Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Things I Don't Have


John Muir once declared that he was better off than the magnate E. H. Harriman. “I have all the money I want,” Muir exclaimed, “and he hasn’t.”
Clifton Fadiman

A thief can only steal from you, he cannot break your heart....
Gram Parsons

...Thanksgiving just around the corner, thought I’d take a minute to offer a few words of thanks for things I don’t have...

...most diseases or major injuries, of course...no alimony to be paid or outsized mortgage unlikely ever to be paid off...no price on my head, charges filed against me, warrants out for my arrest, alcoholism, addictions to hard drugs, loved ones on death row...no job I hate or marriage I hate...no broken bones...no broken heart...(for now, at least)...

...no desperate daily struggle to find sufficient food, safe drinking water, or shelter for bare survival...no particular need to hide from invading soldiers or death squads, nor to sneak across the border, nor seek asylum in an unknown land...

...and yet not a lot worth stealing...no Van Gogh etchings requiring fancy security systems and astronomical annual insurance premiums...no Dead Sea Scrolls or first editions of Leaves of Grass I’d be afraid to touch, much less ever read...no vast mansions with countless rooms, and the endless hassles and expensive upkeep such places entail...no particular taste for fine cuisine, fine wine, or fine cocaine...no oil wells, diamond mines, or poppy fields...no third world plantations likely to be nationalized if the rebels manage to take the capitol...no politicians doing my bidding only ’til a bigger donor comes along...no legions of fans demanding I get back together and tour with hated former bandmates...no paparazzi showing the supermarket check-out world how flabby and out of shape I look in a bathing suit...no vast corporate empire with so many holdings, so many underlings, and so much money that you just know some trusted employee’s ripping me off for millions at this very moment...

...no weapons of mass destruction...nor any real potential to build weapons of mass destruction at any time in the foreseeable future...no ties to international terrorist groups...no guns...no bombs...no poison gas nor deadly biological agents...no hidden kilos of heroin or weapons grade plutonium...no suitcases full of hundred dollar bills, marked or unmarked...no slaves...no maidservants nor oxen for neighbors to covet...no exotic pets that’ll take a bite out of me while I sleep...no abusive friends or lovers I spend time with only for fear of being alone...

...no fear of the dark...no desire to go on American Idol, star in my own reality show, be elected President of the United States, win the Tour de France, or be sixteen again...no desire to murder, rape, molest, or seriously maim...not nearly as much anger or hatred as I used to carry around with me...fewer enemies, fewer people I’m unwilling to forgive....no belief that I’m inherently better than anyone...and I’m working on getting rid of the belief that I’m worse...

...might sum it all up with thanks for nothin’, but suspect I’d be misunderstood...because nothin’ has always been underrated...

14 comments:

Eco Yogini said...

wow- I could echo all that too- YES for not having weapons of mass destruction! WOOT.

Also- in case you don't check back- LOVED your comment. Wish I had that wonderful name... sigh- Shiva has not been so kind.

also- Star Trek is pretty darn dorky... and sadly I am also a fan of Star Wars.... DOUBLE DORK. :) does the fact that I started reading 'Dune' add?

nerds vs jocks- we make the world go round!

WR said...

How interesting...we posted similiar thoughts and photos.

Best wishes to you for a good Thanksgiving.

Karin Bartimole said...

I love this Jay - thanks for what you don't have is an interesting perspective, and thanks for nothing is the best of all! Happy nothingness to you,
K

RB said...

The don'ts are so much more realistic. And light-hearted. Forcing yourself to be thankful for things you DO have is so often contrived

Laura Hegfield said...

ahh dr jay...your spin is delectable as usual! I too am grateful I have none of the things you listed, except a horrid disease...but even that I find gratitude for, it really makes me slow down (ever watch a person with ms hobble with a cane-seriously slower than a 95 year old without a cane) and be with what is. Learn to accept assistance with grace (even though my body no longer moves with grace) Learn to even simplify my speech and get right to the point due to lesion in my cerebellum. And finally learn compassion, not just for others but for myself...that's huge (at least for me it has been)

Happy ThanksGiving,
Laura

roseanne said...

yes, you forgot to mention that you have the best yoga name ever, bestowed upon you by shiva himself!

i also loved yr comment on ecoyogini's blog. good stuff! and i love this post: it's the perfect balance of cynicism and gratitude.

happy t-giving!

Bob Weisenberg said...

What an interesting and vivid way to describe things.

This piece gets its power from your refusal to shorten or summarize. It's very specific, and the longer it goes on, the more intense it becomes.

Great writing.

Bob Weisenberg
YogaDemystified.com

Lydia said...

Brilliant, Jay. You wrote the best Thanksgiving post in the blogosphere. I mean it.

Rhiannon said...

Hi Jay,

Just dropping by to wish you a "Grateful" Thanksgiving holiday.

"No abusive friends or lovers I spend time with only for fear of being alone".

I really like that statement you made above..I can relate to it tenfold!

Blessings,

Rhi

watchthatcheese said...

That was really cool - thank you

Lana Gramlich said...

Hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving, whatever that means to you. :)

Jamie said...

This was really an incredible way to give thanks. And I'm thankful that you posted it!! : )

earthtoholly said...

Possibly my favorite of all your posts, drjay, though I'm pretty certain I'll write those words here, again.

For me, this kinda sums up everything that life should be: reveling in that that we have. Could very easily have been titled "The Meaning of Life."

Bird said...

I just gave you a standing ovation there... no, I'm not kidding!

That first quote is one of the best things I have ever seen written down, and you expanded on it so beautifully. I raise my cup of tea to you!