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April 12, 2009

The Illusion of Self-Importance

-cross carved into Arbutus Tree on Mt. Erskine

I'm sitting here today, still in my dressing gown. It's 2:45 pm and I just can't seem to get dressed. That doesn't happen very often.

Nothing to do. Nowhere to really go. Wondering what to do on a day like today with the sky grey, rain drumming down. Easter Sunday. The day that Jesus was supposed to have (or did) depending on your religious convictions, rise from the dead.

Perhaps an ideal day to be thinking about illusions and the illusion of self importance which in our world too often equates personal worth with one's personal wealth (or lack of).

I started thinking about this because yesterday morning, early, I was up and I heard my dishes rattle on my countertop. I looked over just in time to see a mouse scoot down and vanish, somewhere.

So, I bought a Better Mouse Trap. That's what they call it. But it was almost a moral dilemma. I felt really bad about having to KILL something but I don't want mice in my house. Last night I followed the directions of the "BETTER MOUSE TRAP" and I put a little bit of peanut butter in it and set it near the wall in the kitchen.

For a good part of the night before I dozed off I had one ear open, and I kept thinking I was going to hear some loud snap and then hear some tortured squealing and I'd just feel like I was going to burn in hell.

When I woke up this morning, I went over to the mouse trap really hoping to see nothing and here's what I saw. The peanut butter was gone. There was no mouse in the trap. I'd just FED the mouse. It's now thinking that I'm its benevolent mommy. Here darling. Here's your little peanut butter Easter treat a day early. Sorry it's not a Kinder egg. Apparently the better mousetrap is not BETTER than this very enterprising Salt Spring mouse. Dirty, rotten scoundrel.

And, in the way the mind is known to work, (in warped ways) as I was scraping the peanut butter onto the trap last night I thought to myself, gee, I could be snorkeling in Hawaii or I could be putting this peanut butter on a mousetrap. I could be drinking a margarita in the sunshine on a white sandy beach in which the margarita was delivered to me on a silver platter or I could be slappin this peanut butter on a mousetrap. I could be wandering through the Louvre or doling out the peanut butter treats for Topogigio. I could be having a really beautiful, kind, interesting, sexy, funny man treat me to the most romantic date of my life or well, you get the picture.

Would it make that much of a difference? That was my next thought. Would I be happier? Well, yes, today, in fact, the answer is an unequivocal yes. I would snap my fingers in a second and be on a beach today if I could. (Ola Dee!)

If I had more than enough money I might be thinking gee I'm so successful because I get to travel first class every time I set foot on an airplane and stay in only the top of the line resorts and impress my friends with my exciting existence but deep down would it make that much of a difference to who I am and at the end of my life would it really matter that I'd had a lot of money? Does having money change our value?

I was thinking about how money - having money - is such a buffer. It makes the logistics of life so much easier and that's a good thing. Exhibit 1: Oprah.

Perhaps that is why Jesus was so poor. He didn't want any buffers - including financial wealth - between himself and those he was supposedly here to serve.

If you suddenly came into enough money to never worry about money again would you be living differently? Would you think better of yourself? Would you feel more important? Would you be more interesting? Would you love yourself more? Would others love you for you or because of what you could do for them with your money? Would you have more time. Would you be more creative? Would you be kinder? Would you understand the importance of being humble? Would you stop having to showcase your worth? I wonder...

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