Saturday, May 29, 2010

On Possessions

"There's nothing I have to have, there's nothing I have to do, and there's nothing I have to be, except exactly what I'm being right now."

- Neale Donald Walsch

Are you like me in that you really enjoy getting rid of things? Over the last several months I have been getting rid of things in my apartment that I simply do not need, things that I never look at or use. Examples from my closet have been clothes and my collection of baseball cards. Why do we keep things around? Maybe because "one day" we might want to look back on them and they'll remind us of a certain time or event that occurred in our life. But as we hang onto these things, we do so to our detriment a lot of the time, we start to be bogged down by material things and we are less free.

It is in our clinging that we turn our backs on the freedom of non-attachment. "There's nothing I have to have," Walsch says. And it is true. We can get caught up in the lie that there are certain things we must have in our lives to be happy or to be free. But these are illusions. And what if we were to turn that sentence to say "There's no one that I have to have." When we place our identity onto someone else, it chokes relationships and friendships and we end up losing them and getting hurt. Instead, we can have relationships and friendships that are about sharing our individual gifts in a way that is beneficial to other people, rather than sharing them in order to get something in return. If we catch ourselves acting this way, in giving just in order to receive, we have not yet learned that other people can not provide our identity or sense of fulfillment for us.

Walsch continues with "There's nothing I have to do, and there's nothing I have to be, except exactly what I'm being right now."

How freeing this truly is if we let it sink into our hearts and minds. In a society bent on being successful (whatever that means), we can sit back, breathe in, and realize that we are enough. You are enough, right where you are, right now. It is hard to live this truth when we see others getting nice jobs or new spouses, new kids, or new boats. We start to compare ourselves to others and become envious of what they have. Now I'm not saying that these things are bad in and of themselves; there's nothing wrong with people getting married and having kids, for example. But the moment we place our worth on these things, is the moment we become frustrated.

What if our focus turned more toward being than doing? We would have to take a long look at ourselves and ask whether we truly trust our place within Life, within God, that we are beautiful and unique creations just as we are. So our focus can shift from "What must I have to do today in order to measure up (to our own or other's expectations)," to "Who can I be today for myself and others? How can I show up?

Mr. Rogers had it exactly right when he said during almost every show that you and I are special just the way we are. We must realize this and believe this before being able to give selflessly to those we care about. If we don't believe this and let this truth seep in, we may very well catch ourselves giving not from a pure place, but with an attitude of "what are you going to give me or do for me in return."

Who you are, right now, right where you are, is enough. Believe in God, believe in and love yourself just for who you are, not for what you can do.