No Good Friday

With money tight but gift expectations still high, folks across the United States got up very early yesterday to be first to take advantage of the holiday sales. Marking the unofficial beginning of the Christmas retail season, “Black Friday” is distinctly an American phenomenon and unfortunately highlights the extreme consumerism in our society.

The most disturbing story is about a 34-year-old worker, Jdimytai Damour, who was trampled to death at a Wal-Mart not too far from my family’s home in New York. At 3:30 in the morning, the crowd had already grown to the point where the police had to be called. By 6am, Mr. Damour, a temporary worker hired for the holiday season, was pronounced dead.

The crowd had surged through the doors like a mob, shattering the glass and pushing through anything in their way. In the process, Mr. Damour was pinned to the floor and trampled, as the stampede kept going to get their holiday bargains. Four other people, including a 28-year-old woman who was apparently eight months pregnant, were treated at the hospital for minor injuries. It made me think of the running of the bulls in Spain or the Palio (wild horse race) in Italy; the only difference is that these were (supposedly) humans, not animals doing the damage.

What has happened to our humanity? Have Americans simply lost their minds? Do things have to get this dark before they get better? Let’s remember what this season is really about… thanks and giving. It’s time to get back to our core values. If you’ve forgotten what they are here’s an idea… instead of rushing out to the stores, gather your family and create “gratitude cards” with each person writing down what he/she is grateful for. Then, read the cards aloud to each other. You will be sharing thanks and giving each other a sense of love and community.

As Meister Eckhardt said:

“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

If you are stressed out, learn some de-stress tips. If money is tight, learn how to boost your health as you create wealth. For more simple ways to spread goodwill, read “The Power of… JOY.” You may also check out “The Power of… KINDNESS.”

With Purpose & Power,