I'm pretty happy with my family this morning. After attending a screening of the movie, Minimalism, I shared with them only a little of what the message in the movie meant to me. Everywhere I look, there are little piles of what they are ready to let go of, stuff they see as excess. I have to be honest, I haven't quite digested all of the movie's implications on my day-to-day life. It's not easy to look at all of one's possessions and realize that most of it isn't really needed. For example, I have a Hohner harmonica from my days at Cal when I aspired to sit on the steps of Zellerbach Hall and play one of Stevie's numbers to a cute girl passing by. I have not played nor touched it in over ten years. But as I went to place it in the "excess box" my hand would not release it. All the memories flooded me. So, I did the next best thing. I played some horrible sounding riff (not horrible, "poor acoustics," according to PB) to Nancy on the phone and told myself, "I played it to a really cute girl on the phone. It must be worth keeping."
I've been thinking recently of materialism. What does it consist of? When I thought about it, the concept of spiritual materialism came up. This comes up when we are uncertain about who we are, as if we can really know who we are. Am I definite person? Am I a complete person the way I always wanted to be? Do I have power and security?
When we think in these terms, a certain dissatisfaction comes up. And, as Nancy might suggest, a temptation to compare seems to overwhelm us. How can we know the answers to these questions without comparison? And, what are we comparing ourselves to? It's good to have someone in your life that brings you back to reality, a foundation that so many of us are lacking. What I mean by that lacking comment is that the only reality that matters is here, NOW, this moment. A lot us, including me at times, are hung up on the past or trying to hinge ourselves to the future. When I lob some fantastic ethereal question over to Nancy, she often reminds me that to answer that particular question I will have to compare, and comparing is no good. She asks, "Who am I without comparison?" So, I go back to the drawing board on who I want to be and see the simplicity when I remove all the materialism of spirituality, I want to be "a lover of what is, not because I am a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality." (Byron Katie)
The verse that comforts me this morning: "When I said, my foot slips; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me, Your comforts delight my soul." (Psalm 94:18-19)
I share two pictures of a quilt that have arrested my attention as of late. You see the separate pieces, that's us, we're multi-faceted, complex and yet, part of something bigger. Then, there is the finished piece. You can see how all the separate pieces make up the finished quilt. You can also see the beauty and majesty overall. And, that too, is us.
I'll close with something optimistic...
"Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don't have to like's just easier if you do." (Byron Katie)


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