The smallness of places can only be bad if you cage yourself within them, if you tie yourself to the posts of fear, pride, resentment, things which so easily entangle.
I tied myself to a daily grind of complaining, grumbling under my breath, about Tra and his habits, about my shortcomings, about all the things we did not have. Loosening that from me allowed me to float back up, reach for brightness rather than darkness. This daily grind was my small place. I’m finding right now, as I listen to my soul respond, that my literal daily grind of work and making or saving money is starting to feel like a small space. I want so desperately to save money for my daughter’s education, to allow her the opportunity for some of a Catholic one as I experienced. I know that this foundation has taken me the longest way, still leads me down good paths. I know it would grow for her in dividends, it would be the best of investments. At the same time I want to donate my money to the many causes I know need a community of help: homeless families, educational endeavors, our church community which has sustained us and brought my little family together.
I know when I gave away my things, as I got married, I felt, after the initial shock, the freedom of this--not feeling tied to things. Spaces literally get smaller when we fill them with things, and I have done my share of that, but part of what was happening to me was evolving out of this giving away, this loosening. I now find a kind of joy in giving things away, or even in not getting them to begin with. I have found that the simpler I make my choices, the more peace I feel. I’ve made the soul space for it.
There are exceptions to this. For instance, living on the last paycheck of the school year for the three months of summer is usually not fun. It means seriously and carefully thinking about each dime I spend, sticking to a relatively strict budget. It means going to the Farmer’s Market or store and not being able to get everything I needed or wanted, especially squelching the want part. It means as well appreciating the fact I have money to begin with, that I can get supplies, however limited, and that there’s something to this discipline of not just getting whatever I want whenever. I’m finding this theme in my life--delayed gratification creating a great deal more pleasure than instant satisfaction. There’s frustration in the mix to be sure, but that makes the process all the more gratifying.
Part of what I give away each day is my mind and heart--to my family, to my students, to those I meet. The lucky thing here is that these rejuvenate, with regularity, and open up even more as I give myself to each day.
And yes, I now have the Red Hot Chili Pepper's "Give It Away" stuck in my head.