Lagom and EasterApr 04, 2021
By Hayley McDonnell
The words ‘frugal’ and ‘frugality’ certainly stir up negative connotations and can be understood as the opposite of abundance though both have their place in modern lifestyles. So, it makes sense to consider the word ‘lagom’.
When I first read the word lagom I thought it was a misprint, as the word was a new one for me - but the more I have discovered, the more I want to live a lagom-inspired life. English dictionaries describe the word as ‘enough, sufficient or just right’ and can even be understood as balance, moderation or suitable.
In truth, it really is a Buddhist concept who seek ‘The Middle Way’ in their lifestyle choices with just enough so they don’t experience greed by wanting more, but similarly don’t experience bereft by not having enough. However, within the Scandinavian framework (from where this concept derives), it is all about the joy of living within your means and finding satisfaction in not filling our homes with lots of unnecessary clutter.
This trend, which is thankfully becoming more and more in situ, is all about recycling, reusing and upcycling, and even extends to us consciously thinking about our food purchases so we don’t waste it by buying too much and then throwing it away. Installing light sensors in our rooms may seem extreme but it can also be considered as a way of saving electricity for ourselves and therefore benefitting us financially, but on a quid pro quo basis by looking after the environment too. I still remember as a child of the ’80s, my Dad walking upstairs and stating, ‘It looks like Blackpool illuminations up here.’ I think we only left the landing light on!
The double ‘C’ of conscious consumerism hadn’t yet reached my adolescent world and I think for my Dad it was stated from a financial perspective. Nevertheless, the results are all the same. All of this comes under the remit of conscious consumerism.
As Christians acknowledge Holy Week and attend church services (albeit virtually) which reflect on the significance of the events, chocolate manufacturers are revelling in the opportunity to sell chocolate Easter eggs and other goodies. The juxtaposition between the Christian doctrines focusing on ‘loving your neighbour’ and the proliferation of chocolate eggs can be stark. It is not uncommon when introducing Holy Week to students that I teach, to hear the comment, ‘Oh, so Easter is about Jesus, I thought it was about chocolate!’ For many, this was the first time they had heard about the concept of forgiveness and reconciliation. This statement reveals so much about the increasing secularisation of the UK.
As part of the impact I am making on the environment, I am becoming more and more mindful of my choices in my own lifestyle, such as:
- Online delivery with no carrier bags
- Taking reusable bags to the supermarket
- Always having a bag in the car
- Donating to charity
- Repair and mend
- Choosing packaging that can be recycled
- Choosing products that are naturally based
- Living in a vegan/vegetarian household.
As a family, we recognise and acknowledge the festival of Easter and indulge in some chocolate too. Balance is the key here. The over-arching theme of this Christian festival and the expected sugar rush of too much chocolate surely remind us of the need for lagom in our lives.
Social - If lagom is the key to balance and harmony, who do you want to spend more time with and who do you think you should spend less time with? Think about what you want to gain and what they will gain too.
Moral - How do you feel about consumerism? Are you guilty of consumerism? Do you feel guilty?
Spiritual - Easter is a time for hope, new beginnings and a positive outlook. What do you hope for yourself and especially others? Take some time to work out how to turn these hopes into reality.
Cultural - The sign of the cross in the window of a believer across Western Europe and beyond reveals the faith of the household. What signs are there in the window of your home which share with others what is important to you? What would you share if you could?
Hayley McDonnell is a Personal Development/SMSC consultant and author intent on bridging the gap between countries, cultures, customs and ultimately people with “Global Collaboration” Her aim is to make our world feel smaller by connecting with our similarities and embracing our differences. She loves to travel and meet new people from different backgrounds, countries and cultures. You can find out more about Hayley here.
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