My husband and I are not exchanging major gifts this year. There's nothing we need, so why waste our money? On the other hand, I do want Bob to know that I love him and care about him, and that I put thought and effort into making him happy.
Our culture is very focused on acquisition of both things and experiences. There is an underlying assumption at work that freedom lies out there somewhere, if only we can own more of our environment so we can control it more and thus be happy and free.
All you have to do is ignore incoming paper for a week or two and you're overwhelmed. Even if you spend a lot of time online, you've probably still get letters, receipts and other important pieces of paperwork that are piling up in your office or online.
Have you seen the late George Carlin's riff on "stuff"? If you haven't, it is brilliant and hilarious, and it exemplifies so much of what I believe about the over-filled, over-scheduled, over-thought, and over-wrought experiences that we now call life in 21st-century America.
I have gladly sacrificed the three seconds of joy I know I would get 20 years hence when I stumble upon my daughter's first grade report card in a box in the garage. Instead, I toss all that stuff in the garbage two days after it comes home or as soon as no one is watching me.
Many spiritual thinkers, including Don José Matsuwa, the 110-year-old Huichol shaman with whom Brant lived and studied for 12 years, believe that having too many possessions around us can detract from our inner peace and balance.
How often do you tell yourself that you are wrong, bad, inadequate, unworthy, a jerk, stupid and so on? I've found, in the many years I've been counseling, that most people are frequently inwardly judgmental.