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Experiment with the Art of Consumption

Waterford vase with roses

In our society, many people who have a lot of nice things are judged as materialistic, that they have “too much” and that money could be put to “better use.” I recently listened to an episode of Joy of Business radio show titled, The Art of Consumption, and I started to wonder what it would be like to think about this in a completely different way.

Thinking about materialism and money (or anything else) differently when you’ve always thought your beliefs are absolutely true can be tough for some, but it can also be easy. Being curious about your thoughts and asking questions can help you determine if what you’ve always believed or grew up to believe is really true for you. I’ve had some good practice with this over the years, and I really looked at what my beliefs about consumption and its role in our lives.

What if being surrounded with things that nurture you and bring you joy was not a wrongness? What if these things added to the energy of creating more in the world, being more, and receiving more? What if I didn’t put myself last? What if having more was an art?

The Experiment:

On the show, Christopher Hughes tells the story of how he came to purchase two sterling silver salt dishes, just for him, for joy, and how it was actually a commitment to his life. It’s a cool story, and I invite you to listen to the show if you would really like to get the energy of this.

I asked myself myself, what is something I desire that I don’t really “need” that could cultivate this same energy? The idea came fast, a Waterford crystal vase! I buy fresh flowers a couple times a month, and have several basic glass vases, but a really nice one would be a total delight.

I started searching online and the general range for a new one is $40-$400 depending on the collection. Then, I remembered that Christopher mentioned he got a deal on the salt dishes, and they were worth more than what he paid. I learned about what markings to look for, and how to date the pieces. I went on eBay and scored a pre-1992, signed Waterford crystal vase with Kilrane pattern (the higher collection) for $15!

It came in the mail with cobwebs still in it, probably left unenjoyed in a cabinet and forgotten about. I laughed as I cleaned it, and promised it would be happier and more loved now. I learned that vinegar easily rinses away any cloudiness. Now it’s the first thing I see when I come through the door, and makes me smile.

My next question is how can I expand this into other areas of my life? What would it be like to be surrounded by items that make me smile? I’m excited and looking forward to the process.

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