It’s early morning the Monday after Thanksgiving here in the U.S, and I find myself hiding in my office. Hiding from my email and the seemingly endless onslaught of “Cyber Monday” deals, sales and promotions. They seem to repeat the same offers that “couldn’t be missed” three days ago on Black Friday. Each email feels like a blow to my sensitive soul. I am craving deeper connection and spirit-nurturing activity. Discounts, FREE shipping, coupon codes, and promotions, send not-so-subtle messages to “hurry up” just when I am looking to slow down. That’s why I am hiding, and I have turned my phone on “Do Not Disturb.”
Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-capitalism or against people and businesses marketing to improve their sales. I love supporting small businesses, and I enjoy a shopping bargain. As the Co-Creator of BelleCoeur.com, I know the hours of energy that go into creating unique offerings. It is rewarding to achieve a “sale” when someone resonates with what we have to offer.
Instead, what bothers me about Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the whole holiday shopping push in general, is how the onslaught of emails, online ads, catalogs, and TV commercials create a false sense of urgency by playing to our common fears of “missing out” and “scarcity.”
Do any of these themes feel familiar?
- “Hurry up and buy today or you will miss this amazing deal FOREVER. Don’t miss out!”
- “You don’t have all you need (or you aren’t quite “enough”) so buy this specially discounted thing, and you can fill that hole in your life or the life of someone you love – but only if you buy this gift – right now. “
- “You only really love someone if you show it by buying a costly gift.”
In short, holiday marketers are counting on a “buying reaction,” and they use phrases and emotional tricks to get a response. I think that’s why it feels so heavy to me this time of year – because every email seems to have the same underlying intent to make me move faster. I remember reading a blog post several years ago by Merlin Mann in which he argued, and I am paraphrasing his thoughts here, that anyone who wants to sell you something is hoping to make you believe – for just five seconds – that they know what you need better than you know yourself. Five seconds is all the time that’s needed to get you to believe their “story” and click the Purchase button. No wonder they want you to hurry up.
It frightens me how often I am susceptible to these messages. It’s also why I am actively resisting this year and looking for ways to decrease my information consumption and explore sacred/advent/holiday rituals that feed my need for deeper nurturance and restoration.
If you too want to “go deeper” this Advent – here are a few ideas:
- Turn off all your electronic notifications. Stop the audible “dings” and interruptions that permeate your daily routines. Let quiet infuse the moments of your day. Rest in the surety that you are enough, just as you are right now, you have enough, and you won’t be any less if you miss a few emails and promotions.
- Create space for calm and quiet in your day. Make this part of your Advent practice. Brew a cup of tea, sit down, and let silence envelope you. Even five minutes a day of silence will work wonders. Silence is restorative as it enables you to reconnect with your intuition and your heart.
- Practice a “30-minute Purchase Pause.” Before you click the buy button and finalize any online purchase, set a timer for 30 minutes and wait. If after 30 minutes you still feel the need to complete the purchase – go right ahead. But this practice of pausing for 30-minutes can help you resist messages of scarcity and ensure that your purchases resonate with your heart and intuition.
- Join Sibyl Dana Reynolds, Foundress of Belle Coeur as we explore the “invitation” of Advent to go within, to renew, and to reflect – Thursday, November 30 at 7:00 pm EST. This free 1-hour discussion will take place LIVE on the Belle Coeur Facebook page. There will be time for discussion following Sibyl’s exploration of Advent preparation and practices.
I wish you luck as you journey through the rest of the holiday season. It is my prayer that you find a respite from the urge to speed up and keep up; and may silence find you when its need most. May you trust yourself and rest in the certainty that you are enough and you have enough; no coupon code or amazing deal will ever make you more incredible than you already are today.