Several years ago I got very into the writings of Myrtle Fillmore, one of the founders of Unity. She talked in one of her essays about being able to appreciate things without having to own them. The longer I live, the more wisdom I see in this. This kind of detachment is a wonderful state of mind to have.
This line of thinking has been something I have been pondering for the past few days in Mexico. I have come to see that my needs are very simple, and that all my needs are met. Our little house here is about one-fourth the size of our house in Nashville. Yet, I delight in it. You can only be in one room at a time. We have a nice little kitchen, a cozy sitting area, a comfortable bed, and a dressing area. A bath up, and a half-bath down. To most of the population of our planet, this would be a palace. Our casa is crowned with a small but lovely rooftop. By the way, in Mexico a living room is called a “sala de estar.” A room for to be.
One of the loveliest things that has happened on this trip is that we have made friends. A couple of those friends invited us to their house the other evening. Their house would be my dream house in San Miguel. Large, exquisite, luxurious, and perfect. And far beyond our budget. It was wonderful to share this time in this beautiful home and enjoy a 360 degree view of San Miguel. The couple who own this home are some of the friendliest, most open people I have met in a while. Even their dog is charming. I treasure their welcoming friendship.
What I realized as we walked home was that I was very happy to have an opportunity to share some time in their environment. But, I also realized I could enjoy that environment without needing to own something similar. I am very happy to be sitting on our little rooftop as I write this. I can appreciate without having to own. I think that this realization is a major step to my personal liberation.
But, before you think I’ve gotten way super-spiritual, confession: I do still like to buy something every now and then. I’m just much easier to satisfy and my desires have changed. I find I am valuing experiences more than possessions. Instead of wanting a very expensive handbag (even with my discount….) I am happy to have a new scarf. Just something to brighten me up.
So, I’m not there yet, but I can actually see the light. And one last thing, I find my desires for material things are much more driven by the qualities I associate with whatever it is, than the monetary value of the thing itself. Yesterday, we went out for a day in the country with some friends. It was a perfect day. We went into a fantastic gallery (another post) and I was quite drawn to a bracelet from Chiapas that was about $25. I wanted it because I knew it would always remind me of that perfect moment.
I wonder if Myrtle loved bright, sparkly things?
Undiscovered Rock Star.
I love street performers–when they are good. Most of them are pretty not so good. Some are really great. This afternoon in San Miguel one of the great ones crossed
The Jardin is the center of local activity, especially on a Sunday afternoon. After a day of almost monsoon-worthy rain yesterday, today we were blessed with sunshine and blissful weather. Fred and I found perfect seats at a little sidewalk cafe on the square and, indeed, life felt pretty good. There is all sorts of action in this part of town: food vendors, giant human puppets, all sorts of peddlers of everything from balloons to baskets, and occasional street performers, usually in the form of solo guitarists or mariachi bands.
I was delighted to see a very unique take on street music in the form of Marco, a young man with a banjo, a definitely unique personal style, and a back-up stand-up bass player. Marco was tall, slim, and incredibly charismatic. He seemed to be performing for the sheer joy of it. He was playing his banjo like a rock and roll guitar and singing and dancing for all he was worth. He drew quite an appreciative crowd, and was especially admired by the preteen boys and young women, and me. All his lyrics were in Spanish except for “Stand by Me,” which seems to be an all-time Latin American favorite, and which he sang in English. I was very happy to have a front row seat for this little concert. When he had done several songs and taken up a few collections from the crowd he said, “Buenas tardes,” and moved on.
He seemed happy as he moved away. He had had an appreciative audience, made some bucks, and been doing what he obviously loves to do. As I watched him walk away I wondered where his journey will take him. What if a person who could “make him a star” saw him perform and that happened? And if it did, how would that change his life? He may have already achieved the best form of success there is just by being an undiscovered rock star who performs for love of it. I probably won’t ever know the answer to this question. But I do know that one of the things I love about Mexico is that here there doesn’t seem to be the same drive that I see in the USA. The ultimate definition of success seems to be more about the simple enjoyment of life and less about how much money you make while you’re doing it.