Saturday, December 31, 2011
New Year Resolution?
"Fifty million is just enough to get me into trouble," my friend remarks as we gave him a Lotto Max ticket for part of his Christmas gift. We sit in his fabulous new house up on his private hill, overlooking a sprawling twenty acres, his horses in the barn snugged up against the winter cold, his three vehicles and a new farm-quad ensconced in the great garage, a log fire ablaze before us, glasses of excellent and very expensive 'Two-left-feet' red wine being quaffed, a delicious meal being digested, and the two young children now quietly abed. "You see," he continues, "I want to invest in a spaceship."
This much from the same man who at the start of dinner tells the delightful story of the happy fisherman who sits every day fishing from the dock, selling his fish to have just enough money. A high- powered financier tries to inspire him to invest in boats, a factory, specialized outlets, all in the name of eventually being so well off that he can retire to fishing from the dock, ...and be happy. Ha! Yes, we spoke of the value of giving others' work, and we spoke of economics, but in the end it was the worthiness of one's moment by moment existence that became our predominant focus. How to sustain that?
New Year's resolutions are a strange mix of wishful thinking and taking stock. There is the gratefulness we express for what we have, for what we've accomplished, and for the immediacy of friends and family and food and warmth. But there's more. There's this wish that gets articulated, albeit reluctantly, vulnerably, for the things one does not yet have. One person wants to quit smoking; another to lose weight; to take time to play more; to do more exercise; to watch out for too much alcohol; to stake more personal boundaries; to claim more personal rights; to learn to manage obligations. To...
...And you? All eyes turn to me.
"Well, I want to develop more of a sense of worthiness whether or not I'm being productive," I say. "Just watching ducks ought to be validation enough for my existence, or how can I validate someone else who does not appear to produce much? My life for too long has been predicated on trying to prove myself. Ha! Is it not enough just to be?"
Silence. Our hostess, a look-a-like for the intelligent young Emma Thompson, raises her glass: "To a human-being, not a human-doing, ha!" Indeed, such is the stuff of kismet.
Interesting that among our gifts for them and their children were three things that with this writing take on symbolic meaning. Not Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh, but for the little girl a snow-globe containing a porcelain butterfly reposing on a dandelion; for the young lad a professional yo-yo complete with an encyclopedia of its tricks; and for the adults a calendar of the insights of Tic Na Hahn. The nature we live with; the topsy- turvy of our physical being; and the very spirituality of our progress are among the cares and interests and loves of our lives. It is effortful. Can worthiness be without effort too?
Worthiness arises out of the harmony of being in the moment without necessarily needing to skip stones across still waters, or needing to shush the children, or feeling less than any given circumstance. We are indeed human-be-ings. But then again, for me, I'll get to just be-ing just as soon as I finish doing what I do here! Happy new year!