My Walden Pond Mexican Life
I live a charmed life. Now and then I’m aware of how magical is my life. Most of the time I don’t pay attention. Other rare days, snakes slither in Paradise. Take recently.
A friend once told me that when a person started chewing on table legs, the cause was always money, job or love life.
Two weeks ago I chose “money” as the topic for my Writers’ Group. I set the timer for ten minutes. I don’t remember what I wrote. It’s not important. I felt a need to share with my friends the reason I chose that topic. I had too much negative energy around money to be rational.
My bankcard had expired while I wasn’t paying attention. To add insult to injury, the ATM absconded with another credit card which had not expired. My stash of pesos had dwindled to a fraction because I hadn’t paid attention. At the same time it looked as though I might lose everything from the sale of a lot I had bought years ago. All this on the same day. That attention thing.
If I had a million dollars in the bank (I don’t!), a million wouldn’t do me a bit of good if I can’t get pesos out of the ATM. I live in a cash society, a small village in Mexico. Charge cards are useless.
I told my friends how scared and frustrated I felt. Their words of love and support settled over me like a warm blanket on a cold night.
The next week at Group, Julie asked me about my money situation. I laughed. “You won’t believe this,” I said. “My daughter shipped my new cards via UPS. Four days later, the envelope is sitting in Portland with a notice of lost shipping invoice. I may get my cards next year. All I can do is laugh.”
“You are unreal,” Julie said. “Last week you were in tears and this week you are laughing.”
“It’s a different day. I had to let that go. You all will not let me starve. But I am paying attention to my personal money ‘issues’. And my UPS ‘issues’. I wonder if I was a bad hombre in a past life and looted and killed Pony Express riders.” We all laughed.
My way of “paying attention” may seem backwards and slipshod. I say something like, “Self, there is something weird going on around your attitude to money. What is it?” Then if I don’t obsess over finding an answer, the solution will eventually show up. Or not. Well, the method isn’t Thoreau but it works for me.
Sure enough, in the middle of the night I woke from a “Zen” dream with a realization. My money issues revolved around false pride, envy and resentment. I have learned that once I recognize a pattern, I can change my thought patterns. So I climbed out of bed and made a few notes about my pea-brain-storm. I don’t recall a thing about the dream.
Nothing in the world is wrong with me being rightly proud of my ability to live a simple life, to live on a very small amount of money.
What is wrong is when I let false pride take over, sort of a sneer at money, which turns to envy and resentment; a sneer at people with money. That is ugly of me, a sort of one-down-man-ship, as if to say “Well, it is easy for you. You have more, you have a lot of money.”
That is an ugly thought pattern that I can change to a silent, “My situation in life is good. Thank you, Self, that you have the skills and ability to live on so little and to live so abundantly.” No comparisons to others allowed. Comparisons always lie. I have no idea what goes on in somebody else’s skin.
The next morning my UPS package left Portland and arrived in Salt Lake City, on the way to Mexico. Money from the sale of my lot landed in a special account for me. My son wired me grocery money by way of Western Union.
My UPS packet with new cards is scheduled to arrive December 14. I’m not holding my breath. Last year my new computer landed 17 places and took two months to arrive. I still haven’t resolved my UPS/Pony Express issues. Maybe I was the rider.
This is my Walden Pond. I live simply, with all the essentials, lacking nothing. When I pay attention, I see that I have all that I need, more than I need.
HDN: Looking out my back door
December 7, 2017