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stuffBy Shawn McAndrew

I recently got an email reminding me that, despite the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Shop Local frenzy, we have hearts, lives, love, and families and friends that we need more than stuff. The things you can’t buy should matter more than the stuff you can purchase. After all, what is stuff – materialistic filler for something you feel is missing from your life? Something that makes you feel better after any kind of loss?

How Much Stuff Do We Really Need?

We all need things in life, but how much do we need? Do I really need that new sweater, or that extra pair of sunglasses? I might want them, but do I need them? I have to ask myself, “Are they going to make me happy, or am I just filling space in the closet, on my bureau, or in my heart?”

There are better ways to fill good: visiting an older friend who can’t get out much to be with others; volunteering for an organization that is making a difference in the world; donating money to good causes; singing carols with a group of people in the neighborhood; or simply helping someone carry groceries out to their car. We don’t need to look far from home to feel or fill good; we just need to show up and be present.

Shopping Happens!

In the Process we come to understand how we carry and act out our inadequacies and lacks – lack of love, attention, connection, community, affection, knowing. When we are not consciously aware of what we are lacking, we still know subconsciously that we need something. Our patterns then dictate how we react to a situation or another person out of our learned behaviors; and vicious cycles are born: Bad behavior is exhibited → Negative Love patterns take root → Regret rises → Sorrow ensues → Shopping happens… and an unneeded sweater is purchased.

This may be oversimplifying the Negative Love Syndrome and subsequent cyclical behavior, but the point is that we do things in our lives out of reaction, and post-Process we have tools with which to deal with life’s hardballs.

We Have What We Need

The next time I feel the need for a shopping spree, I can sit down and do a Quadrinity Check-In to find out what my body, intellect, and emotional self really need. My spirit might direct me to take a walk in the park – that might be all I need. Or maybe I can make a quick call to one of my siblings and ask how they’re doing. Perhaps I will make a donation to the Hoffman Scholarship Fund to help someone I don’t even know have an opportunity to find the same help I got over 20 years ago. The Hoffman Process lives on in anyone who is willing to stop, listen, and love. The “stuff” we’re looking for? We already have it – in our hearts, lives, love, families, friends, and our selves.

Special thanks to Freddie Camozzi for her inspired edits.

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