Wiggle Room for the Soul

I'm certain that one of the major lessons I'm supposed to learn in this lifetime is how not to worry over things I cannot control, or shouldn't even try to control. We all face this to some extent in different ways; we all have different lessons. Mine has to do with food. Or, not having food, as the case may be.

The past few weeks have been really hard... no, let me put it this way: the past few weeks have given me a lot of opportunity to work on this lesson. We don't have credit cards, a savings account, or, really, enough income to meet our few needs (shelter, warmth, food). Added to this, we get paid only once a month, and everything has to go out all at once; there's no "wiggle" room, no way to juggle bills until the next payday.

The thing is, all of the meditating I've been doing is really beginning to help me put things into perspective. Last night, when I went out to the kitchen to see what there was to eat (I wait until everyone else has eatendon't ask me why. Perhaps it's my maternal instincts or something), I suddenly allowed my fear and frustration to surface. Immediately, however, the picture came into my mind of the Dalai Lama standing there. He looked at the canisters, inside the fridge and pantry, then turning to me with that smile of his, he said,

"You have lentils, rice, and oatmeal. You have eggs, cheese, ramen soup, milk, and tea. You're rich! A family in Tibet could live on this for two weeks!"

Needless to say, I felt checked, and I stood there, thankful for what we had.

Today, with $45 in my company checking account, $30 in our personal account, and $8 in quarters, nickels and dimes, we went out and got some groceries. We got what we absolutely needed to get us through to Friday when Nettl gets paid, and we spent only $30! There are three meals to make, some "adlib" stuff, and even a couple of snacks. Amazing!

I'm not writing this to call attention to myself, or to tell anyone how to think. I just wanted to share it because it meant so much to me. I'm really coming to believe that worry and fear are the products of ingratitude and that ingratitude is what keeps us unhappy.

No, our fridge isn't bulging and our pantry isn't stocked, but I'm feeling so happy right now that I don't care. I've gained something much more important.


  1. Thank you for this post, Steph. You reminded me to be grateful for what I have and to take the focus off what I DON'T HAVE! Thank you. Every day is a new day; this morning I woke up before my mom and I was able to declare as I got out of bed - TODAY IS A GREAT DAY!

    Thank you for your inspirational post, you have helped give me the push I need through this post to keep on going. I'm sure my mother would thank you if she knew. She doesn't so I will thank you for her.

  2. Wonderful post, Steph! I think this economic downturn has been a time for everyone to re-think their priorities, and to realize what they actually NEED and what is merely fluff. People who thought they NEEDED a big house have found they can live very comfortable in a much smaller dwelling. I've changed myself; for example, before, if a tomato had a soft spot, I tossed the whole thing away. Now? I cut away the soft spot and use the rest. The people who will have the hardest time learning this lesson are the rich. There's a chapter in one of my favorite books, The Wind in the Willows, in which Ratty and Mole are heading back home on a wintry night. Mole suddenly comes acros his old little home that he'd abandoned and he and Ratty enter it. Mole suddenly feels despondent because he says, "I've nothing to give you, Rat - not a crumb!" but the Rat forages and they find a tin of sardines, a box of captain's biscuits, and German sausage. "There's a banquet for you!" said the Rat. "I know some animals who would give their ears to be sitting down to supper with us tonight!" I just love that chapter. It, like your post, reminds me of how much I truly have and how richly blessed I am. I'm not a millionaire, I don't have a big house, I don't have fancy clothes or furniture or lots of things. But I have what is truly important: the love of friends and family, I have food -not a lot and not fancy but SUFFICIENT, I have shelter. That's so much more than some people have and I am grateful for every day I have it. And whenever I'm able, I pass the blessing along. And I think that's the real lesson right there.

  3. My dinner tonight consists of some broccoli and cauliflower with a chees sauce - and it tastes as good as if I were sitting down to a supper of filet mignon! Because it's seasoned with gratitude and that makes everything taste sooo good! Blessed be.


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