Fiona writes: What do I think when I look at this raspberry tart?
“I want a big piece.” “I want two.” “I want some chocolate afterwards.”
This year, I chose ‘enough‘ as my ‘word-for-the-year’. I wanted to find a way of feeling satisfied with what I already had.
Today, I went walking on the Malvern hills with my friend. We talked about what might be holding me back from being satisfied about where I am now. Why do I keep hankering after the money to buy a cottage in the country?
She asked me what my life would actually be like if I earned lots and lots of money. I couldn’t imagine it. I could see myself buying my little cottage outright and then being poor again. I could just about see myself buying a few clothes from a favourite (out of my budget) clothes shop, but then my fantasy skipped to giving my spare money away to charity.
As we spoke I realised I was challenged by the idea of wanting or having an excess of anything. I couldn’t allow myself to want or have more-than-enough money. I would be ‘over-indulgent’. I would be greedy. I would be taking stuff from those who needed it more. Bad bad bad!
My Dharma teacher’s own teacher would say, ‘If you’re going to sin, sin vigorously’. She was suggesting that if we are tempted to do something ‘wrong’, we should do so whole-heartedly – in this way we more quickly learn what we need to learn.
I wondered if there was a way of owning more of my greed – of settling into it further than I usually allow myself. Of luxuriating in it, like a bubble bath.
My friend suggested that, as well as a public word-for-the-year, we should have an alternative, sinful one to represent the shadow of what were seeking. Mine would be ‘more’ or, even more deliciously, ‘s***loads’. My friend’s ‘word-for-the-year’ was clarity, and so we decided on ‘What the f***?’ for her.
After our walk, we went to a supermarket and wandered the aisles, singing our words. She had no idea what to buy. I didn’t need anything, so I picked up extravagantly expensive bread, a magazine, goat’s cheese… piling the food up high. It felt wickedly liberating.
I also gave myself full permission to get a rich indulgent pudding. And I found that I didn’t want one. My ‘permission to want s***loads’ allowed ‘enough’ to really be OK. Not in a fake, I’d-love-to-be-seen-as-this-virtuous way, but in a very real one.
Our secret alternative word-of-the-year phrases are both working very nicely for us so far. What’s yours?
I don’t just want the usual number of people to sign up to our Eastern Therapeutic Writing and Writing Ourselves Alive ecourses starting next week. I want s***loads. So go and register now – it’ll be good for me!
Raspberry tart by Darwin Bell via Creative Commons, with thanks.