It's All I Need
The edge of fuchsia catches my eye. A sunset kiss reminds me to pause and wrap this day in gratitude and count my blessings.
As I stand on my sweet balcony that faces the trees and creek that leads into White Rock Lake, I look at the "soulful simplicity" of my life and a wave of grace washes over me like the evening sky.
Walking back into my bedroom, I turn around and say in regard to my "treehouse" apartment, "It's all I need." I smile as if the trees and I are in verse rhyming about our lives and all that we receive with such joy.
The remark triggers a remembrance from this morning as my mind wandered backwards to a conversation I had with a third grader who emphatically declared, "I want a gadzillion dollars so I can buy all of the stuff I want and be happy."
As a mindfulness teacher, I pause to breathe and carefully craft my response like a master florist prepares the most elegant bouquet. Trying to pinpoint what he was feeling in the moment to discover what need is not being met, we sit and talk.
"Stuff doesn't last and stuff won't make you happy. It all comes from within here," as I point to my heart.
"What did you get for Christmas five years ago that you really, really wanted?" I inquire.
He pauses. "I think I got a stuffed animal."
"At the time it probably made you happy, or you thought so. But now you don't even remember."
He shrugs his shoulders. His mood is heavy. A glimmer of understanding twinkles in his eyes.
l pull out my iPhone and share, "I love how I can take photos with my camera and connect with my family and friends. But this is not the source of my happiness. It just adds some ease to my life and sometimes it can be annoying when it doesn't work."
I give him a few more examples that he could relate to as he stared at the floor just waiting for his mother to pick him up so he could go home and fall back into dreamland where stuff manifests at the whip of a thought and the illusion of materialism satisfies his disenchanted soul.
The delusion of materialism as the ultimate source of happiness has already infiltrated his young mind. Outer stuff does not lead to inner peace or joy. How do you convince a third grader whose backpacked holds a half a dozen toys he bought at a recent school fundraiser that all of this is ephemeral? I remember the friend who would buy her son 20 gifts at Christmas only to watch him move through the wrapping paper like the Tazmanian Devil off to the next void to be filled.
I think of the friend who shops when she is stressed to avoid her emotions that are so uncomfortable. The people over-maxed in their credit cards from emotionally triggered binges of goods that now become monthly burdens of debt pop in my mind. Plastered all over this planet but especially this country are things that you "need" to make you this, that or whatever. The need turns to suffering and perpetuates the cycle of an external source as the panacea for difficult emotions and challenging life situations.
As I sat with this boy, I saw it as an opportunity to plant new seeds about the true source of happiness and to let life be led from within. Thought by thought, choice by choice.
As I sit in my one bedroom apartment compelled to write this, I look around. I don't have a lot and have no desire for accumulation of materialistic things that fill empty soul spaces. I don't need any of this stuff, really. Books are stacked that I probably could give away. But I don't crave more or desire to be chic. I just want a sweet sanctuary to relax, rejuvenate and pray and one day share my love with someone who feels the same. The less stuff I accumulate, the less harm to the planet and the freedom to simply BE.
I would rather collect memories and moments with my friends, family and the one I love like trinkets on a charm bracelet. Savoring exquisite sunsets and listening to the harmonies of the feathered clan fill my heart. A walk and talk to clear someone's mind or a bite of a scrumptious lemon meringue pie fulfills me deeply. Experiences are what I love not stuff. Along the way I may collect a thing or two but not because something is missing within me. They become postmarks on Infinity of precious times of living from the inside out.
A simple life.
It's all I need.
I am grateful.
I think of the boy and the dreamworld he wants to stay in. I hope he finds his mojo and magic within.