Experience

Posted on January 5th, 2012 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz

Newsflash! The word that I have decided on for my focus this year (in place of a resolution) is experience. I wish to embrace the experiences that become present in my life, I wish to create meaningful experiences for myself and my family, and I wish to use my prior experiences to help me to appreciate the beauty of each moment.

This morning I had the opportunity to read a beautiful excerpt of writings from Raam Dev, a friend of a friend who I met in Channel Islands Harbor. He is a nomadic minimalist. I love the way he writes and I appreciate his perception and ability to convey his thoughts and beliefs in a way that I can relate to them.

I am probably the most polar opposite of a nomadic minimalist. (Don’t laugh!) I have many of my childhood possessions that I keep near and dear to me. I have barely travelled. I live and work within five miles of the home where I spent the first twenty years of my life. I have not lived outside the Valley. I work at the school where I attended seventh through twelth grade. My hubby and I have lived in our home for thirteen years and love it. I hoard my possessions and anything that I think may have a future use. If I had to describe myself in terms that relate to nomadic or minimalist, I would not say that I am a static maximilist!! However I would describe myself as being rooted, grounded, and settled. I am grateful for the things that I have and I appreciate that I am able to have those things.

When I think of Raam, after reading some of his articles and letters, I realize that someone who is nomadic is still rooted, grounded and settled. He is comfortable in his home, the world. As they say, “Home is where I hang my hat.” His possessions may be few, but they are pricelss to him. He values abundance. He is grateful for every thing in his life as I am. We actually have so much in common! So if I need a word or two to describe my way of life, I might say that I am. . . a traditional simplist. (I know, it sounds funny!)

I was impressed that Raam used a quote from Lao Tzu to confirm his point because it is a way of being that I have embraced long ago:

“You’re already complete; you’re not missing or lacking anything. When you see yourself as complete, everything else immediately becomes extra; everything else becomes icing on the cake: the air you breathe, the water you drink, the body you reside in, the family you love.
You become grateful for everything you have and you recognize its full value.
“Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

I have always related to the words and beliefs of Tzu. I can’t explain it as gracefully, so I will borrow from the internet: ( The following excerpt was found at:  http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Philosophy/Taichi/lao.html )

“The central vehicle of achieving tranquillity was the Tao, a term which has been translated as ‘the way’ or ‘the path.’ Te in this context refers to virtue and Ching refers to laws. Thus the Tao Te Ching could be translated as The Law (or Canon) of Virtue and it’s Way. The Tao was the central mystical term of the Lao Tzu and the Taoists, a formless, unfathomable source of all things.

Look, it cannot be seen – it is beyond form.
Listen, it cannot be heard – it is beyond sound.
Grasp, it cannot be held – it is intangible.
These three are indefinable, they are one.From above it is not bright;
From below it is not dark:
Unbroken thread beyond description.
It returns to nothingness.
Form of the formless,
Image of the imageless,
It is called indefinable and beyond imagination.

Stand before it – there is no beginning.
Follow it and there is no end.
Stay with the Tao, Move with the present.

Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of Tao.

Move with the present.

I like that!

After I read the article by Raam Dev on Developing an Abundance Mindset, I responded with some thoughts that I would like to share:

“I have lived this way for as long as I can remember. I practice gratitude and counting my blessings. I have fine tuned my perspective on abundance by loving what I have. I have often sat on the beach contemplating my existence and long before Google Earth was invented I would zoom out in my mind’s eye and picture the vast world around me growing bigger until I realize that I am but a grain of sand and all the people and living things and all the earth and atmosphere are part of one whole, equal and vital parts. My being a small part of it sitting on the sand on a beach in California is just as beautiful and important and majestic as the most powerful wealthy man in an office in a big city or the weakest tiniest newborn in a tiny village in Africa. We are all born the same way and we all will die and the mountains and oceans will go on shifting and changing with or without us. Every person is equal in value in that perspective. I believe we are all connected by the fact that we all share space and time together on this planet. Our opportunities are equal. The baby in Africa may find it more difficult to achieve wealth and prosperity but it is possible. It’s more likely that he will never know about wealth and prosperity as I am aware of it. Having food and good health and a family may be all that he ever desires. And the wealthy man who can obtain effortlessly any material thing and can travel the world with ease may have desires for intangible truths such as love, simplicity, friendship, or freedom. Every grain of sand is needed to make a beach by the ocean shore. My existence is vital in my world made up of the people I know and love. What I own, what I want, what I can achieve is all part of the process, the journey from birth to death. Since I do not know when that last day will be that I share space on this earth I live each day in appreciation of its opportunity loving that I have air to breath and an able body to carry me through it. Then I start thinking about how truly lucky I am to have eyes to see and ears to hear and beauty all around to love. Everything else is gravy from that perspective. And that is all I need. I value time and space. I value love and the ability to experience joy.”

Hmmm. . . experience.

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4 responses to “Experience”

  1. This was a very beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it! The funny thing is that I just got home from a night out with a friend and we ran across an art exhibit that expressed what being a hoarder was precisely and that engaged us in a conversation about possessions and letting them go.

    Overtime we both realized the value of having less as opposed to lots of things, but it took a GREAT experience in our life to realize as such.

    Experience is a great word, and truly it touches on so many levels. May you EXPERIENCE a lot in life during the year ahead!

  2. Joy says:

    Ah Melissa,
    I am glad that you and Raam connect so well through Raam’s words and share much in common..may you both continue to blossom through this connection:)
    I *love* that you chose an intent word…and “experience” has quite a lot of potential to explore many different paths!

  3. MizMeliz says:

    Thank you to Raam Dev for the inspiration and for quoting me to his followers on Twitter! @RaamDev

  4. Raam Dev says:

    Melissa, thank you very much for publishing these thoughts! There is so much truth here, so much insight.

    “Every grain of sand is needed to make a beach by the ocean shore.” That’s such an eloquent way of expressing how interconnected we all are, how we all share the same space and occupy the same moment in time.

    Your description of the contrast and similarities between our two lifestyles also hit home for me: We both aim to be rooted in the here and now and to experience gratitude for everything we have. While you may have more physical items and I may travel more, we both aim to ground ourselves in the present.

    That’s a point about minimalism that I try to get across in my Practical Minimalism email series: Minimalism isn’t just about having less “stuff”; it’s about gaining clarity around what’s necessary and releasing attachment.

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