"I never want to go to sleep," she gasped with wide-eyed enthusiasm. It was like her whole being expanded, full to the brim with life. "I just have so much I want to do before I die." She was at least three decades my elder, but her energy soared above mine. I didn't feel lacking or jealous. But something registered within me, like the clink of an old school cash register. I wanted that. A true, openly expressed joy for all things life. A bountiful creative capacity. And a youthfulness that exploded from every cell of my being--at every age, in every chapter and beyond.
I bent up with an "Ooooof!" of pained confusion, only to see my cat's hindquarters fly off the bed. He had readied for launch from the window ledge above my unknowing, slumbering body and catapulted himself through the air, landing on my stomach and reverberating a sharp pang through my midsection. He then halted at the doorway and began to meow like a long-neglected feline. Knowing this drama would not cease until I peeled myself out of bed, I surrendered and padded out of the room, barely missing a puddle of throw up with my moccasin slipper. Another hairball to begin the day. Oh goodie. I cleaned up the mess [that also blotched every level of his cat tree and dripped brown sludge down the wall], quickly dressed and gathered my stuff for a trip to the coffee shop, feeling a micro blog ready to pour through. After settling in with a non-dairy mocha and gluten free pastry, I realized I forgot my laptop. But I didn't want it to be another one of those days! Where I tacked along, pulled by one fire after another to quell or distinguish, until the next nebulous of mishap encircled my entire scope of productivity for the day, dashing any hope of creative momentum. Sooooo . . . I did what I often do when something doesn't really go my way and I don't know what else to do. I bought a plant. Actually, three. As I meandered around our delightful neighborhood nursery, I studied the descriptions and caressed the leaves of pretty green things, surrounded by halloween-colored monarch butterflies hovering on the slightest of breezes. The air was both crisp and warm. It was so quiet I could barely detect other plant lovers as they moved impressively mellow and gentle, rolling around their green carts to restock soil and pluck plantings for fall. On the drive home, light painted my forehead and air careened in through the sun roof. I suspended myself in the beautiful subtlety of a Sunday morning, absorbing the resonance of church bells as I unpacked my new succulent babies, relieved that I got outside to welcome in a different day than the one that kickstarted rather annoyingly. Jaxy Panda Oreo Cookie Baby Boy sauntered to the door with true cat swagger and an "I have arrived" meow. I swooped him up, snuggled his scruff and recited words into his fur so he could read their vibration. The same words I tell him at the beginning of every day, "Good Morning, My Love."
Every once in a while me + The P.I.C. allocate a little cash to give away. It's an extension of our "Happy Money" practice--feeling thankful for everything down to pennies that cross our path, and in turn, giving a little back. I've heard certain money mentors and motivational entrepreneurs say that charitable amount should be 10% of what you make, but as with everything, the amount we give should never be decided by anyone other than ourselves. I've had many moments with only a smattering of change in my pocket to put in my gas tank or waiting until my credit card payment went through so I could get groceries. Even in those scraping-by times, I'd stop for those at traffic lights and pass along some coin, looking them in the eye and wishing them well. I've never felt like a savior for it, or even an especially charitable person--it's just become automatic. And, it's reminded me that no matter how broke I've been, I always have something to give. Clothes and home goods--we donate to thrift stores, some of which support people or animals in need. Books--go to the library, where I've bought many a bestseller in excellent condition for fifty cents, and rented countless DVDs for free (even the subscription services don't have exactly what you want to watch sometimes!). I recently found a site [https://www.freecycle.org] where people freely request and give items, all for free. Which, BTW, is even more proof that the saying - "Nothing is free" - is bullshit. Awhile back, The P.I.C. made change for a ten so we could each have five dollars to hand to someone who looked like they could use it. My bill sat in the console for over a week until one day I was driving around and I became aware of it again. I really wanted to use it for myself. I really could have used that money at that time. I felt annoyed that we had set it aside to be given away. Its presence made me feel starved and desperate. I wanted to blow it on a dollar menu somewhere or add it to my secret stash I tried to grow but regularly depleted. Then I came up on a light, and a man was there with a sign I couldn't read and didn't need to. I rolled down the window and gave a wave, handing him the five with a smile. It felt like a big give in that moment and I had freed myself from the guilt I would've shouldered keeping it. It felt good, just like giving does, even when we need and want more for our own lives. I'd like to think it welcomes more in, by instilling pause and reverence for how much we do have, and every bit that serendipitously comes our way, just like for those on the receiving end of what we pass along. It frees us up from clinging so hard, gripping every dollar like we'll never have another, when always something more is on the way.