am NOT alone in my thinking, and I know many Americans who feel the same as I do, and NEVER enter these kinds of stores.
So why do I feel guilty for enjoying my life…. My money…. My days…My time….. When so many are struggling, are in deep in debt, are angry, sick and needy….
After all, we earned our money legally and with the “sweat of our brows”…… as the saying goes…
We worked for everything that we have…. We donated….We saved, invested and were honest and very generous in dealing with others.
We are NOT trust fund kids, and even if we were, there is absolutely NO SHAME in it….
When I asked myself this question, the answer was: FEAR.
I feel the gnawing fear-based notion, that life simply cannot really be this delicious….
That one cannot truly be this blessed….
That enjoying and celebrating your life, ALL THE TIME, is wrong and it must be balanced with low times… Or with times of struggle…
It is a WRONG notion that I sadly admit to recognize that it exist inside me now…..
It is a fear based notion that crept into me………Totally unwelcome and probably cultivated from memories of the past, and by shadows of sad past experiences.
I need to look at it and to get rid of it, because despite of this fear based notion, I do NOT REALLY BELIEVE that we were born to struggle and only are allowed occasional years of blessings…
We ARE blessed and we only need to navigate our thinking and correct our own wrong ideas so we can enjoy our lives and our many blessings, without guilt.
I have to also admit that I did not only look at my guilt and corrected my wrong thinking, I also made a donation of money to feed 35 families a thanksgiving meal.
Through our local supermarket food charity, it did not even cost that much…
I know a Kiwi artist who lives in Italy now.
She gives thanks EVERY DAY.
She finishes every one of her blog postings, with what she is grateful for that day.
She is not American and she does not do it in the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday…. But she MUST know the importance of giving thanks and COUNTING your blessings, instead of counting only the dollars in your bank account.
See her lovely art and blog at:
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!
May we all be blessed with the wisdom to recognize HOW BLESSED WE ALREADY ARE…..