In a conversation I recently had with an insightful man, we were talking about materialism and how our society puts so much value on it. And in this conversation, he said to me, “I am attached to nothing, yet I have everything.”. He followed that by saying that if he lost every material thing he had tomorrow, he would still have everything he needed.
Consider that this statement came from a person who has seen great loss having served in the military. He saw lives disappear right before his eyes. And he was spared. So, to say that he has everything is truly an understatement.
Sitting in reflection at the start of this new year and at the end of a decade, I am thinking about this statement. The last few years for me have been resplendent with ups and downs, challenges, disappointments, but also great joy. While I may not have always achieved what I had wished for my current path, I realize that I am truly fortunate and blessed. It took this recent conversation for me to take pause and really let go of what isn’t and look at what is.
I have a home that I can call my own (sans the balance on the mortgage, anyway), I have a well-paying job doing work with people who are committed to making lives better for others by becoming independently practicing family medicine physicians. I have a family who cares for me and an incredible circle of friends from quite literally all over the world who are fierce supporters of one another and of me. I have my health, am physically very active, and a little fur baby who loves me without condition.
Looking at all of this, I realized too have everything. Everything that matters. Everything that I would consider gifts. The home could disappear, the job could end, the material goods could be gone in a flash. But, as long as I have my tribe, my family, my health, then indeed I DO have everything.
Further contemplation led me to think about the wellness coaching work I do. In this realm, we are often faced with clients who really and truly believe that they have nothing. They have lost hope and lost sight of the “everything”. They have faced trauma, the harsh curveballs of life, mental health issues, physical challenges and more. And to sit there and say, “but you really do have all that you need” doesn’t serve to re-create the connection to their “everything”. Where they have that hope again. That resiliency. That desire to start to move forward and then to keep the momentum going toward positive change, or at the very least – a changed perspective.
Therefore, we work together to rebuild that vision of hope of a preferred future filled with a quality of life that is fulfilling. And we do that by asking questions that guide these clients in remembering what they have lost sight of while traveling the path of life’s trials. Reminding them that they are strong. They can be tenacious. They do have the ability to climb what seems an interminable mountain and reach the top.
It’s quite likely they’ve seen the top of that mountain at other times in their lives. Otherwise, they wouldn’t even be sitting before you looking to try again. So, we paint the picture. We recapture the memories of those times when the presence of strength, success, good health, purposeful work, fulfilling relationships were the norm, rather than the exception. We navigate to what is desired in place of the struggles and adversity that may be present in the now.
And one foot takes a step. Then the next step is made. Then again. And again. Pretty soon, there is a glimpse of the peak of that mountain. It is within reach. And visualizing that the top is right there – the clients feel that moving down the other side is possible and that begins to instill the hope that was missing.
They begin to let go of the attachment to the problem or the undesired state of their lives. They see the reality of restoring or even completely changing their quality of life to one that is positive. It’s not far-fetched, nor is it impossible. Because they do have everything right there inside themselves to make the change that they deeply desire. They just need a little help in illuminating that path through the language of solutions and hope.
I then notice that when this transformation starts to dawn, knowing that I was a part of their process, it reminds me of my own hopes. My own wishes being fulfilled. And then I know for certain I really do have everything as well. Nothing around which I can wrap my hands or that which I can buy amounts to much of anything. But relationships, doing this work of changing lives as well as all the other blessings I already mentioned, are my everything.
I look forward to this year ahead. To see what continues to unfold as my Everything. The Everything with that capital “E”. And letting go of holding on to what just plain doesn’t matter. Because the big E Everything is all that we ever need to truly be fulfilled.