A Thanksgiving Story: How losing what I had gave me more of what I wanted.
We've all heard the science by now: when it comes to wanting more, it's all about being thankful for what we have. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we're prompted even more than usual to look around us and take stock of the blessings we might have looked over during the year passed. We become aware that much of what we're looking for has been with us all along.
By actively practicing gratitude for what we have, we attract more of what we want. It's not by constantly assessing what we don't have that we acquire it. Instead, by showing the universe we are paying attention to our current load, our load miraculously gets larger because it starts to feel larger. We start to feel more abundant and thus more abundance grabs onto us like a magnet.
Leave it to me to know all of the above and still find ways to disregard it. On more days than not I find myself scouring my favorite online shopping hubs, scanning the pages for what I need, what I want, what I totally gotta have. I've placed countless orders yet still the hole of what I don't have gets wider and wider. The more I acquire, the less I notice it all.
Like most people, I have those 8 or 9 wardrobe staples that I can't imagine living without. I think of them as my "uniform", the things people who know me have probably seen me wear a thousand times. When they're dirty, it's the best day when those items come out clean in the wash: a week is only a good week if all the pieces in my uniform are fully ready-to-wear.
In spite of having a lot in my closet that I do love, I am awfully guilty of looking it over in favor of obsessing over what I don't have: these boots, that hat, those shirts that look just like the 9 I already have but I are totally different, I swear. Usually it's harmless, but lately, I've been in that space of wanting what I don't have a whole lot more than I'd like to be. Leave it to the universe to step in during a recent laundry fiasco:
Ben and I had been traveling more than usual for back-to-back destination weddings, and before we knew it, at least three weeks of laundry had piled up into our bedroom. Our house is pretty old which makes it even more charming, but such age doesn't a good washer/dryer make. Since we knew it would take a week to get all of our clothes through the wash with our busy schedules and antiquated dryer unit, we sent the laundry out for wash and fold.
A few days later I went to pick up our washed loads and threw them in the bedroom to put them away later. Several days passed, and as I finally began putting my clothes in their respective drawers, my heart began to sink as the pile got lower and lower and most of my favorite items were no where to be found. I kid you not, the exact 8 or 9 "uniform" pieces I mentioned above had all completely vanished.
Everything else was there, everything else I felt like I didn't care about. I waited a few more days before assuming the clothes were just lost and I must of left them somewhere or someone stole them. I surrendered to reality without my high waisted black pants and turtlenecks (a grim reality, it was.) As I came to grips with the fact that these clothes were missing, I began to see all the clothes in my closet that I never wear with new eyes. Everything seemed new again. In my "lack", I appeared to have a whole lot I hadn't really noticed.
I got more comfortable. I became content with the fact that these things were gone and that I seemed to have a whole lot left over I could be thankful for. For the first time in weeks, acquiring new "stuff" didn't interest me as much. I had a whole lot I didn't even know I had. "Stuff" was everywhere.
I still had one more duvet cover to pick up from the wash and fold cleaners, and so on my way home last night, I make a pit stop to go get it. As the cashier rang me up, I thought to ask her if she'd per chance seen the items I was missing. Low and behold, they'd gotten mixed up with someone else's order, and there they were waiting for their owner to come pick them up.
I hugged my clothes. They all looked new again. Sorry I neglected you! I whispered to my favorite orange top and white wafer sweater. I'll never do it again!
It's a moral that's been repeated over and over in different ways and in different stories: sometimes we need to lose what we have in order to realize how much we have in the first place. If we're lucky, we don't have to go through the loss in order to understand that what we have requires our reverence. It's easy to look around and find a zillion things I don't have, things I don't feel better off without. It's even better though to look at what I don't have to go without, thank God repeatedly, and find the joy in it all.