I hope you’re doing well and adjusting to all that’s been going on in our world. It’s been kind of a rough week for me, culminating with a Facebook hacker stealing my identity today. The sad situation with enormous entities like Facebook, is that they don’t have to help or care for their customers. They are rich enough to survive, regardless of my feeling victimized, and that just feels rotten. That sort of wealth shreds my thin-skinned heart, and ignores the longing of many facebook users – the longing to connect.
I do prefer to reach out through email, and by the way, thanks so much for taking the time to open and read this email. I’m learning that I have a pretty high open rate, which feels like wealth to me. My idea of richness is having enough to give something away and finding those who want to receive.
I learned that May has a holiday called Millionaire’s Day and it got me thinking about wealth. Mark Twain said that America was the place where everyone is embarrassed that they’re not millionaires. How does this all effect the yogic path?
Years ago, when I always felt broke, a friend gave me $100, with the caveat that I had to give half of it away. The same instructions went to the recipient of my $50 gift, and so on and so on.
Her intention was to empower us with an experience of wealth as the grace to give money away. The idea stayed with me.
It felt amazing, to override the voice of lack, the hungry ghost inside, who might have cheated and kept the entire $100. That hungry ghost is fed, or rather kept hungry, by a culture that insists you could never be too rich.
I just heard the story of Morehouse college, where a speaker at the graduation in 2019, Robert F. Smith, paid for entire class’s student debt. With his wealth, he bought freedom for over 400 people, allowing them to choose their life path without having to tow the depleting burden of money worries. His generosity to the primarily African American student body, has allowed them to take some risks, such as choosing work that is an emotional match over one that only provided a salary.
Of course we know that wealth is more than just money, yet finances seem to dictate so much when it comes to physical health and emotional well being. I live in a neighborhood with huge, old trees. Our home is simple, we don’t have big salaries, but we get to live amid this natural beauty. I hear birds when the windows are open, the air is clean and the water safe to drink from the tap. I know these are all luxuries and that my white privilege is no small factor in my access to them.
I feel richest when I have a true connection with another being. It can happen with an animal, but I think I am even more satisfied by feeling understood and seen by another person. Relationships are rich for me when I feel accepted and can stretch to truly accept the other just as they are. I am experienced enough to recognize that these deep loves of my life come and go, that I won’t always have them, so I better get right down to savoring our time together. I don’t expect anyone to protect me from harm, but rather, to walk alongside me as I endure loss and failure, illness and despair. The wealth is tenfold when I can do the same.
Of course the yogic texts remind us of the similar guidance from all spiritual paths – take just what you need, don’t borrow, try to give to those in need, practice gratitude for what you’ve been given. My take away from the Native American and Buddhist paths is that nothing belongs to us anyway. When the hand is open, rather than living in the illusion that we can hold on to anything, then the whole world belongs to us.
I hope this was helpful! Enjoy the wealth of May weather this week.
Enjoy the day.
I am delighted to be able to offer scholarships again for yoga therapy. Please don’t be shy if you are in need of support or if you know a frontline worker who you could refer to me for stress relief. Likewise, if you’re moved to support this program as a donor, please contact me.
Remember that my website has all my past newsletters, recorded meditations and videos to support your mental health. Please visit CatEnrightYogaTherapy.com.