In April this year, we had a session entitled “stuff”. The main aim of the session was to talk about how stuff affects our day to day life and even how it gets in the way of the important things we hold dear. Initially we all talked about stuff that we find distracting or tempting. The stay at home mums admitted a tendancy to escape online, to sites like mumsnet or ebay when they could be interacting with their kids or doing something productive like housework! Essentially using these sites as an escape of sorts. Others mentioned how material stuff can interfere with life as well. A hankering after more stuff often steals our attention. For example the need or rather desire for a new top or the perfect pair of sandals is basically not a need but a want and fundamentally not important, but the high of shopping and consuming can be pretty addictve. It was also noted that the guilt of the purchase often then overtakes and replaces the high that came with the initial purchase.
We’re all bombarded with advertising and really by now should be wise to it, but like lemmings we just keep hurling ourselves after more and more stuff which doesn’t satisfy, or enhance or prosper us.
So what can we do to counteract this? The ideas we came up with are as follows;
1) Take a minute to think about what your priorities are. Who needs to be cared for, what needs to be done, when and how can I rest?
2) Be honest about why we want stuff, what are we trying to achieve? Popularity, status, attractiveness? Why do we feel lacking in these areas? Who are we trying to impress if not our nearest and dearest?
3) Try to focus on who we love and think about how our relationship with stuff (both material and time based) affects them. Is this negative?If so, maybe we should make a conscious decision to take a break from the things that have an unhealthy hold over us and instead think of doing something that would benefit someone else either at home or in the community.
We all need an outlet occasionally and buying products or filling our time with lots of activities aren’t necessarily wrong, but are they getting in the way of real life, or perhaps replacing real joy and fulfillment with a sense of always wanting more or needing to be busy?
Sometimes we just need to stop what we’re doing, take a deep breath and decide whether or not it’s worth our precious time. Life is short, love is precious – what’s important?

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