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New Places

“Like silence after noise, or cool, clear water on a hot, stuffy day, Emptiness cleans out the messy mind and charges up the batteries of spiritual energy. Many people are afraid of Emptiness, however, because it reminds them of Loneliness.” ― Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

I picked up a beautiful stone on a rocky beach the other day, as I often do in such places, to add it to a pot of stones I’ve got from around the world. I realized that most of the stones I’ve accumulated while doing this mean nothing more to me than curious novelties, yet I keep acquiring stones from places I’ve been just the same. It’s not logical, but it is my way of saving a piece of each beautiful place I’ve been. Better than a shot glass or a t-shirt, I suppose.

Lately I’ve been working to reconcile the fact that I’ve been adding more than subtracting. This is a natural activity for many people in the western world: more stuff, more experiences, more accomplishments, more, more, more… We pick up stuff as casually as we load food on at the buffet table. And it’s not just stuff, it’s responsibilities and commitments, work load, home improvement projects, and on and on. We pile on all of these things as we accumulate experience and live our lives.

When we fill our lives we leave little room for ourselves to emerge. We’re in there somewhere, under the pile of stuff we’ve heaped on our shoulders. A boat needs an anchor to hold it to solid ground, but if you add enough anchors the boat will sink. Do you ever get that sinking feeling? Let something go from your life and feel released.

Recently I added a puppy to my life. This can be seen as another added responsibility and maybe one anchor too many. Then again, maybe it was the anchor I needed. What’s clear in getting acquainted with her is that other anchors may need to be tossed aside that this ship may stay afloat. And this is how we grow in new directions in different seasons of our lives. We encounter new and different things that carry us to new places.

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