When friends (all people, actually)
themselves with me, what their intimate thoughts are, what their
concerns are, what future(s) they're living from (for worse or for
better), what they're working on in their lives right now,
I experience it as a very personal gift. And while I may experience it
as a personal gift of which I'm the principle recipient, the generosity
of the act of authentic
is a gift with widespread benefits for everyone. All parties to
intimate, open, authentic
(and even those merely in close proximity to it) are enriched and
expanded by it. Why? It's simple: because human beings are that way.
She was thinking out loud about how great it was that a friend of hers
was buying a second home, specifically how great it was that a friend
of hers could afford to buy a second home. In so doing,
she overlooked something pertinent: the truth of the matter is she's
doing fine financially. Yet she held the allure of a second home like a
that shows what she currently has, to be somewhat inadequate. In her
view, she would like to be like her friend ie she would like to be able
to afford a second home. Here's the catch: to have what her friend has,
she would have to be her friend. She didn't get that yet.
And if she took on being her friend, she'd take on what
her friend has that she wants, but she'd also have to take on all the
unknowns about her friend's life that she may not yet know she
What she also didn't get yet, was this: her friend had just been
diagnosed with a rare medical condition, something arduous, an ordeal
that had only just begun. If she was going to be her
friend and so have a second home, she would have to assume the medical
condition as well. It's all or nothing. It's total. The process
isn't pick and choose. I proposed that she'd be better of as
herself with only one home, and no medical condition to deal with, than
with two homes and a medical condition.
On another note, individuals with great wealth yet with no integrity,
are legion. If
integrity in finance
isn't outright bypassed, then it's tacitly ignored in a manner that's
par for the course. So which would she rather have, I asked: great
wealth? or her integrity intact? Having great wealth would
appear (on the surface at least) to be desirable. But
would she take it on, I asked, at the cost of her own integrity?
(remember: to have what they have, you have to be what they are).
I continued wondering out loud with her: could it be that on
balance of it all, there's really not much difference
between any of our lives? - that is to say, could it be that on balance
of it all, there's really not much difference in the totality of the
quality of life each of us has the power to generate? We each have more
stuff in some areas of life (some would say we're more
blessed in some areas of life) than in others; we each
have less in some areas of life (some would say we're less blessed in
some areas of life) than in others. On balance of it all, could it be
that there's really not much difference in the totality of the quality
of life each of us can generate?
When it comes to life ie when it comes to a life ie when
it comes to our lives, could it be that one size fits
all? Is the Queen of England's life as lived in
totality, really any worse or better than that of a Maasai
tribesman herding cattle? (and not just in actuality: as a compelling
possibility). I mean really? Look: there's no sense in that
observation / question unless our lives are taken as lived (the
operative) in totality. For example, one casualty of great wealth and
renown, is anonymity / privacy eg the ability to take a quiet stroll
San Francisco Bay Area's
piers unnoticed. How do you quantify
the cost of anonymity? How do you quantify it when it's lost?
I never wanted to be anybody else. On balance of it all, there's no
worse or better life than the one I have. When it comes to the life
each of us has, one size fits all.