Having less stuff = more time to do the things you enjoy doing. Living small lowers your impact on the planet, while at the same time frees you of the responsibilities of maintaining all that stuff. The amount of material goods, beyond a minimum comfort, level is inversely proportional to happiness. Some of us have more stuff than we need, some have more responsibilities than are good for us, and some of us just have mental clutter. What could you unload to free up some time and space? Check it out!
(Click the photo for the link to the essay by Parker Palmer that inspired this story telling)
Last fall Leah and I were headed to Moab for one of our frequent mountain biking pilgrimages when we came across a bad car accident. An elderly couple had lost control of their truck and 5th wheel trailer and had rolled it onto its side. The man was relatively unscathed and had been able to get himself out of the truck, but his wife was pinned, upside down and injured in the truck. We were passing before the fire department or ambulance arrived so we stopped to help. Leah is a nurse, but the capacity this scene requested of her was her compassion and presence with another person in their time of need. Leah received an award from the husband and wife at the hospital where she works for the time she spent with this man as he waited for the fire department to extricate his wife, load her in a helicopter and fly her to a trauma center. As people busied themselves cutting cars, rendering medical care, making a landing zone for the helicopter and mitigating hazards of spilled fuel, Leah sat patiently with this man and bore witness to this very difficult time in his life. That is the thing that this man remembered most given all that was done that day. He and his wife walked out of the hospital together. I am proud to walk with this beautiful person in my life who reminds me that the single most important thing I can do in a day is to embrace and connect with the people I meet.
“All the suffering in the world comes from seeking pleasure for oneself. All the happiness in the world comes from seeking pleasure for others” Shantideva
“I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It is the ultimate source of success in life.”
― Dalai Lama XIV
This week we saw “12 Years a Slave” and were reminded of the incredible structure of oppression that existed and how difficult it was to promote anything else. These times in history have of course been numerous and I am struck by the courage of people who are able to go against the grain.
I his book “The TIpping Point,” Malcolm Gladwell asks, ” why is it that some ideas or behaviors art epidemics and others don’t?” He answers this with numerous case studies of well-placed ideas, products and even diseases that are able to go viral. The thesis of the book is encouraging though, that a few determined individuals can make great change.
This video shares an amazing story and ideals worth remembering and upholding.
“Gurus seek wisdom inside themselves, pilgrims look outward (and to others) for inspiration” Paul Elie
This week at meditation we watched how this math teacher connects with the world through giving of his time and affection. In meditation we seek peace and appreciation for the present moment by sitting quitely. In life we practice bringing that peace to the people we meet. I set up a time for us to go to the local homeless shelter to cook and serve a meal together.
A meditative exercise from Jon Kabat-Zinn that helps us to pay attention to what we are doing and experiencing moment to moment…
Each person gets 3 raisins and takes the time to eat each one by first really looking closely seeing the color and then feeling the texture, appreciating any thoughts that arise about raisins or food in general, then smell the raisin, then bringing it to the lips we are aware of the movement of the muscles and salivation and the anticipation of ingesting the raisin. Then we slowly chew the raisin and observe the impulse to swallow. Once it is ingested sensing any increased heaviness or fullness. Are you ready to gobble the other 2 raisins now?!
Obviously this is the slowest, most thoughtful raisin ingestion ever, and it is designed for us to begin to take time to appreciate the experiences of simple pleasures in our lives:)