Yesterday, the term “Mindful Consumption” seemed to be ringing in my ears as I sat with my paintings and prints all spread out in their glory and carefully marked “for sale” at a local art market. I have struggled as an artist (well in many ways), but I often wonder whether producing more “stuff” in a world that is flooded with things is a good practice. Then, as a marketer, I have to convince customers that they should spend more of their hard earned money on the things I have made. It’s a puzzle that I am still working on, for sure, and one that causes me many mixed feelings.
And now, we enter that time of year when consumption is the object of the season. We often consume more than is good for us - whether it’s food or gifts we are fed the idea that more is better and never enough is ideal.
But, coming back to “Mindful Consumption”, I wonder if there is an argument to be made that there is another way to approach the holidays and the whole year of practicing mindful consumption, being hyper aware of all that we purchase and consume so that we can make wholehearted decisions and reclaim our purchasing power in support of goods, services, and consumables that are in alignment with our larger values.
So, instead of consuming from a sense of fear and panic (i.e. must get hottest gifts, spend large amounts of money, and have tons of gifts for everyone), try to consume from a grounded and mindful place - from a place of love and personal values. If we all do that, we not only get to support amazing businesses and people, but we reclaim our power as a consumer.
If you are looking for gifts from alternatives to Amazon or big box stores, you might look here:
If you want to take Mindful Consumption even further, Consider:
Now, back to the market.
As an artist, I know how amazing it is to be supported by people like you. You have the power in supporting small timers, like me, and in doing so, really make their end of the year special. It’s like giving two gifts! (Now I am giving NPR pitches.)
So, maybe you can’t purchase 100% of your gifts from artists. (We all need electric toothbrushes), but try for at least 10% of gifts or maybe even just one gift. It all helps. You will feel better, and the artist will feel amazing.
Your support means the world and you will be appreciated!
What do you think about “Mindful Consumption”? Do you practice this already? Any more advice on how to become more mindful?
ALSO: More to come on Mindful Consumption with respect to media and culture.
AND: This Thursday, I will be posting about another adventure in natural dyeing: Walnuts!!
Anna Lentz, artist and writer, blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.