a gift, a privilege, or a responsibility

June 20, 2021

a gift, a privilege, or a responsibility
Hi Newsletter,

 

A question I've been dancing with this week is whether our material worlds show up in our lives as gifts, privileges or responsibilities. How do we view what we choose to hold on to? This question can apply to everything that we store in our homes, work and communities.

A question I've been dancing with this week is whether our material worlds show up in our lives as gifts, privileges or responsibilities. How do we view what we choose to hold on to? This question can apply to everything that we store in our homes, work and communities.

I’ve returned to Manhattan after a little reprieve in nature to help my friend here clear out the building's basement of twenty years of life in items, comforts and conveniences. We got to visit trends that have been pertinent to a different time and now faded into the past and the basement. Like most of us, much of these once loved pieces have been pruned over the years, some carefully stored and some simply forgotten. Listening to the call of when it’s time to let go of what we have in our storage requires one's full attention and lures us to check in with our priorities, indeed.

 

This opportunity brought me back to 2017 when I decided to let go of 70-80% of my material world and follow a nomadic spiritual path. A decision that prompted me to question the value/illusion of my comforts, individually and collectively, physically and emotionally. That time was simple and tremendously liberating, until Spring/2020 when the pandemic hit and a life of 'no fixed address' became monumentally complicated. But this is another story.. 

 

Last week I shared Thich Nhat Hanh’s teaching on the store or subconscious mind as our basement and our conscious mind as our living room. How we love to jam into the basement everything that brings about pain, discomfort or is simply what is no longer wanted in our lovely living room. There are many situations in our lives that land us between attachment and aversion. In the observation of clearing out the basement this week, it felt like a physical journey into this action. 

 

After a day of organizing, a couple of young lads came from Got Junk. They shared with us their endurance and humour, filled their truck and disappeared. It took the rest of us a couple of days to recover our energy, which set up the perfect arena for contemplating the story of stuff. Especially in these modern times when the conveniences of acquiring anything from anywhere in the world has made almost everything disposable. Two or three times this year I've looked into getting something repaired and was told that repair was expensive and I might as well get a new one. This was including my 1 1/2 year old iPhone when the microphone stopped working. This makes me incredibly sad. How did we get here?

 

So how deeply are we willing to peer into our material worlds? The clothes we wear for purpose or comfort, our homes, how we furnish them, what we drive, what we collect, even what we read. Is what shows up in our lives a gift, a privilege or a responsibility? My contemplations showed yes to all of the above.

 

Gift - any opportunity to function with presence in the world is a gift. To be aware of the fundamental wonders of our breath each day is a gift. To recognize the impulses of the heart that's triggered by an innocent smile or an act of kindness is a gift. A person, place, or object that brings you joy is a gift.

 

Privilege - one only has to witness the struggling street folk sifting through garbage for food or panhandling for their next fix to feel the privilege choice can be. To live in a country where you can acquire what supports you is a privilege. To be educated is a privilege. To be able bodied can be a privilege.

 

Responsibility - every physical privilege and gift in our lives come with a responsibility. From the necessary consideration of what and who we are supporting, to how we care and maintain our possessions, to how we share them and dispose of them, is all a responsibility. Whether we have a new sweater we need to clean regularly or a home with its ample requirements... we are partnered with responsibility and privilege. With mindful consumption, what we acquire, support, nurture and what we commit to, can all be an act of love. This is in itself a gift.

 

Wishing you a glorious weekend in your living room, basement and the cathedral of nature,

 

x Gisele
    


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