I have a very good life. I live in a nice house on the beach looking out at the spectacular Sea of Cortez. Some days I have to pinch myself in disbelief at my good fortune.
However, some days, and increasingly over the past several months, I get lost in the day-to-day duties of a property owner and partner. It’s as though I have blinders on and all I can see ahead of me is more tedium.
Lately, I’ve caught myself, walking down what is surely one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and certainly one of the most deserted, thinking about some unimportant irritation that arose during the day. I’ve even thought with some annoyance about how difficult it is to walk on soft sand.
But then, as the sky turns to pink and the water begins to glisten as though it has turned to mercury, I catch myself and the consciousness of my rather wonderful circumstances reawakens. Regaining my awareness, it’s as though a window opens and my vision literally broadens to take in the gloriousness of my surroundings. It is as though a veil is lifted from my eyes.
My emotions in this moment fluctuate between gratitude and guilt for having been so completely asleep at the wheel. And then I am shocked at the realization that I have allowed myself to take this incredible place for granted. How does this happen?!
When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
Recently I made a new friend. This friend, I learned, is a perpetual traveler and has no physical place to call home. After showing him around our relatively decadent home, I shared with him that we were considering moving and that we were tired of our current situation. I told him I felt I was losing my appreciation of our surroundings and about the guilt I felt as a result. I told him I felt the management of our property was taking a lot of the fun out of living in such a marvelous place.
In turn, he shared the wisdom of his guru:
One should not stay more than six weeks in one location because the result is a loss of awareness and appreciation of our surroundings.
My friend also experienced the unbearable heaviness of being I described to him. Living in big houses and having many things just made him miserable. His current vagabond lifestyle is the direct result of his guru’s guidance and has allowed him to pursue his passion, his art, fully, unhindered by the responsibilities of material possessions.
When I look back over the years and consider the times I’ve been most content, they have certain things in common: I had fewer responsibilities; I had relinquished most of my material possessions; often I was traveling or living in a place for the first time; and invariably I filled my free time with something I was passionate about (surfing, meditating, doing yoga and writing).
Over the past 5 years, I see that once again I moved away from this way of life and incrementally have become weighted down with responsibilities and material possessions.
And the weight of it is keeping my Spirit down.