A couple of weeks ago, I bought ten brand new Anchor glass refrigerator containers, similar to the vintage variety mom had. I found them at my local Container Store for the lowest price, and if there had been more of them in stock, I might not have stopped at just ten.
The containers and lids are made of glass, packaged in cardboard, with zero plastic. Nada. And they are sturdy, able to survive freezer, oven, microwave, & dishwasher without complaint. Each holds exactly one day’s worth of homemade cat food for Soots and Arya, unlike the repurposed plastic containers I had been using which were all different sizes and shapes and generally a pain in the neck to fill and to stack.
So why the guilt?
Because I don’t buy new things unless they are necessary! I found a used crock pot, used computer monitor, used litter boxes and cat carriers. I certainly could have found truly vintage glass containers similar to these on eBay or Craigslist or in thrift stores. Or I could have just kept using the plastic containers. I’m only filling them with cat food, for crying out loud. And… and… what will Clif say when he finds I’m not making use of the plastic I already have? He once gave me holy sh*t for whining about how tired I was of washing out plastic bags.
Oh, I worked myself into a bit of a lather over these little glass containers, which kind of surprised me. Because in addition to thinking of myself as someone who avoids buying new things, I consider myself someone who has progressed beyond unhealthy emotions like guilt. Ha! As I write all this, my tongue is literally pressed against my cheek because it all just sounds so ridiculous, silly to have such fixed ideas about who I am in the first place. My identity. My ego.
So anyway, for two weeks I’ve been planning to write this post and ask if any of you ever feel guilty for buying new things… guilty to the point that you don’t actually enjoy the new things you bought. That was going to be the whole point of the post, until tonight after spending two nourishing hours with some very, very wise teachers.
This evening, I attended a conversation between Jon Bernie, my meditation teacher, and Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk and founder of ANG*L (A Network for Grateful Living), “a worldwide community dedicated to gratefulness as the core inspiration for personal change, international cooperation, and sustainable activism in areas of universal concern.”
Cultivating an attitude of gratefulness is all about living in the present moment, appreciating what is here for us, allowing whatever arises to be, and finally, saying “Thank you.” And as I walked home afterward and started thinking about writing this post tonight, I laughed out loud. Because I realized that all I feel about these little glass containers now is gratitude. Gratitude for how perfect they are. How they stack so well in the freezer…
and in the refrigerator…
and that they are designed so well and so beautifully. And then the gratefulness expanded to include the humans who had physically created the containers and those who had sold them to me. And when I looked around at the street and realized that my hands weren’t actually holding a glass container but were firmly stuffed in my jacket pockets, I started feeling grateful for empty pockets, and for the thread I used the other day to patch the holes in them, and for the couple of coins that could no longer fall out.
I could go on and on about all the things I felt grateful for tonight as I walked home, but I think I’ve made my point. What’s the use in feeling guilt when gratitude feels so much better?