Friday, November 4, 2011

virtual consumerism

I excel in the art of "virtual consumerism". This is something I found myself indulging in time and time again when I was living so far under the poverty line as to not even be a statistic. The only difference between me and a homeless person was that I had friends who allowed me to "house-sit" for them even when they didn't need a house-sitter and, when I had no place to go I could sneak a sleep on the mattress on the floor of my $50 a month studio space and shower at the Y a few blocks away (I had a free membership because I taught yoga there for $6/hr).

One time my friend Bud bunked at his potter friend's place in the country so that he could take care of "the PIES", the woman's 2 sheep, LAMBY PIE and HONEY PIE (Lamby's daughter) while she was on a 2 week trip. He asked me to "house-sit" the approx. 400 square foot apartment in which he lived. He'd taken an early retirement from his career as a newspaper and magazine writer to devote the rest of his life to his art; he was watercolourist. Bud's pension was meagre but he owned a house a few blocks from the ocean in the neighbourhood of Fairfield in Victoria. Two tenants occupied the bigger and more deluxe apartments that the house contained. Since one of his renters regularly checked out his place whenever he was away there really wasn't any need for my services except for the fact that he identified with my plight as a struggling artist in need of a break, he was a good guy and, despite our 20 some odd year difference, a really close and great friend.

Anyway, Bud and I would meet for coffee and talk about anything and everything: about life and love; give each other insight into the desires of the opposite sex (ours was a platonic relationship); food and drink; what we'd do when we we'd "made it"...

These discussions ignited flights of fantasy. I'd journey into possibilities of what I'd do when I was "rich" (all things being relative rich meant when I had some money in the bank). One dark, stormy, rainy night - feeling like a miserable, drowned rat as I waited for a bus and watched the hookers ply heir trade - I imagined myself at a beach in the Caribbean so fully and completely that I could "see" the crystalline blue waters. I could "feel" the warmth of the sand under my feet (though I was really wiggling my toes in rain soaked socks) and the sun on my skin. Riding the belching bus, huddled amongst a throng of late night commuters,  I "smelled" the salt sea air and "heard" the waves washing on the shore and the wind rustling the leaves of the palm trees. It was so vibrant that I felt, for the first time in a long, long time, hopeful, happy and refreshed; as if I'd really taken this holiday.

This was a brilliant discovery!

I took many such "holidays". I realized that I could virtually "buy" whatever I wanted as I perused shop windows AND enjoy my purchases fully and completely. The funny thing was that once I'd experienced these things virtually I felt no need for them to manifest materially; my desire was oddly, satisfied.

I was a "window shopper". I never actually went into the shops except to get a free spritz of perfume and  accept a free sample or two from the "Spritzer girl" at the Bay. "Yes, you really can get perfume for free." Bud's tenant told me and then went on to educate me on just how this was done. "Just go into the store. Let her spritz you. Smell it. And if you like it show it but tell her you're not sure. Say that you'd   like to try it out. Nine times out of ten she'll offer up a sample and throw in some others. You can even make a request. The stuff lasts forever so you don't have to fork out a dime...Just dress up a little when you go in."

All of this made me feel and smell so much better.

Just this past October, I visited the bookstore at the OMEGA CENTRE many times during my weekend stay. I had given myself a certain amount of allowance to spend on whatever I wished. I carried the cash with me when I went into the store knowing that, at any moment, I could make my purchase. Oddly, I kept coming out of the store without anything. It wasn't that I didn't desire anything, quite the opposite, but I found myself slipping into "virtual shopping" mode.

I found it extremely enjoyable imagining myself owning that singing bowl that I played while in the store. Later that night I enjoyed playing one that rested on its own pillow in the Sanctuary space. I loved the feeling of having the brand new indigo blue, brocade yoga bag - a symbol of the shift into a new phase my yoga practice was experiencing - and scrapping my well-loved, well used, worn out, old, copper coloured one that my sister gave to me years ago. I sang to the chants of Deva Premal, in perfect pitch of course as this is a fantasy, and cherished the crystal lotus I'd "purchased" to place upon my altar. And the spiral earrings constantly reminded me of my weird ways and the non-linear aspect of time.

On Sunday evening the money was still warming my pocket. I finally parted with some of it in the last hour of business, choosing those things I deemed to have the most value - 2 books: THE WORLD IS AS YOU DREAM IT - Teachings from the Amazon and Andes by John Perkins and AWAKENING TO THE SPIRIT WORLD - The Shamanic Path of  Direct Revelation by Sandra Ingerman & Hank Wesselman; knowing that the information they contain will perhaps lead me to places I have yet to discover.

And, to my delight the money which was not spent covered the cost of the gas that got me there and back; something that I hadn't accounted for in my budget for the weekend. WIN, WIN = total euphoria.

This little snip of a pic in the clip
reminds me that
dreams can come true
NOTE: I discovered only a few years ago that Esther and Jerry Hicks, authors of many books on the teachings of Abraham have a version of "virtual spending" which they call THE WALLET PROCESS (see #15 in their book ASK AND IT IS GIVEN). Summary: carry a $100 bill with you, but don't buy anything. Instead imagine buying things you would probably have spent it on. "Spend" it over and over again and feel the pleasure it gives you. Their theory is that it gives you a sense of financial well-being and abundance in that mentally you will have probably "spent" a thousand dollars, or more, in a day yet still have all of that money in your pocket. This feeling of abundance attracts abundance.

It is an interesting theory.

Oh, by the way, in December of the "drowned rat" year I actually spent a week in Antigua and it felt as good as I'd imagined it would.

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