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There isn't much more I really need...
I can’t eat all the tomatoes I’ve grown and it’s getting me down.
Because it’s not good to have more than you need and I’m bothered by feelings of abundance.
My dilemma didn’t start this way. A few weeks ago, I was consumed with pangs of desperation for things I wanted but didn’t, or couldn’t have.
List of things I wanted:
More cheese, less weight
More wine, fewer hangovers
A really expensive haircut
A cruise to Antarctica
For the world to be smaller, so I could go home for a cuppa
A new wardrobe of clothes
Motivation to exercise
For the weather to be less sticky
For the sun to shine more
For the sun to shine - in my eyes - less
For the window on the passenger side to go up more easily
More nights out
My friends back home
For my bridesmaid dress to fit
I could go on but I won’t now that I’ve been cured of these childish desires.
A very great man died recently and the loss reminded me where happiness comes from.
It comes from surviving each day that passes us by.
About 6 years ago I visited Kenya. I went with a team of volunteers to build a small classroom in Nyeri, about two hours drive north of the capital Nairobi.
We stayed at St Mary’s Boys Secondary School. Facilities were basic, as was the food, and the entertainment was just what we provided to each other, and not through a flatscreen TV.
St Mary’s specialises in child rescue, which means it takes homeless children off the street, and gives them a home, food, and an education.
At the time the school was run by a very special man called Brother Dominic, a New Yorker who traded in the Big Apple for no apples.
He died a couple of weeks ago and my heart was heavy until I recalled everything I learnt from him and the boys at his school.
That trip was one of the best times of my life.
The kids I met in my three weeks at St Mary’s were the happiest people I’ve ever met, and why?
Because they had what they needed, and they knew what it was like to have nothing.
Somewhere along the line I forgot about those boys, and lost my focus on what I have. I got sidetracked and it wasn’t a good space to be in. Hankering after what I was missing interfered with my day to day existence and I was miserable and stressed.
The people of Greece and Spain are raging against plans for austerity, they don’t want to give up what they’ve got. I understand that, but most of us have a lot more than we need anyway - just saying.
So I started focusing on what I’ve got and a funny thing happened. Everything changed. Honestly, everything got better.
I’m not exaggerating, it happened really quickly too - unlike those diets that say you’ll lose half a stone in two days, and you’re no lighter after a hard week on cabbage soup.
This change of heart has changed my life again, and the tomatoes are symbolic of all the great things that have come my way since I stopped focussing on what I lacked.
One day not long ago I was at lunch with friends and I mentioned I was worried it would rain while I was out, thereby soaking my clean washing on the line.
I thought nothing more of it, and when the torrential shower pummelled the city I got wet and a bit irritated, but I never mentioned the washing again, although it probably showed in my twisted expression.
A friend of mine had been listening to me and she said “See, you get what you focus on”. At the time I tried to burn holes in her positive little head, with a look that said “that’s not helpful, my washing is ruined”. But she was resilient, she let the look go right over her head and out of the window into the downpour.
I’m not saying I brought the weather on myself, but next time it rained on my washing I didn’t give it my attention and I didn’t really care.
After all, it was a reminder I had a washing machine to do my laundry, a washing line to dry it on, a garden for the washing line, a house with a garden, and clothes on my back.
I’m not sure there’s much more I really need...although I still, and always will, want more cheese.
Until next time, from the land of the long white cloud.
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