“Full Moon Ritual Set on Sale $28”
“Includes powerful crystals to heal unwanted traumas, Smudge stick to clear your space, Chakra healing tea to balance your inner energy, And intention setting journal to approach the new year with potent initiative.”
OKAY…STOP. JUST STOP RIGHT HERE.
What about this ad is harmful to your mental health?
I’m sure there are those of you reading this article who have already purchased sets like this as gifts for yourself or others. And some of you will get pissed and judge me for writing this article. And that’s fine with me. Because the more obviously triggered you are by my questioning of societally detrimental norms, the easier it is for you to observe your reactions, thereby getting to know yourself more intimately, and growing through them. If we never get triggered, then we don’t reprogram our responses to our triggers and we remain stagnant in the cycle of comfortable, self-induced, build-a-bear spirituality that pop-wellness makes money off of. If you disagree with what I write here, I don’t care.
What I do care about is how your disagreement is expressed and what that says to you about your internal narratives and triggers. Because that’s where your growth lies. I wouldn’t even take the time to write these articles if I didn’t care about your growth or mine. That’s the whole f*cking purpose of them. You are an incredibly powerful human whose mind can change and interrupt old patterns with new ones. This process isn’t always a feel-good process, but I genuinely believe that many of us are passionately looking for ways to evolve. Asking ourselves difficult questions and loving ourselves enough to question ourselves is an important part of that process.
Getting back to our lovely ad up above. Have you figured it out yet?? You might be saying to yourself, “What’s the big deal? It’s just an ad for a positive group of products meant to help people be empowered.” And on the surface, you might be right. How about we take a step back though, and take a look at the macro? What do these products say about people in general? That these products will fix, heal or balance us? That we need more stuff? That fixing ourselves is the solution? That fixing ourselves can be done in isolation? That the wellness industry is here for your benefit so you should feel good buying these products because they are designed for your wellbeing?
Well…shoe drop…they’re not!
These products are designed to use you for one thing…to make money. Let’s just be honest about it. The marketing is designed to get you to buy, not to evolve. If the human condition on this planet and your wellbeing were at the forefront of these product leaders’ minds, do you think they’d be throwing more products at you that promise no provable results other than a placebo effect in more packaging with more of the same bullshit distractions at the core of their supposed spiritual validity? Or would they be working to better the detrimental system we currently have in place? Now, for some of us, I do need to point out that I’m not talking about products that measurably benefit us in ways that we need.
Think about it a bit, and you’ll know the products I’m talking about. These extra knick knacks are usually superfluous. Is buying a smudging kit going to help you reprogram the subconscious settings that run 95% of your day? Are you going to transmute generations of trauma by drinking fancy tea in cute packaging or spraying your face with rose oil? These chakra balancing blah blahs and crystal blah blahs and smudging blah blah and wellness paraphernalia that only adds clutter, materialism, and bandaid feel-good hormones to your life, with the occasionally added effect of arrogance points. “Why so angry,” you might be saying at this point. Let me ask you, why is it that we judge women as angry when they question the industry status quo and demonstrate critical thinking skills, but when a man does it like Mark Manson or Gary John Bishop we label them as compelling no bs thought leaders? If I had a d*ck between my legs would you read this article differently?
Consumerism is destroying our planet so why do we think it’s the answer to our unhappiness? The upwards of 4.2 trillion dollar wellness industry proves that we are seeking more of the same; to buy our way out of our present condition. I’ve had so many people advise me to start selling this product or to use my sexuality and status and wellness savvy to sell some other thing. Why don’t I? I’d be raking in money if I did, I’m sure. And believe it or not, I do like rose oil spray and I do like crystals, but I don’t expect these things to fix me or obsessively spend tons of money on them at overpriced shops when I could be investing in myself or others with that money. I also don’t market wellness products like this, because our wholeness can’t be bought and real wellness can’t be sold in a tin or jar. And I actually do give a damn about people having access to authentic growth for themselves! I can’t offer you that by putting together a chakra cleansing kit and telling you it’s going to cleanse you of your anxiety.
I’m sorry to those who take offense to this, but I’m not sorry for the reason you might think. I’m sorry mainly if your taking offense is keeping you from questioning and getting to know yourself deeper in this regard. If it’s keeping you from realizing that you are taking offense because you are being triggered and defensive about some truth you know deep down inside but are avoiding. Hopefully, you’ll realize that what I’m saying is for all of us to keep ourselves in check from fooling others and/or ourselves into losing valuable time, energy and other resources. This goes for me, you, and everyone else in this industry including both sellers and consumers. Distraction can be an asset when we use it to redirect for the purpose of reprogramming or CBT type treatments, however, when it is used to focus our attention on a pseudo-solution for a problem that stems elsewhere, that is called a detriment.
Let’s ask ourselves, what is really being revealed about our persona development journey when we see this kit and in an instant want to purchase it for our ‘wellbeing’ but as soon as we see an add for supporting refugee children for the same amount, we feel and do nothing. Is it a higher priority on our wellness radar to use our disposable income to buy more stuff that doesn’t have researched benefits for us but makes us feel good for a moment, or to choose to cultivate empathy, compassion, and unity by supporting another human being who is literally dying?
You’re reading this article on a site that sells these products, why?! Because if I only published on sites speaking to the choir, I’d be keeping those who could benefit most from these critical thinking articles from having access to them. Again, it’s because I care about the cultivation of deeper thinking skills. And beyond that, the process of dissecting and reprogramming how we want to think.
This holiday season, I’m not telling you what to do. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy this or that if you have the money and it feels good. I’m asking you whether or not your reasons for buying these things align with the core values you say you represent. I’m asking whether or not you can find other ways of spending your money that align more closely with your definition of wellness. And perhaps even question if your definition of wellness is the most nourishing definition for yourself and others in your life. We can ask ourselves questions all day to try and understand our motives, but we often only arrive at enlightening answers when we ask the appropriate questions. And they aren’t necessarily the easiest ones to ask. I encourage you to take away three things from this article:
So, friends, I’m not angry, I’m interested. The question to ask yourself is, are you?
- What questions are you asking of yourself during personal and/or spiritual reflection? Are they all feel good explorations or lesson?
- How can you invite and set up systems in your life that keep you aligned with your values even when you don’t feel like it? Remember, intuition is not the same thing as feeling good about something.
- Where in your life are you bleeding resources into distractions and can you change that? (time, finances, energy, affection, attention, etc…) Keep going and ask, can you shift your relationship to distraction so that it becomes an asset in your life?
So, friends, I’m not angry, and I’m not arguing with you, I’m interested in honest personal development that isn’t driven by only my feeling, only my body or only my mind. I want to consider it all without fear of what I might find and I’m committed.
The question to ask yourself is, are you?
Maraliz is a sound practitioner, wellness activist, and artist based in Brooklyn who works with clients and organizations all around the world. If you’re interesting in attending her Sound Meditation Certification program in January 2020 or working with her in another capacity, please visit her instagram or website @maralizcam www.MaralizCampos.com. Her full bio and credentials can be found on our author’s page.