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Did you get the memo? I hope so, because the messages grow bigger and stronger each day—fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes. Perhaps somebody wants to grab our attention. “Hey, Dudes! You don’t own the Earth. You’re renters and you have no contract that guarantees your space. Think about the reason you’re here. Think about how to enjoy living. Think about what you want to leave as your legacy—but it had better not be STUFF. STUFF can be cancelled at any time.”
Yet we fuss over “things”—the holiday gifts we’re buying, the properties and accounts we control, the words we use to describe one another. All these are fleeting bits of dust. Billions of dollars? They’ll pass away. First, they may poison anyone gripping them too tightly or the ones who huddle close, hoping to gobble up the scraps. Hoarding was never our mission. It doesn’t become us. It brings darkness to the spirit.
I watch the fires in California and the heartlessness of the official response to Puerto Rico, and I know the victims of those catastrophes should be learning the hard way that STUFF was never the top priority. The loss of their STUFF only makes them more vulnerable to the economic vultures who will snatch their land for profit. STUFF is a punitive ankle bracelet, tracking steps that go awry.
I watch the TV commercials for STUFF such as gleaming new cars or even luxury chocolate, and the bottom line is DON’T SHARE. YOU DESERVE TO HOARD THIS ALL TO YOURSELF. Lovely. We celebrate holidays that should be filled with heartfelt introspection by wrapping ourselves in selfishness. “This isn’t what I wanted! Do you have the receipt? I’ll have to re-gift it.” I watched one young woman receive a diamond and platinum ring she had admired respond with “It’s too small! Look at it! It’s too small! What were you thinking!”
The most precious gifts are tokens from the heart—not OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE IT gifts but a tearful “Oh, thank you; this means so much”gifts. I’ve always loved little gifts—funny or thoughtful bits of love. Warm socks can be wonderful. Or Grandma’s necklace. Or tickets to a concert. Or a potluck dinner with friends. (What were your most memorable gifts?) Not just stuff. Love. And if even these gifts burn up or wash away, the love remains, because that was the diamond at the core of the package. I want to know I’m loved and to give the same experience to others. Simply that.
I wish I could insulate or inoculate my family against the BLATHER from Madison Avenue that more is better and more expensive means more love. It doesn’t. Look at the examples we have before us of people who were raised far from any sort of material want so they have no comprehension of need. Their hearts are coated with plastic. Do they learn something when wildfire destroys their favorite house? Or do they merely rush out for more STUFF, never knowing that the people they scorn understand something far more precious than SUCCESS.
I send you love this year. I’m delighted to have you in this world with me, teaching me, caring. Love: it’s my most precious possession and I want to share.