“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
Tao Te Ching verse 44, as translated by Stephen Mitchell
I love this and I would love to report that I know this to be true firsthand. But, that would be misleading. There always seems to be something more that I simply must have or must do, to keep life interesting. I am working diligently to remind myself, when those thoughts come, that I already have everything. And then some.
My beloved dog puts this in perspective for me. She has a steady supply of good food, a safe home, boundless love and adoring guardians. She gets a lot of walks, through neighborhoods and off leash through the woodlands. She has many toys and spends time at a day camp where she can play with other dogs and burn off her energy. The one physical thing that is hers and hers alone is her collar. She shares her toys and sometimes even her bed with the other four-leggers that she lives with. But her collar is hers.
Sometimes I take it off of her, to massage her neck or give her a break. When she hears that click of the release catch coming undone, she snaps to attention and watches carefully when I place it aside. I wonder if she is worried or relieved, that it is no longer on her. Or just curious. That aside, it occurs to me that this is her one thing, that is only hers. Truth be told, she really doesn’t even strictly need it. It is there for our convenience and to help her get home if she should get lost. She needs no things to be herself and to be happy.
Humbling and powerful this is to me, with all my stuff. I would have difficulty being happy without my books, my sewing machine and fabric, my laptop, my gardening supplies. A reevaluation is in order: what really matters at the end of the day? I mean, what really matters?