It’s simple really.
Firstly, I would like to note the timing of this blog post and how it happens to correlate with the coming of the biggest shopping weekend of the year. Unintentional, but fitting nonetheless.
You know, the one where people go wild and get absolutely nuts over discounted products, to the point where they fight as if their life depends on it. The one where the original purpose of the weekend is lost in consumption. That one… Black Friday and its newer sibling, Cyber Monday. It is kind of like having a glorified and extended Christmas, except without so much of the glory. Seeing as we do not agree with the concept in its entirety, Bambuddha will partake in our own, meaningful way. We will still offer promotions for our bamboo sunglasses, but our campaign will be called “WILD Weekend." For every purchase that is made, we are going to triple our 10% contribution, giving back 30% to our precious WILDlife.
We are ourselves in essence, wild. From nature and one with it. I guess it makes sense to let that wild out sometimes. Perhaps we can do so by connecting more with it, immersing ourselves in nature and grounding to the earth. If we could just remember our roots, maybe then we can begin to shop in a way that not only benefits the individual, but the whole. To buy less quantity and more quality. To be ecologically minded. To consume consciously.
And then there is money…
It is no doubt that we all desire to live comfortably. Who wants to be stressed out on a day-to-day basis over finances? Unfortunately, money is what spins our world, metaphorically speaking; it fuels our economy, our dreams and ambitions, and it is what essentially determines whether we are successful or not. This is the sad reality. The majority of humanity must acquire money in order to survive, so regardless of whether we like it or not, we play the game.
Money allows us to eat, cloth ourselves, be sheltered, pay all of our bills, socialize, travel, contribute to the country, and if there is a little left over, maybe partake in helping the greater good. This is just to name a few, and it is an exhausting list. So who doesn’t want more money to ensure their basic needs are met? Perhaps those who are already millionaires or billionaires, and even then I imagine that they continue to strive for more. It is just what we do as a human race, we run the race. The irony is that money has become so engrained in our nature and yet, it is our nature of being to exist without it.
Throughout our evolution, we have moved away from a gather and share type of mentality (or community), to a trading system, and eventually developing into our current monetary system. We unquestionably live by this newer age system, it is what we know, how we live, and quite frankly, we do not have much choice in the matter.
Our society is driven by the perpetual belief that money is the key to happiness. We are conditioned to believe that this ‘happiness’ we are in search of is something to be found outside of ourselves. It is through mass media that companies and advertising agencies have portrayed the message that we need this and we need that etc., etc. The more consumption, the better it is, and the happier you will be! So they say, subliminally. This is blasphemy, and we fall for it.
Buy, buy, and … buy!
The more we buy, the more money we need to make or the more we make, the more we feel the need buy. Either way, we are feeding the cycle of make money, spend money. Money can give us the life that we had always dreamed of, and at the same time, it can rob us of our truest joy – the internal sense of peace and happiness we get from just being.
Since my last (and first) blog post, ‘Creating a Business: The Joy, Pain, Laughter, and Tears,’ I touched on the fact that I was basically bankrupt and so much happier. This statement has many layers so I will explain further.
At the point of writing this (2 years ago, shamefully so), I was doing everything in my power to stay on course. To me that meant what I am sure it means to most, and that was, keep working, progressing, growing, trying harder, striving for the best, and don’t stop. Well, I was forced to stop against my own will. My health was becoming extremely compromised so staying ‘on course’ was evidently less and less attainable. It was difficult to get through the day, let alone work. There was no energy (physically or mentally), and therefore no income. I was not capable of making sure my basic needs were met. Rather, I went so deep into debt and depression that I had to learn how to live with little, I had to try to find happiness regardless of health, money, or success- or lack thereof. This was my biggest take away lesson from all of the suffering. And boy did I need it.
Road towards internal (and eternal) happiness.
Being an only child, I grew accustomed to almost always getting what I wanted. To me, that was my form of receiving love, so naturally, I wanted more. If I didn’t get the best, I wasn’t satisfied. I was spoiled, to say the least.
I told myself that I wanted the best paying job. I wanted to live well with all of the comforts that money could afford. I do attribute much of this yearning to the pressure of society- the school system, teachers, peers and so on, along with the ridiculous cost of living. It didn’t seem that there was another option.
It was only when I began traveling that I started to see what living with less was really like. I was forced to; there is only so much you can carry on your back with you (along with front, side, and wheeled behind). As the years went on, I started shedding the layers of myself and recognizing the real value of life in comparison to ‘stuff.’ I wasn’t working during my jaunts around the world, so I had to budget and spend wisely. I was no longer able to just buy whatever my heart desired, plus then I would have to lug around all that extra weight and I most definitely did not have the space for it. Little by little, I was becoming more money conscious. It was through these years of adventure that my perspective shifted from ‘having things will make me happy’ to ‘happiness comes from my experiences.’
I’ve seen people across various countries, and although they have cultural diversity, they often have one thing in common, and that is that they are happy. These are people who have very little, who live in poor conditions and yet live rich lives. I was shocked. Was less really more?
Minimalism is a new trend that claims exactly that. To live with only what you absolutely need. By doing so, you are de-cluttering your environment, your head, and your overall life- contributing to less stress and more happiness. An added benefit being that by investing in less, but quality items, you tend to take better care of what you do have. In turn, they will have a higher life expectancy and ultimately contribute less waste to the environment.
Returning back to the present moment.
Although I am not quite a minimalist, I do strongly value those principals. Coming from a childhood where I had so much and still wanted more, it was only fair that the Universe teach me the lessons of lack and necessity. As I progressively lived with less and less money, and subsequently less stuff, I learned to have a greater appreciation for what I already had and a higher sense of gratitude for the things that I could afford. It was apparent to me that I was given the opportunity to 'practice what I preached' while developing my brand.
This new found perspective of money, stuff, and happiness plays an integral role in how Bambuddha does business. Yes, we could just be another business that sells a product, but as we see it, we are an eco-conscious brand that offers a quality, sustainable alternative of sunglasses, one that has preservation in mind for both your eyes and the environment. Through mindfulness and intentional consumerism, we can continue to fulfill our needs all the while being aware of how our actions affect the planet.
We can have less, live simply extraordinary, and be happy knowing that we are making a positive impact.