Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Themes of Having

I've been noticing--in my own stories and the stories of others--the themes of "having" and "not having." It's a theme that connects to the time of year (with Thanksgiving right around the corner) and also to the voice of our larger culture, which often expresses itself in the need to acquire more, be more, master more.

Themes of "having" often include subthemes of gratitude, fullness, completion. Or, if the theme of "having" is really about having too much or having something that's unwanted--too much responsibility, too much work, having an illness, having a crisis, or something else that has been foisted on us without our choosing it--the subthemes might be about our ability to set boundaries, our questions about our own agency in our lives, or our sense of power (and its illusory twin, powerlessness) in the universe.

In connection with the idea of having, I always go back to an article a friend sent me years ago about the Hebrew reading, "Dayeinu," (pronounced die-au-noo) that means "It is enough." The reading is used during Passover as a remembrance of all God did for the Israelites. But a meditation on "It is enough" is a reminder to be thankful for everything we have, no strings attached. When we begin to notice what we already have (health, family, hope, warmth, food, humor, fuzzy socks, a dry home, four-legged friends, and more), we connect to our abundance and gratitude begins to flow.

When the theme is about having too much of something I didn't intentionally (or consciously) choose, there is another phrase that brings me back to a sense of harmonious awareness. It's from The Princess Bride: "As you wish." :)


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