Live within your harvest
This phrase has woven itself through my consciousness ever since I saw it painted on a sign at the country store.
It seemed more than fitting in this time of economic craziness. We all need to reframe “greed is bad” into some sort of life affirming mantra.
A post that I wrote a couple of weeks ago about finding an alternative to the consumerist imperative has managed to get a little bit of attention. It also connected me to Catherine at Frugal Homemaker Plus and clued me in to the fact that there are a lot of people out there who are dedicated to living more simply, desiring both to leave less of a dent in their savings accounts and to leave a less toxic footprint on the planet.
It’s as much a spiritual exercise as it is fiscal one, this learning to decipher the difference between want and need.
This last windy evening of the year has me looking both at the year’s spiritual legacy, as well as some more practical elements of life.
We bought our first house this year, a decided stretch into the luxury of three bedrooms and a huge kitchen and a perfect writing/yoga/meditation space. Money is a little tighter than we might like. Luckily, we have mastered the teeter totter of marriage in this respect – one of us always seems to remain optimistic and calm enough to comfort the other through bank balance related panic.
Are we living within our harvest or within the bounds of what the bank was willing to loan a nice young couple with a great credit rating?
It’s easy, and probably pretty useless, to look at the monetary decisions we made this past summer through the gloomy lens of this fall’s economic, um, fall. Were we victims of easy credit living or part of the problem, Americans with aspirations bigger than their incomes?
Now, we try to pare down our spending. It’s not enough to make up for the gigantic leap up the housing ladder that we’ve made, but maybe I should quit worrying about that so much.
I have accepted “live within your harvest” as a sage bit of chastening wisdom. A sweeter, less cliched way of saying “live within your means.”
But what if I have been looking at it all wrong? What if we reexamine the meaning of “your harvest”?
I was wasting my energy on resigning myself to the limitations I have assumed were placed upon my harvest. There were thoughts of my paycheck and the hoped for tax return, but no trace of the metaphysical ramifications of the idea. I saw no more than a single August field, already having calculated how many rolls of hay it could produce.
In a matter of hours, a new year will begin. Many of my friends have already toasted its arrival and find themselves in 2009. I will awaken to fresh snow fall and the knowledge that I am the only one who can reign in my potential, who can set the boundaries around my harvest.
I look at this still inspirational phrase with fresh eyes. To live within my harvest is to exalt in all that I have created and be content with all that I have.
It is also a reminder that I must work to gather the sort harvest that I most need to live within. Why would I ever want to exceed my lot in life if I understand that determine so much of what my lot is in the first place?
Why not sow more powerful seeds so that the eventual reaping will be all the sweeter?
What do you want to harvest in this flawless, sparkling new year?