Okay, back to the Peace Conference I attended about a month ago. It was a powerful event, and I met some rich and powerful people.
I met Marshall Rosenberg, who travels around the world mediating conflicts and creating peace. He chooses to live on a poverty income so that he doesn't have to pay taxes that support the Iraq Occupation.
I met Julia Butterfly Hill, who spent over two years living in a tree to save its life.
I learned about Mohandas Gandhi, who gave away all his possessions to live a life of poverty in service to his people.
I met Bonnie Tinker, who lives on her non-profit, and has been arrested many times in nonviolent demonstrations against oppression.
After the conference, as I drove to pick up my kids, I thought about that, and how I couldn't give up my stuff to live a life like that. I've got kids, for god's sake. A job. How could I give all that up?
Like a ray of light, I suddenly understood how I could. It was so clear that I exclaimed out loud.
I can surrender all my stuff in my heart, right now.
So I did. I gave up all my stuff; essentially gave it away. I don't own anything, I just use it. If I lose it, loan it, or have it taken away from me, I'll use something else.
I don't own my house. It's just where I live. If I lose it, I'll go live somewhere else.
I don't own my job. It's just where I serve right now. If I lose it, I'll find a better way to serve.
I don't even own my kids. I love them, sure, but if something happens to them that separates us, I know that they will be taken care of. And they're going to grow up and leave anyway. They're their own people.
A sense of freedom swept over me. What a celebration to have an insight like that! I realized in that moment that I am free. I can make decisions about what to do without fear. And that's pretty darn cool.
Now the only problem is how to keep that sensibility. I've had moments since when the cares of everyday life creep in and take that sense of freedom and choice away, but for the most part, it's been working. I still have that sense of possibility. I've still given everything away in my heart. I'm still free. And I've set an intention to keep that freedom and unattachment to my stuff.