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I love this picture of Robert Fulghum. He looks like an elf to me—a very wise elf, to be sure. Read these words carefully.

If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you’ve got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. A lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat, and a lump in the breast are not the same kind of lump. One needs to learn the difference.  

Remember that expression: like it or lump it? I seem to remember it from a long-ago playground. Mr. Fulghum certainly puts some perspective into the question of lumps.

And he’s right. Life is inconvenient. Bodies can be inconvenient. People can be inconvenient. For that matter, being oneself can feel inconvenient, but regardless, we would not choose not to be.

I think his words speak to the faux outrage our media (and sometimes our governance) perpetrates. Let’s consider the different kinds of lumps in our lives, and learn the difference, shall we?

Seeds XVIII, 18

I Used Everything

When I moved to Kingston at the end of last year, I decided not to save anything for “company.” I use my cloth napkins, and good dishes. Nothing’s stored and waiting for something else to cause its use. I’m using everything.

Then I ran across this anonymous quote, and understood why I was adopting this as a policy.

When I stand before God, at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and I could say, “I used everything you gave me.”

The exciting thing to me is that this says I’ve solved my enough problem. I’m not hoarding anything. I’m using what I’ve got certain that if I need more, I’ll get more somehow. I love the idea of using up all my talent. Pouring it out into my writing and my practice so that when I leave here, there’s not one drop left, and I’ve touched as many lives as I could.

Are you holding on to something and not using it till … whatever? Go home and use it this weekend. Pour it out for yourself and those you love. Face a little bit of the enough problem, and see how rich you really are.

Seeds XVIII, 17


Today is Tax Day in the United States, and for many years now, I have looked forward to it. But for many years I didn’t. These words of integrative medicine pioneer Rachel Naomi Remen provide some insight into why.

Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.

Tax Day means we get to attend to (give our attention to) our financial selves. For years, I avoided that me like the plague! Now, however, as I’ve gotten more comfortable with finances, I can honestly say I look forward to doing my taxes.

I take it as an opportunity to give my attention to reviewing the previous year, and then I give my attention to setting goals for the next year. The secret about attention, Beloved, is that we always attend to what we want to attend. I ought to know—I spent years avoiding (and getting extensions) for Tax Day.

I had to learn to give my attention to my financial self. I think the most important attention we pay is to ourselves, and to those we meet in our lives.

Just for today … meet Uncle Sam with a smile …

Seeds XVIII, 16