I recently noticed that American Express has a new slogan as of April this year after using the phrase, Don't leave home without them, referring to Traveler's Cheques, since 1975 and revising it to Don't leave home without it in reference to their credit card since 2005. The old slogans felt like a friendly reminder along the same lines as Don't forget your umbrella or wallet or keys. It was benign, clever advertising.
The new catchphrase, Don't live life without it, feels more like a warning than a cute prompt or nudge. It implies that life might not be worth living unless I have an American Express card -- holy accumulation, the ego is all over that! Let's acquire as much as we can in return for handing over the plastic (we'll worry about paying the bills later) and then we'll be OK. Someone in advertising at AmEx completely understands the search humans have for self-worth and self-importance and how far outside of ourselves we will go trying to find it. And therein lies the problem.
If we are looking for things or acquisitions to feed our souls we will never achieve our goal no matter how many times we use our credit card. The only reason we want to buy anything is because we hope it will make us feel better. I'm not saying we can't find joy in having a beautiful home, for example, especially if it means we can invite family and and friends over to share meals and special times together. However, have you ever bought something, especially a pricey item that you just felt like you "had to have", and after a few moments of delight or excitement you started looking for the next thing to light you up?
This week's Monday quote was the new American Express tag line and I added,
"It makes me wonder, 'What can I really live with or without?!?' "
In other words, what is truly important to me. So, I started to make a list and these are a few that came up right away:
Spending time with my family
Having a good sleep
Reading a great book, especially if I'm outside on a beautiful day or inside by a fireplace if it's cold out
Feeling like I'm helping someone, even if it's just by listening
My list goes on and I'm taking time to ask myself what I want to live with or without. I've decided to at least think about it and journal a couple of times a week for awhile. Join me if it moves you -- I bet there might be some interesting answers to the question.
Money does make the word go around and it's hard to make change without a checkbook (as the saying goes although checks are rare these days!), but simply buying to fill an inner gap is the same as overeating, drinking excessively or even using drugs. It's looking for a fix from the outside and it doesn't make us feel better. It makes us feel worse and it doesn't allow us to have the quiet, inner conversations with our soul, with our true north, with God in whatever way we might understand that concept. I might be able to buy a fun trip or experience with my AmEx card -- in fact, I'm grateful to have one with benefits that allow me to get some perks. At the same time, I will be paying attention to "living life fully with and without it" -- this is what I wish for you, too!
Sparkles and Love,