An Abundance of Nothing

I am trying to need fewer things so I can be richer.

Near Queens Bath on Kauai in Hawaii

The mantra goes something like this…the less I need, the more I have. The desire for more creates a never ending path toward wanting more and needing more. This vicious circle gives you the latest but it quickly becomes yesterday's news and you want the next new thing.  I am not a saint or monastic in my ways but I do try hard to practice this idea of getting past the feeling of wanting something. I do want an iPad. I just don’t need an iPad. I do want a bigger TV. I just don’t need a bigger TV particularly when the appliance Gods informed me in the during the last sixty days that I needed a new washing machine and dishwasher. (Both were twenty one years old- May they rest in peace).

Three things occurred this week to remind me of this and reinforced its importance in my life. A theme occurred to me this week connecting three seemingly unrelated events - a high reading on my water bill, donating goods to Vietnam Vets and a colonoscopy. Let me explain...

I got my monthly water bill which normally I just glance out since it is reasonably low and not a big deal. The bill from Nov 20-Dec 20 was for 22,700 gallons of water this month. Normally that number is 3,000 gallons. I called our water supplier (who was of no help). I did all that I could with my limited mechanical skills and finally I called a plumber. Seventy nine dollars later he showed me that the water company read the meter wrong since the meter reading on my bill was for 1,5980,000 and my meter was just at 1,5769,000. I missed the fact that the reader transposed the 9 and the 7. Although it cost me seventy nine dollars to get this information, I am pleased at how fortunate I was that I only had a seventy nine dollar problem and not a seven hundred and ninety dollar one involving digging up pipes or tearing out walls. (By the way, my water company will be paying this plumber’s bill). So lesson number one had to do with the leak that wasn’t. Just go with the flow with me on this theme; this will all make sense at the end.

Over the holidays, I encouraged the girls to donate an hour of their time to sifting through the stuff we had in our basement that we didn’t need. How ridiculous it is to keep things like chairs, pillows, blankets, old clothes, lamps, kitchenware from college and so much more when someone could use them. So we bundled and boxed up all this stuff and through a few computer clicks, Vietnam Vets came to the house and picked up all these goods. Most of these things included old computers, monitors, keyboards and other electronics will find their way to someone who is less fortunate. I felt so rich giving these things away. The second lesson: The lesson of releasing and letting go is powerful. I was reminded how good it feels to give things away; particularly those things I already have like blankets, pillows and towels.

As part of routine preventative health care, my Doctor thought I should have a follow up colonoscopy. Not a popular and fun topic- but still something that needed to get done. I will spare you the details but I am happy to report a clean bill of health.  The theme of letting go and emptying myself was ever present but my lesson showed up as I was waiting patiently for the procedure.

Lying in my hospital gown (which I put on backwards at first), the nurse came by and said I want to ask you a series of medical questions. Please say yes when I mention a disease or problem that you have had or currently have. She proceeded to read through a list of over 75 things from heart attack, glaucoma, heart disease, renal failure, cancer, migraines, circulatory problems, diabetes and on and on. She went from head to heart and liver to lymph nodes asking about every medical condition.  As I was lying there a bit exposed, I was so grateful to say no to everything and it was my third lesson this week in being richer and healthier for not having something. How fortunate I am not to have any of these problems and to be able to just say no to each and every disease. 

So, I don’t have leaking pipes (house plumbing), I don’t have internal leaking pipes (colon) and I was able to let go and give away things I no longer need. What a joyful way to start the New Year flush with riches and abundance of nothing.  Special moments are worth preserving and savoring when nothing happens. In fact, they are some of the most precious. Keep an eye out for these moments, before they become moments later. 

I can only hope that the New Year continues to give me opportunities to let go of things I don't need and to embrace what is truly important.