Tag Archives: shopping

Day 290 – Shopping for a laptop

Yesterday I set off for the second time to look at new laptops. What’s wrong with the one I have? A while ago it got dropped. It still works as well as it ever did, but because it landed on a corner and the hinge got damaged I can no longer open and close with any ease or confidence. Clearly, this rather gets in the way of its usefulness as a laptop, especially for someone like me who carries it around a lot, mainly to show PowerPoint presentations.

The above story means that I had a very specific idea of what I wanted. I don’t need a good computer for home. I have that, even if it is five years old. I was looking for something as inexpensive as possible to carry around. Nonetheless, I let the salesman, who (as far as I could tell) was very knowledgeable and helpful explain a few different models to me. I went home with the least expensive model that fit my needs, but being open to what he was telling me means that I feel good about the choice I made. I felt I was informed.

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Day 152 – Shopping

Saturday I went shopping, which is something I don’t do very often (except, of course, for groceries). I need a new washing machine so went off to see what could be bought for a reasonable price. Suddenly, I found myself looking at mirrors, toaster ovens, DVDs, coffee makers, and irons–although all I need is a washing machine. But it was interesting and refreshing, and I was grateful to have the free time to do it and not keep looking at my watch.

I even carried on when I went to the natural foods store. Instead of just picking up what was on my list, I found myself exploring: What else do they have? What is that good for?

Oh, wait. Wasn’t that an exercise I actually recommended? Oh, yes. Here. 🙂

Wishing you all a good week!

Day 112 – Practicing

A Huna principle states that energy goes where your attention is. I had barely written my post for yesterday when I found myself steering towards a local store that sells a different seasonal and themed series of goods every week. Really. One week in summer it might be everything you need to go camping (LED lanterns, bug spray, solar-powered rechargers for mobile phones, etc.) and at the moment it is, of course, in this Catholic country Christmas items (table runners in red and green, candles, aromatic oils in cinnamon and clove, etc.). In any case, I had only just expressed my desire to really practice curiosity and found myself gripped in it and on my way to satisfy myself—What is on sale this week? That, too, is curiosity and can bring the benefits I wish for. 🙂

Day 082 – Shopping (again)

My excursion at the end of last week was not exactly a Madame Karitska-like shopping expedition. Instead of walking to an elegant department store to look at silks, I went by car to one of the many enormous concrete structures with open pipes running along the ceiling where the surplus of our consumerist society is sold at rock-bottom prices on the outer edges of our cities. (If anyone is curious 😉 as to why that sentence sounds so disapproving, they can watch “The Story of Stuff” on YouTube.)

I wanted to go to a particular clothing store to get some plain black trousers for work, and since a friend was driving that direction she kindly offered to take me with her. We went and got my pants first and then drove on. I had nothing else on my shopping list and don’t like getting conned into buying things I really don’t need no matter how cheap they are. (I’m an especial sucker for fleece blankets but, really, there are only so many I can use at one time.) I decided to treat the shopping trip as a curiosity exercise. And it helped. Walking through an open-air market on a beautiful day or browsing in a local arts and crafts store might offer a more manageable and pleasant experience, an experience that encourages one to linger, but I was nonetheless interested in the variety, quality, and prices of the goods and appreciated the relative good humor of the shoppers and, above all, the cashiers.

Day 011 – The Madame Karitska exercise

The exercise described in yesterday’s post–taking what could count as an ordinary trip or task and making it exotic, exciting, and enriching simply by seeing it with fresh eyes–as done by Dorothy Gilman’s character, Madame Karitska:

“Madame Karitska was going shopping this morning at Banmaker’s, a delight very new to her, and although she intended to buy only a few yards of silk she had arranged her adventure as if it were a trip to Europe. She agreed with Gurdjieff, whom she had known at one point in her life, that one of the most important foods, second only to plant foods, was the ingestion of new impressions to stimulate and nourish the spirit. She chose to walk to the store by a route that was colorful to the eye, and upon arriving at Banmaker’s she stood transfixed at the entrance, absorbing the marvels before her: broad aisles, brilliant light and colors; books in bright jackets with letters fairly catapulting from the page to catch the eye; purses of leather and velvet and tapestry heaped in piles; a ribbon counter dazzling with stripes of fuchsia, melon, scarlet, pink, orange, blues.” From The Clairvoyant Countess by Dorothy Gilman (Random House Publishing Group, 1975).

 

Background

Madame Karitska, the clairvoyant countess, is a fictional character Dorothy Gilman created in the 1970s and then revisited in her book Kaleidoscope about 25 years on. She was a Russian aristocrat whose family had to escape from Russia and fell into poverty at the time of the Revolution. She is portrayed as a child who was born with the sixth sense, who in later life developed her innate capacity for psychometry (divining past, present, and sometimes future by holding and “reading” an object) through spiritual practices and mindful living.

The Gurdjieff referred to in the passage is almost certainly George Gurdjieff, who, Wikipedia tells us, “was an influential early 20th century mystic, philosopher, spiritual teacher, and composer.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gurdjieff)

Day 010 – An ordinary task

The exercise in general terms: Take an ordinary trip or task and make it exciting, fun, and enriching simply by opening your eyes, doing it differently, and letting go of the outcome, at least a little.

For example, if you, like me, go grocery shopping with a list—a very reasonable and helpful practice—then you probably do what I do, which is walk into the grocery store, decide to get a basket or a cart depending on the size of the list, and go as directly as possible to each item, racing then to the cash register to pay and get out as quickly as possible. It’s efficient, and you get what you need and little else. In other words, shopping with a list can save you time, money, and possibly calories.

On the other hand, it is the antithesis of curiosity.

So, if you’re going grocery shopping today, why not leave your list in your pocket? Don’t cheat and simply go to the items you think were on your list. This is not a test of your memory. Walk through each section and take in what is there. Maybe even think a little about what those products—the products you otherwise never even look at—are good for, and who buys them. Take in the colors, the sounds, the aromas, the temperature (the Five Senses exercise ;-)). Try a sample if someone is handing them out. Try not to push past the other people in the aisle in a hurry. Be curious about them, too. And be curious about how all this feels for you. Do you enjoy slowing down and noticing new things or does it make you feel tense? Do you find any benefits (or disadvantages) to shopping this way? Is this a practice you would like to build into your life more often? And, don’t worry, you can do this and still make sure you get everything on your list. Just pull your list out of your pocket before you go through the checkout line and check.

Tomorrow I’ll post an example of this from one of my favorite books.