White snow has blanketed my home; its gentle arrival triggering a quietude in me alongside the seasonal rhythms. Summer’s bustle is now in the past and the colourful holidays of winter are still on the horizon, so this peaceful moment betwixt is a place from which I can draw a deep inhale. But, as my filling inbox reminds me, Black Friday looms.
I have mixed feelings about consumerism around the holidays. On the one hand, for creators selling their wares this season is an opportunity to step up their sales and bolster themselves through the drier days that inevitably follow. Yet, do people really need more stuff? For a lot of things, especially low quality goods from mass manufacturers, the answer is probably no if we are honest with ourselves. But for other purchases, I do have an optimism in the power of responsible sourcing both for one’s own possessions and the sharing of thoughtful gifts with others. On these accounts I think the world would benefit from a deeper approach to materialism – caring more about the object itself so that it is used well. We vote on what is successful with every dollar we spend, and in a sense there is an opportunity to influence change with our choices.
Living involves consumption, which in itself is not a bad thing, but between the incessant marketing messages vying for our attention we would be wise to remember to be thoughtful about our needs and wants. As a consumer, consider:
- Why do I feel the need for this thing?
- What industry am I supporting in its purchase?
- Will it be used well?
As a creator, I need to consider what role I will play in this marketplace as well. I will not be having a Black Friday sale. The things I have on offer have been carefully valued to be fair from the asking price, rather than building in excess overhead so as to be able to offer perceived discounts.
There will be no sales here, but instead I will be paying it forward. From November 22nd until November 26th, 50% of all profits from my online print shop will be donated to the Vipassana Meditation Foundation. This organization is of personal significance to me, as I have greatly benefited from their donation and volunteer-based model of offering meditation retreats worldwide. They promote a sincere and committed meditation practice accessible to all, in hopes that we can each commit ourselves to doing the personal work required to be our best selves out in the world.
It is my sincere hope that you will be inspired to also pay it forward, as I think that it is important to budget for generosity in all of our business models. Whether that means you purchase a tapestry or set of greeting cards from me as part of this promotion, choose some sort of action to personally give back on your own, or simply bring some extra thoughtfulness into your purchasing decisions this holiday season, I hope that you are able to cultivate peace for yourself and those around you in the coming season.
Browse everything currently available in my online print shop here.
Update on 11.27.18: Thanks to everyone for there purchases! All orders have been shipped and should be in your hands shortly. Your generosity will continue to support good things for some time to come.