Choosing Wealth

In Vagabonding traveler and author Rolf Potts talks about choosing how we define wealth. Rather than assuming that “wealth” and “money” are the same thing, he suggests measuring wealth in what we value. Wild concept, I know.

I would love to have more money for things like a trip to Ireland or new tires on the car or a new instrument (still deciding between octave mandolin and mandocello, but it looks like I’ll have plenty of time to ponder it.)

It’s not what I value most. Every time discontent creeps in I remind myself that I have plenty of the stuff live is made of: time.

I rarely wake to an alarm.

Nearly every day, I play some kind of game with my daughter, the last of our 7 children still at home.

Every day, I cook three interesting meals for my wife while she runs the business.

Every day in February, I’ve written a song. Every single day. And recorded a demo thereof.

Deadlines are almost unknown around here. A day off only requires balancing personal needs or desires with what’ll have to be done tomorrow.

Want to spend August in northern Wisconsin (highs in the low 70s) instead of southern Arizona (highs in triple digits and humid as an old sock)? Arrange our work schedule to allow it, plan for gas, the primary expense, and go. (Our travel requires two other factors, a location-independent business [check] and oodles of friends to stay with to avoid expensive hotel bills [check] but those didn’t happen by accident either.)

Today I’m worried about money. Ausoma has lost two big clients (they love us, but need to get other things done before they come back and work with us again) and for the first time, rent for the 1st of the month isn’t a slam dunk. It always works out. Always. We both have faith, Best Beloved and I, and it always works out.

So today, I’m going to enjoy the time I have and not worry about what I don’t.

asleep fall

a poem

and, overnight, fall
fall the leaves
fall the mercury
fall the crisp carpeting dead to begin the blanket
fall asleep
fall the snow another blanket to hide beneath
to lie beneath
what lies beneath
is falling
asleep

snow-window-sue

I searched for the word mercury to see if I’d posted this poem here before. I didn’t find it, but I found an amusing bit I wrote about the end of the universe, inspired one morning as I tried not to listen to the feed mill 100 yards up the street from our home in Wisconsin.

Is This About Me?

Jonathan Fields writes today about a spiritual conversation around the comment “It is said that if our intention is to help others…we will never have any regret. Regret is a result of trying to make ‘me’ happy.”

my friend Dan O'Keefe: a man who knows the power of generosity
my friend Dan O’Keefe: a man who knows the power of generosity
Another great spiritual leader said there was more happiness in giving than in receiving; that a life of service was the path to contentment.

Years ago, I started using this as a touchstone for my online comments. “Is this about me, or is this about the conversation and the other readers?” Helped me decide between worthwhile comments and just adding to the noise.

It works in life as well. I’ve lived part of my life in unhealthy giving to meet others’ demands (which is really about me, not them) and a bit of it in selfishness, but for over a decade my life has been about the question “How can I serve?”

And, as every great spiritual mind ever has told us will happen, I’ve been more content and had more peace.