Black Friday

26 Nov

I find it an interesting paradox that the major shopping event of the Retail Industry is named “Black Friday.’ I mean, I get it – the “black” part of it applies to “being in the black” as referring to a profit margin versus a deficit.

But more and more I feel a sense of foreboding that what “Black Friday” – SHOPPING MANIA DAY! – may gain for the economy, it strips us of something far more important on a personal and societal level.

I think that this is possibly one of the greatest examples of “mass mind manipulation” I can think of currently. I can remember a time when I was growing up when stores were open from 10 am to 6 pm. The big concession to the holiday season began with extended hours to 9 pm. Last night some stores around the country opened their doors at 3:00 am!

The public has been pounded with ads on TV/Radio, in newspapers and special circulars, as well as the internet advocating grabbing the best deals in the wee hours of the morning.

This is mass insanity at its finest. Anyone remember the day before? They call it “Thanksgiving.”  Many attend football games, sit down to a huge dinner, watch TV (maybe more football?) and maybe take a nap to gear up for the challenge of heading to a store by 2 am?

My Dad used to shop for Christmas at 4:00 pm (one hour before closing) two days before we would leave for our annual holiday trip to visit my mother’s family in Easton, PA. He, a Doctor, went to his best friend’s general store in the same neighborhood as his obstetrics office and bought a couple dozen different wallets for the nurses who worked in OB. He somehow managed to have purchased beautiful cards and gifts for mom and me secretly before then and we never quite knew how he did it, but for sure it wasn’t in the middle of the night.

I understand wanting to “jump-start” the economy – but at what cost? The fact is the day after Thanksgiving has been identified as an economic boost for years – long before the advent of round the clock store hours. Just the day before, people were (hopefully) taking stock of their blessings. By Midnight they’re suiting up and warming up to push and shove and in some cases fight their way to the best bargains?

We need to wake up.

First of all, expressing love isn’t about giving the biggest, shiniest, most popular gifts. Are we trying to win somebody’s love?

Giving is about giving of ourselves…our time, our attention, our assistance: Acts of Kindness; Demonstrations of Support; LISTENING to someone.

Want to really get a kid’s attention? Ask them how they feel about the world today – and then GIVE THEM AUDIENCE. Encourage them and help them to put an action plan together to help others.

Visit an Elderly person and look into their eyes, hold their hand. Help them remember their vibrant days…laugh with them…learn from them.

Hug a Veteran.

When we focus on “things,” we lose sight of the importance of relationships. Aren’t the “relationships” the original object of our expression? Gifting is nice. Giving – of ourselves – provides a richer experience.

Grandmother Parisha recently shared in a letter, “Today find many that have less and be with them in heart and mind, give generously of kindness…”  She also advised to “Take time to open your mind to the mystery and uncertainty that we all experience.”

When we take time to connect with God-Creator-The Source, we can move to a greater sense of wholeness. Perhaps then we might seek to fill our lives less with the clutter of “things” and more with the abundance of rich relationships.

One last thought…”Black” in Grandmother’s traditional culture represents “The Mystery.”  We can create our experiences through intention and responding with the ability to “make it so.”

May we all remember the true offerings of the “holiday season” – time for a closer communion with Spirit, our inner self and those we hold dear.  -Deborah Adler

©2010 Deborah Adler. All rights reserved.

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