I have three treasures. Guard and keep them
The first is deep love,
The second is frugality,
And the third is not to dare to be ahead of the world.
Because of deep love, one is courageous.
Because of frugality, one is generous.
Because of not daring to be ahead of the world, one becomes the leader of the world.
I have no ambition whatsoever to be leader of anything, but apart from that remove, Lao Tzu speaks for me. Deep love. Whenever I feel disconnected from the love I feel for my family for whatever reason, I sink into despair. The pit is dark and deep, and I have fallen in many times in the past, and know I will be visiting it again before my brief sojourn on this earth is at its end. I hold on to very little, possibly because I have had breakdowns in the past which lead to new perspectives that can benefit . It is good to travel light but sometimes I feel so weightless that I defy gravity. Well almost. It is hard to come back to the world inhabited before a breakdown and feel at home. Everywhere is strange and everywhere you feel a stranger. I imagine myself as The Little Prince and suddenly the day is more inhabitable.
I feel certain that we all share the human experience of feeling inadequate sometimes, and the times for me that are the most challenging are when I don’t feel the love I know I have. I have to remind myself about the reality of that love, that I can return to it and it is not removed forever. In the past I have confused this with not feeling loved by others, but as I get older I know my deepest challenge is when I am not loving enough to the people in my life who deserve it. No one said it would be easy now , did they? If they did, they were deluded, or simply lying.
Frugality comes much easier to me. I find it relatively comfortable to live modestly. I have never liked conspicuous consumption, finding it more akin to bragging than anything else. Good job as needs must, and we are relatively stretched as a single income family, having both had divorces to deal with and five children between us. Perhaps I would feel differently were we to win the lottery. Except I don’t waste my money on lotteries. I don’t waste money. I want to be more self sufficient than we are, living the Good Life that Felicity Kendal advertised in the 1970’s. The good life. Somehow it feels closer the less one owns. That’s one of the paradoxes I can live with.
And the final words, not desiring to be ahead of the world – now that I can identify with. I don’t need to feel the admiration of the modern world, I barely recognise most of what the modern world views as reasonable. I stay content in a little corner of it, mainly out of plain sight.