I suppose I am a rather unusual person in a # of ways. For sure, the life I lead is very different from that of almost everyone I know.
I’m not going to suggest that this is entirely due to my mostly not giving a rat’s ass (as they say) about money – but it is surely an important factor.
I’ve mostly not given a darn about money all my life because my family of origin, as they say, had enough of it to make us very comfortable &, presumably, “happy,” but we were clearly never either. My father was utterly obsessed with money (& status, I suppose. The very commonly-seen dog & pork chop syndrome pretty much describes how it was for him). I chose to go down the opposite path.
So, in this money-obsessed culture, I notice attitudes & behavior around money from a slightly different perspective than that of most people, I think.
As well as not caring much about money, I’m an almost-freakish devotee of gratitude – the active practice of enumerating the things I have, rather than the ones I lack (tons of postings on this blog about that listed here & some great quotations here).
Over time this practice has succeeded in making me feel quite often as though I am a very wealthy woman indeed. (Of course this wealth has nothing whatsoever to do with money!)
So here is a small (& incomplete) list of things that make me feel… RICH:
- Being with friends/family
- Being with little kids, esp. cute ones who want to hold my hand
- Feeling loved/appreciated/a sense of belonging
- Feeling appreciated as an activist
- Feeling appreciated as a mother
- Feeling appreciated as a writer
- Feeling appreciated as a person
- Listening to music
- Having lots of TTC subway tokens in my wallet
- Having good books to read
- Making charitable donations (to groups, & also to individuals on the street)
I’m observing as I note down this list that my richness is somehow tied in with freedom. As well as often feeling rich/wealthy, I often experience a wonderful sensation of energy & potential & freedom.
I wonder how/why I reached this wonderful…place? (Only it’s not a place, clearly. Hmmm. Sensation, I guess.)
I think I got here by practicing gratitude really actively & by following my bliss. That, for me, has always involved doing work that is meaningful…regular physical exercise of some sort…being outside often, hanging out with great people…& writing (& reading).
Well, shoot. I can’t lay out a recipe for this for anyone else. Everyone’s “bliss” is very personal. I can only say what has worked for me. (Joseph Campbell said “When you follow your bliss...doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors & where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else.” Seems to be true…)
I’m feeling rich right now, riding the GO train into Toronto & writing this. I have 2 busy days planned – involving fun social gigs along with nuclear-related activist-type stuff (when you do work you love, work you carry out with passion & conviction, work & play can sometimes feel pretty much like the same thing. The lines kind of blur…you know??)
I’m sobered as heck about the state of the world – all the environmental damage & disasters & economic crises & wars & coming impacts of climate change & current & possible future nuclear accidents & threats (can you say Fukushima? Can you say tons of dangerous nuclear wastes that will be dangerous for hundreds of thousands or even a million years??)
But every day is a gift – & doing meaningful work I love is a gift, & often feeling full to bursting (F2B) with joy & gratitude & potential & freedom…now tell me, how could I not feel rich??
p.s. Nor do I have even the slightest desire to hoard my riches. Nothing would delight me more than sharing them around like crazy. How cool a world might it be if more of us felt this way, hmm??
‘Quote of the Day’ with this post: “The biggest obstacle to happiness is not a lack of having, but a lack of being.” – Alain Lipietz
Runners-up:“Your wealth is where your friends are.” – Plato & “To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it.” – G. K. Chesterton & “The miracle is this – the more we share, the more we have.” ~ Leonard Nimoy & so many others! – here