Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Over Doing it...

Growing up my sister did not have great luck with pets. When she was four or five she had a goat that she raised from a kid.

At some point it was time to wean the goat from the bottle to solid feed. One evening at feeding time my sister gave her goat the usual amount of feed but the goat seemed to want more so my sister filled the bucket up again. The goat was not done yet and so my sister gave it even more. Now the feed was a sweet feed with molasses, oats and corn and the goat did not have enough sense to stop eating. My sister was not old enough to realize that the goat was eating itself to death. The goat died later that night.

Several years later my sister had a farm cat. She was a spotted short haired cat with a tremendous curiosity. One summer’s evening the cat lay beneath the outside light near the back porch. June bugs would swarm the light at night and then drop to the ground when they got too warm. At that point the cat would snatch them up and eat them. You guessed it. The cat must have lay there all night eating June bugs. The next morning there she was dead as could be.

Common sense tells us that at some point we should stop.

My problem is: Desire is relentless and insatiable. If I live on the level of instinct, I can never have enough. And all our unhappiness in life, all our discontent and frustration, comes down to this desire for more: a bigger house, a better husband or wife, more money, more applause, more this or that.

It becomes who we are because it's all we think about. We inevitably come to believe that we must have what we crave, and that if we can't, then our life will be unfulfilled.

So we miss life, the simple joys, and all the amazing things that we are surrounded by.The big secret to happiness is never a matter of getting what you want - As Sheryl Crow says, "It is wanting what you've got." It's appreciating what you have.

It's to find the beauty in everyday things: in a child's smile, the sky at sunset, the wisdom of a friend, a winter snowstorm, a satisfying meal, the pleasure of movement, flowers in bloom.

The secret to happiness is to hear the music of the universe everywhere you go, to find satisfaction in the company of the people around you, to see the sacred in the ordinary, to realize that there is still beauty and meaning and truth and mystery in the world.


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