Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wants and Needs

13. Listen to Christmas music if you want or listen to the Stillness if you need.

BTW--There is still time to order Christmas in A Small Town.  Hands down.  This is the best, best, best Christmas music I have heard in a long time.  For my friends who aren't sewers, you don't have this music yet at your house and you deserve it.  I plan on listening to this into January.

Early in their lives, we started a practice with our kids of talking about wants and needs.  It was never an attempt to deny but rather to help them to see that in their lives, their needs are often met and they get to enjoy some (or many) of their wants.
None is more stingy than he who is stingy with himself; he punishes his own miserliness.  If ever he is generous, it is by mistake; and in the end he displays his greed.  In the miser's opinion his share is too small; he refuses his neighbor and brings ruin on himself.  Sirach
When the boundaries of wants and needs are identified, contentment and ambition seem to take their appropriate positions in our lives.  While I grew up in the peace and love generation, I am not necessarily of the mind that pursuing our wants is evil.  I think there is plenty of room for healthy ambition.  In my own life, my ambitions have afforded me experiences and chances to be with people I would have never met had I not pursued some of the desires of my heart.

The key to a good balance between wants and needs seems to be ample gratitude.  Regardless of your history,  all of us can get a dose of setting aside grousing and practicing gratitude.  Simple things like refusing to pass on gossip and refusing to tolerate or pass on whining and complaining can change a good deal of our own practices.  See the BEST in other people.  This is not to say we ought ignore shortcomings or character flaws, rather we should expect the best and let people know we see the best in them.  While it may not always change them, it will change your own heart.  When your practices change, your heart changes and your attitude follows.

This started off with choosing something simple as how you spend an hour or two today.  Do you need stillness?  Do you want peace?  Both can serve you well in so many ways.  If we are stressed in these days before Christmas, we ought remember that we are the ones who choose to embrace that stress.  See the best in yourself and realize that giving a happy person to the people you love is likely better than all the details you think you forgot to finish up at this moment.

All the Best to You, jill

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