Today, I was thinking about things I am hoarding and the thing I am hoarding is money. If you come to my house, you won’t think of me as a hoarder. You’re unlikely to find a reality TV camera crew worming their way between precarious pillars of second-hand books or throwing open a door to have a thousand pairs of smelly sneakers spew out. Mostly, our home is light, roomy and orderly, though I do hoard a little dust and stuff the dog brings in; it’s got to live somewhere.
Still, if you could dig deeper into my mental closets, you would find that I hoard dollars like there were too many tomorrows. It’s not that I have so much money, I have more than some and less than others. I also realize that it’s a risk (and breaking a taboo) to even open up about the family funds. The thing is, like all good hoarders, I don’t have a healthy relationship with this thing I hoard; it’s way too “dams and reservoirs” and nowhere near enough “streams of living water.”
Thanks to childhood experiences, to messages inherited from my parents’ and grandparents’ Depression, war time and “austerity Britain” days, to realistic observation of our society, and to powerful marketing from the retirement industry, I have become a bit of a Scrooge. A big part of me is utterly convinced that nobody knows you when you’re down and out and I can, indeed, hang on to a dollar till the eagle grins! But a relationship based on fear and a belief in scarcity is a doomed relationship. So, if you come to my home, you might notice the general lack of clutter, but you would also probably notice the years of deferred maintenance. That’s no way to treat my most valuable investment, no matter how I justify it as living simply. My hoarding is, of course, not even logical.
Sometimes, the dam cracks or even bursts. A trickle leaks out or a flood of cash gushes forth for new outfits, a project or a “good cause.” There follows a period of frenetic repair work until a magic protective number is secured again in those quiet columns; a static sufficiency restored.
I’ve changed a few relationships in this last year, getting much happier with cooking and movement, for example, and living outside a little more each day. Perhaps, it’s time to ask a few new questions about my cache of cash. There are so many queries that could apply. What am I still saving for? Whom do I fear losing if the columns reach zero? What happens to stagnant pools? There are many more. Mostly, though, I need to sit with one. How does Love guide me to unbuild the dam?
On the wall in our corner room is a painting my daughter created when she was a child. To her teacher, she dictated, “Water and Love flow through the world.” And that’s not all.