Wednesday, January 22, 2014

In Passing

In passing, someone mentioned to me this morning that the part of yesterday's blog post that stuck with them the most was my mentioning that our life is full of abundance.  It really struck them that we are able to look at our current life as having "abundance that seems to flow out of every facet of our life".  And that passing comment, really got me thinking.

The income isn't abundant right now.  The square footage in our apartment isn't abundant.  The amount of stuff we own isn't overly abundant either - in fact it's the least we've had since beginning our life together.  So why is it that now is when we feel "abundance that seems to flow out of every facet of our life"?

I think the answer began several years ago.  If you had a good look into my heart and mind a little over two years ago, you would see a person that was stuck in materialism.  Sure, there are always people out there that are "worse", but I was seriously stuck in a rut of lusting after that which I didn't have.  I thought we always needed to dress to a particular level of perfection.  I was constantly feeling that our house wasn't big enough, updated enough, accessorized enough.  I wanted a new kitchen and a new bathroom, despite the fact that the ones we had worked perfectly well.  I was borderline embarrassed to drive a ten year old mini-van.  I thought I had to get my kids into a certain preschool or they might get behind.

And I don't really remember how it started, but each of those things started to fade away.  I think it began when I first read Simplicity Parenting.  From that book, I stumbled upon Waldorf Education through my dear friend Nicole...and one step just kept leading to the next.  Waldorf Education websites/book/blogs spilled into Simple Living websites/books/blogs.  I started to realize I needed to slow life down for my children.  Having the latest toys didn't matter to their overall well-being and it really didn't matter which preschool they went to.

Slowing life down for my kids, helped me to slow life down for myself.  We started spending more quality time together at home.  I turned off the television a lot more.  We played outside more.  We made more crafts.  I quit grad school because I realized life wasn't about getting through school so we could have a higher income.  Life was about what was going on under our own roof right at that very moment - it was about the precious little people we were raising and the man I chose to spend the rest of my life with.

We cleaned up our diet.  We parted with a lot of stuff.  And throughout this whole external process, I started to realize in my heart that none of the material things I used to find value in really held any value for myself.  I became entirely satisfied and joyful with the home we had.  Our house didn't look like a picture out of a magazine, but we aren't really magazine people -we're real people, with messy kids.  I realized I had more than enough clothes, as did the kids.  Our van is paid for and it drives excellently.  And some of these realizations happened all a once and others went in more of a "two steps forward, one step back" type fashion.  And at other times I think I talked the talk, determined to convince myself that I could and should feel this way.

Then in August we moved.  We left the house that I had come to love so, so, so, SO much.  We took a cut in income.  We trashed and donated so many of our belongings and stored a fair amount of other belongings.  And here we are - living what I've deemed to be the "simple" life.  And I've never felt more satisfied with life. 

So, getting back to the comment made in passing - having "abundance that seems to flow out of every facet of our life".  Reaching this point was all about perspective.  I could have continued to live life focusing on what we didn't have, but instead I shifted my focus to all that we do have.  And we DO have SO much. 

We do have a clean, comfortable roof over our heads.  We do have full, happy, healthy bellies.  We do have dependable cars.  We do have more than enough toys, clothes, etc, etc, etc. 

But most importantly, I've been able to shift the focus of life away from the stuff and more towards the love and people in my life.  I am so incredibly, humbly blessed to be married to the man I am.  We are so incredibly, humbly blessed to have the two perfect children that we do.  I am blessed beyond belief to have friends that I call family and family that I call friends. 

Thus, to my sweet friend, the abundance in our life can't be measured in stuff, income, or square footage.  It's measured in love, hugs, kisses, long conversations over good food (or cheap wine), and the smiles this sweet life brings to our hearts.  And it is oh so abundant, oh so cherished, and oh so beautiful.