'It is better to want what you have than to have what you want.'
I first considered this truth bomb around Christmas time a few years ago when I was meeting regularly with a group of middle school students about Quaker values. Along with most Quakers, I believe that simplicity is totally sacred, even magical. The lessons of simplicity make room for profound revelation, hold potential for the spreading of peace, and support the healing of our extraordinary planet. I am thinking about it again now - about wanting what I have - because it’s another way of saying the word “gratitude”.
The young people and I put together alternative Christmas lists. We wrote down all of our favorite things and shared them with each other. It was exciting. It made you want to go home and revel in the way things already were.
I am constantly getting caught up in episodes of insatiable wanting. One of the first times this happened to me as an adult, I realized I had unknowingly memorized my own credit card number because I had typed it into so many shopping websites lately. These episodes of pseudo-deprivation are remarkable in that they are never resolved by acquiring the magic item, or number of items. I have to snap out of it somehow, usually by moving into awareness of how great things are.
This activity is all about identifying the things you already have that are totally aligned with your heart, spirit, senses, or childhood dreams. What possessions make you feel most like yourself? Like the best version of yourself? What makes you gloriously comfortable? What would you grab right now if the house was burning down? What do you love to show off to friends? What objects and devices make your life easier?
Now, take a moment to revel in it.
Next, pick a few items on your list that you’re either unbearably excited about and/or are unable to live without, and bless them. Connect to them as if they were alive, because indeed your enthusiasm infuses them with something.